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proper subject for him to display his talents upon, as much (if the Holy Ghost, Acts ii. and xiii. chap. may be allowed to know his own meaning) in the spirit of the Psalm, as if you had been entertained by the performer with a story or two out of the Fairy Tales, or with a parcel of Lady Mary Wortley Montague's Letters from Constantinople, instructing you concerning the seraglios, customs, and dresses, that obtain among the Turks.
This way of doing puts one in mind of that precious creature who courted his mistress in the words of the Song of Solomon, and called her the Fair Circassian; or that other, a minister too, who, in a letter I lately saw, congratulated his friend on his having married a wife with a portion, in the very language of the Lord Jesus, saying, “The lines have fallen to me in
pleasant places. How terrible is this ! Were even those rare divines of the last age farther gone in guilt and absurdity, who, in all the long-robed gravity of their wisdom, solemnly burlesqued the Psalms, and that in the name of the Lord, after prayers read, and a blessing implored, that they might be enabled suitably to apply and improve ? And so with a vengeance they did apply and improve-how suitably, let the world judge! The King—the Lord's Anointed-his righteousness—his righteous cause his glory filling the whole land-his flourishing crown-righteous sceptre peace of his government, 8c. To whom were all those eulogiums
from the Psalms applied ? To the Lord, of whom they were meant ? No. To David ? Nor to him neither. To whom then? To whom but to the good King Charles of blessed memory! Let Eikon Basilikê and Dr Juxon speak the rest, and tell the world one manner in which the Psalms have been abused to the vilest of purposes and let all others who chuse contend in this point for the palm of impiety and downright jargon with Bonaventure the Monk, who applied, in an abominable piece of his (rendered afterwards infallible by his Holiness at Rome, so they call their pope) every word of the Psalms, speaking of the Lord Jesus, to his virgin mother. But those who have ears to hear, let them hear, and beware of wresting the holy word, lest they wrest it to their own destruction; after the manner of a certain celebrated plunderer of hills and glens, who was wont to evade the edge of the eighth commandment, by alledging, that Moses was no friend to honest gentlemen of his profession, when he said, “Thou shalt not steal ;' but that David, a far better fellow, had repealed that law of Moses, when he said, Psalm 1. 10. • The cattle upon a thousand hills are mine.'
You see now, it was not of yesterday that the Psalms began to be perverted; nor in one manner only. But to conjure, if it be possible, at least to essay it, all those dreams and delusions, puns and forgeries, upon the book of Psalms, let it be seriously weighed, if it be lawful for us to give an interpretation of any part thereof dif
ferent from, that is, contrary to, what the Holy Ghost hath given. - Would not you plainly say, that the man openly blasphemed, who should give another interpretation of the parables of the sower and seeds, of the wheat and tares, than the Lord hath given ? And why, pray, should not we look with equal detestation and contempt up. on the man who should deal so by the Psalms, or any other part of the Holy Scriptures ? Here; perhaps, you will say,
that some of the Psalms may be safely explained in the manner you speak of: There is no question ; but would you have us to explain the whole of them after the same fa. shion ? Yes indeed ; the whole hundred and fifty; if so be the Spirit by whom they were inspired hath given us a key so to do.- Make that ap. pear, and the controversy is at an end.Amen. Here we rest the issue. Take your Bible then, with the parallel places, and finish the proof yourself. You will find your profit in the pur. suit, and the process of the argument simple and easy, if you afford but a moderate degree of candour and attention
1st, Carefully mark all the Psalms whereof you see any part applied to Christ in the New Testament, as spoken of him, or by him. Now, where any part of a Psalm is explained as spoken of, or in the person of Christ, so must the whole of that. Psalm, whatever seeming objections lie against it.; for this obvious reason, that (as will appear by occular demonstration, if you read the places: in question) the whole of every
such Psalm is spoken in one person, who is lámself frequently the continued subject of the Psalm, from the beginning to the end thereof ; and every thing besides in the Psalm is but a predicate, as they say, or declaration of the same subject, or (which does not alter the case) an imprecation, or a prayer, or a blessing, or a description, or a narrative, uttered by the same per
There are indeed a few Psalms which geem to be in the way of dialogue, or chorus; such as Psalm ii. xxiv. xlv. xci. cii. cxxi. cxxxii. and perhaps several others; yet those are all evident ly so full of Messiah the Lord, that, though there be a change of persons speaking in them, they make no infringement upon the general rule here advanced; founded, not on a meta physical subtlety, but on plain common sense, level with every one's apprehension, who in such matters knows but the right hand from the left. For illustration, take the following examples: Psal. xl. 6-9. is brought in, Heb. x. 5. as spoken by Christ : shew a change of person in the speaker, and indeed the alledged interpretation of the rest of the Psalm falls to the ground; allow the speaker the same, and it stands good, in spite of all the power of contradiction and wit.-Psalm xviii. 49. is applied, Rom. xv.9. as spoken by Christ concerning his bringing the Gentiles into the fellowship of the gospel': there. fore, as the speaker is one the whole Psalma is descriptive of the warfare and vietory of Mes
siah, the Prince, bringing judgment to victory. -Psalm xxxv. 19. is quoted by the Lord, John xv. 25. as spoken of himself: his words are remarkable, (lest we should retain some ridiculous notion of a type and antitype); “ But this com. eth to pass, that it might be fulfilled which is ( written in their law, They hated Me without
a cause.'—Psalm lxix. 9. is also introduced in a very observable manner, Rom. xv. 3. · Even • Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is writ• ten, the reproaches of them that reproached • thee are fallen
me.' Not a word of David! This Psalm is more frequently quoted of Christ in express words, than any other in the book.--Psalm lxviii. 18. is explained, Eph. iv. 8. of Christ's ascension, receiving and giving of the Holy Ghost.-Psalm xlix. 4. and lxxviji. 2. are said to be fulfilled, Matth. xiij. 35. when the Lord began to open his mouth in parables : this interpretation lets us into the meaning of the historical Psalms, which are so many Old Testament parables, wherein the Lord himself is the historian.-Psalm lvii. 7. and cviii. 3. quoted of Christ, Rom. xv. 9. where harp and psaltery are called upon to awake and praise, will let us into the meaning of all those Psalms where all such instruments of music, organs, and those of ten strings, are introduced, with cymbals and dances, into the worship of God; being designed, in the temple-service, for figures to express that spiritual worship, joy, and exultation, which are uttered in harmonious concert