« PreviousContinue »
flame the affections. The full concert was to excite the highest fentiments of thankfulness in the view of that one of fering, which was to bear the fire of the Father's wrath, and thereby was to become an odor of a sweet smell, a facrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. No blessing is beyond this. No joy is to be compared with the joy of this. If any one had been present who did not know the occasion of this wonderful rejoicing, and had asked good Hezekiah what they meant by this music, which made the very earth ring again, he would have graciously informed the enquirer
We are now triumphing in stedfast faith of the fulfilling of the promise, that God will be incarnate, and will come to take away sin by his facrifice : Therefore we enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. We rejoice in our hearts in the future offering of the lamb of God. Although we have divine words, in which to express our joy, yet our present sense of it is only according to our faith. When this is lively our joy is unspeakable and full of glory: For it brings a forecast of that fulness of joy, which we shall have, when we shall receive the end of our faith, even the eternal falvation of our souls. Then
all the blessings, all the glories of heaven will come to us through the redemption that is in the blood of the lamb. Hence while the burnt offering is confuming on the altar, we make the most joyful noise we possibly can, singing and triumphing in the offering of Immanuel : For we believe it will be a sweet smelling favor unco God, and through it we shall enter within the veil, even into heaven itself. There we shall take up the same most blessed subject, and celebrate the lamb that was Nain with never-ceasing praise.
The answer, which I suppose Hezekiah would have given, is perfectly agreeable to David's own account of this matter. He relates very clearly for what end the psalms were revealed, and were sung in the temple service. We find it thus described, i Chron. xvi. “ David appointed " the Levites to minister before the ark, " and to RECORD, and to THANK and “ PRAISE the Lord God of Israel,”. ver. 4. and again, ver. 7. “ Then on that day “ David delivered first this psalm to thank 46 the Lord into the hand of Asaph and “ his brethren: Give thanks unto the “ Lord, call upon his name, make known “ his deeds among the people : Sing unto “him, sing pfalms unto him, talk you " of all his wonderous works : Glory ye “ in his holy name, let the heart of them “ rejoice that seek the Lord.”
We have in this passage a very clear description of the design of the book of psalms. It was first to RECORD; the word fignifies to cause to be remembered. The psalms were a itanding memorial, to bring into mind the wonderful love of the everblessed Trinity in faving finners through Jesus Christ, and to keep it fresh and lively upon the hearts of believers. We are apt to forget this our greatest mod, and therefore God has graciously recorded it in his word. Therein he has promised to sanctify the memory to retain it, and in the use of the psalms he bestows this blessing. When they are read and mixed with faith, then they are meditated on with delight, sung with nielody, and help to keep the heart warm in its attachment to the beloved Jesus. When they are thus treasured up in the mind, and brought into constant use, believers learn in singing them to rejoice in the infinitely perfečt sacrifice of Immanuel, and to triumph in his divine righteousness. The psalms are the means appointed of God to answer those ends, and they do by his grace. They,ftir up the pure minds of his people by way of remembrance. They afford them proper matter, and choice words, and
when sung with significant founds, they excite affections to Jesus, as holy and as happy, as they can be on this side of heaven. The use of the psalms was also to
O give thanks unto the “ Lord: For his mercy endureth for
ever," seems to have been the chorus of all the antient hymns. The word which we translate to THANK signifies to give the hand to God, as an acknowlegment that all power was his. The hand is fower. Our power extends as far as our hand reaches. The hand of God is every where, and his power is infinite. The custom of paying homage in antient times explains this usage of the word. Chron. xxix. 23. “ Then Solomon fat on the “ throne of the Lord as king, instead of “ David his father, and prospered, and « all Israel obeyed him, 24. And all “ the princes, and the mighty men, and “ all the fons likewise of king David
submitted themselves unto Solomon the a king --Heb. gave the hand under So“ lomon the king.” This was an expressive ceremony: They kneeled down and put their hands under his, thereby confesfing that their power was subject to his: And in this manner they paid him homage. There is a curious letter extant of king Hezekiahs, which farther ex
plains both the expression and the custom He says in -it to the people, 2 Chron. xxx. 8.“ Be ye not ftiffnecked as your “ fathers were, but yield yourselves, Heb.
give the hand unto the Lord,” fall down before him, and ascribe all your power to the Lord--acknowlege him to have all power in heaven and earth. Thus give the honor due unto his name. Con fets that all your good comes from him, and that he keeps you from all evil. Every blessing which you receive in earth or hope for in heaven, acknowlege to be from the good pleasure of his own will, and to the praise of the glory of his free grace. Most of the psalms were written, and should be fung, with this spirit. What David felt in his own heart at the free-will offerings of the people towards the building of the temple, the same he. would excite in others, when they read or fing the psalms. 1 Chron. xxix. 10, &c. " Wherefore David bleffed the Lord " before all the congregation, and David
said, Blessed be thou Lord God of Il“ rael, our. Father for ever and ever: “ Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and “ the power, and the glory, and the vic
tory, and the majesty : For all that is 66 in the heaven and in the earth is thine : ", Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and