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his only and continual refugee: and God approved himself faithful to his believing servant. There were indeed some occasions wherein David was greatly “moved?;" but these only served more fully to evince the power and faithfulness of his God.]
In a prophetical sense the words are applicable to Christ
[The whole psalm has an evident reference to the Messiah. Christ is that “King” who was raised to sit
upon the throne of David"; and, as for every other good thing, so was he eminent for trust in God. He disregarded the plots of his most powerful enemies'; and, undaunted, renewed his visit to those who had lately sought to stone him. He well knew that, till his hour was come, no power on earth could touch him'; nor was he ever left destitute of the divine protection. He seemed indeed to be “moved” when “he was crucified through weakness;" but he soon shewed how vain were the attempts of his adversaries. In his resurrection and ascension he " led captivity itself captive:” and he will in due season “put all his enemies under his feet.”]
In both these views the text sets before us an instructive example
But we may consider it further,
The solemnities of this day prove that the former part of the text is exemplified also in our own monarch
We may therefore hope that the latter part also shall be accomplished in him
[The religious conduct of kings is of great importance to a nation. Their piety indeed is not more meritorious than that of others; but it is often more beneficial to the community than that of a private person.
In the days of old, God paid especial regard to the prayers of princesh: even when they were of an abandoned character, he heard them°. How much
e Ps. xci. 2. and lvi. 2–4.
f 2 Sam. xv. 30. 8 2 Sam. xxi. 5. h Luke i. 32. i Luke xiii. 32, k John xi. 8.
1 John xix. 11. m This was preached on occasion of the king going to St. Paul's to present the colours taken in three different engagements with the French, Spanish, and Dutch fleets.
n 2 Chron. xiv. 11, 12. and xx. 5, 6, 12, 15, 17. and xxxiv. 27. and Isai. xxxvii. 21, 22, 33, 34,
• 1 Kings xxi. 29.
more may we hope that he will respect those offered to him this day! “ The mercy of the Most High” has hitherto been signally manifested towards us, and if we trust in him it shall yet be continued to us. We say not indeed but that, as a nation, we may be greatly “moved.” It is certain that we deserve the heaviest calamities that can fall upon us; but we shall not be given up to ruin if we cry unto God for help. To the end of the world shall that promise be fulfilled to repenting nations P.]
Sure we are that they who trust in God for spiritual blessings shall never be disappointed
[Our thoughts on this occasion are not to be confined to temporal concerns. Much as we are interested in national mercies, the welfare of our souls is yet more important: yea, our spiritual progress is the great means of obtaining God's protection to the state. Trust in God therefore, for spiritual blessings, is not foreign to the business of this day. Whatever our political sentiments may be, we are all equally concerned to seek acceptance through Christ. We all need to trust in the promises made to us in him; and, if we do," the gates of hell shall not be able to prevail against us." Though we have been led captive by our lusts, “ we shall have redemption through his blood;" and though we have still to conflict with sin and Satan, we shall be made more than conquerors. The mercy of the Most High shall assuredly be extended to us. Sooner shall heaven and earth pass away than that promise fail of accomplishmento] APPLICATION
[Let us habituate ourselves to view the hand of God in all our mercies, and to trust in him both for personal and national blessings; but let us not think, we trust in God, when in reality we do not. Trust in God necessarily implies a renunciation of all creature-confidence: it also supposes that we sincerely commit our cause to God, and that we plead the promises made to us in his word. If we seek not the Lord in this manner, we trust rather in chance, or in our own vain conceits, than in him. Let us then be earnest in our applications at the throne of grace. Let us be exceeding thankful to God for the mercies we have received, and in every difficulty, temporal or spiritual, confide in him. Thus shall we see an happy issue to our present troubles, and be monuments of God's truth and faithfulness to all eternity.]
p Jer. xviii. 7, 8.
92 Chron. xx. 20.
DXXVI. OUR LORD'S COMPLAINT ON THE CROSS. Ps. xxi. 1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
THE prophecies relating to our Lord have not only declared what works he should do, and what sufferings he should endure, but even the very words that should be uttered both by his enemies and himself. Whatever reference the words of the text might have to David, there can be no doubt but that they principally relate to the Lord Jesus; and in him they received their accomplishment : when he had hung about six hours upon the cross, we are told, "he cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli! Eli! lama sabacthani ? that is to say, My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me* ?” Perhaps he cried with a loud voice in order to shew, that his natural strength was by no means exhausted; and that his dissolution, which immediately followed, was voluntary: but he discovered also by that the intenseness of his sufferings, and fulfilled in the minutest manner the prediction before us. Waving all illustration of the text as applicable to David, we shall endeavour to elucidate it as accomplished in his great antitype, and shall consider, I. The occasion of our Lord's complaint
Jesus, in the hour of his extremity, was forsaken of his heavenly Father
[We are not to suppose that the godhead actually separated itself from his manhood; but that the sensible manifestation of the divine presence was withheld from him. This was necessary in various points of view. A banishment from the divine presence was part of the punishment due to sin; and therefore it must be inflicted on him who had become the surety and substitute of sinners. Occasional suspensions, also, of the tokens of God's love are the means whereby God perfects the work of faith in his people's hearts: and “it behoved Jesus to be made like unto us in all things :" “though he was a son,
a Matt. xxvii. 46.
yet he must learn” the nature and the difficulty of “ obedience (yea, and be made perfect too) through sufferings b. Nor could he properly sympathize with us, which, as our great High-Priest, he ought to do, unless he himself should endure the very temptations, which we, in our measure, are called to sustain.]
But though there was good reason for it, it was a just ground of complaint
(Never had he endured any thing like this before: when he said, “ Now is my soul troubled, it is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," a voice was uttered from heaven, “ Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased :" when he agonized in the garden, an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen him: but now that he was more fiercely than ever assaulted by all the powers of darkness, his heavenly Father also seemed to conspire with them, and withdrew the only consolation that remained for his support. What a dreadful aggravation of his sufferings must this have been! To cry, and even “roar” for help, and find God “ far from helping him!” to have him, in whose bosom he had lain from all eternity, hide his face from him! How could he but complain? Surely in proportion as he loved his heavenly Father, he could not but bewail the hidings of his face.]
Lest however we should form a wrong conception of our Lord's conduct, let us consider, II. The complaint itself—
Let us not suppose that there was the smallest mixture of impatience in it
[When our Lord first undertook to stand in the place of sinners, he said, “I delight to do thy will, O God.” When the cup of God's wrath was put into his hand, he still acquiesced; and, though his human nature shrunk back for a while from the conflict, he committed himself to God, saying, “ Not my will, but thine be done.' Nor was the complaint uttered on the cross any other than what every good man, under the hidings of God's face, both may and ought to utterd.]
It expressed the fullest confidence in God, and exhibited the brightest pattern to all his tempted people
[Not for one moment does Jesus doubt his relation to his heavenly Father, as we alas! are too apt to do in seasons of deep affliction. His repetition of that endearing name, "My God! my God!" shews how steadfastly he maintained his faith and confidence; and teaches us, that, “ when we are walking in darkness and have no light, we should trust in the Lord, and stay ourselves upon our God."]
b Heb. ii. 10, 17, 18. and v. 7-9. c Heb. iv, 15. d Ps. lxxvii. 1-3. and lxxxviii. 9, 10, 14.
We may improve the subject by considering, III. The lessons we may learn from it
There is not any part of doctrine or experience which will not receive light from this subject. But we shall content ourselves with observing from it, 1. The greatness of Christ's love
[Truly the love of Christ has heights and depths that can never be explored. He knew from eternity all that he should endure, yet freely offered himself for us, nor ever drew back from his engagements : " Having loved his own, he loved them to the end. But never shall we form any just conceptions of his love, till we behold that glory which he left for our sakes, and see, in the agonies of the damned, the miseries he endured. But when the veil shall be taken from our eyes, how marvellous will his love appear! and with what acclamations will heaven resound!]
2. The duty of those who are under the hidings of his face
[Our enjoyment of Christ's presence is variable, and often intermitted: but let us not on that account be discouraged. Let us pray, and that too with strong crying and tears; yea, let us expostulate with him, and ask, like Job, “Wherefore dost thou contend with mee?” But though we say,
" The Lord hath forsaken me,” let us never add, like the Church of old," my Lord hath forgotten me." If he hide himself, “it is but for a little moment, that he may gather us with everlasting mercies'.” Therefore let us say with Job, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."]
3. The misery of those who are not interested in his atonement
(We see what bitter lamentation sin occasioned in him, who bore the iniquities of others, even though he knew that his sufferings would quickly end. What wailing then and gnashing of teeth will they experience, who shall perish under their own personal guilt, when they shall be shut up as monuments of God's wrath to all eternity?! Would to God that careless sinners would lay this to heart, while yet a remedy remains, and before they be finally separated from their God by an impassable gulf!]
e Job x. 2. f Isai. liv. 7, 8. 6 Luke xxii. 31. VOL. V.