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back to his former life, and say, whether the events which once he regarded as the heaviest calamities, have not been overruled for his greatest good? Yes: it is not David only, but every child of God, that must say, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” We may indeed, like Jacob, say for a time, “All these things are against me:" but when we have seen "the end” and issue of the dispensation, we shall confess that “the Lord has been pitiful to us, and of tender mercy b.” If we view an insulated and individual occurrence, we may be perplexed respecting it; but if we view it in connexion with all that has preceded and followed it, we shall be able to set our seal to the truth of that promise, "All things shall work together for good to them that love God.” Whatever then be the affliction under which we are suffering, let us never for a moment lose sight of that truth, “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."] 2. In the most painful operations of his
grace[The different circumstances adduced for the illustration of God's providence may not unfitly be regarded as images to shadow forth also the operations of his grace. Truly in them we may see the wants and miseries, the helplessness and terrors, of an awakened soul. Who that knows any thing of his own state has not seen himself a wanderer from the ways of God, and perishing for lack of knowledge? Who has not groaned, and bitterly too, under the chains of sin by which he has been tied and bound? Who has not felt his inability to help himself, as much as if he had been dying of an incurable disorder? And who has not seen himself sinking, as it were, into the bottomless abyss, and been almost “at his wit's end," because he saw not how his soul could be saved ? We do not mean to intimate, that all converted persons have felt these things in an equal degree: but all have felt them sufficiently to see the suitableness of these images to their own experience. What then shall we say? Does God, in suffering them to be so exercised, mark his displeasure against them? No: it is love, and love alone, that he manifests. Multitudes of others he leaves to follow their own evil ways without fear, and without remorse: but those whom he loves he awakens from their security : he sends his Holy Spirit to convince them of sin; he stirs them up to fervent prayer; and then, in answer to their prayers, he speaks peace to their souls. “ Those troubles were not at the time joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterwards they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby.”] ADVICE1. View the hand of God in every thing
b Jam. v. 11.
[Things may be called great or small by comparison; but, in fact, there is nothing small, when considered in relation to the possible events which may spring from it. The opening of the book precisely in the place where the services of Mordecai to Ahasuerus were recorded, was as much a work of God as any other that is contained in the Sacred Volumec: and the circumstances connected with it were of incalculable importance to the whole Jewish nation. Let nothing then be accounted small : but receive every thing as from God, and endeavour to improve every thing for him: and then shall every thing enrich you with wisdom, and inflame your souls with gratitude and love.]
2. Take occasion from every thing to spread your wants before him in prayer
[The great, the universal remedy, to which we should have recourse, is Prayer. Prayer will turn every thing to gold. Whether our trials be of a temporal or spiritual nature, they cannot fail of proving blessings if only they drive us to a throne of grace. The direction of God himself is, that “in every thing we should make our requests known to him:" and, on our doing so, we are assured, that “the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus d.” “ If we call upon him in the time of trouble, he will hear us,” and turn all our complaints into praise and thanksgiving.)
3. Give him the glory of all the deliverances you receive
[On all the different occasions mentioned in the psalm, it is said, “O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness!” This is the tribute which all of us are called to pay; and the very end which God proposes to himself, both in our trials and deliverances, is, to make us sensible of his goodness, and to draw forth from us the tribute of a grateful heart. “Whoso offereth him praise, glorifieth him.” See to it then that your daily mercies call forth suitable returns of love and gratitude: and thus will you be preparing gradually for that blessed day, when all the mysterious designs of God, which now you could not penetrate, shall be unravelled, and all your sorrows terminate in endless joy.] c Esth. vi, 1–3.
d Phil. iv. 6, 7.
DCLXXXIV. THE PERSON AND OFFICES OF CHRIST. Ps. cx. 1—7. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my
right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule
thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning : thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen : he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
IN some of the Psalms, David speaks of himself only; in others, of himself and of the Messiah too; but in this, of the Messiah exclusively: not a word is applicable to any one else. The Jews have taken great pains to explain it away : but their attempts are, and ever must be, in vain.
In the first verse, David relates the Father's address to his Son, when “ the council of peace was held between them;" and the whole of the remainder is addressed by the Psalmist to the Messiah himself. It altogether elucidates in a very striking manner the character of Christ.
In it are set forth,
I. His person
It is of great importance that we have just views of the Divinity of Christ,
[On that depends the sufficiency of the atonement which he has offered for the sins of men. If he be only a creature, how can we be assured that the shedding of his blood has any more virtue and efficacy than the blood of bulls and goats? What proportion is there between the transitory sufferings of one creature, and the accumulated sins of all the children of men? How can we conceive that there should be such a value in the blood of any created being, as to purchase for a ruined world a deliverance from everlasting misery, and a possession of everlasting happiness and glory? But if our Redeemer be God as well as man, then we see at once, that, inasmuch as he is an infinitely glorious Being, there is an infinite merit in his obedience unto death, sufficient to justify the demands of law and justice for the sins of all mankind. On any other supposition than that Christ is God, there would be no force at all in that question of the Apostle, “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also
freely give us all things?” What argument would it be to say, “ He that gave us a creature, how shall he not also give us HIMSELF, and all the glory of heaven?” But if Christ be God, equal with the Father, then is the argument clear, obvious, and unanswerable.]
In the psalm before us the divinity of Christ is plainly asserted
[Our blessed Lord himself appeals to it, in order to confound and silence his malignant adversaries. Both Pharisees and Sadducees had endeavoured to ensnare him by difficult and perplexing questions: and, when he had answered, he put this question to them; “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?” and when they said, “ The Son of David,” he asked them, “How then doth David in Spirit call him LORD, saying, The Lord said unto my LORD, &c.? If David then call him LORD, how is he his son?” And then we are told, “ No man was able to answer him a word b.” Had they been willing to acknowledge Christ as their Messiah, they needed not to have been at any loss for an answer; for they knew him to be a son of David; and he had repeatedly declared himself to be God, insomuch that they had again and again taken up stones to stone him for blasphemy. But this passage proved beyond all doubt that the Messiah was to be the root, as well as the offspring of David;" the LORD of David, as well as David's son.
And here it is worthy of notice, that we see in this appeal what was the interpretation which the Jews of that day put upon the psalm before us. They all understood it as relating to the Messiah : and all the attempts of modern Jews to put any
other construction upon
it are futile in the extreme. But by comparing the parallel passage in St. Mark, we see what the Jews of that day thought of the doctrine of the Trinity Our Lord speaks of the Holy Ghost as inspiring David, (which none but Jehovah could do,) to declare what Jehovah the Father had said to Jehovah the Son. If the doctrine of the Trinity had not been received among them, would they have been silent, and not known what to answer him? And would they from this time have been deterred by it from asking him any more questions?
Be it known then, that Christ is very God, and very man: he is that “ Word, who was in the beginning with God, and was Godd;" “ God manifest in the flesh." He is, as the prophet calls him, “the Mighty God?,” or, as St. Paul calls him, " the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ 8,". “ God over all blessed for ever h.")
a Rom. viii. 32. b Matt. xxii. 41–46. c Mark xii. 35-37. d John. i. 1, 14. e 1 Tim. ii. 16.
f Isai. ix. 6. & Tit. ii. 13. h Rom. ix. 5.
The Psalmist now addressing himself to the Messiah, proclaims to him the success that should attend him in the execution of, II. His offices
The second and third verses may undoubtedly be applied to his regal office, because they speak of his “ruling in the midst of his enemies :" but, if we consider how his victories are gained, namely, by his word and Spirit, and that it is by the illumination of men's minds that he subdues their hearts, we shall see that this part of the psalm may properly be understood as relating to his prophetic character. Accordingly we behold him here represented as,
1. A Prophet
[The word is “the rod of his strength,” by which he works all the wonders of his grace. In itself it is as weak and inefficient as the rod of Moses, whereby he wrought all his miracles in Egypt; but, as applied by the Spirit of God to the souls of men, it is “ quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” and" is mighty to the pulling down of all the strongholds” of sin and Satan: “it is the power of God unto salvation to all them that believe i.” It “ came forth from Zion, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem k,” when it was published by the holy Apostles; who delivered it, as they were commanded, to Jerusalem first, and then to other parts of the world. And there is this remarkable difference between the victories gained by it, and those gained by any carnal weapon : by the latter, men are brought to a reluctant submission; by the former, they are “made willing,” truly and cordially willing, to take Christ's yoke upon them. Whenever the Lord's time, the “ day of his power,” is come, they, like the rams of Nebaioth, present themselves as voluntary sacrifices at God's altar, and give up themselves unreservedly to the Lord!
Nor is deliverance from death and hell the only object of their pursuit: they feel, that they can be happy only in the way of holiness; and therefore " in the beauties of holiness" they come unto him: their dispositions and habits are all changed: they abstain from sin, because they hate it; and obey the law, because they love it: and, could they obtain the desire of their hearts, they would be "holy as God is holy," and “perfect, even as their Father in heaven is perfect.” i Rom. i. 16.
k Isai. ii. 3. 1 Compare that beautiful passage Isai. lx. 4–8. with Rom. xii. 1. and 2 Cor. viii. 5.