Page images

us, he shall reign tilt he hath made his foes his foot-atool.* The kingdom of Christ was to be of a spiritual nature; but, as many of the predictions concerning it were couched in terins borrowed from temposal dominion, and alluding in particular to the marvellous deliverance of the Israelites from the oppression of Pharaoh, the carnal-minded Jews, looking no farther than to the mere literal sense of the words, understood them only of a Prince and Saviour wlio was to rescue them from the Roman yoke, Acts, i. 7, and wholly lost sight of the divinity of Christ, and his principal character of a High Priest, who by his own blood was to enter in once into the holy place, and to obtain eternal redemption for us. And, through this fatal error, their eyes were blinded, and even until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament; so that they continue in the dark in respect to the accomplishment of the prophecies concerning the Messiah,t and particularly of this most eminent one under our iconsideration, in which the twofold nature and twofold character of Christ are evidently displayed. Upon which principles I shall now a farther explanation of it.

In the first verse of this psalm we have the divinity and regal character of Christ plainly pointed out. For, if the Messiah was to be the Son of David, as was acknowledged on all hands, how could. David call himn Lord on any other account, but' as being the eternal Son of God? And it is observable, that, as this prediction of David gives us the strongest intimation of the divinity of the Messiah, so the latter part of it, respecting the conquest of his enemics, secms to refer us to that gracious promise made to our first parents, that the seed of the reoman should bruise the serpent's head; which manifestly relates to

* " In scabellum pedum, phrasis est petita ex more victorum (in Oriente) qui hostium subjugatoTum collis vel tergis insistere solebant; ut patet ex Jos. X. 21, Jud. i. 7, et ex historia Saporis Persæ Valerianum proculcantis, et Tamerlanis Bajazethum.": Gejerus.

+ " Causam assignat cur occæcati etiamnum sunt Judæi, nempe quia Christum, per quem solum tolli potest velamen istud, non recipiunt.” Sclaterus, &c.

" Solus Messius Davidis Dominus erat (licet ipsius filius quoad carnem, Act. ii. 30,) quà filius Dei æternus, Hinc ergo Messiæ divinitas apodictice demonstratur:" Gejerus, &c. I 2


says he,

his humanily:* and both of thicmi, considered and compared together, lead us to the full and clear sense of that remarkable prophecy of Isaiah, c. vii. 14; “ Behold a virgin (or rather, the virgin, as the artin cle both in the prophet and the evangelist authorise,)t shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel;" which, being interpreted, is, God with us. The psalmist, next of all, proceeds to point out the very place where the spiritual kingdom of Christ was to commence, in terms which probably bear an 'allusion to the first establishment of the Mosaical dispensation; and, as the deliverance of the Israelites from the oppression of Pharaoh, by the hand of Moses, was an eminent type of the redemption of mankind from the thraldom of Sin and Satan, the prophet could not set forth the latter in a properer manner than by expressions descriptive of the former. Therefore,

“ The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” For, by the rod of his power, the holy psalmist seems manifestly to allude to the rod. of Moses, which he made use of in his signal deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh and all his host: to which the prophet Isaiah alludes in those remarka

* “ Non caret emphasi quod singulare est semen. Nam hæc vere et proprie in solum Christum competunt, qui recte et vere filius mulieris erat (non diri) rirginis." Fagius, Bishop Sherlock, &c.

+ “'Tapiros. Matt.'i. 23, Virgo illa. Articulus hic est; ut in Hebræo, Esai. vii. 14, -pson, q. d. virgo insignis, ab æterno clecta, et ad hoc destinata.” Schmidius, &c. And, if this version be admitted, it strongly supports the opinion of a great many very eminent divines, (Calovius, Forerius, &c. in Poole,) who contend that this prediction of the prophet relates solely to Christ; and that the Jews. understood it so may be collected from an observation of Dr Kennicott, “Quòd insigne vaticinium de partu Messiæ ex virgine (Isai. vii. 14) Rabbini eludere conabantur, scribendo veaus pro tapdavos.” Dissert. Gen. 69. But other commentators of great note have recourse to the twofold sense of prophecy, the literal and the mystical, (see Grotius, Hurd, Tillotson, wth, &c.) and Limborch on this passage remarks thus ; “ Certum est sub sensu literali, præsertim in prophetiis, sæpe latere sensum mysticum, qui Christum respiciat, et ejus regnum; et nonnunquam prophetiæ verbis adeo expressis sunt conceptæ, ut in typo non nisi diluta admodum earum impletio reperiatur, verbaque sensu admodum angusto et significatione impropriâ sint accipienda, ut typo applicari possint. Item quod Esai. vii. 14, cxstat, .Ecce,' &c. olim quidem in typo impletum est, cum puella tunc adhuc virgo, postquam marito nupsit, gravida facta filium peperit, quem Deus voluit signum esse liberationis terræ Judaicæ a duobus regibus eam infestantibus, verbaque hæc, juxta propriam ac genuinam significationem demum impleta in Mariá matre domini. Vide Ps. xvi. 10." C. xlii, 1.


And many

ble words, c. Ixiii. 12;,“ That led them by the right hand of Moses, with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them. *" circumstances of both were so similar, exclusive of the place, that Moses and the apostle make use of almost the very same words. The. former 'says, Deut. xi. 2, “ Know ye this day, for I speak not withi, , your children, which have not known, and which have not seen, the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand,, and his stretched-out arm, and his miracles and his acts which he did, in the midst of Egypt, upon Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and unto, all bis land." The latter, Acts, c. ii. 22, thus; “ Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” And it is very remarkable, that, when the blessed Jesus made his appearance on earth, Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh, was permitted to exercise his fiercest tyranny both in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, and to extend his attacks even to the Messiah bimself, that his victory over him might be the more conspicuous, and that this prediction of the psalmist, “ Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies, t” might have its fullest completion. And that it had is evident from these words of our Saviour; “ I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven; behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.I”. Which grant was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the law went forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem: and this in consequence of Christ's ascending up on high, and leading captivity captive. For as, in virtue of his mediatorial office,


Per dextram, i. e. per virgam, quam Moses dextrâ manu tenebat.” Munster: ť In medio hic emphasin habet; q. d. inter inimicos tuos, frementes et furentes, velint, non lint.” Tinnus, &c. Compare also Exod. xiv. with Acts, iv. 27.

1 Serpents and scorpions, &c. Açarwy tab oQus e Acabados. Vide Wolfii Cur. Phil. tom v. p. 815. — Ex eo consensu et affinitate quæ inter serpentes et dæmones et eorum ritus intercessit, evepisse censeo; quod calcare super serpentes, et calcare super omnem Diaboli potestatem, tanquam phrases synonymæ usurpentur.” Spenc. tom i. p. 432. And here is a manifest allusion to the curse on the serpent, Gen. iii. 14, 15,


all power was given unto him in heaven and in earth, he not only gave gifts unto men, but likewise received gifts from them;* which was a usual ceremony at the inauguration of kings amongst the Eastern nations : to which the following words refer, “ Thy people shall be willing in the daự of thy power,t in the beauties of holiness.” And this was in some measure completed by the Magi, or wise men, who came to Jerusalem in quest of him that was born King of the Jews: “ And, when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshipped him; and, when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” But then was it truly fulfilled, when, upon the apostles preaching Jesus and his resurrection, the people offered themselves a free-will offering unto the Lord, and presented their hearts and bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. For we read, that, at Peter's first sermon on the day of Pentecost, “ They that gladly received the word were baptised, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." And the number of believers, which were daily added unto the Lord

short space of time, and bave been continually increasing to this very period, fully justifies the beautiful comparison in the next words; which, though obscured by our translations and variously interpreted by commentators, with a very small amendment of the original, will give us this plain and easy sense; “ Thine offspring shall be as the

in a very

. “ In Hebræa lingua non est insuetum, et in vicina Arabum dialecto frequentissimum, unam eandemque vocem intellectibus plane contrariis gaudere. – Quam significatuum varietatem et olim apud Hebræos habuisse verbum nps mihi plusquam probaljile videtur ex hoc loco, ubi Syrus, interpres valde antiquus, habet, deilisti, &c.""' Pocock, &c. ' " In Hebræo est ellipsis, quia accipiens ponitur pro accipiens dedit.Vossius, &c.

trysin VI. Tempore illo quo exercitum tuum, h. e. apostolos aliosque evangelii præcones, in orbem terrarum emittes, ut mundum subigant, &c.". Piscator, &c. Gifts, &c.

“ Ex more Persarum et omnium Orientalium, (qui regem non adibant sine munere,) aurum ut regi, Thus, ut Deo colendo, quia Thure Deo adoletur, myrrham út homini morituro; mortuorum enim corpora in Oriente myrrha condiebantur:" Grotius, Schmidius, &c.


[ocr errors]

dew out, of the womb of the morning: * And, if we cousider thic infinite number of pearly drops which bespangle .cvery herb and tree, before the sun is risco, this will give us a most lively ideą of the increase and purity of Christ's kingdom; especially it' we look forward ta that glorious period, when “all kings shall fall down before him, allinations shall do bim service-t”. Ps. lxxii. 11.

And now the prophet David, by a very sudden transition, passes on from the regal to the sacerdotal office of the Messiah; and, as there was something very wonderful and mysterious in the priestly character of Christ, he ushers it in in a most solemn, sublime, manner; The Lord sware and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever after thç order of Melchisedek.I”. And, as the spirit of God is the best interpreter of scriptural prophecy, we must go to St Paul, who spake as the spirit gave him utterance, for the explication of this dark and obscure prediction; which, though of the most interesting nature to the Jous as well as the Gentiles, was and is to this day totally mistaken by the former, notwithstanding the apostle, in his epistle immediately addressed to the Hebrews on this very subject, has explained it in such a manner as to leave them without excuse. For he assigns two especial reasons why Christ was to be called after the order of Melchiscdek, and

עמן נדבות יביאו ביום חילך בהררי קדש מרחם השחר כטל ילרתך:

. For the various interpretations of this passage, see Poole's Synopsis, and the several learned critics mentioned in my Notes on the Psalms, published in the year 1791. I shall only observe here, that, as one hundred and seventy MSS. read niand, one omits 75, and another reads swa, I propose this reading:

:, " Thy people shall bring free-will offerings, in the day of thy power, to the mountains of holiness; thine offspring (shall be) as the dew out of the womb of the morning.” See Exod. xxxv. 29, for 18'2'; and Isai. xxvi 19, for bou. All nations, &c.“ Hoc impletum in Messia, non in Salamone.” Muis.

Juramentum Dei præsupponit rem raram et incredibilem, magnique momenti. Cum insolitum esset sacerdotem fieri, qui non esset de tribu Leri, sed ex Juda, &c. ideo Deus jurat. Vide Gen. xxii. 16, Jerem. xxii. 5. Christus sacerdos dicitur secundum ordinem Melchisedec, 1°. Quod uterque fuit rer et sacerdos. 2o. Quod Melchisedec fuit sacerdos præstantioris legis quam Aaron, &c. 39. Quod sacerdos æternus est, successione carens, nec initium nec finem dierum habens, &c. Vide Heb. v. et vii.” Gejerus, &c.


« PreviousContinue »