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those who defend the doctrines of our Lord's Deity and atonement, and the true fearers of God alone can form a proper judgment of divine truth, as being the only humble, upright, and candid inquirers after it. Then shall they find it when they search for it as for hid treasure. They that do the will of God shall know of his doctrine, and not search for it in his oracles in vain.-It may be observed that these doctrines which bear a hostile aspect on the salvation of the gospel, cannot be of God who is consistent in his word and works. We have often urged, that the scheme of our opponents is equally subversive of salva tion, as of that restoration for which we plead in these sheets; for a mere human Saviour can neither save nor restore. We cannot therefore view them as fellow labourers, it being their constant employ and aim, in our judgment, to destroy what we build, and to bring the cause in which we are embarked into disrepute. We look upon the revival of such tenets at the present time, as a device of Satan, to make the doctrine of the Restoration to stink in the nostrils of serious and pious people, and the scheme too generally succeeds. If we are so happy as to plead the cause of truth, as we humbly hope we are, then the exertions of opponents must be calculated to throw obstacles in the way.
In prosecuting this work, the author has acted with a single eye to Gods glory, traced the sense from the context, and the analogy of Scripture, at large and so made up his judgment of what he hath published to the world as a comment. He dare not say, he hath in no case erred from the truth, which may be done with the best intention; but it belongs to the reader and the Public to judge what he hath said; making reason and divine truth their rule. What may appear wrong at first view, may be found perfectly correct on farther examination, so that nothing is to be rejected without a trial. We have not dealt in such fanciful glosses as the reader will find in abundance in Baron Swedenborg's small tract on the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem,
which appear rather to puzzle than to edify his reader. If this small tract contains so much of his mere fanciful glosses, what must his large works do? Let the reader consult his gloss on the xxixth Psalm, in proof, in part of the above.
We count it a special favour of Providence, that our life has been spared to finish the attempt, even when death seemned for a time at the door, and all hope given up. But where the Lord hath designs of protracting life, he will raise up from the fearful pit, and miry clay, setting our feet upon a rock and establishing our goings. May a life supported by his power, aud spared by his mercy, be devoted to his honour and service! and if that life be longer spared, may the Lord employ it for the farther honour of his name, and to make his praise glorious! may all the author's feeble productions be accompanied with God's benign blessing, to whose patronage and protection they are daily committed. May this especially follow the work here presented to the reader, that God may be glorified while myriads are edified.
* The Author had prepared a Preface to the Psalms before the Notes were well begun to be transcribed. This somehow fell by, at which he was not a little dissapointed, having placed no small value upon it. He adapted a number of lines, by way of contrast, from Collins's Oriental Dialogues, addressed in his 2d Ecl. by Hassan to his camels travelling through the burning de serts of the East.
See here no springs in murmurs die away,
Where sin and sorrow shall no more infest,
A sacred garden is this page of truth,
Where Zion's sons may still renew their youth,
It was meant to cancel the Note, Ps. cxviii. 17. 18. as the information it contains was afterwards found, upon conversation with the doctor who attended him all the time, to be unfounded. But as the foolish youth when restored to hopes · of preferment, and the use of money, chose for his constant companions such as a wise man would not set with the dogs of his flock, with whom he extravagantly spent his time and every farthing he could get, to the neglect of the most serious concerns, it was thought proper to let it remain as a caution to himself in future, if spared, and a warning to others. We judged such a state of mind to be a moral delirium of the most dangerous kind, as placing the subject out of the reach of salutary restraint, to prevent ruining himself, in a worse sense than an ordinary maniac can. Another reason weighed; it contains a lively expression of the Parent's hope at that afflictive period; of which, he trusts, he will not be left to be ashamed, and humbly hopes it may be already in a train of accomplishment.
The 9th verse, of Psal. xvi. has been inadvertently ommitted in making up the form, which we cannot here insert for want of room. The reader will find the note on this verse in the proper place.
Owing to the Author's affliction, he is sorry he could not revise the work to correct any erratta that might occur, which he hopes the reader will please excuse.
In this Psalm, which very properly introduces the whole Collection. the sacred writer, whose name is not prefixed, contrasts the state, character, and prospects, of the righteous, and of the wicked, in several particulars. These he illustrates by apt images borrowed from the vegetable creation
1 THAT man hath perfect blessedness,
Who walketh not astray,
Nor stands in sinners'
Ver. 1. Blessed &c. All men seek happiness, but mistake its true nature and essential properties. The Scriptures teach us where to find it, in what it consists, aud how we may enjoy it. The Psalmist, like our Lord in his sermon on the mount, begins with beatitudes. So the clause is often rendere from the Hebrew;-0 the blessednesses of that man, &c. Here we have the abstract in the plural, to denote that his happiness is. various and complete, possessing every thing that can be so named.
Walking is a voluntary and progressive motion, often used in Scripture · to signify the habitual course of good and bad men. As no man becomes very wicked at once, the natural progress of vice is here described, as commencing in associating with men devoid of God's fear, and gradually advancing till it terminates in taking the lead in scoffing at religion. and the ways and friends of godliness. This climax or gradation is too often realized; but blessed is the man who pursues an opposite course, but especially He who never swerved from it, and secures blessings to all.
Ver 2. The law of the LORD here, and often elsewhere in this book, means the word of truth at large, as all calculated to elucidate and inforce the sanctions of the divine law. Here the truly pious find direction and comfort, improvement and delight, in every state; and from an experience of these blessed effects, are habitually disposed to renew the pleasing exercise. Fixedness of thought, and the exercise of faith and pious dispositions, inspiring prayer, constitute meditation, as distinguished from mere study; and then only do we peruse the sacred records, and meditate upon them to valuable purpose, when we cordially receive them as the men of our counsel, and reduce their heavenly lessons to practice without reserve. When this is our exercise day and night, or habitually, making it our first care in the morning, our last at night, and the chief concern of life, for which it is principally worth desiring; like the Church in Ps. xcii. 1, 2. called in the title-A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day, our meetness for heaven advances, and our hopes of it brighten in our progress. In Ps. xl. 8. we see how much our Lord is our pattern in this respect.
Ver. 3. He shall be like a tree &c. Various kinds of trees are employed as an apt figure of different moral characters. Some trees are valucd for their fruit, others for other purposes. The true Israel are called trees of righteousness, the Lord's planting in whom he will be glorified. For spiritual strength, beauty, and prosperity they are compared to palms and cedars; the former the stated emblem of victory, and the latter termed trees of Gop full of sap. These were used in the ceiling of the temple, and overlaid with pure gold, Ps. xcii. 12.——A tree planted by the rivers of water, is a figure of those who are born in God's house, and there nourished by his word and ordinances, attended by the influences of his Spirit, till matured for the celestial paradise, and transplanted thither, to bear the unfading glory of the fruits of righteousness under the shade of the Tree of Life; of whom all their fruit is found.- That bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; that rewards the care of the gardener, and, so far from cumbering the ground, matures its blossoms into rich and early fruit. The first ripe fruits were most prized, on a double account, having been presented to the Lord in his sanctuary, and cdded to the portion of his priests; whence the whole harvest was sanctified for the use of the nation, Just as the elect, these first-fruits, in regard to the rest of mankind.
His leaf also shall not wither. As the leaves adorn the tree, yet are chiefly valued as protecting and maturing the fruit; so the blessed man