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satisfy her poor with bread. 16. I will also clothe her priests with salvation : and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
That city in which the King of heaven deigns to place his throne, can want no manner of thing that is good. There will be always plenty of provision for the body and for the soul. The poor will be satisfied with bread, and to the poor in spirit will be given the bread of eternal life. Salvation will God appoint for a wall and a bulwark around the priests and the temple ; joy and gladness shall be heard within, thanksgiving and the voice of melody. What a dreadful reverse of all this do we behold in the present state of the once glorious, but now desolated, Jerusalem! Let not any Christian Church, after what has happened to that city, be high-minded, but let all fear.
17. There will I make the horn of David to bud : I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
Bishop Patrick hath well paraphrased this verse: “There, namely, in Jerusalem, will I make the regal power and majesty of David to put forth itself afresh in his royal successors : shall one be extinguished, but another shall shine in such splendour, as shall give a lustre to the name of that anointed servant of mine, till the great Prince, the Messiah, appear:” then will the horn of salvation be raised up in the house of David, to subdue the empires of the world, and to vanquish all opposition; then shall the Branch of Jehovah bud into beauty and glory upon the earth; then shall the lamp of Israel become a sun of righteousness, burning and shining with lustre inextinguishable, to all eternity. That this verse doth mystically refer to Christ, the Jews confess, as Dr. Hammond has observed. So saith R. Saadiah, "The Lamp is the King, which illuminates the
nations:" and Kimchi, “The Horn of David is the Messias.”
18. His enemies will I clothe with shame : but upon himself shall his crown flourish.
It is here predicted, that God would blast and bring to nothing every design formed to destroy the house of David, until King Messiah should arise out of it, to sit upon the throne of his father. In him all the promises centre, and the kingdom is established for ever: His enemies," who will not have Him to reign over them, shall, at the last day, be "clothed with shame," and everlasting confusion; “but upon himself shall his crown Hourish,” filling heaven and earth with the brightness of its glory.
This short but pleasing Psalm was composed either to recommend
unity among the tribes of Israel, or to celebrate it when it had taken place. Bishop Patrick justly observes, that “it was as fitly used by the first Christians, to express their joy for the blessed union of Jews and Gentiles; and may now serve the uses of all Christian societies, whose happiness lies in holy peace and concord.” It containeth, 1, a rapturous exclamation on the comforts and advantages of union, which, 2, 3, are illustrated by the two exquisite similitudes of the holy anointing oil, and of dew.
1. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity.
Many things are good which are not pleasant ; and many pleasant, which are not good. But unity among brethren, whether civil or religious, is productive both of profit and pleasure. Of profit, because therein consisteth the welfare and security of every society ; of pleasure, because mutual love is the source of delight, and the happiness of one becomes, in that case, the happiness
of all. It is unity alone which gives beauty, as well as strength, to the state ; which renders the Church, at the same time, “fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners.” Cant. vi. 10.
2. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down
ироп the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments ; 3. As the dew of Hermon', and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
“Unity, beginning in the prince, and diffused through the people, is here illustrated,” saith Doctor Delany, “by two images, the most apt and beautiful that ever were imagined. Kingdoms are considered as bodies politic, of which the king is the head, and the people, in their several ranks and orders, the parts and members. A spirit of union beginning upon the prince, whose person is sacred, is like oil poured upon the head of Aaron, which naturally descends, and spreads itself over all the parts of the body, and diffuses beauty and fragrance over the whole, reaching even to the skirts of the garment. Oil is, without question, the finest emblem of union that ever was conceived. It is a substance, consisting of very small parts, which yet, by their mutual adhesion, constitute one uniform, well united, and useful body. The sacred oil carries the idea and the advantage of union yet farther; which being extracted from various spices, yet made up one well-cohering and more valuable compound. The next image carries the exhortation to union, and the advantages of it, still higher. Hermon was the general name of one mountain, comprehending many lesser and lower hills, under the surround of a greater. Union in any nation is the gift of God; and therefore unity among brethren, beginning from the king, is like the dew of heaven, which falling first upon the higher summit of Hermon (refreshing and enriching wherever it falls), naturally descends to Zion, a lower; and thence even to the humble valleys. Zion was the centre of union to all the tribes; there God Himself had promised his people rest and peace from their enemies; which, however, were of little value without union and harmony among themselves !.” Thus far this learned and pious author, whose explanation of the Psalmist's imagery, as descriptive of civil unity in the state, is so just and elegant, that I could not forbear transcribing the passage at length. It only remains to be added, that these Divine pictures receive an additional beauty, and the colouring is much heightened, by their being viewed in another light, as representations of spiritual unity in the Church. The spirit of heavenly love was that oil of gladness which Jehovah poured without measure on Him who is the High Priest and Head of his Church. Insinuating and healing, comforting and exhilarating, it is diffused from Him over his body mystical, even down to the least and lowest members; “of his fulness have we all received ;" and, as it is said of Mary's box of spikenard in the Gospel, “the house is filled with the odour of the ointment.” Nor did the dew of heaven, in time of drought, ever prove more refreshing and bene
1 Bishop Lowth seemeth fully to have justified our translators in supplying the ellipsis as they have done, and thereby removing the absurdity of making the dew of Hermon, a mountain on one side of Jordan, towards the eastern extremity of Canaan, descend on the mountain of Zion, which was situated on the other side of Jordan, at Jerusalem.
ficial to the mountains of Judah, than are the influences of grace, when descending in soft silence from above upon the Church; in the union and communion of which, God hath “commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” O come the day, when division shall cease, and enmity be done away; when the tribes of the spiritual Israel shall be united in a bond of eternal charity, under the true David, in the Jerusalem which is above; and saints and angels shall sing this lovely Psalm together!
With this Psalm, Christians in the Church, like the Levites of
old in the temple, 1, 2, call upon each other to bless God, and, 3, upon God to bless them all.
1. Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. 2. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.
The first word in this verse, “Behold," seemeth to point at the reasons which the priests in the temple had to bless Jehovah ; as if it had been said, Behold, the house of God is built, the holy services are appointed, and the Lord hath given you rest from your enemies, that you may serve Him acceptably; set about it, therefore, with gratitude and alacrity. We read, 1 Chron. ix. 33, that the Levitical singers were “employed in their work day and night;" to the end, doubtless, that the earthly sanctuary might bear some resemblance of that above, where, St. John tells us, the redeemed are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple:" Rev. vii. 15. Christians are the redeemed of the Lord, redeemed from the guilt and dominion of sin,