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LECTURE.

PSALM VIII.

1. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; ,

4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him ; and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet :

7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field ;

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8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

9. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth !

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On what occasion this psalm was penned, interpreters are not agreed, nor is it material for us to know. It seems probable, however, that it was composed by David, before God called him from the cottage to the crown, and whilst in the exercise of the pastoral employment, he watched his flocks by the light of the moon. But whether this is really the case or not, it is of high moment that we should rightly understand and duly improve its important instructions. A little reflection, discovers that the redemption by Christ Jesus is the endearing theme to which our attention is invited. For we shall find, in the course of our discussion, that after proposing in general terms the illustration of God's glory in the victories of the gospel ; it informs us, particularly, of the instruments who were to carry on the wondrous plan-ascends to the original source of the blessing-tells us how it should be purchased for men--and what provision is made for its security and success to the end of the world.

The mind of pious David was deeply affected by this interesting view. How did his heart burn within him, while he mused on the endearing topic! How did his spirit exult, when he saw, with prophetic eye, the honor of his Redeemer spreading to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south! Dazzled with the brightness, and overwhelmed with the immensity, of the prospect, he loses himself, and, as the mouth of those millions who should flock to the Shiloh, exclaims, in the language of admiring gratitude.

1. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth ; who hast set thy glory above the heavens !

By the “name” of God, we are to understand in general, anything which he makes known of himself: and therefore we find that his different attributes are called, in different parts of scripture, his name. Here, and in some other passages, it signifies the divine glory, or the assemblage of the divine perfections as they shine in the dispensation of grace.

That the psalmist is not speaking of the divine perfections as they are displayed in the works of nature, is manifest; because it is Jehovah whose name he says is excellent in all the earth, i. e. in all the habitable parts of the earth, where there are rational beings to know, to feel, to celebrate its excellence. Now, though nature teaches that there is a God, and teaches something too of his character, yet nature teaches neither the name nor the whole character of Israel's God. We are not to suppose that the psalmist means to exclude any

this excellence; and how could Jehovah's character appear excellent, where it was not known ? We are also to reflect that when the scriptures mention the knowledge of God's name as a ground of reverence, fear, trust, delight, &c., they always refer to a knowledge derived from revelation. Farther; excellence is a high degree of good, and cannot but attract love. But the Apostle Paul declares that the carnal mind is enmity against God; and, therefore, cannot love him, nor deem his perfections excellent. Now if unrenewed men are unable to love God, even with the help of revelation ; they certainly cannot learn to love him, without it, from the works of nature. If they think they can, it is a proof of their ignorance and self-deceit. The God whom they love, is a God of their own making. Nature and philosophy discover nothing of Jehovah, but as an absolute God. They may, and if they do him justice they will, represent him as clothed in majesty : but it is the majesty of

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