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The numbers that shall thus be converted to the Lord exceed all calculation or conception. As the drops of " dew” issuing from “ the womb of the morning,” so will be the progeny that shall be born to him, innumerable: there may be but " an handful of corn cast on the top of the mountains; but yet shall the fruit be as the woods of Lebanon, and as the piles of grass upon the earthm.” Thus powerfully did his word and Spirit operate in the early “youth” of the Church; and thus shall they operate to the very end of time: and it is worthy of particular observation, that the very first verse of this psalm, with the explanation given of it by the Apostle, was that which pierced the hearts of our Lord's murderers, and subdued three thousand of them at once to the obedience of faith".
David now proceeds to speak of Christ as,] 2. A Priest
[As Christ was to offer a sacrifice for the sins of his people, he must of necessity be a priest. But from the Levitical priesthood, which was confined to the tribe of Levi, he was of necessity excluded, because he was of the tribe of Judah. There was however a priesthood of another order, the order of Melchizedec; and to that he was solemnly consecrated with an oath. What that priesthood was, we should never have known, if it had not been explained to us in the Epistle to the Hebrews. In the Mosaic history, Melchizedec is briefly mentioned, without any account of his predecessors or successors in his office": and this was particularly overruled by God, in order that he might be a type of Christ, whose priesthood was from everlasting (in the divine counsels,) and everlastingly to continue in himself alone. Now at the time that the Levitical priesthood was in all its glory, David foretold, that it should be superseded, and the whole Mosaic economy with it,) by a priesthood of a higher order; a priesthood, which Abraham himself, and all his posterity in him, acknowledged, and which, on account of the solemnity of its appointment, and the perpetuity of its duration, was of a far higher order P.
Is it inquired, What sacrifice he had to offer ? we answer, His own body, which “through the eternal Spirit he offered without spot to God.” And, having offered that sacrifice once for all, he now intercedes for us within the veil; and will come again at the end of the world to bless his redeemed people, and to make them partakers of everlasting blessedness.
But it is foretold yet further, that he was also to be,]
n Acts ii. 34-37. o Gen. xiv. 18-20.
p Read Heb. vii. 1—28. 9 Some, to reconcile ver. 5. with ver. 1. suppose that in ver. 5. David ceases to address the Messiah, and directs his speech to the t Gen. iii. 15.
[Melchizedec, though a priest, was a king also, and one that was most eminently fitted to typify the Saviour, being
king of righteousness and peace". Thus was Christ not a priest only, but “a priest upon his thrones." Being now exalted to the right hand of God, he “ sitteth there, till all his enemies become his footstool." “ To him
knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear” allegiance: or, if any continue to withstand his overtures of mercy, he will smite them to the ground; yea, though they be the greatest monarchs upon earth : “He will strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” There is “a day of wrath,” as well as a day of mercy; and terrible indeed will be “the wrath of the Lamb." As a mighty conqueror desolates the countries which he overruns, and fills them with the bodies of the slain, so will Jesus in that awful day. If he rule not men by their free consent, as their Lord, he will judge them as rebels, and "wound the heads of all” to the remotest corners of the earth : he will say, “ Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me.”
Previous to his own victories, he was himself, according to human estimate, to be overcome.
But his humiliation was to pave the
for his exaltation: “by death he was to overcome him that had the power of death, and to deliver from death " his ransomed people. This was the way pointed out in the very first proclamation of mercy to fallen man: “ The Seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head; but the serpent was first to bruise his heelt.” Accordingly he did“ drink of the brook in the way:" he suffered infinitely more than words can express, or the mind of man can conceive; and then “he lifted up the head," and was “exalted far above all principalities and powers," whether of heaven or hell; and he "shall surely reign till all his enemies be put under his feet."] We cannot improve this subject better than by asking, 1. What think ye of Christ ?
[This is the very question which our Lord himself asked in reference to this psalm. Yet it is not a mere theoretical opinion that we ask for, but the practical persuasion of your hearts. Do you view him with reverence and love as your incarnate God? - Do you look to him as your Prophet, to teach and guide you into all truth? Do you look to him as your great High Priest, trusting in his all-atoning sacrifice, and imploring an interest in his prevailing intercession? Father. But this introduces needless perplexity into the subject. If we understand “ The Lord at thy right hand,” as meaning, The Lord who is thy strength and thy support, (which is certainly its most obvious meaning, the whole speech is uninterrupted and clear. I Heb. vii. 2. s Zech. vi. 13.
- Do you farther look to him as your King, desiring him to bring, not your actions only, but “your every thought, into captivity" to his sacred will ? This is the test whereby you are to try the state of your souls before God; for according to your experience of these things will be your sentence in the day of judgment -] 2. What measure have ye of resemblance to him ?
[God has ordained that all his people should "be conformed to the image of his Son 4,” in sufferings, in holiness, and in glory. Like him, they must “ drink of the brook in the way, and afterwards lift up the head." “ The Captain of our Salvation was made perfect through sufferings ;" and "all the sons who shall be brought to glory" must be made perfect in the same way *: “through much tribulation they must enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The “mortifying of our members upon earth,” with “the cutting off a right hand, and plucking out a right eye,” are strong and significant expressions, shewing clearly, that a life of godliness requires much painful labour and self-denial
. Besides, there is much persecution also to be endured from an ungodly world; for “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Nor are the conflicts that are to be sustained with all the powers
of darkness of small consideration in the Christian's warfare. Let me ask then, Are ye following Christ in this way? Are ye
crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts? “ following him boldly without the camp, bearing his reproach?” Are ye" fighting manfully the good fight of faith," and "wrestling, not only with flesh and blood, but with all the principalities and powers of hell?" Be assured that “the kingdom of heaven cannot be taken without violence: the violent must take it by force.” The work and offices of Christ will be of no avail in our behalf, if we do not “ take up our cross daily and follow him.” Awake then, all of you, to the duties that are assigned you; and be content to suffer with him, that ye may be also glorified together."] u Rom. viii. 29.
x Heb. ii. 10.
THE GREAT WORK OF REDEMPTION.
Ps. cxi. 2. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all
them that have pleasure therein. THIS psalm is one of those appointed by our Church for Easter Day: for which it is sufficiently appropriate, in that it celebrates that redemption of God's people from Egypt, which was typical of the redemption wrought out for us by Christ upon the cross, and perfected by his resurrection from the dead. The structure of it is very peculiar. Every sentence begins with the different letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their order; the eight first verses consisting each of two sentences, and the two last of three sentences. This artificial mode of writing it seems to have been with a view to its being more easily remembered. The first word of it, « Hallelujah," was, in fact, no part of the psalm itself, but only the title of it; and it shews us with what disposition of mind the subject should be contemplated, and with what feelings it was recorded. O that our souls might rise to the occasion, whilst we consider, I. The greatness of God's works!
Great indeed they were, even the deliverances accomplished for Israel in Egypt. Who can read of all the plagues with which that land was visited; or of the destruction of Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea ; or of the wonders wrought for Israel in the wilderness; or of their final establishment in the land of Canaan; and not exclaim, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty!”. But, however much we may be disposed, in imitation of David in this psalm, to admire the perfections of God as illustrated in that stupendous work, we are called to the consideration of infinitely greater works, of which the deliverance from Egypt was but a type and shadow. Yes : in the redemption of the world we do indeed behold the perfections of our God shining forth, as it were, in meridian splendour. That was a work beyond all parallel and all conception great, 1. In wisdom and power
[When Moses saw what God had wrought for the people of Israel at the Red Sea, he sang, “ Who is like unto thee, o Lord, among the gods? Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders a ?” But St. Paul speaks of our blessed Lord as concentrating in himself all that is great and glorious, and as being, as it were in the abstract,
a Exod. xv. 11.
“ The wisdom of God, and the power of Godb.” O what unsearchable depths of wisdom were contained in that mystery, the substitution of God's only dear Son in the place of sinners; whereby the sins of the whole world are expiated, and the kingdom of heaven opened to millions, who, without such a Saviour, must have inherited the blackness of darkness for ever! - Nor was the power that effected our redemption less manifest, in forming the human nature of our Lord in the womb of a pure Virgin, free from all the taint of our original corruption; and enabling that body, so wonderfully formed, to bear the curse due to our iniquities, and to work out a righteousness adequate to the wants, and sufficient for the necessities, of a ruined world. View the triumphs of Jesus in the wilderness, and in the garden, and on the cross; in all of which " he spoiled the principalities and powers of hell:” view them also in his resurrection, and ascension, and in the operations of the Holy Spirit, whom he sent from heaven to complete the wonders of his grace: view these things, and say, whether “ his work be not indeed honourable and glorious," the very summit of wisdom, and the perfection of power.] 2. In goodness and mercy
[So conspicuous were these perfections in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, that David could behold, as it were, nothing else. In a psalm where he specifies a great variety of particulars relating to it, he repeats no less than twenty-six times in as many verses, “His mercy endureth for everd." But what shall we say of his goodness and mercy to us in Christ Jesus? Eternity will be too short to enumerate the instances wherein these perfections are displayed, and to make such acknowledgments as this exhibition of them calls for at our hands. The manna from heaven, and the water from the rock, were but faint images of what we receive in and from the Lord Jesus Christ. O what supplies of grace, what rich communications of his blessed Spirit, does he impart to us from day to day!-- And what forbearance does he exercise towards us !
Well indeed may we say with David, that goodness and mercy have followed us all our days."] 3. In righteousness and truth
[In the whole dispensation, whether towards the Lord Jesus Christ himself, as our representative, or towards us whom he has redeemed, there has not been one single act which was not an act of justice, and an accomplishment of some preexisting declaration. Were our iniquities laid on the Lord Jesus, and punished in him? Was he, after having expiated those sins, exalted to glory, and seated on the right hand of the
b 1 Cor. i. 24.
C ver. 3.
d Ps. .cxxxvi.