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Jehovah, in his Messiah, is everlasting; and of that everlasting mercy, poor frail man is the object. It extends to all the generations of the faithful servants of God. Death shall not deprive them of its benefits, nor shall the grave hide them from the efficacious influence of its all-enlivening beams, which shall pierce even into those regions of desolation, and awaken the sleepers of six thousand years. Man must pay to justice the temporal penalty of his sins; but mercy shall raise him again, to receive the eternal reward, purchased by his Saviour's righteousness. A passage in the First Epistle of St. Peter doth most admirably illustrate this part of our Psalm : “ We are born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the LORD endureth for ever. And this is the WORD which by the Gospel is preached unto you."
19. The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
The glorious Person who works all these wonders of
mercy for his people, the WORD of God, and Saviour of the world, is triumphantly seated upon his throne in heaven, and is possessed of all power to accomplish his will, even until all things shall be subdued unto him. The glories of his throne, the brightness of his excellent majesty, and the might of his irresistible power, are described at large by St. John, Rev. iy. v. xix.
20. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel ini strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts ; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22. Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul !
Joy is observed to be of a diffusive and communicative nature. The heart of the Psalmist is full, and overflows with it. Unable worthily to praise Jehovah for his mercies vouchsafed to the church, he invites heaven and earth to join with him, and to celebrate, in full chorus, the redemption of man. St. John saw the throne of Messiah prepared; he beheld the universal band assembled ; and he heard when « all the angels round about the throne, ten thousand times ten thou. sand, and thousands of thousands, with every creature in heaven, earth, and sea,” lifted up their voices, and sang together, “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."
This is an eucharistic hymn, full of majesty and
sweetness, addressed to Jehovah, as Creator of the world. It sets forth his glory, wisdom, goodness, and power, displayed in the formation of the heavens and earth; in the various provision made for beasts, and birds, and for man, the lord of all; in the revolutions of the celestial bodies, and the consequent interchanges of day and night, of labour and rest; in the sea, and every thing that moves in or upon the waters. The dependence of the whole creation upon God for its being and well being, is beautifully represented, with the glory which the Creator receives from his works, the pleasure which he takes in them, and the power which he has over them. The Psalmist declares his resolution ever to praise Jehovah, and predicts the destruction of those who refuse or neglect so to do. As there is a similitude between the natural and the spiritual creation, allusions of that sort are frequently made in the ensuing comment.
1. Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with honour and majesty; Heb. with glory and beauty. 2. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretch
est out the heavens like a curtain, i. e. of a tent, or, pavilion.
The Scriptures inform us, that the same Person, who redeemed the world, did also create it. In the ciid Psalm, as we are assured by St. Paul, “to the Son it is said, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands." To him, therefore, as Creator, is the civth Psalm likewise addressed. He is described as invested with the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; a glimpse of which he vouchsafed to the three disciples, who were present at his transfiguration, when “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." The first instance of his creating power is afforded us by the heavens, which form a magnificent canopy, or pavilion, comprehending within it the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof. . It is enlightened by the celestial orbs suspended in it, as the holy tabernacle was, by the lamps of the golden candlestick; and it was originally framed, erected, and furnished by its Maker, with more ease than man can construct and pitch a tent, for his own temporary abode. Yet must this noble pavilion also be taken down; these resplendent and beautiful heavens must pass away, and come to an end. How glorious then shall be those new heavens, which are to succeed them, and to endure for ever!
3. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walk eth upon the wings of the wind.
The generality of expositors interpret this passage of those “dark waters, compacted into thick clouds of the skies," which the Almighty is elsewhere said to make the “secret place, or chamber” of his residence, and a kind of “footstool” to his throne. And thus, indeed, the former part of our verse is plainly and immediately connected with what follows; “who maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind." How astonishingly magnificent and tremendous is the idea which these words convey to us, of the great King riding upon the heavens, encompassed with clouds and darkness, attended by the lightnings, those ready executioners of his vengeance, and causing the world to resound and tremble at the thunder of his power, and the noise of his chariot wheels! By these ensigns of royalty, these emblems of omnipotence, and instruments of his displeasure, does Jehovah manifest his presence, when he visits rebellious man, to make him own and adore his neglected and insulted Lord.
4. Who maketh his angels spirits ; his ministers a flaming fire.
From the manner in which these words are introduced, and the place where they stand, one should conceive the meaning of them to be, that Gud employs the elements of air and fire, the winds, and the lightnings, as his messengers, and ministers, to execute his commands upon the earth. But the apostle informs us, that they have a further reference to immaterial angels; either because those angels often appeared in the likeness, or because they were endued