Page images
PDF
EPUB

In order to our entering into the true spirit and propriety of the Psalm before us; we must form to ourselves an idea of David the stripling, and think we see him watching his flocks, in a summer's night, under the expanded canopy of the skies.The air is still. The heavens are serene. The moon, arrived at the full, is pursuing her majestic, silent course. The stars (like peeresses on a coronation solemnity) assume their brightest robes, to attend the beauteous sovereign of the night, while both moon and stars concur to shed a soft undazzling lustre on all the subjacent landscape. David, at this happy period, a blameless youth; unpoisoned with ambition, and unfascinated by the witch craft of court corruption; his heart unpolluted with lust, and his hands undipped in blood; is seated on a rising hillock, or on the protuberant root of some stately tree.--All is hushed. Not a bough rustles. Not a leaf “ trembles to the breeze.The silent flocks are either carelessly grazing by his side, or slumbering securely at his feet. The birds have suspended their songs, until waked by superior sweetness of his voice, and the music of his hand. For, charmed with the loveliness of the scene, and wrapt by the holy Spirit into a seraphic flame of exalted devotion, he has lain aside his crook-he has taken up his harp-and is transmitting to the throne of God, these grateful, these inexpressibly beautiful strains of admiring thankfulness : When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou visitest him ? -Then taking a survey of the pleasing objects that surrounded him, he thus goes on to sing : Thou hast made man a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the seas. O Lord our governor, how excellent is thy name in all the world!

So warbled the sweet singer of Israel, and thus he addressed God the Son, almost eleven hundred years prior to his Incarnation. For, that the Psalm, in its highest import, refers to Christ, is evident from Matth. xxi. 16. and, especially, from the second chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, where a considerable part of the Psalm is cited by the apostle, and expressly applied to the adorable Mediator between God and men.

Jesus, considered as a divine person, is Jehovah our governor, whose naine, i. e. whose manifestations of infinite wisdom, beneficence and power, in a way both of creation and providence, are excellent throughout all the earth.-He set his glory above the heavens, or rendered the riches of his love more signally and illustriously noble than the brightest and noblest of his material works, when he entered into covenant with the Father and the Spirit, and graciously stipulated to wear our nature and to bear away our sins. In the fulness of time, after he had actually accomplished his double warfare of obedience and sufferings, he, literally, set his glory above the heavens, when he ascended up on high, and his glorified humanity took possession of its throne, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

He it is, who displays the efficacy, the sovereignty, and the indeperdency of his almighty operation, in bringing to pass the greatest ends, by seemingly, the feeblest and most inadequate means: or (as David, evidently alluding to his own tender age, speaks at the 2d verse), who has ordained strength out of the mouths even of babes and sucklings. Armed with the power that cometh from above, the unaccoutred youth had slain a lion and a bear*. Inspired with supernatural prowess, the same ruddy stripling, afterwards, overcame the proud, gigantic champion of Philistia. These providential events were, indeed, strange and astonishing. But the religious part of David's character was truly miraculous. А beardless lad, not very superior in years to a babe and suckling, is exalted by the holy Spirit, into a prophet of the Lord. He testifies of the Saviour, many hundred years before the Saviour appeared : and is not only a true believer in, but, a distinguished herald of, that adorable person, in whom the elect of all nations are blessed.

By the righteousness of his meritorious life, and by the atonement of his infinitely precious death, Jesus “ bruised the serpent's head,” or inverted the subtilty, baffled the power, and defeated the wish of that apostate spirit, who seeks the destruction of man: thus silencing the enemy and the avenger.-Seek you farther proofs of the Saviour's dignity and divinity ? not only the earth, but the heavens also are the work of his fingers, the monument of his creating power. The moon and the stars are of his ordaining : and, without him, was not any thing made that was made. In a word, he was the builder of the universe ; and he rules the universe he built. Well, therefore, may we bend the knee of our souls before him, or rather, fall prostrate in the dust at his footstool, and ask, What is man, that thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ? If Elizabeth, the parent of John the Baptist, could say, to the Virgin Mary, Who am I, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? much more may God's elect stand astonished at his love, and ask, “What are we, that the Lord God of Israel should, in person, visit his people, and redeem them to the Father by his blood t. * 1 Sam. xvii. 36.

+ Luke i. 68.

*

In the text, two acts of God are distinctly pointed out; namely, his mindfulness of us, and bis visiting us; which gracious acts I shall consider, not only as proofs of the Messiah's love to his people ; but, indiscriminately, as evidences of the love mutually shown to sinners, by all the persons in the Trinity, Father, and Son, and Spirit, the co-equal Three that bear record in heaven, are one, not only in nature and essence, but in the good-will they bear to man: and their undivided love calls for our un. divided praise.

I. God's mindfulness of his people is not a thing of yesterday. There never was a period, when he had not our interests at heart. The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him*. It is, like himself, without beginning of days or end of years. We could not fear him from everlasting; because we did not exist until very lately; but his mercy towards us was coeternal with himself. In consequence of this, we are made to fear him in time. Filial fear is a covenant-blessing, given only to the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty; who says, I will put my fear into their hearts +. Hence, they shall not depart from him after conversion. And thus his mercy, as it was from everlasting, is to everlasting upon them that fear him. It neither began with to-day, nor shall end with to-morrow. But he, who laid the foundation of their happiness, in his own eternal purpose, shall lay on the top-stone with joy, crying, Grace, grace unto itt.—That God was mindful of us for good, appears,

(1.) From the decree of election, whereby we were chosen in Christ, to grace and glory, before the world began. This act of sovereign love is the very source and fountain head of all the other blessings that are conferred on the heirs of salvation. Redemption, justification, effectual calling, holiness, continuance in good works to the end, and everlasting happiness in heaven; all flow from this leading capital, fundamental privilege. Election is the tree of life, whose leaves and fruit are for the healing of the nations : for, whom God did predestinate, them [58785, those very persons] he also called ; and whom he called, them [18785, those very persons] he also justified; and whom he justified, them [78785

* Psalm ciii. 17.

+ Jer. xxxii. 40.

| Zech. iv. 7.

, these very persons] he also glorified *.

There are some who talk much concerning the dignity of human nature. Upon Christian principles, the dignity of man is great indeed: a dignity however, not natural, but derived from the condescending lover and restorer of lost sinners. That God should be mindful of men, prior to their being; that God should settle the inheritance of heaven on his children, ere suns gave light, or planets moved; that God should write the name of the meanest saint, in the book of life, with the pen of everlasting love; that he should appoint them, not to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ; is a consideration that inspires the believing soul with the most sublime and astonishing views of that goodness, which not only gave apostate men the preference to apostate angels, but exalted the church of God to a state of dignity and glory unexperienced even by the angels that never fell.-May we, by the holiness of our lives, be enabled to give substantial proof of our interest in his electing favour; and be living exemplars of that inestimable declaration and promise, This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise t.

(2.) God showed his mindfulness of us, in the covenant of redemption, made with his Son and Spirit, before all worlds, for the recovery of his church and people, who it was known, would fall

* Rom. viii. 30.

+ Isa. xliii. 21.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »