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As the high priest of their profession, through whose blood they have boldness to enter into the holiest ; and who, being their advocate with the Father, ever liveth to make intercession for them.

As the author and pattern of their perfection; drawing more and more strongly the lines of their resemblance to himself; evincing his omnipotence in the transformation of their minds; and exhibiting to holy angels and spiritual men, the rudiments of that beauty which is to receive its finish when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.

The praise thus derived to his name bears directly upon the consolation of his people in two important points.

First, it shows the safety of their state.

By leading them in the paths of righteousness, he connects their preservation with his own glory. And the question, whether they may fall into complete and final apostasy ? is answered by another, whether the Son of God shall tarnish the honor of his own name? In virtue of his covenant-engagement, he must either keep them, or deny himself: and, therefore, not one of them, no, not the feeblest of them all, can perish without the ruin of his glory. The alternative is awful, but sure; and while it stands on the heavenly record, let no heart faint, nor any joints be loosed. Here is the refuge of

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Do not disgrace the throne of thy glory; remember, break not thy covenant with us.

But the shepherd's care does not end with the direction of his flock: he supports and defends it also, both under the pressure of calamity, and in the enjoyment of privilege. The proof of this point is in verses four and five, which describe the

3d. Part of his office. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me : thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

The psalmist shows the support and protection which believers may expect from their Redeemer, in the most grievous calamity.

For, having put an extreme case in relation to himself, he declares his security, and then assigns the reason of it.

The case, which is extreme, he puts in these words: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

That we may rightly understand the whole passage, we must fix the meaning of the expression, valley of the shadow of death. It does not signify dying: for it is not the valley of death, but of the shadow of death; and the shadow of an object cannot be the same thing with the obVOL. II.

4.

SHADOW OF DEATH.

ject itself.

The psalmist speaks of walking through this valley: which is a scriptural term for a habit of action, or a course of suffering. But death is neither the one nor the other; it is a single event. Accordingly the scriptures use the similitude we are now considering in a quite different sense. Two or three examples will suffice: Psalm xliv. 19. Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the

Psalm cvii. 10-14. Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow OF DEATH, being bound in AFFLICTION AND IRON; because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High: therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their TROUBLE, and he saved them out of their DISTRESSES. He brought them out of darkness and the SHADOW OF DEATH, and brake their bands in sunder. Jer. ii. 6, 7. The Lord-led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the SHADOW OF DEATH, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt; and I brought you into a plentiful country, &c. As a shadow bears to the mind an obscure image of the appearance and proportions of its object, together with the idea of its being present or near; and as darkness is gloomy, and death

rage of

dreadful, the valley of the shadow of death, is a scene of great and uncommon distress—of such trials as overpower the soul; throw it into amazement; break its purposes; fill it with alarm and horror like that which invades trembling nature at the approach of the "king of terrors." This condition may arise from one or both of the following causes.

(1.) Temporal calamity. Acute and lingering disease; strokes upon family, or fortune, or fame; the rod of oppression ; the

persecution, when men of blood hunt for the precious life; have taught thousands of whom the world was not worthy, what is meant by walking in the valley of the shadow of death.

(2.) A similar effect may be produced by spiritual conflict, whether it be with the plague of the heart, or with the accuser of the brethren. The apostle Paul had experience of the former, when the law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which was in his members, forced from him that“ exceeding great and bitter cry," O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death; and of the latter, where there was given to him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him : with respect to both, most, if not all believers, are sooner or later, his companions in tribulation.

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