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Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two
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[434] Concerning the Book of Psalms. That the penman of the Psalms did pretend to speak and write by the inspiration of the Spirit of God as much as the prophets when they wrote their prophecies, the following things do confirm:

1. Singing divine songs was of old one noted effect of the inspiration of the Spirit of God in the prophets, insomuch that such singing was called by the name of prophesying. 1 Sam. x. 5, 6. “Thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place, with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp before them, and they shall prophesy, and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them.” See also 1 Chron. xxv. 1, 2, 3. This seems to have been the most ancient way of prophesying. Inspired persons of old used to utter themselves in a parable, as sometimes it is called, or a kind of song. Thus it was that Miriam uttered herself when she did the part of a prophetess, Exod. xv. 20, 21. “And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her, with timbrels and with dances, and Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” She, in the 12th chap. of Numb. ver. 2. boasts that God had spoken by her as well as by Moses. She seems to have reference to this time, for it does not appear that God ever had spoken by her at any other time, and it is probable that it was from her being inspired at that time, (or at least chiefly,) that she was called a prophetess. And this was the way that Moses delivered his chief and fullest prophecy concerning the future state of Israel, and the church of God, and the world of mankind, in that song in the 32nd of Deut.; the words were all indited by God, as appears by Deut. lxxi. 19, 20,21. And Moses’s blessing of the children of Israel, and his prophecy of their future state, in Deut. iii. is delivered song-wise, which especially appears in the beginning and ending. And so are Balaam’s prophecies, or parables. Jacob’s blessing and prophecies concerning the future state of the posterity of his twelve sons, Gen. xlix. is delivered in a like style, as may be plain to any one that observes. Zechariah is said to prophesy in uttering a song, Luke i. 67.

2. Singing these very psalms in the sanctuary by the musicians that David appointed, is called prophesying, 1 Chron. xxv. 1, 2, 3. And Asaph is called a seer, or prophet, and represented as speaking as such in uttering those psalms that he penned, 2 Chron. xxix. 30.

3. We are expressly informed of David in an eminent instance, wherein he uttered himself in a remarkable manner as the sweet psalmist of Israel, that he did proress himself to speak by the immediate inspiration of the Spirit of God. 2 Sam. xxiii. 1, 2,. &c. “Now these be the last words of David.”(And then in what next follows David’s words begin, as may be confirmed by comparing them with Num. xxiv. 3, 4, 15, 16.) “David, the son of Jesse, hath said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said: The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me.” In its being said that these are the last words of David, it is implied that there had been many other words; that he, as the sweet psalmist of Israel, had uttered many things before; and when David, in these his last words, says, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me,” it must be understood of all these words spoken of in this place, whether mentioned or referred to, all the words that he had uttered as the sweet psalmist of Israel. And there can, perhaps, no other good reason be given why he should be mentioned under that character of the sweet psalmist of Israel here in the introduction of these his last words, rather than all other places of his history, but only because these were the last words that David had uttered as the sweet psalmist of Israel, and as it were the sum of all those preceding records referred to, expressing the main drift and substance of those holy songs he had sung by the inspiration of the Spirit of God all his life-time, and the ultimum, the chief thing, he had in view in those psalms.

4. It is evident that the penman of the Psalms did pretend to speak by a spirit of prophecy, because the Psalms are full of prophecies of future events, as Psal.xi. 6. Psal. xxii. 27,. to the end. Psal. xxxvii. 9,10,11. Psal. lx. 6, 7, 8. Psal. lxiv. 7., to the end. Psal. lxviii. 31. Psal. lxix. 34, 35, 36. Psal. lxxii. Psal. lxxxvi. 9. Psal. xcvi. 13. Psal. cii. 13-22. Psal. cviii. Psal. cxxxviii. 4, 5. Psal. cxlix. 7, 8, 9. And many other things in the Psalms are uttered in a prophetical manner and style.

5. It is also most manifest that the penman of the Psalms did pretend to speak by the Spirit, and in the name of the Lord, as the prophets did. By this, that God in the Psalms is very often represented as speaking, and the words are evidently represented as his words, in like manner as in the prophets, as Psal. xiv. 4. Psal. 1. 7-14. Psal. lxxxi. 6-16. Psal. lxxxii. Psal. liii. 4. Psal. lxxxi. Psal. lxxxvii. Psal. xci. 14, 15, 16. Psal. xcv. 8, 9, 10, 11. Psal. cxxxii. 14,. to the end. Psal. xlv. 16,. to the end. Psal. ii. 6,. to the end. Psal. xxxii. 8,. to the end. Psal. lx. 6, 7, 8. Psal. lxviii. 13. Psal. lxxxix. 3, 4, 19-37. Psal. cviii. 7, 8, 9. Psal. cx. 1, 4.

[440] The Book of Psalms. It is a further confirmation of these things, that we find that David very early was endowed with the spirit of prophecy and miracles; he wrought a miracle when he slew the lion and the bear, and acted and spake by that spirit of prophecy when he went forth against Goliath, as is very apparent by the story.

[506] The Book of Psalms. That this is divinely inspired may lie further argued from this, that it is every way probable that what are called the songs of Zion, and the Lord’s song, in Psal. cxxxvii. 3, 4. are songs contained in this book. It appears that Zion, or God’s church, had sacred songs fancied as such in the world, and that they were properly called the Lord’s songs, which argues that they had God for their author, and were consecrated by his authority, as a word being called the word of the Lord, argues it to be a word that came from God, and as a house being called the house of the Lord, signifies its being a house consecrated to God by divine authority. So of the Lords day, the city of God, the altar of God, &c. &c.

When all the utensils of the temple were exactly, and even in the most minute circumstances, formed by divine direction, it would be strange if the songs of the temple, which are vastly more important and material in the worship of God, should not be formed by divine direction. These were not merely external circumstances of divine worship as the other, but the very matter of the worship. As David was divinely instructed in all the place, and form, and instruments of the temple, and all the new ordinances relating to the attendance and orders of the priests, and the Levites, and the circumstances of their ministration, and particularly of the singers, it would be strange if the songs that they were to sing, the most material and effectual thing of all, should not be of divine appointment, but should be left wholly to human wisdom and invention. (See 1 Chron. vi. 31. and xvi. 4-7. 6, 25, to the end, and chap. xxv. and to the end, especially ver. 19 and 21.

We have an account that David and Samuel the seer acted jointly in appointing the orders of the porters of the Levites, 1 Chron. ix. 22. and much more the orders of the Levites that were to be singers. It is noted that some of those Levites themselves that were appointed by David as chief musicians, or singers, were seers, or prophets. So of Heman, 1 Chron. xxv. 5. And the expressions there lead us, in this verse and the context, to suppose that he acted as a prophet in that matter in assisting David in composing psalms, and appointing the order of singers. Yea, it is expressly said that the order of the singers was appointed by David with the assistance of the prophets, by the commandment of the Lord. 2 Chron. xxix. 25. “And he set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets.” And Asaph, another of the chief musicians, and penman of many of the psalms, is spoken of as acting as a seer, or prophet, in this matter. Ver. 30. “Hezekiah the king commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord, with the words of David and of Asaph the seer.”(See the like of Jeduthun, chap. xxxv. 15.)

[95] Psalm viii. 2. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” It seems to me that mankind are principally intended here by babes and sucklings; it is of God’s loving-kindness to men that the psalmist is speaking, to the end of the psalm; by the enemy and the avenger is meant the devil. Men are as babes and sucklings in comparison of the angelic nature. By so advancing the human nature, the devils are disappointed and triumphed over.

[298] Psalm xvii. 4. “Concerning the works of men, b; the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” By the destroyer here is doubtless meant the devil, the same with him that is called Abaddon and Apollvon in the Revelations. God’s people under the Old Testament were sensible that there was an evil and malignant spirit, or invisible agent, that sought the ruin of man, as even the heathen nations had a notion of evil daemons. This evil spirit the Hebrews were wont to call by several names; one was Satan, or the adversary. So it is said Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number the people. So in several other places in the Old Testament. Another name was the destroyer; so devils are called destroyers in Job xxxiii. 22. “Yea, his soul draweth nigh unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.”

[328] Psalm xix. 4, 5, 6. “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race: his going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and nothing is hid from the heat of it.” It appears to me very likely that the Holy Ghost in these expressions, which he most immediately uses about the rising of the sun, has an eye to the rising of the Sun of righteousness from the grave, and that the expressions that the Holy Ghost here uses are conformed to such a view. The times of the Old Testament are times of night in comparison of the gospel day, and are so represented in Scripture, and therefore the approach of the day of the New-Testament dispensation in the birth of Christ, is called the day-spring from on high visiting the earth. Luke i. 78. “Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;” and the commencing of the gospel dispensation as it was introduced by Christ, is called the Sun of righteousness rising. Mal. iv. 2. But this gospel-dispensation commences with the resurrection of Christ. Therein the Sun of righteousness rises from under the earth, as the sun appears to do in the morning, and comes forth as a bridegroom. He rose as the joyful, glorious bridegroom of his church; for Christ, especially as risen again, is the proper bridegroom, or husband of his church, as the apostle teaches. Rom. vii. 4. “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God.”

He that was covered with contempt, and overwhelmed in a deluge of sorrow, hath purchased and won his spouse; (for he loved the church and gave himself for it, that he might present it to himself;) now he comes forth as a bridegroom to bring home his purchased spouse to him in spiritual marriage, as he soon after did in the conversion of such multitudes, making his people willing in the day of his power, and hath also done many times since, and will do in a yet more glorious degree. And as the sun when it rises comes forth like a bridegroom gloriously adorned, so Christ in his resurrection entered on his state of glory. After his state of sufferings, he rose to shine forth in ineffable glory as the King of heaven and earth, that he might be a glorious bridegroom, in whom his church might be unspeakably happy.

Here the psalmist says that God has placed a tabernacle for the sun in the heavens; so God the Father had prepared an abode in heaven for Jesus Christ; he had set a throne for him there, to which he ascended after he rose. The sun after it is risen ascends up to the midst of heaven, and then at that end of its race descends again to the earth; so Christ when he rose from the grave ascended up to the height of heaven, and far above all heavens, but at the end of the gospel-day will descend again to the earth.

It is here said that the risen sun rejoiceth as a strong man to run his race. So Christ, when he rose, rose as a man of war, as the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle; he rose to conquer his enemies, and to show forth his glorious power in subduing all things to himself, during that race which he had to run, which is from his resurrection to the end of the world, when he will return to the earth again.

Here the going forth of the sun is from the end of heaven and his circuit to the end of it, and that nothing is hid from the heat thereof; so Christ rose from the grave to send forth his light and truth to the utmost ends of the earth, that had hitherto been confined to one nation, and to rule over all nations in the kingdom of his grace. Thus his line goes out through all the earth, and his words to the end of the world, so that there is no speech or language where his voice is not heard, as is here said of the line and voice of the sun and heavenly bodies in the two foregoing verses, which are by the apostle interpreted of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rom. x. 16, 17, 18. “But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say. Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

That the Holy Ghost here has a mystical meaning, and has respect to the light of the Sun of righteousness, and not merely the light of the natural sun, is confirmed by the verses that follow, in which the psalmist himself seems to apply them to the word of God, which is the light of that sun, even of Jesus Christ, who himself revealed the word of God: see the very next words, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”

[171] Psalm xl. 6, 7, 8. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened (or bored): burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” God often declared that willing obedience was better than sacrifice: the psalmist is here declaring his giving of it the preference in his practice according to God’s mind: he did not rest in sacrifices, or look upon his duty as consisting mainly in them, but was willingly obedient; he delighted to do God’s will; he loved his service; God had bored his ear, alluding to the law, Exod. xxi. 5. by which it was appointed that if the servant loved his master’s service, and freely chose it, his master should bore his ear with an awl. Burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required; then said I, Lo, I come, as a willing servant says to his master when he is called: in the volume of the book it is written of me, that is, it is written in the public records, that I voluntarily chose my master’s service, and that my ears were bored, alluding still to that law and custom. If the servant loved his master and chose his service, he was to be brought unto the judges, and was to declare his choice, and his ear was to be bored before them, and because the end of bringing of him to them, was that they might take notice of it, and be witnesses of it, that the servant might afterwards be obliged by his act. We may conclude that there was a record written of it, it was not merely trusted to their memories; for then if the judges should forget it, or should die, the servant might go free; or if it was not the custom at first to record it, yet very probably it was in David’s time. It seems they used to convey lands at first without writings; Ruth iv. 7.; but not afterwards. Jer. xii. 10. I subscribed the evidence, or as it is in the Hebrew, I wrote in the book. But the psalmist also speaks here prophetically, and is representing Christ. Christ freely and willingly became God’s servant by becoming incarnate, and therefore, instead of the words, “Mine ear hast thou bored,” has these, “A body hast thou prepared me;” and as the servant that had his ear bored, learned obedience by what he suffered; it was a testimony of his real desire to serve him, that he was willing to suffer this in order to it. So did Christ learn obedience by the things that he suffered by the sacrifice of his body; so that when it is said, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, but a body hast thou prepared for me;” it is as much as if he had said, These sacrifices of beasts, &c. are insignificant in themselves, but my crucifixion is the true sacrifice that God delights in.

[507] Psalm xlv. The great agreement between the Book of Solomons Song and the 45th Psalm, and the express and full testimonies of the New Testament for the authority and divine inspiration of that Psalm in particular, and that that bridegroom there spoken of is Christ, whose bride the New Testament abundantly teaches us is the church: I say this agreement with these full testimonies are a great confirmation of the constant tradition of the Jewish church, and the universal and continual suffrage of the Christian church for the divine authority and spiritual signification of this song, as representing the union and mutual love of Christ and his church, and enervates the main objection against it. They agree in all particulars that are considerable, so that there is no more reason to object against one than the other.

They are both songs of love.

In both the lovers spoken of are compared to a man and a woman; and their love, to that which arises between the sexes among mankind.

Both these songs treat of these lovers with relation to their espousals one to another, representing their union to that of a bridegroom and bride.

In both the bridegroom is represented as a king, and in both the bride is spoken of as a king’s daughter. Psal. xliii. 13. “The king’s daughter is all glorious,” &c. Cant. vii. 1. “How beautiful are thy feet O prince’s daughter!”

In both the bridegroom and bride are represented as very fair or beautiful. The bridegroom, Psal. xlv. 2. “Thou art fairer than the sons of men.” Cant. v. 10. “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.”

In both the bridegroom is represented as greatly delighted with the beauty of the bride. Psal. xlv. 11. “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.” Cant. iv. 9. “Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse: thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.”

In both the speech of the bridegroom is represented as exceeding excellent and pleasant. Psal. xlv. 2. “Grace is poured into thy lips.” Cant. v. 16. “His mouth is most sweet.”

In both the ornaments of the bride are signified by costly, beautiful, and splendid attire; and in both she is represented as adorned with gold. Psal. xlv. 9. “Upon thy right-hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.” And 13, 14. “Her clothes are of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work ” Cant. i. 10. “Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, and thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” And vii. 1. “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter!”

The excellencies, and amiable and honourable endowments, of the bridegroom in both are represented by perfumed ointment. Psal. xlv. 7. “Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Cant. i. 3. “Because of the savour of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee.”

In both the excellent gifts or qualifications of these lovers, by which they are recommended to each other, and delighted in one another, are compared to such spices as myrrh, aloes, &c. And in both the sense those lovers have of this amiableness, and that sense where they have comfort and joy, is represented by the sense of smelling. Psal. xlv. 8. “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia whereby they have made thee glad.” Cant. i. 13, 14. “A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me. My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire.” And ver 12. “While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.” Cant. ii. 13.“Let us see whether the vines give a good smell.” Chap. iii. 6. “Who is this that cometh up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” Cant. iv. 14. “Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.”

Indeed in some parts of the psalmist makes use of more magnificent representations of the bridegroom’s excellency. Ver. 3. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously.” So we find it also with respect to the bride. “Who is it that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” And in both these representations the excellencies of these lovers are represented as martial excellency, or the glorious endowments of warriors.

In both these songs the bride is represented as with a number of virgins that are her companions in her majestical honours. “She shall be brought in unto the king The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.” So in many places of Solomon’s Song. The spouse is represented as conversing with a number of the daughters of Jerusalem that sought the bridegroom with her, and therefore she speaks in the plural number. Cant. i. 4. “Draw me, we will run after thee, we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine.”

The representation in both of the manner of the bride’s being brought in to the king with her companions, with great joy, is exactly alike. Psal. xlv. 14, 15. “She shall be brought in unto the king in raiment of needlework. The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee, with gladness, and with rejoicing shall they be brought unto thee; they shall enter into the king’s palace.” Compare this with Cant. i. 4. “The king hath brought me into his chambers, we will be glad and rejoice in thee.”

Those who are the friends of the bridegroom that are united to him, and partake of his dear love, are in both these songs represented as gracious and holy persons. Psal. xlv. 4. “In thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, meekness, and righteousness.” Cant. i. 4. “We will remember thy love more than wine. The upright love thee.”

To represent the excellency of the bridegroom’s place of abode, in Psal. xlv. 8. the excellent materials that his palace is made of are mentioned. It is represented as made of ivory. In like manner as the excellent materials of his palace are spoken of Cant. i. 17. “The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.” As elsewhere, the materials of his chariot are mentioned, viz. the wood of Lebanon, gold, silver, and purple. Cant. iii. 9, 10.

It is objected by some against Solomon’s Song, that some expressions seem to have reference to the conjugal embraces of the bridegroom. But perhaps there is nothing more directly suggesting this than the 14th, 15th, and 16th verses of the 45th Psalm., where seems to be a plain reference to the manner in Israel in which the bride at night used to be led into the bridegroom’s bed-chamber, her bridemaids attending her: in the 14th and 15th verses., and then immediately in the next verse, we are told of the happy fruits of this intercourse in the offspring which they have: Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.

It is supposed by many to be very liable to a bad construction, that the beauty of the various parts of the body of the spouse is mentioned, and described, in Solomon’s Song. But perhaps these are no more liable to a bad construction than the 13th verse of the 45th Psalm,. where there is mention of the beauty of the bride’s clothes, and her being glorious within; where setting aside the allegory or mystical meaning of the song, what is most naturally understood as the most direct meaning, would seem to be that she had not only glorious clothing, but was yet more glorious in the parts of her body within her clothing, that were hid by her clothing.

[163] Psalm xlv. 7. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness, therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee, &c. The manifestation of Christ’s loving righteousness, and hating wickedness, here spoken of, that was thus rewarded, was his humiliation and death, whereby he exceedingly manifested his regard to God’s holiness and law. That when he had a mind that sinners should be saved he was freely willing to suffer so much rather than it should be done with any injury unto that holiness and law.

[16] Psalm xlviii. 7. “Thou breakest the ships of Tar-shish with an east wind.” It was by the gospel, which was as the light that cometh out of the east and shineth to the west, whereby Satan’s pagan kingdom in Europe was overthrown.

[17] Psalm xlix. 3, 4. “My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable. I will open my dark sayings upon the harp.” Being about to speak of a future state and the resurrection, which were great mysteries in Old-Testament times, and perhaps a future state is here more plainly spoken of than any where else in the Old Testament, the psalmist really speaks right down plain about it, to the 14th vers., where he speaks how impossible it is by strength, riches, or wisdom, to avoid death; Good and bad, and all, die; and takes notice of the folly of men to fix their hearts on riches; For, says he, like sheep they are laid in the grave, &c. and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning, &c. But he says, notwithstanding this certainty and un-avoidableness of death, ver. 15. “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for he shall receive me;” and goes on to the end of the psalm to show the misery of the wicked in comparison of the godly.”

[54] Psalm lxv. 8. “Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice.” By the outgoings of the morning and evening may be meant the east and the west, and so signify the same as the ends of the earth in the former part of the verse.

[319] Psalm lxviii. The bringing up of the ark of God out of the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite, into the city of David, on the top of mount Zion, on which occasion this psalm was penned, was the most remarkable type of the ascension of Christ that we have in the Old Testament. Then Christ rode upon the heavens by his name JAH Before, his divinity was veiled; he appeared a mere man, and as a worm and no man; he has as it were laid aside his glory as a divine person, emptied himself of the name and form of God; but now he appears in his ascension as God, in the glory of his divinity, in the name and glory of the great JAH or JEHOVAH Ver. 4. “Then he rode upon the heaven of heavens, which were of old.’’ Ver. 33. As the apostle says, he ascended up far above all heavens. As the inhabitants of the land of Canaan were gathered together to attend the ark in this its ascension into mount Zion; 2 Sam. vi. 15. 1 Chron. xv. 3, 25, and 28. 2 Sam. vi. 19. 1 Chron. xvi. 2. so without doubt the inhabitants of the heavenly Canaan were gathered together on occasion of Christ’s ascension to attend him into heaven. For he ascended into heaven in like manner as he shall descend at the last day, Acts i. 11. with like glory and magnificence, and with a like attendance. He shall come at the last day in the glory of his Father. So he, without doubt, ascended in that glory after his human nature was transformed as it was, as it passed out of our atmosphere. That Christ entered heaven with divine glory, is manifest by “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, that the King of glory may come in,” &c. Christ will descend at the last day with the clouds of heaven, and so he ascended into heaven. (Acts i. 9. and Dan. vii. 13. with Notes.) Christ will descend to judgment; and so he ascended to judge and confirm the angels, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sin, and by his knowledge to justify many, and to judge the prince of this world, and to execute judgment on the wicked; and as he will descend with all the heavenly hosts of both saints and angels, so he ascended. They came forth out of heaven to meet the King of glory as he ascended. As the Roman generals after a signal battle and victory over their enemies abroad, far distant from Rome, when they returned in triumph (which is a great type of Christ’s ascension,) had multitudes to attend them, so had Christ in his ascension into heaven. See in how many respects the Roman triumphs were like Christ’s ascension, Mastricht, p. 597. vol. 2. See also the description of a Roman triumph, Chambers’s Dictionary. As Christ’s descent will be attended with the general resurrection, so was his ascension with the risen bodies of many of the saints, and was followed with a great spiritual resurrection of the world.

As the ark in its ascension into mount Zion, was attended with the princes of the people; Psal. lxviii. 27. xlvii. 9. and with the captains of their hosts, 1 Chron. xv. 25. and with the ministers of the sanctuary, 1 Chron. xv. 4., &c. so Christ, in his ascension, was attended with the angels, who are called the principalities and powers of heaven, and are the mighty champions in God’s armies, and the ministers of the heavenly sanctuary, as they are represented in Revelations. Shall a departing soul of a saint ascend to heaven with a convoy of angels, being carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom? and shall not the King of saints and angels in his ascension into heaven, be attended with myriads of angels? That Christ was attended with multitudes of angels in his ascension into heaven, is manifest by the 17th and 18th verses of the 68th Psalm. “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high; thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” These are the chariots in which Christ ascended, as Elijah, in his ascension into heaven, did not ascend without chariots and horses of fire to convoy him. These were a symbol of the convoy of angels by which he was conducted into heaven; as those chariots and horses of fire were that defended the city where Elijah was from the Syrians, as appears by 2 Kings vi. 16, 17. Those in Christ’s triumphant entrance into heaven answer to the triumphant chariot in which the victor entered the city of Rome, and also was attended with the princes, and rulers, and captains of the people, and ministers of his sanctuary, as he was attended with the patriarchs, and prophets, and holy princes, and martyrs, more eminent first of the Old Testament, as that church which was in being before Christ’s ascension, and with many of them with their prison bodies.

Though many of the angels attended Christ from the top of mount Olivet, yet it appears to me probable that the place where he was met by the whole multitude of the heavenly hosts, saints and angels, was in the upper parts of the earth’s atmosphere, beyond the region of the clouds, at the place where it is said a cloud received Christ out of the sight of the disciples, as they stood beholding him as he went up, and that that cloud that received him was a symbol of that glorious host of saints and angels: a heavenly multitude is called a cloud. See Heb. xii. 1. with Notes. A host of angels seems to be here represented by that cloud of glory in which God appeared in mount Sinai, spoken of in this 68th Psalm; in the 17th verse,. where the psalmist speaks of the thousands of angels that convoy Christ to heaven, it is added, “The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, his holy place.” (See the places there cited in the margin.) When Christ passed out of sight of earthly inhabitants, then he joined the heavenly inhabitants. The atmosphere belongs to the earthly world: so far Satan’s power extends, who is god of this earthly world, and prince of the power of the air. When Christ had gotten out of this world, then heaven met him and received him, and it is probable that Christ’s human nature there had its transformation into its glorious state; it was not transformed at his first resurrection, for he appeared as he used, and conversed, and ate, and drank with his disciples; nor was it transformed at his first ascent from the surface of the earth, for the disciples beheld him, and knew him as he went up, because he appeared as he used to do, but the disciples beheld him so long until he was transformed, for so long they might behold him; but when he was transformed into his heavenly glory, it was not meet that they should behold him any longer while in this mortal state, for this state is not the state appointed for us to behold Christ in his glory; nor indeed could they see him so and live; and therefore when he was transformed, a cloud hid him from them. As long as Christ was within the limits of this earthly world, it was meet that he should remain in his earthly state; but when he passed out of this world and met heaven, it was meet that he should be transformed into his heavenly state; an earthly body might subsist as far as the region of the clouds, but it could not subsist farther. Christ ascended from thence to heaven in his glorified state with all his holy angels; and at the last day he will descend from heaven in the same glorified state, with all the holy angels, and no farther; for there the saints on earth shall meet him, being caught up in the clouds, or to the region of the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and from thence shall Christ be seen in his glory by all that shall remain on this earth. When Christ came to meet the heavenly hosts in their glory, and to be in the midst of them, it was not meet that he should remain any longer in his earthly state, for flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; so far Christ ascended slowly and gradually, as earthly bodies are wont to move, so that the disciples could see him as he went up, but from thence, without doubt, he mounted with inconceivable swiftness, answerable to the activity of a heavenly glorious body.

As they attended the ark in its ascension with great joy and with shouts, and the sound of the trumpet, and all kinds of music, singing God’s praises, 2 Sam. vi. 15. 2 Chron. xv. 28. with the context in that and the following chapters; this represents the glorious joy and praise with which the heavenly hosts attended Christ in his ascension. Ps. xlvii. 5. “God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet:” Ps. xlvii. 5. the very same as is said concerning the ascension of the ark in 2 Sam. vi. 15. That was an exceeding joyful day in Israel; it is said they brought up the ark with joy. 2 Chron. xv. 2. “David danced before the lord with all his might.” So Christ’s ascension is represented as an exceeding joyful occasion. Ps. xlvii. 6,. &c. “On that occasion sing praises to God, sing praises, sing praises to our King, sing praises,” &c. And in this 68th Psalm ver. 3. “Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before the Lord; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice;’’ and ver. 25. “The singers went before, and the players on instruments followed after, among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.”

When the ark was ascended and placed on the throne of God’s mercy-seat, David dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine, 2 Sam. vi. 19. and 1 Chron. xvi. 3. So speaking of Christ in this psalm, ver. 18. the psalmist says,. “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also.”

David brought the ark into the tabernacle in Zion with sacrifices offered to God, and when he had offered the sacrifices, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and gave men gifts, 1 Chron. xvi. 1, 2, 3. and 2 Sam. vi. 17, 18, 19. So Christ, when he ascended, entered into heaven with his own blood, the blood of that sacrifice that he had offered, and so obtained the blessing for men which he then gave to them, by sending down the Holy Spirit upon them.

David, when the ark was ascended, returned to bless his household; so Christ, when he was ascended, returned by his Spirit to bless his church, which is the household of God, and is Christ’s house, as the apostle calls it in the 3d chap. of Hebrews.

When David thus returned to bless his household, Michal, that had been his wife before, despised him, because he troubled himself so much, and made himself so vile, and therefore was Michal rejected; but of the maidservants whom Michal contemned, was he had in honour; so the Jewish church that had been Christ’s church before his ascension, yet because Christ humbled himself so much, and made himself so vile, they despised and rejected him, and called him king of the Jews in contempt, as Michal calls David king of Israel in contempt. Therefore, when Christ returned by his Spirit to bless his household after his ascension, the church of the Jews was rejected and became barren; but the Gentile nations, whom the Jewish church used to contemn as poor slaves, while they called themselves the children of God and free, of them was Christ had in honour. Michal was Saul’s daughter, David’s persecutor, that was at the head of affairs in Israel before David; but David tells Michal that God chose him before her father; so the priests, and elders, and scribes were the father of the Jewish church, were at the head of affairs in God’s church before Christ, and were Christ’s persecutors, but God chose him before them.

The glorious attendants and consequents of Christ’s ascension are in a very lively manner represented in this psalm, and other divine songs, that seem to be penned on occasion of the removing the ark, as particularly Christ’s glorious victory over his enemies, verses 1, 2, 18. The destruction of Satan’s kingdom and his church’s enemies that followed, ver. 12, 14, 16, 23-30. A terrible manifestation of wrath against obstinate sinners, ver. 6, 21. The publishing the gospel in the world, ver. 11, 33. A remarkable pouring out of the Spirit, ver. 9. A great increase of the privileges of the church, and a more abundant measure of spiritual blessings, ver. 3, 10,13, 18, 19, 24, 28, 34, 35. The calling of the Gentiles, ver. 6, 29, 31, 32. A glorious salvation from slavery and misery to those who are sinners and enslaved, ver. 6, 13, 20, 22. The like might be observed of other songs penned on this occasion, as Ps. xlvii. and that which is given us in 1 Chron. xvi.

[210] “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God, even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O Lord, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance when it was weary.” By this place, together with Judg. v. 4. it is manifest that there was a great shower of rain upon the camp of Israel at mount Sinai, at the time of the giving the law there. The case seems to have been thus: on the day when the law was given, which was the day of Pentecost, there appeared a thick cloud upon mount Sinai, which was the same cloud that had gone before them and conducted them, now settled upon the mount, but only increased and gathered to a great thickness; and there were great thunders and lightnings seen and heard out of that cloud, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. When God descended on the mount, the mount quaked greatly, and this earthquake was of great extent, so as to reach to distant countries, Hag. ii. 6, 7. and was so great as to move mountains and throw down rocks, and great part of the mountains; hence we have those expressions of the mountains skipping like rams, and the little hills like lambs, &c. And then mount Sinai appeared altogether on fire, which burnt to the midst of heaven; and then the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder; and then the Ten Commandments were given with a voice of awful majesty out of the midst of the fire; and when this was finished, it was followed with the most amazing thunders and lightnings from the thick cloud of glory, which was on the mount, which cloud spread wider and wider until it covered the whole heavens, and there was a great shower of rain, with thunder and lightning out of it; and the storm spread abroad, so as to reach far countries, which, with exceeding thunder and lightning, terrified distant nations. Hence the apostle speaks of a tempest that was at this time, from this place, in Heb. xii. 18. Thus, when the Lord gave the word, great was the company of them that published it, ver. 11.When God gave forth his voice at mount Sinai, and thundered there by the ministration of angels, the report was as it were carried into all nations round about, and there were thunders that uttered their voices in all parts of the world, (or at least the adjacent countries,) to answer it. Thus the prophet Habakkuk, speaking of this, Hab. iii. 3. says, “His glory covered the heavens,” (i e. the cloud, that was called the cloud of glory,) and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud, and covered the heavens in the blaze of lightnings that then streamed forth almost continually; as in the next verse, ver. 4. “And his brightness was as the light.” And thus it was expressed in the 6th and 7th verses., “He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and drove asunder the nations; the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction, and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble;” and thus in Heb. xii. 18. there is said to be at that time not only fire, and black ness, and darkness, but also tempest.

Corol. I. Hereby we may the more fully see how lively a representation what was done on this day was of what was done afterwards on the same day of Pentecost in the days of the gospel. Now God descended from heaven on mount Sinai; then God descended from heaven on mount Zion, or on his church met together in Jerusalem. Now God revealed the law; then God did in an extraordinary manner by his Spirit make known the mysteries of the gospel. Now God’s voice was uttered from mount Sinai in thunder, and great was the company of them that published it, and the voice of his thunder went forth into all the world, and the world was enlightened with lightnings; then was God’s voice in his word and in his glorious gospel uttered in the spiritual mount Zion, and the light of the glorious gospel then began to shine forth in Jerusalem, of which voice and light, thunder and lightning is a type, for the word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is as the fire, and as the hammer that breaketh the rocks in pieces. This thunder and lightning was out of the cloud of glory, the symbol of God’s presence; so the voice of the gospel is the voice of Christ, a divine person, and the light is the light of Christ’s glory. And then, or after that time, was first fulfilled what was typified by God’s voice and light going forth from mount Sinai, and spreading abroad into all nations round about; for then first did the powerful voice of God’s word, and the powerful and glorious light of truth, go forth and spread abroad into Gentile nations; then was the coming of Christ in the gospel as the lightning that cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west. The trumpet of mount Sinai was a type of the trumpet of the gospel. As in the day of Sinai there was a great earthquake; so consequent on the pouring out of the Spirit in the day of Zion, was there the greatest change and overturning of things on the face of the earth, that ever had been. Earthquakes often denote great revolutions, in Revelations and elsewhere in Scripture. God’s voice in the day of Sinai, shook the heavens and earth, and shook all nations; see Heb. xii. 26, 27. compared with the foregoing verses, and Haggai ii. 6, 7. “As the earthquake then shook down towers, and palaces, and other buildings of the heathen, yea, and threw down rocks and mountains;” so God’s voice in the gospel, after the gospel Pentecost, overturned the heathenish kingdom of Satan, and shook down all its magnificence, the mighty fabric that Satan had been building up for many ages; and those things were overthrown that had been established in the heathen world time out of mind, and had remained until now, immovable, like the everlasting hills and mountains. God’s enemies abroad in the heathen world on the day of Sinai, were greatly terrified and scattered, and many of them destroyed; which is a type of the amazement that Satan and the powers of darkness were put into, by the sudden and wonderful spreading of the gospel, and how the enemies of God were scattered and destroyed thereby, and God’s pouring down a great and plentiful rain on the camp of Israel, on the day when the law was given. The refreshing shower that fell on Israel, did well represent those divine instructions God was then giving to them. Deut. xxxii. 1. “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, or the showers upon the grass,” was a lively type of the great and abundant pouring out of the Spirit on the Christian church, on the day of Pentecost, and on the world, in consequence of that. The pouring out of the Spirit is often compared to showers of rain: this rain was the more lively type of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, because it was a very refreshing rain to the congregation of Israel, as it is said in the 9th verse of this Psalm,. “Thou didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance when it was weary;” that was a weary land wherein they then were, being an exceeding dry and parched wilderness, where there is scarcely ever any rain. Horeb, one name of mount Sinai, signifies dryness, as it is called a land of drought, and it lay far south, and it was now a hot time of the year, wherein the sun was just at the summer solstice, being about the end of May, so that the shower by its cooling and sweetening the air was very refreshing to them, and therefore was the more lively type of the sweet influences of the Spirit of God on their souls; and this shower was the more lively type of the pouring out of the Spirit still, because it was a shower out of the cloud of glory, or that cloud that was the symbol of God’s presence, so that it was a refreshment from God, as the fire from heaven on the altar proceeded out of a pillar of cloud and fire. Levit. ix. 24. (Note, manna out of the pillar of cloud and fire.) Manna, their daily bread, came down on the camp, out of the pillar of cloud and fire, and so did more livelily represent the true bread from heaven, even Jesus Christ, who is a divine person, and dwells in the bosom of the Father; and as their meat, so their water: the refreshing rain, which signified also a divine person, viz. the Holy Ghost, was out of the cloud of glory.

Note, that when mention is here made of God’s sending a plentiful rain, whereby he did confirm or strengthen his inheritance when it was weary, respect is also probably had to the children of Israel’s being refreshed by a shower of rain that descended on them, at the same time that a destructive hail fell on their enemies, on the day that the sun and moon stood still; for as has been observed in Notes on Hab. iii. 11. No. 208. that storm of hail did not arise until the end of the twelve hours of the sun’s standing still; and the sun probably stood still near the meridian, and Joshua began the battle very early in the morning after their travelling all the night before; so that after that night’s watching and travelling, they had continued in battle and pursuit about eighteen hours, and great part of the time under a very great and extreme heat of the sun, which must necessarily arise from its standing still so long at a meridian height, and shining down on their heads with a perpendicular ray. So that by that time without doubt the army of Israel were exceeding weary and faint, and the clouds that covered the heavens, sent forth no hail on them, but probably it was rain where they were, and a very great shower, which cooled and sweetened the air, and was a great refreshment to them after such toil and extreme heat. If the rain was frozen in some places, doubtless it was a very cool rain where they were, which was needed to cool the air, after such extreme heat. So that it was now with this cloud that arose, as it was with the pillar of cloud and fire at the Red sea, as that was a cloud and darkness to their enemies, and sent forth thunder and lightning to confound them, Psal. lxxvii. 16, 17, 18, 19. but gave light to the Israelites; so now the cloud that arose, sent forth destructive hail and thunder on the Amorites, but sent a most refreshing rain on Israel, whereby they were strengthened, after they had been made faint with the heat of the sun, and the toil of battle.

Carol. II. Hence we may learn what the apostle Paul meant by 1 Cor. x. 2. where he says that “their fathers were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea,” he means that they were baptized in the cloud, by the cloud’s showering down water abundantly upon them, as it seems to have done at two times, especially; one was while they were passing through the Red sea, for there seems to have been a remarkable storm of rain, and thunder, and lightning, out of the cloud of glory, while the children of Israel were passing through the Red sea, Psal. lxxvii. 16, 17, 18, 19. And thus God looked through the pillar of cloud and fire about the morning watch, and troubled all their hosts; he confounded them with perpetual flashes of thunder and lightning, which greatly affrighted the horses, and made them run wild, and jostle one against another, so as to overturn and break the chariots that they drew, and many of them lost their wheels; but it was only a plentiful shower on the Israelites. And so they were baptized by the water that came out of the pillar of cloud, representing the blood that came out of Christ, and the Spirit that comes forth from him; and so God now at the time when they were coming out of Egypt (for the Red sea was the bounds of Egypt) baptized them, to wash and cleanse them from the pollutions of Egypt, and to consecrate them to himself.

Another time was at mount Sinai, when God had brought them to himself there, when he first entered into covenant with them there, whereby they became his people, and he their God; he consecrated them to him, and sealed that covenant by baptizing them by water out of the cloud.

Hence we prove an argument for baptism by sprinkling or affusion, for the apostle calls this affusion or sprinkling, baptism, comparing it to Christian baptism; and when God himself immediately baptized his people by a baptism, by which he intended to signify the same thing that Christian baptism signifies, he baptized by affusion and sprinkling.

[254] Psalm lxxviii. 43. “How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan.” Wells, in his Sacred Geography, from hence very probably supposes that Zoan, in the time when Moses wrought these miracles in Egypt, was the royal city, or the city where the Pharaohs had their seat; for we know that Moses wrought those miracles in the presence of Pharaoh, and therefore doubtless near the city where he dwelt, or in the fields about that city. Zoan was probably from the beginning the seat of their kings, and that it is because it was so noted a city, and especially so known to the children of Israel, who had been bond-slaves in Egypt under Pharaoh, who dwelt in Zoan, that such particular notice is taken of it in Numb. xiii. 22. “Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.” And Dr. Wells observes, that this seems to have been the royal seat long after, even until Isaiah’s time, though Noph and Hanes were two other cities where the kings of Egypt did then sometimes reside. Isa. xix. 11. “Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish; how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?” Ver. 13. “The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.” Isa. xxx. 4. “For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.” Zoan is the same with Tanis. By the Seventy interpreters, Noph is the same with Memphis, Hanes is the same with Tahapanes; Jer. ii. 16. and Tahapanes, where we read that Pharaoh had a house, Jer. xliii. 9. called in Ezekiel xxx. 18. Tehaphnehes, the same that was called Daphne by the Greeks. Soon after Isaiah’s time, Noph, or Memphis, became the capital city. Ezek. xxx. 13. Wells’s Sacred Geography, p. 8, 9. and p. 49, 50.

[349] Psal. lxxxiv. 3. “Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars.” The expletive even, which is not in the original, hurts the sense. “Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God,” seems to be a distinct sentence from the foregoing, and comes in as an ardent exclamation, expressing the longing of David’s soul after God’s altars, as is rather to be added to the foregoing verse, where the psalmist had said, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God;” and then his thoughts of the birds having a nest, and so living distinguished from him, a poor exile, that was cast out of house and home, and had not where to lay his head, and was banished from God’s house, which is the worst part of his banishment: this comes in, as it were, in a parenthesis, and then follows the exclamation, “Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God!” Such an interpretation is exceedingly agreeable with the context, and the frame the psalmist was in.

[203] Psalm xc. 10. Bedford’s Scripture Chronology, p. 395. When God had positively declared that the Israelites should wander forty years in the wilderness, and that all of them except Joshua and Caleb should die there; and when he did thus cut short the age of man, to what it is at this time, then Moses penned a melancholy psalm, in which he tells us how they were consumed by God’s anger for their impieties, and how man’s age is come to seventy or eighty years, after which there is only labour and sorrow, instead of those hundreds that they lived before.

Here we may observe, that as sin at first brought death into the world, so sin did afterwards shorten the age of man before the flood: the patriarchs lived almost to a thousand years. But the sin which brought the flood, took away one half of man’s age, so that they who were born afterwards never attained to the age of five hundred. At the confusion of Babylon it was shortened again in the same manner, so that none born after that time lived up to two hundred and fifty, as it is easy to observe by computing their ages. After the death of the patriarchs, when the true worship of God was very much declined in their families, and the rest of mankind were overrun with superstition and idolatry, the life of man was shortened again, so that we read of none born since, who exceeded a hundred and five and twenty; neither did the ages of men stand at that measure, but at the frequent murmurings and provokings of God in the wilderness, a third part more, or thereabouts, were cut off from the age of man, and the common limit of man’s life was brought to seventy or eighty years, or thereabouts, or more particularly to eighty-three or eighty-four years which very few exceeded, and which Moses speaks of in the before-mentioned psalm, composed upon that occasion. And though the sins of mankind have been very great and universal since that time, yet the age of man’s life has not been shortened any more, because a shorter space would hardly have been sufficient for the finding out and improvement of arts and sciences, as well as for other reasons.

[168] Psalm xci. 11. “He will give his angels charge concerning thee, and they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” As a father gives the elder children charge concerning the younger, to lead them and bear them up, and keep them from falling.

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