Page images
PDF
EPUB

they were confounded, and hastily retreated : There, a trembling seized on them; a sorrow like that of child-birth. Thou shiveredst them, O God, as with an eastern wind 8 thou shiverest the ships of Tarshish.

We now fee, what we have often heard, concerning the city of Jehovah, the God of hosts, concerning the city of our God that God hath established it for ever.

O GOD! we meditate on thy bounty, in the midst of thine own temple : as thy name, O God, so shall thy praise resound to the limits of the land: thy right hand is so full of justice ! Let Mount Zion be joyfullet the cities of Judah exult, for thy just judgments, JEHOVAH !

Go round about Zion, and number its towers, mark well its bulwarks, count its palaces :

14 that ye may tell to the next generation : how God, our God, hath for ever established it: 15 although ourselves he driveth on to death.

II

NOTES, Ver. 8. Although this may be only a metaphorical image ; yet it may be that a storm on this occasion had really shattered some ships of the Edomites at Azion-Geber, their principal seaport. -Ver. 15. In rendering this verse I differ from all interpreters : yet I am persuaded I have given the true sense. I change only a single letter in the texto The meaning of the whole is: that although the present generation muft die, yet the city itself shall be perpetual.- At least, if this be nox. the meaning, I must confess my ignorance of it.

PSALM XLIX.--al. XLVIII.

W ben, or by wbom, this beautiful and philosopbical psalm was composed, it is totally uncertain. I should be apt to give it to Solonion, or at least to the author of Ecclesiastes.

I FOR THE FIRST MUSICIAN OF THE SONS OF

KORAH: A PSALM.

HEAR this, all ye peoples !
give ear, all ye inhabitants of the globe !
both high and low, rich as well as poor !
My mouth shall utter lessons of wisdom,
the serious reflections of my mind.
I will bend mine ear to a parable ;
I will open my proposition on the harp.

Why should I fear in the days of adversity,
when circumvented by the iniquity of the fraudulent,
who confide in their own riches,
and glory in the greatness of their wealth?
No man can redeem from death his brother,
nor give for him to God a ransom,
or a redemption-price for his life:
so that he may be spared for ever,
and live to eternity,
and never see the pit!
For it is evident, that the wise themselves die,
as well as the fool and the idiot :
They all perish alike,
and to others leave their riches !
Their grave is their house for ever,
their residence through all generations !
On earth they are called by their titles :
But a man in honour, without understanding,

10

[ocr errors]

II

12

The

13

14

resembleth the beasts--they are both alike! Such is their conduct, and foolish confidence : and their posterity follow their example.

Like a flock they shall be placed in Hades ! their shepherd shall be Death! early they shall go down to the gloomy vale; where Hades shall coop them up, until they rot, to make for himself a dung-hill ! But my life God will redeem, and snatch me from the hand of Hades.

Be not uneasy, then, because a man is rich, and because great is the glory of his house: for, at his death, he shall carry nought away; nor shall his glory go down after him. Although in his life he deemed himself happy, and was praised while he was in prosperity : yet he must go to the generation of his fathers, who shall never again see the light.

A man in honour, without understanding, resembleth the beasts-they are both alike !

NOTE.

Perhaps there is not in the whole collection a psalm harder to be understood, or that has been more misunderstood than this one. Yet I flatter myself, that I have surmounted most of the difficulties; and displayed its great beauties in an intelligible manner : without altering a single letter of the original but one; and by the bare transposition of another. The learned will judge of my success.

The learicinal bue omisible

PSALM L.-al. XLIX. The inutility of ceremonious observances, without the true worsbip of the beart : applicable to too many Christians, as well & Jews. Compare Isa. 1. 11. Jerem. 7. 22. Hof. 6. 6.

A PSALM OF ASAPH. THE mighty God, JEHOVAH, speaketh; and calleth to the inhabitants of the land

from the rising to the setting sun.
From Zion, the paragon of beauty,
God showeth himself in his fplendour.'
Our God cometh, and will not be silent:
before him is a devouring fire
surrounded by a mighty tempest..
He calleth to the heavens and to the earth,
to be witnesses, while he judgeth his people.
Let his worshippers afsemble together,
who make a covenant with him by sacrifice :
that the heavens may testify his justice:
for God himself is to be the judge. . .
“ Hear (faith he), my people, while I speak :
“ Ifrael ! while against thee I protest.
- For God, thine own God, I am.
66 I reprove thee not on account of thy facrifices,
“ for thine holocausts are daily before me.
“ Out of thy booth I seek not a bull,
“ nor he-goats out of thy folds :
6 for mine is every beast of the forest;
- the cattle, and the mountain-bulls.
.66 I own every bird of the heavens,
6 and the glory of the fields is mine.
“ If I were hungry, I would not apply to thee :
“ for mine is the globe and all its contents.
“Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood

" of goats ?
« Offer up to God the sacrifice of praise,
66 and perform thy vows to the most High: .
" then invoke me, in the day of distress :
“and, when I rescue thee, glorify me.”

But to the wicked God faith:
- How becometh it thee to talk of my statutes ?

14

16

« My covenant thou hast in thy mouth;
" but thou hatest instruction :
« and my words thou castest behind thee.
“ If thou see a thief, thou joinest him,
« and with adulterers thou art a partaker.
“ Thy mouth thou openest to utter malice,
“ and thy tongue linketh a chain of deceit.
Against thy brother thou speakest falsehood,
" and Nanderest thine own mother's fon.
66 These things thou doest—and shall I be filent?
« Thinkest thou, that I am like thyself?
“ I will reprove thee, and convict thee to thy face.
Mark this, ye forgetful of God!
« lest I cut you off--and none shall rescue you.

« He, whose facrifice is praise, honoureth me: « and to such I will show the way of salvation."

23

NOTES.

- Ver. 1. The mighty God-al. The God of Gods. Ver. 5. Let bis worshippers assemble. I follow the reading of all the antients, fave Chald. who follows the present Heb. and puts the words in the mouth of God: “ Assemble ye, my worshippers—or pious ones :” But this evidently breaks the tenour of the poem : which made Green and Street transpose ver. 6. and place it between ver. 4. and ver. 5.Ver. 20. thou speakef falsebood. The present Heb. is commonly rendered “ thou fittest and speakest,” or, with Houbigant: “ thou “ art repeatedly speaking."-Ver. 23. There is in this verse a various reading arising from a different vowel point. I have followed that of Sep. Syr. Vulg. Arab. and of 9 Heb. mss. and several printed editions,

« PreviousContinue »