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and sanction of our Saviour's instructions, in the attempt to magnify the New Testament by unduly depreciating the older revelation. There is in the latter more spirituality of view and feeling than meets the eye of the careless reader. It requires, however, the spiritual perception and the spiritual mind. It obtrudes not itself upon the outward Sadducee, whilst in the experience of the true Israelite is it often felt, that there is no part of God's word, the reading of which is more precious, or which has more power over the purest and most inward affections of the soul.
It is indeed true, that ceremonial observances occupy a most prominent, and sometimes an almost exclusive space in the law and national records of the Jews. Hence it is, that we lose sight of those frequent declarations which were intended, on this very account, to guard against the danger of a merely formal, and to urge the necessity of spiritual religion. In the mysterious plan of God's revelation, the outward would seem to come first, and yet the inward ever accompanies it, ever presents itself to one who seeks for it, ever appears expressly or impliedly in the outward language instead of being left merely to the inferences of the natural conscience. To one, therefore, who has hastily adopted the idea of the exclusively formal character of the Old Testament teachings, it is sometimes a matter of astonishment when he finds, on careful examination, how very many passages there are of a directly opposite nature,-passages exhibiting the necessity of the internal and the spiritual with even more of melting and glowing earnestness of language, than is ever found in the more sober and preceptive instructions of the gospel itself.
The Psalms, the Prophets, the Law, and even the historical portions abound in them. “I have cleansed my heart in innocency, therefore will I encompass thine altar, O Lord. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not refuse. Create within me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.' Thou desirest truth in the inward parts.” Ps.
1 The writer has often thought that if one needed a brief confession of his faith, one that should be liturgical, (if we may use the expression) rather than dogmatic, one that could be repeated in the hours of private meditation and devotion, one in which every line, and word almost, might be regarded as suggestive, if not openly, declarative of the main doctrines of the gospel in their most direct application to the human soul, it would be Watls' most impressive paraphrase of this 51st Psalm, commencing
“Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
And born unholy and unclean." It is, indeed, a free paraphrase, and yet there is not a thought which is not suggested by the spirit of the original, not a thought which is not legitimately seen in this ancient mirror of the contrite soul, although we are indeed enabled to read it more clearly and distinctly by the reflected light of the New Testament. It is that perfect union of pure, evangelical conception, with the Hebrew spirit and metaphor, which no other paraphraist has ever so successfully 51. In the Hebrew it is ninga in pracordiis,—the same as renes, the reins-or qgéves—the seat of those deeper thoughts and affections which the Greek terminology would seem to place in the most central regions of vitality. So also in Job 38: 36—“Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts,"—where the same Hebrew word is used in parallelism with ta, the picturing or conceptive department of the soul, where the thoughts may be said to receive an objective distinctness,—the source of the most interior emotion, of the most spontaneous intuitions, or as they are elsewhere styled (Gen. 6: 5:) - Rina , the very imaginations of the thoughts of the heart,"—those first beginnings of emotional mental activity which give moral character to all that subsequently proceeds from them. Again,—“In the hidden parts (570? Ps. 51: 8, in the most secret or interior chamber) O make me to know wisdom,”-in that region of the spirit which is concealed from direct consciousness, which is below the very thoughts themselves, where the thoughts have their birth, or in other words, spring' up from that state of the affections which is most closely allied to the very essence of the soul—“O there, even there, make me to know wisdom.'
In accordance with the same idea is that fervent prayer for inward grace that soon follows—0, take not thy Holy Spirit from me; ( give back to me the joy of thy salvation. And then the light in the intellect which comes from the purification of the conscience—“ Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; then shall sinners be converted unto thee.”
Beside such express declarations as these, how much do we find of implied meaning that is utterly inconsistent with the idea of a mere formal or outward religion,
-how many expressions, for example, containing indeed no explicit mention of a future state, yet full of that emotion which has no meaning except in connection exhibited as Watts, and which will ever make his version the delight of pious souls, however lightly he may be esteemed by the critic of the frigid Johnsonian school, or of the narrow Oxford sect. A modern critic, of deservedly high standing, is somewhat fastidious, we think, in his censure of the last line of the closing verse
And bid my broken bones rejoice." This, he thinks, conveys a harsh and disagreeable image. He would, therefore,' substitute“ broken heart,” or some other modern sentimental euphemism. It is left to the reader to decide, which is most in accordance not only with the bold style of the Hebrew metaphor, but with the feeling of the truly contrite or bruised soul.
From some such idea of the soul seems to have come that beautiful Hebrew metaphor, 33 39 73, ascendere super cor, representing thoughts as rising or velling up in the soul, as from some deep fountain of being far below them, and in which resides the true moral character of the spirit. See Jeremiah 3:16 7, 31-32, 35, &c.-Compare also the Hebræism in Luke 24 ; 38, dia i διαλογισμοί αναβαίνουσιν εν ταις καρδίαις-« Why do thoughts arise in your souls.
with the idea of a higher life for the human soul, and from which all glow, and warmth, and elevation, and strength, and beauty depart, the moment it is severed, in the mind, from all such connection, and regarded as proceeding from the low level of the materialist, or as having reference to the poor deliverances of an existence so exceedingly brief as this,-an existence deriving all its value from another, but in itself considered, and apart from any idea of any higher state, so worthless, so aimless, so utterly and hopelessly inexplicable.
Let this test be applied to such passages as Ps. 73: 25: and the succeeding verses, — " Thou wilt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory—Whom have 1 in heaven but THEE, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Or, as it might be more literally rendered from the Hebrew“Whom else have I even in Heaven, and WITH THEE I have no other desire (or delight) upon the earth. For though my flesh and my heart (my body and soul)' both fail, yet THOU art the strength (the rock) of my soul, and my everlasting portion. mere heroic song of thanksgiving for temporal deliverances, says the unevangelical interpreter ; but apply the test to which we have referred. If Asaph and David were indeed materialists. If they looked, in all this, only to temporal prosperity, and to a temporal salvation, why has this language been ever felt to be so appropriate to the devout utterance of the spiritually-minded in all ages? Why is it, that the Christian finds in it such a satisfactory expression of the most evangelical emotions ? How has it happened, that away back in the earliest and most barbarous times of Judaism, as some would style them, these old songs of thanksgiving, and prayers for deliverance were framed in such strange yet perfect adaptedness to the wants of periods far remote, and of souls in circumstances so widely different? How came there to be imparted to these and similar psalms, such a warmth and life, such an indescribable elevation and sublimity, such an air of purity, such a "beauty of holiness," as to fit them for the church's standing liturgy, as well as its anthem, and form of confession, in all ages,-a liturgy which never becomes obsolete, which is never felt to lose its appropriateness, or to need revision in order to adapt it to the most interior wants of the most spiritual and heavenly-minded souls. Strange coincidence this, if not still more wonderful design!
The neologist contends that the Hebrew words which we render, soul, and life, and death, and redemption, and glory, and sal
* The evident contrast here, between men and map, shows that they are intended to represent the two great departments of humanity, the material and the spiritual. Both fail. The soul as well as the body, is dependent upon God, for its continued existence. It is not, per se, aeonian, or immortal, as some of the Platonists would proudly argue. But God is himself the strength (the rock) of the soul, its everlasting support and portion.
vation, may have no other meaning, throughout the Old Testament, than animal life, and breath, and natural death, and temporal salvation, and an earthly redemption; and hence he at once pronounces all interpretation of a more spiritual kind foreign to the usus loquendi which has been so unwarrantably assumed. Now admitting that they may and do have this lower sense, what right has the rationalist to the assumption which confines them there? How, in view of the striking fact to which we have alluded, the fact of their strange adaptedness to the expression of the higher emotion, and to which the general voice of the church, in harmony with the private experience of the individual Christian, is ever bearing testimony-how in view of this fact, we say, dare they deny that these terms have also the higher sense, and that this peculiar fitness is of itself evidence that they were expressly designed, by the Divine Author of the Scriptures, for its most devout utterance.
If it be said that almost any strain of heroic triumph, or of earnest supplication in the hour of danger, might have been accomodated in the same manner, and to a similar purpose; let the experiment be tried with the purest and loftiest selections from classic poetry; it would thus be found that there is indeed an element in the inspiration of David, and Asaph, and Moses, and Isaiah, which is altogether wanting in that of Homer, and Aeschylus, and Pindar. But in what could this inarked difference have consisted, if the Jew, as well as the Gentile sung only of " temporal deliverances,' and temporal triumph ? Surely it is something more than an artificial impression of sacredness which long devotional usage has attached to the writings in question. We feel that no such usage could ever have imparted, at least for us, a similar character to any productions of the Grecian or Roman lyric Muse. In accounting, therefore, for the difference of effect, we are compelled to admit
, that there is in the Hebrew poetry a spirituality of feeling and conception that connects itself with the invisible and the eternal,—and that, too, even where the letter seems to relate mainly, if not wholly, to the earthly and the temporal. In this way do we account for the fact, that although the Jewish writings seem to be far behind the classic in express mention of another existence, its nature and localities, they are nevertheless so much more imbued with the spirit of the unseen world as the everlasting rest of the soul, as the termination of its highest hopes, as that which alone gives significance even to its best earthly aspirations. Here, too, we see the reason of their having become the favorite channels, in all ages, of the most devout and spiritual utterance.
The Grecian poet speaks as familiarly of the Elysian fields, of the Land of the Shades, and the Isles of the Blessed, as of the vale of Tempe, or the hill of Parnassus; and with as little true spirituality of feeling in the one case as in the other. The Hebrew
seldom attempts to lift the veil from Hades, or the unseen state, but in what classic hymn, or in what heights of the most transcendental classic philosophy, do we ever meet with such language and conceptions as in the verse we have quoted from the 73d Psalm
Without THEE the Heavens are a blank, and Earth has no delight.'
If David was indeed a materialist, or in other words, one who had no belief in the doctrine of the soul's separate spiritual essence, and of its future existence, when and where, we ask, has such language ever before been heard from the lips of any one holding a similar animal and earthly creed? Or when have such addresses to the Deity ever been used, except in inseparable connection with the idea of a higher life for the human soul, associated with the kindred idea of the eternity of Him who styles himself, The Father of our spirits. We get accustomed to this sacred language; but let our minds dwell upon the depth, and grandeur, and fullness of meaning, contained in that remarkable, yet common expression which declares God to be the “ portion of the soul ;"—as though the universe contained nothing else in the comparison. “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places ; " for the Lord is the portion of my inheritance." Ps. 16: 5. “ Thou art my portion saith my soul." “The Lord is our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born, before the earth and the round worlds were formed, from eternity even unto eternity, (&no toù alovos ĉws toū alovos).—“Thou art (our) God,” Ps. 90: 2. T'he apostle does but aim at repeating the same ineffable conception, when he says“Chosen in Him before the foundation of the world,” rpd matapolis zoouov. When and where, we ask, have any of our commentators, who have such a low opinion of the Old Testament, and are so offended by its outwardness, its grossness, and its carnality, ever risen to higher degrees of spiritual emotion, or felt the want of higher language to express the full conceptions of their adoring spirits.Who is there in the class represented by De Wette, or Parker, or Spurzheim, who would not be startled at the unwonted fervor and spirituality of his own devotions, should he at some strange period in his soul's experience, find himself in the spontaneous utterance of language, so familiar, yet so dear to God's ancient saints.
“ The Lord is my portion.”—We get accustomed to this frequently occuring language of the Jewish Scripture ; and can it denote, but the highest spirituality of conception, in respect
* This connection of ideas remarkably appears in the common Hebrew oathAs the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth.
2 The parallelism shows that the Hebrew 3an here means something more than the earth. It can, therefore, denote nothing else than the whole visible world or universe, in its apparently globular form, as built upon, or over the earth. See Samuel, 2:8. " For to ihe Lord belong the ends of the earth, and over them has he placed the Tebel, or round world. Compare also, Ps. 93:1. Gesenius, in such places, would render it, universum terrarum orbein.