Page images

human nature, and of the base treatment which the Just One met with from the Jews; which two things he pathetically deplores in the sequel of this verse. By his leanness, he means the deficiency of his own righteousness, which was such that he had need to clothe himself with the merits of the Just One. The perfidious dealers are the unbelieving Jews of our Lord's time, who, by rejecting their Saviour, became apostates from their God.

Verse 17. Fear, and the pit,” &c. Fired with indignation at the scene of the treatment of the Just One, the prophet threatens the guilty world with instant vengeance.

Verse 21. _“ shall punish the host of the high ones [that are] on high ;" literally, “shall visit

upon the host of the height in the height,” or, " of the upper region in the upper region.” -“ animadvert Jova, et in sublimem exercitum in sublimi.” Castalio.

-“ visitabit Dominus super militiam cæli in excelSo.” Vulg. – έπαξει ο Θεος επι τον κοσμον του ουρανού TNU yerga. LXX. The antithesis between this “ host of the upper region in the upper region, and the kings of the earth upon the earth,” clearly shews that heaven is meant by One, the height, or upper region.' Whether this host of heaven be the visible



host (which shall be visited in the latter days, and thrown into much disorder, in the formation of the new heavens and new earth, out of the ruins of the present system), or the host of the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spiritual wickedness in high places, seems doubtful. St Jerome and the LXX certainly understood the words of the visible host. .“ In die illâ, hoc est in die judicii (says St Jerome), visitabit Dominus super militiam, sive super ornatum cæli, in excelsis, ut non solum terrena sed et excelsa judicet. Quis sit autem ornatus cæli, sive militia, Moyse scribente discamus : cave ne suspiciens cælum, et videns solem, et lunam, stel. las, et omnem ornatum cæli, decipiaris et adores eas visitabit autem Dominus, secundum idioma scripturarum, quasi ægrotantem militiam et exercitum cæli et ferro et cauteriis indigentem.” The kings of the earth, in the next clause, St Jerome expounds of evil spirits : -" rectores tenebrarum istarum et spi.. ritualia nequitiæ in cælestibus. De quibus principi. bus diversis provinciis præsidentibus et in Daniele scriptum est. Hos igitur principes qui suum non servaverunt gradum, congregabit Dominus in die judicii quasi in uno fasce pariter colligatos et mittet in lacum inferni.” This seems very unnatural.

[ocr errors]

It may seem difficult to understand the “ bundling up of the host of heaven together with the kings of the earth for the pit," and their common imprisonment, mentioned in the 22d verse, of the visible host of heaven, unless it denote some restraint laid upon the physical powers of the heavenly bodies previous to the catastrophe of the present system. At the same time that the governments of the earth shall be broken up, and her potentates spoiled of their power and authority, the objects of idolatrous worship shall be fettered in their physical energies and influences, and the present economy of Nature shall be abolished together with the corrupt polity of men. Wicked princes, the patrons and perpetrators of violence and impiety, shall be bundled up with the rubbish of the worn system, and thrown aside as lumber, till the season shall come for a final visitation of both; when the old materials of the universe shall be wrought anew; and that which may seem good to Infinite Wisdom and Justice shall be the end of the wicked.

Upon the whole, however, I think the host of the height' in this place may best be expounded of intelligent beings, the rulers of the darkness of this world. For it is very evident that the church is to enjoy prosperity on earth, and Jehovah is to reign in Mount Zion and Jerusalem, after the execution of the judgments here described. The physical convulsions, therefore, mentioned in the 19th and 20th verses, are not such as are literally to put an end to the present system of the world. Perhaps they are mystical. The sun and moon of verse 23 are cer. tainly a mystical sun and moon; and the height or heaven of this verse is a mystical heaven.

Verse 22. -as prisoners are gathered in the pit;" rather, with Bishop Lowth, “ as in a bundle for the pit.”

" shall they be visited.” “ Videtur applaudere amicis meis, qui diabolo et dæmonibus dant pænitentiam (says Jerome), quod multa post tempora a Domino visitentur. Sed considerent, quod non dixerit apertè scriptura divina ; visitabuntur à Domino, vel, visitabuntur ab angelis, sed absolutè visitabuntur. Ex quâ ambiguitate verbi, et remedium potest intelligi et correptio: quod postquam justi præmia receperint, illi in pænis perpetuis visitentur. Est tamen sciendum, quod judicium Dei humana non possit scire fragilitas, nec de poenarum magnitudine atque mensurâ ferre sententiam, quæ Domini arbitrio derelicta est.” It should seem from this last sentence, that St Jerome, though he scrupled to approve, did not peremptorily con. demn the opinion of his friends, and thought the question of eternity of punishment somewhat doubtful.

CHAP. XXV. This chapter contains the prophet's thanksgiving for the overthrow of the apostate faction, and the establishment of the righteous in everlasting peace.

Verse 2. _" of a city"- The prophet employs general images of conquest and extermination, and no particular city seems intended. See chap. xxiv, 10, notes.

-“ of strangers”- of such as were strangers from the commonwealth of God's people. 3 Therefore the fierce people shall glorify thee,

The city of the heathen; tyrants shall fear thee. Verse 5. “ Thou shalt bring down,” &c. As the periods are now divided, the best translation of this verse, upon the whole, is certainly St Jerome's : “ Sicut æstus in siti tumultum alienorum humiliabis, et quasi calore sub nube torrente propaginem fortium marcescere facies." He refers the word 3 to the root o's, and for aya he seems to have read

« PreviousContinue »