« PreviousContinue »
the above conjecture. It was written by the royal Psalmist, many ages before Christ was born into the world.
A PSALM OF DAVID, RELATING TO THE
From Psalm xxii.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
O my Gon, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not; and in the night-season, and am not silent.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in thee; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee, and were delivered; they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
All they that see me, laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
He trusted on the Lord, that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
But thou art he that took me out of the womb; thou didst make me hope, when I was upon my
Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help
Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd: and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and
bones: they look and stare upon me.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
But benot thou far from me, O LORD; O my strength, haste thee to help me.
Deliver my soul from the sword: my darling from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion's mouth; for thou hast heard me from the horns of unicorns.
I will declare thy name unto my brethren : in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
There is one circumstance amongst many others, that strongly points out the Divine original of the Scrip. Tures, and shews, that they were intended to convey rules for the religious and moral conduct of mankind in general ; which is, that every person in all ages of the world, let their disposition or condition in life be what they will, may find many passages in them so suited to themselves, that they appear as if written expressly for their use, though at the same time they are equally well adapted to thousands more. There are, besides, other passages which cannot be so generally applied, but which seem to have been designed for one particular person only (of which the Psalm we have just read is an instance). These would have appeared to have been written in vain; for we could not have discovered their import, had not their exact agreement with our SAVIOUR's history, and his frequent references to them, taught us they related to him.
This Psalm is allowed to have been written by David, yet it cannot be applied to him (excepting in a metaphorical sense, as a type of the MESSIAH), for it does not exactly agree with any part of David's history; but we may perceive, from the account of our Lord's cruci. fixion, that it is very descriptive of his sufferings. We may therefore reasonably suppose, that David was inspired to write it, in order to shew that God foreknew every circumstance relating to the MESSIAH: that those who should believe in CHRIST might form an idea of the sentiments their blessed SAVIOUR entertained, at a time when the comfortable sense of the Divine PRESENCE was suspended-and that Jesus himself might derive consolation from reflecting, that he had suffered no more than the prophets had predicted he would do.
If we examine the Psalm attentively, we may perceive such a succession of sentiments as were perfectly suited to our Lord's situation, and so consistent with his character, that we may sately admit it as a part of his his. tory. Let us, then, suppose it an exact picture of his mind at that instant, when the ETERNAL SON OF GOD having performed his part of the Covenant with mankind, by delivering up to be crucified that body which he had taken to his Divine nature, suspended his operations, that the MESSIAH might perform the part which belonged to him as MAN.
What an åwful moment! Never was there a time in which our LORD stood so much in need of comfort from
above; for every
circumstance contributed to strike his soul with horror and dismay. He was hanging on the cross in the most agonizing torture, his enemies revil. ing, his friends looking on with unavailing sorrow, and the light of the sun obscured with unusual darkness,
We may judge from the beginning of this Psalm that, during the long silence our Lord observed, he was engaged in secret prayer, entreating the Father to grant him strength to sustain the severe trial. Finding that no inward consolation was granted him, nor an angel sent, as on former occasions, to comfort him, the fear of being forsaken arose in his mind; therefore knowing that he had led a life of perfect innocence, holiness and obedience, and that he had never incurred the anger of the Father by committing sin, it was natural for him to expostulate in the words of the inspired writer, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, &c."
From the succeeding verses of this prophetic Psalm we may suppose, that our Lord had no sooner uttered this pathetic lamentation, than a ray of comfort darted into his soul; and the remembrance of God's faithfulness, and the many deliverances he had granted to the Patriarchs, encouraged him to hope, that He also should be delivered from his enemies. Yet he could not be wholly insensible of the indignities offered to him, nor of the abject condition to which He was reduced, who had openly professed to trust in a peculiar manner to God, as his own father.
But nothing could drive him to despair ; for he considered that he had, even from his birth, experienced in a very extraordinary manner the protection of the Fatiler: he therefore renewed his petition, that God would again grant him the comfort of his presence, as he could not by human mcans, nor consistently with his obedience to the Divine will, deliver himself from his deplorable situation, neither could he be succoured by any mortal power.
He then enumerated the particulars of his sufferings, and once more implored the FATHER to send him speedy relief, lest his eneinies should
forcibly take his life from him, which they hunted for as eagerly as a dog pursues a hind; nay, with the fury of an hungry lion seeking for
prey: Such relief as he now implored, our LORD had frequently experienced, having been miraculously delivered through the power derived from the GodHEAD, when surrounded by the fiercest and strongest enemies.
It may be inferred from the last verse of this Section, that our Lord received the consolation he prayed for ; and in consequence of it, professed a resolution of de. claring to the Apostles, and through them to the rest of his faithful people, the power, wisdom, and justice of God the Father; who, though he hideth his face for a time, yet will he return and refresh the soul that trusteth to his mercy.
Shortly after our blessed Redeemer willingly yielded up his spirit into the hands of the Father, and thus completed that sacrifice which the ETERNAL Son of God began.
If we admit this Psalm as a part of our Lord's history, it will afford encouragement and useful instruc• tion to such Christians as are apt to indulge religious melancholy ; for it plainly shews, that the most afflicting circumstances may befal those who are highest in the favour of God, since his beloved Son was not exempt from them; and also, that our heavenly Father is never nearer to us, than when he appears to withdraw the inward consolation of his Holy Spirit. Let us, therefore, carefully guard our minds from despair, and