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THE BOOK OF PSALMS;
THEIR LITERAL OR HISTORICAL SENSE, AS THEY RELATE TO KING DAVID
AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, IS ILLUSTRATED ;
AND THEIR APPLICATION TO MESSIAH, TO THE CHURCH, AND TO
INDIVIDUALS AS MEMBERS THEREOF, IS POINTED OUT ;
WITH A VIEW TO RENDER THE USE OF THE PSALTER PLEASING AND
PROFITABLE TO ALL ORDERS AND DEGREES OF CHRISTIANS.
GEORGE HORNE, D.D.
LATE LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH,
" All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Psalms concerning
“ I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”—
“ They sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb."-REV. xv. 3.
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The Psalms are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creation and formation of the world the dispensations of Providence, and the economy of grace ; the transactions of the patriarchs ; the exodus of the children of Israel ; their journey through the wilderness, and settlement in Canaan; their law, priesthood, and ritual; the exploits of their great men, wrought through faith ; their sins and captivities; their repentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon ; the advent of Messiah, with its effects and consequences; his incarnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, and priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit; the conversion of the nations; the rejection of the Jews; the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian Church ; the end of the world ; the general judgment: the condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the righteous with their Lord and King. These are the subjects here presented to our meditations. We are instructed how to conceive of them aright, and to express the different affections which, when so conceived of, they must excite in our minds. They are, for this purpose, adorned with the figures, and set off with all the graces of poetry; the poetry itself is designed yet farther to be recommended by the charms of music, thus consecrated to the service of God; that so delight may prepare the way for improvement, and pleasure become the handmaid of wisdom, while every turbulent passion is calmed by sacred melody, and the evil spirit is still dispossessed by the harp of the son of Jesse. This little volume, like the paradise of Eden, affords us in perfection, though in miniature, every thing that groweth elsewhere, “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food :” and above all, what was there lost, but is here restored, THE TREE OF LIFE IN THE
That which we read, as matter of speculation, in the other Scriptures, is reduced to practice, when we recite it in the Psalms; in those, repentance and faith are described, but in these, they are acted; by a perusal of the former, we learn how others served God, but by using the latter, we serve Him ourselves. “What is there necessary for man to know,” says the pious and judicious Hooker, “which the Psalms are not able to teach ? They are to beginners an easy and familiar introduction, a mighty augmentation of all virtue and knowledge in such
are entered before, a strong confirmation to the
MIDST OF THE GARDEN.
most perfect among others. Heroical magnanimity, exquisite justice, grave moderation, exact wisdom, repentance unfeigned, unwearied patience, the mysteries of God, the sufferings of Christ, the terrors of wrath, the comforts of grace, the works of Providence over this world, and the promised joys of that world which is to come; all good necessarily to be either known or done, or had, this one celestial fountain yieldeth. Let there be any grief or disease incident unto the soul of man, any wound or sickness named, for which there is not, in this treasure-house, a present comfortable remedy at all times ready to be found ?.” In the language of this Divine book, therefore, the prayers and praises of the Church have been offered up to the throne of grace, from age to age. . And it appears to have been the manual of the Son of God, in the days of his flesh ; who, at the conclusion of his last supper, is generally supposed, and that upon good grounds, to have sung an hymn taken from it”; who pronounced, on the cross, the beginning of the twenty-second Psalm ; “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” and expired with a part of the thirty-first Psalm in his mouth ; "Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Thus He, who had not the Spirit by measure, in whom were hidden all the treasures
1 Hooker's Ecclesiast. Pol. b. v. sect. 37.
2 St. Matthew informs us, chap. xxvi. 30, that He and his Apostles “sung an hymn;" and the hymn usually sung by the Jews upon that occasion was, what they called the “ great Hallel,” consisting of the Psalms from the cxüith to the cxviiith inclusive.