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An All-wise and Omnipotent Creator.
ing them forth as fast as the earth becomes prepared for their reception. But where is this wonderful organism, this literal womb of nature? Who has ever seen it? If it really exist, why has it not been discovered? Why has the geologist, in all his varied explorations, never fallen upon it? Or if it be situated in the interior of the earth, or in mid air, or mid ocean, how, at each successive birth of nature, do her progeny find their way to the several places which they are destined to occupy? For here, be it remembered, we cannot evoke miracles; all such aid is necessarily excluded by the very supposition upon which we are proceeding. How then, we ask, are the beings formed in this unknown recess of the earth, conveyed to their respective stations upon its surface? The whole idea is grotesque and absurd in the extreme. It is altogether too preposterous for serious consideration. No man in his sober senses can, for a moment, entertain it.
And thus it is with all the different modes of explaining the origin and development of life in our world, independently of an intelligent Author. It is only in the shape of vague generalities that such explanations seem plausible. The moment they are made to assume any definite and precise form, their verisimilitude vanishes. We then detect in each, as it passes before us, some element of absurdity which causes the mind to reject it. There is but one adequate hypothesisone which will, at the same time explain and harmonize all the facts of the universe, and satisfy the requirements of our intellectual and moral natures that of an eternal, self-existent, all-wise and omnipotent Creator. To this, everything around and everything within us points; in this, the great problem of material and spiritual existences, with all their diversities of form and endowment, finds a simple and satisfactory solution. God has made the world, and his attributes are written upon every portion of it. Wherever we turn our eyes, we behold the evidences of his wisdom and his power-the proofs of his handiwork. The little and the great, the minute and the comprehensive; the tiny insect, sporting in the sunbeam, and the mighty orb of day, enthroned in the centre of our system, and dispensing light and heat to its uttermost borders, alike tell of him. The physical arrangements of our planet, its oceans and its continents, its mountains and its valleys, its rain and its sunshine, the alternation of day and night, the vicissitude of the seasons, all of these, together with the ever-varied and yet ever-adapted forms of life, to whose support they continually minister, speak the same language. These complex frames of ours, so elaborately and so curiously wrought; each organ, limb, and member, with all the wonderful provisions of structure and properties by which they are fitted for their several offices, utter the same voice: a voice
which is not only echoed and reëchoed by all external nature, but finds a still deeper response in every faculty and power of the soul — nay, in that consciousness of derived being which lies behind these powers and faculties that voice is God.
TRANSLATION AND EXPOSITION OF THE SECOND PSALM.
By Prof. C. E. Stowe, D. D., Cincinnati.
I. MESSIANIC APPLICATION OF THE PSALM.
1) Testimony of the New Testament. Acts 4: 24-27. The whole company of the apostles ascribe this psalm to David, quote the first two verses, and affirm that they are a prophecy of the Messiah. Acts 13: 33. The apostle Paul, in a discourse at Antioch quotes the 7th verse as a proof of the resurrection of Christ. Heb. 1:5. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews quotes the 7th verse to prove that Christ had a nature superior to the angels; and again, Heb. 5: 5, the same author cites this verse to prove that the Messiah was appointed to his work by God.
The idea of accommodation, in this application of these passages, is out of the question, for the sacred writers do not adduce them as mere illustrations, but as direct proofs; and if the psalm were not originally intended to predict the Messiah, the passages quoted are nothing to their purpose. This is sufficient to prove the Messianic character of the psalm, with those who acknowledge the divine authority of the New Testament. Just before our Lord's ascension to heaven, he pointed out to his disciples those passages of the Old Testament, and particularly of the Psalms, which referred directly to himself (Luke 24: 27, 28, 44, 46); and immediately after his ascension we find them applying this psalm to him, undoubtedly on his own authority.
2) Jewish testimony. The older Hebrews always regarded this psalm as a prophecy of the Messiah, and never thought of giving it any other application, till they were brought into difficulty by the use which Christians made of it to prove the messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. This is frankly acknowledged by one of the most eminent of their commentators, Rabbi Solomon Jarchi, in the following remarkable passage: "Our rabbis have always interpreted this psalm of the king
Evidence for the Messianic Interpretation.
Messiah; but according to the literal sense, and that it may resist the heretics (that is, the Christians), it is expedient that we interpret it of David himself." David Kimchi also makes a similar acknowledgment: "There are those (says he) who interpret this psalm of Gog and Magog, and the anointed king is the Messiah; and so our rabbis, of blessed memory, understood it; and the psalm, explained in this manner, is very perspicuous. But it seems more probable that David composed it respecting himself, and so we interpret it."
3) Internal evidence. The internal evidence for the messianic application of this psalm, and against its application to David or Solomon or any Israelitish king, is perfectly conclusive, and was so acknowledged by Eichhorn (Biblioth. der Bibl. Lit. I. 534). Rosenmüller, in the first edition of his Commentary, applied it to Solomon; but in the subsequent editions he abandons this ground, and proves very clearly that it must be applied to the Messiah and to him only. Still he contends that it is an ideal Messiah, and not the historical Christ of the New Testament who is here spoken of; for the Messiah of this psalm is represented (vs. 9 and 12) as much too severe and cruel for the Christ of the New Testament. Any one who reads the New Testament will see at once the groundlessness of this objection. The coming of Christ to execute judgment on his enemies is, in the New Testament, represented in the same manner, and often in language even more terrific. As, for example, by the apostle Paul (2 Thess. 1: 7-11) when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, etc. With this agree perfectly the representations which Christ gives of himself in Matthew xxiv. and xxv. See also Rev. 2: 29. 12:5. 19:15, where the very language of this psalm itself is used in reference to the historical Christ of the New Testament. The same idea is given of Christ, also, in the other prophecies of the Old Testament concerning him. Comp. Num. 24: 17-19. Isa. 11: 4. Ps. 92: 4. 110: 6, and other parallel passages.
We will indicate a few of the internal marks of the applicability of this psalm to the Messiah and the Messiah only.
Ver. 7th, the subject of this psalm is declared to be the Son of God in the highest sense, in the sense of partaking of the nature of God, which is applicable to no earthly king whatever. So the text is explained in the New Testament. Heb. 1: 5.
Vs. 8 and 9. The dominion of this king is to be coëxtensive with the earth itself, which applies to no earthly monarch. In the other
messianic prophecies, the same extent is given to his dominion. Compare Isa. 2: 2. Micah 4: 1. Zech. 9: 10.
V. 12. They are pronounced blessed who trust in this king; but the Old Testament pronounces those accursed who trust in any man, or in any being but God or the divine Messiah. So says the prophet Jeremiah (17: 5, 7) Cursed be the man that trusteth in man. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah. Compare also Micah 7: 5. Ps. 118: 9. 156:13.
The attempt of Rosenmüller to make the pronoun in this verse refer back to Jehovah in v. 11, instead of the Son, which is its immediate antecedent, is entirely unsuccessful. It does open violence to the grammatical structure of the sentence; there is nothing in the context to justify it; and it is, in every respect, purely arbitrary.
In verse 7, the phrase, this day have I begotten thee, is referred by Paul to the day of the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 13: 33); inasmuch as the resurrection was the event which proved, beyond all contradiction, the messiahship, the sonship of Jesus. To the same idea Paul recurs in Rom. 1: 3, 4, the sense of which may be given thus: Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David as to his human nature ; but as to his spiritual, divine nature, was, by the resurrection from the dead, powerfully demonstrated to be the Son of God. The verb begotten, therefore, is used, in the place quoted, in the declarative sense so frequent in Hebrew; as may be illustrated by such examples as the following: Ezek. 43: 3. "The vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city." Ezekiel never came to destroy the city, but to prophesy, to declare its destruction. See 9: 4, 5. Also Jer. 1: 10, God says to the prophet: "See! I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant." Jeremiah never either rooted out or planted nations or kingdoms, but he was appointed to prophesy, to declare these things. Again, Lev. 13: 3, 8, 13, 17, are instances of the same use of the verbs
In this psalm, as in most of the prophetic writings of the Bible, the prophet is not told by the Holy Spirit, in words, what events are to take place, nor does he write an account of them in the way of narrative; but in prophetic ecstasy he beholds the events actually occurring before his eyes, he sees the multitudes tumultuously assembling, he hears what they say, he sees God quietly seated on his throne, he hears him speak; and he writes down the whole scene, precisely as it met his eye and ear, without circumlocution or explanatory remarks. The psalm, therefore, in its form and spirit, is strictly dramatic; and it has
all the peculiar liveliness, vigor, and conciseness of expression, which belong to this species of composition. The persons who speak, are, 1st, the psalmist, vs. 1, 2; 2d, the rebels, v. 3; 3d, the psalmist, vs. 4, 5; 4th, Jehovah, v. 6; 5th, Messiah, vs. 7-9; 6th, the psalmist, vs. 1012.
When these dramatic psalms were sung in the temple-worship, the different persons were easily represented by different parts of the choir, responding to each other. For information respecting the method of chanting in responsive choirs, see the following passages; Exod. 15: 20, 21. 1 Sam. 18: 7. Ezra 3: 11. Neh. 12: 24, 31, 38, 40. Compare also Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew poetry, Andover edition, p. 156 ff. and p. 390 f.
Ps. cxxxvi. is an instance in point, where the choir of priests chanted the first line of each verse, and the whole congregation responded in the constantly recurring chorus, in, for to eternity is his mercy.
In the 2d psalm, the whole choir might chant the part of the psalmist; a particular portion of it that of the rebels; a single voice, in one place, the part of Jehovah; a single voice, in another place, that of the Messiah; and then the whole choir, that of the psalmist again. Let this be borne in mind while reading the following
(He sees the nations tumultuously assembling.)
1 Why do the heathen rage,
2 The kings of the earth stand up,
(The Psalmist hears them speak.)
3 Let us burst asunder their bands,
(He sees God quietly seated on his throne in the heavens, with looks af derision at these rebellious and imbecile movements.)
4 He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh,
5 Then doth he speak to them in his wrath,
And in his burning wrath doth he confound them.