Page images
PDF
EPUB

passages which undeniably declare David to be the writer of many psalms, as though it were a contradiction to the nonumbered multitudes which declare Christ as their object?

Why do they, in defiance of all grammar, translate the dative case,* A Psalm FOR OT TO David, by the phrase, A Psalm or David, in which case the word would have been in regimen without the dative prefix?

We will not again recur to the imaginary musician, to whom they make the king of Israel, (in violation of all custom, since in dedications, as in all other things, the less is blessed of the greater) dedicate his compositions : but we will now consider the violent improbabilities, which mere literalists must overcome, in order to confine the sense of the Psalms to historic facts.

It will, we presume, be allowed on all hands, that the Psalms were the anthems used in the temple; as, indeed, they still form a very large portion of the synagogue worship. Now we know, from the words of Christ, that the temple was a type of himself, as we know from St.

1

* The servile 5 prefixed denotes a dative; were it of David the prefixed lamed would be omitted, and the word in, MIZMOR, A Psalm, would be put in regimine.

+ John ii. 19-21. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the

Paul,* that it was a type also of the church his bride.

All the observances of the temple worship are declared, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, to have been sacrifices typical of Christ's great sacrifice; and the offerings of incense, &c. to have been typical, both of his prayers, and those of his church through him.

Now, can it be supposed, without the atmost pitch of improbability and extravagance, that the anthems performed there were destitute of the slightest connexion, relation, or analogy to the object of such observances ?

Can it be supposed, that while the smoke of the atoning sacrifices was ascending, the anthems should have consisted of a commemoration of transient, and in many cases, trivial historic events, as in the cases of Doeg and Shimei?

Let us apply the case to our own times.
Let us suppose a Gospel ministry, in which

Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days ? But he spake of the temple of his body.

• Ephesians ii. 20—22. Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,

the sacrifice of Christ was glowingly set forth; should we not esteem it an act of downright madness to profane the solemn service, by in. truding, by way of hymns, songs, not only on Alfred or queen Elizabeth, but on our Doegs and Shimeis -Wat Tyler, or Margaret Nicholson ?

The enormous extravagance of such a position is a sufficient confutation of its absurdity.

But, on the supposition that the Psalms are, in their highest sense, spiritual, and in their lowest sense literal; the whole becomes clear and consistent. We behold in them, at once, most noble anthems, explanatory both of the temple worship, and of the spiritual types presented by their then venerable national history.* On this principle it becomes obvious, that the grand object of the temple anthems of thanksgiving must be him who was the grand end of the temple prayers and sacrifices; that is, Christ Jesus, the only faithful high-priest, God, and Saviour of his people.

All the construction of the Psalms sufficiently shows them to have been meant for the tem

• And let it be remembered, that the Jewish government being a theocracy, it is, if we may use such an expression, natural, that the events of their history should be spiritual.

ple service; because they are obviously appropriated to a great variety of parts or personages.

Often the high-priest, in the character of the one great High-Priest of his church, is the sole speaker. Frequently the king of Israel, who had his place in the court of the priests, spoke in the character of Christ as king.

Frequently choruses of priests and Levites join, in the characters of the angels, the sons of God, or the spirits of just men made perfect.

ccasionally an oracular voice is supposed to proceed from the sanctuary, as the Sup-na,* or voice of the Most High.

Often the whole congregation, representing the whole church, joined in the vast chorus.

So that as the temple and temple services were both typical of Christ and of the church; so the Psalms speak, in every part, also, of Christ and of the church.

If we would really derive edification from the Psalms, or enter into their real scope, we must contemplate their original intention and destination.

+ Literally, the daughter of a voice. The Jews say that God spake to Moses face to face; to the priest, under the first temple, by Urim and Thummim; and under the second temple by Bath Cole, or the daughter of a voice.

Now since it is undoubted they were the anthems of the temple service, it is to that very service we must look for their interpretation.

The end and scope of the Psalms, and the end and scope of the temple sacrifices, must be the same; and we must consider the object of temple worship, to discern the object of the temple anthems of praise.

Thus we find the study of Leviticus, that gospel written by Moses, perfectly correspond with Isaiah, that gospel of the prophets; and with the book of Psalms, the gospel of the inward heart; and the evangelists, the gospel of the outward walk of Christ.

It is because the book of Psalms is the gospel of the heart of Jesus, that the ancient church used them in her temple service, as the Christian church does in her private meditations: since there is no other name given under heaven, whereby we may be saved, but that of Jesus Christ.

As he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for eder; so is the faith and the thanksgiving of the church the same at all times.

His name it is alone, which is as an ointment poured forth, whether in the courts of the temple before the assembled congregation, or in the secret of our own hearts.

« PreviousContinue »