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with the properties, of wind and flame. Intellectual beings of the highest order in the realms above, are as ready to fulfil the word of Jehovah, as are the elements of this lower world. Both teach a lesson of obedience to the sons of men; to those of them more especially, who are appointed angels of the churches, and ministers of Christ.
5. Who laid the foundation of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
In the original it is, "Who hath founded the earth upon its bases.” The formation of this globe on
which we tread, is a wonderful instance of divine wisdom and power, whether we consider the manner in which the parts of it are put and kept together, or its suspension in the circumambient fluid, which, as some philosophers suppose, by pressing upon it on every side, forms so many columns, as it were, to support, and keep it balanced. The words, "that it should not be removed for ever," do by no means imply, that the earth is stationary, or that it is eternal; but only thus much, that it is so constructed, as to answer the end, and to last the time, for which it was created and intended. It shall continue the same in itself, and with relation to other bodies, neither altering its shape, nor changing its course, till the day appointed for its dis-solution; after which, as there are to be "new heavens," so will there also be "a new earth."
6. Thou coveredst it with the deep, as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7. At thy rebuke they fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8. They go, or, went, up by the mountains :
they go, or, went, down by the valleys, unto the place which thou hast founded for them. 9. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over: that they turn not again to cover the earth.
Most interpreters suppose this to be a description of the situation of things, and of what was effected by the power of God, on the third day of the creation, when he said, "Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so." Indeed, the process at the creation was so exactly similar to that at the deluge, with regard to the circumstances here mentioned, that it matters not to which we apply the beautiful and truly poetical passage before us. In both cases, the earth was covered with the waters, as with a garment, in every part; in both cases, they fled at the Almighty word, like the scattered remains of a routed army: from the heights of mountains, whither they had ascended, they sunk down into the valleys; from the valleys they retired to the bed of the ocean, and a part of them descended from thence into the great deep that lieth beneath. Bounds were set them, beyond which they should never pass, to overwhelm us any more for ever. And the experience of 4000 years hath taught us, that where the Creator hath laid his commands, plain sand is a sufficient barrier. Thus the church hath been delivered from her spiritual enemies; and she hath a promise, on which she may with full confidence rely, that "the gates of hell shall never prevail against her." 10. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. 11. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst.
The waters of the sea are not only prevented from destroying the earth, but, by a wonderful machinery, are rendered the means of preserving every living thing which moves thereon. Partly ascending from the great deep through the strata of the earth, partly exhaled in vapour from the surface of the ocean into the air, and from thence falling in rain, especially on the tops and by the sides of mountains, they break forth in fresh springs, having left their salts behind them; they trickle through the valleys, between the hills, receiving new supplies as they go; they become large rivers, and after watering, by their innumerable turnings and windings, immense tracts of country, the return to the place from whence they came. Thus every animal has an opportunity of quenching that thirst, which must otherwise soon put a period to its existence. The wild asses are particularly mentioned, because they live in remote and sandy deserts; yet even such creatures, in such places, are by the God of nature taught the way to the waters; insomuch that the parched traveller, when in search of a fountain, finds them to be the best guides in the world, and needs only to observe and follow the herds of them descending to the streams. In the spiritual system, or new creation, there are wells of salvation, living springs, waters of comfort, of which all nations, even the most savage and barbarous, are invited to come and drink freely. They flow among the churches; they descend into the hearts of the lowly; and they refresh us in our passage through the wilderness; for
even there "do waters break out, and streams in the desert."
12. By them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation, which sing among the branches.
By them, that is, by springs of water, in the valleys, the birds delight to have their habitations, and to sing amidst the verdant branches, which conceal them from our sight. "The music of birds," as one has well observed, "was the first song of thanksgiving which was offered on earth before man was formed. All their sounds are different, but all harmonious, and altogether compose a choir which we cannot imitate*." If these little choristers of the air, when refreshed by the streams near which they dwell, express their gratitude by chanting, in their way, the praises of their Maker and Preserver, how ought Christians to blush, who,. besides the comforts and conveniencies of this world, are indulged with copious draughts of the water of eternal life, if, for so great blessings, they pay not their tribute of thanksgiving, and sing not unto the Lord the songs of Sion! "He that at midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have often done, the clear airs, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of the nightingale's voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men. such music upon earth!" Walton's Complete Angler, p. 9.
* Wesley's Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation. I. 149.
13. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 14. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; 15. And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread, which strengtheneth man's heart.
The fertility of the earth is owing to God, who, for that purpose, waters it from his chambers, whether the world has a reference to the clouds above, or the depths below, for both are concerned in the operation. Hence all the glory and beauty of the vegetable world; hence the grass, which nourishes the cattle, that they may nourish the human race; hence the green herb, for food and for medicine; hence fields covered with corn, for the support of life; hence vines and olive trees laden with fruits, whose juices exhilarate the heart, and brighten the countenance. Nor let us forget the spiritual benedictions corresponding to these external ones; the fruitfulness of the church through grace, the bread of everlasting life, the cup of salvation, and the oil of gladness.
16. The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted.
The whole earth is a garden, planted by the hand, and watered by the care of Jehovah. But in a more especial manner is his glory set forth by the lofty and magnificent cedars, which, growing wild on the mountain and in the forests, owe nothing to the skill and industry of man. The moisture of the earth, rarefied by the heat of the sun, enters their roots, ascends in