« ПретходнаНастави »
I shall not do after the manner that I have adopted in some former versions, where I followed Rabbins and other interpreters, that I might not appear to set myself up for the only wise one; for here, I have resolved to stand by my own judgment, and to follow the leadings of my own spirit. And if there be any one whom that does not please, he may, for what I care, follow that which pleases him best. I know this is not the first time that my writings have not pleased all. But now, by the grace of God, I am become proof against the various opinions of men. Yet still, I will not bind myself by a determination to condemn all they say or write. "Let every man prove his own work." Let him look to it what he builds upon that foundation that is laid; let him look to it whether it be gold or wood, silver or stubble; for the day shall declare it.
Now these be the last Words of David.
THEY are called the "Last words," because he thus spoke them as testifying that he wished to hold them fast unto his latest breath, and to die and depart out of this life in the confession of them, seeing that they are spoken as we are accustomed to speak when we add our, I have said it!' This is my testimony! Let this be recorded and established for ever!' For these are not the words of the last hour of the life, or of the government of David; but the words of his ultimate wishes, (as we say), or of his last will and testament; which he would ratify by his death, and which he testifies that he would have to be observed inviolably even after his death. It is such a will and testament as is written by the testator during his life, and after which he can and may live many years, and during that time say, do, and suffer many things, while the written will, that contains
his ultimate wishes, still remains fixed, ratified, and unalterable.
Thus therefore these are called, and rightly called, "the last words of David," which he wishes to have that power and force, as though they were a last will and testament written at the point of death; though he said and did many things afterwards in his government, and suffered also many things; as appears from the subsequent part of his history, where his numbering of the people and the punishment which followed it, are recorded; and also his appointing his son Solomon as his successor to the kingdom, and giving him directions concerning the building of the temple; his taking unto him a young Shunamite virgin that she might warm him, because he had abstained from the rest of his wives since the time of their defilement by his son Absalom.
David the son of Jesse said.
How humble and modest a commencement! He does not boast of the glory of his nation and of the circumcision, nor of his virtues and sanctity of life, nor of the kingdom given to him from above. He simply styles himself" the son of Jesse," as though he were some private person, and not that mighty king, who would leave behind him heirs to such exalted honours. He is not grieved at, nor ashamed of, the very humble birth which he derived from his father, in being born of a parent who was a shepherd, nor of having been himself a keeper of sheep. Nay, that he might the more debase himself, he himself confesses the original sin of nature that he was born in sin and worthy of death, as are all the human race. And all this was because he did not here design to speak of his own glory, but of things the most high and important; and which are so far above all human things, that no human dignity, no righteousness or holiness, can add any thing to them ; and no human misery, no sin or even death, can take any thing from them.
The man who was confirmed concerning the Messiah of the God of Jacob, sweet in the Psalms of Israel, said;
Here he now begins to lift up his head above all things and to glory in a new manner, but yet, in truth and without arrogance. Here you hear another David, far above David the son of Jesse. This glory he had not by nature and by birth as hereditary; nor did he imbibe it in his father's house, from education; nor was it acquired by his own virtues, industry, wisdom, or regal power. He had it from some other quarter. He received it from above of God. For, "a man can receive nothing except it be given him from Heaven," as the Baptist saith, John iii. 27; he cannot receive it upon the grounds of his own worthiness or merits. This gift, therefore, David exultingly proclaims; and for this benefit, sings the praises of God and gives him thanks with his whole heart.
What then is that, you will say, on account of which all this glorying is? David saith the first thing is this -I am the man to whom the Lord has surely, promised the Messiah, or the Christ, of the God of Jacob! Namely, that he should be born of me, of my blood, of my posterity, and of my house! And of that I am certain and fully assured: not only because God has promised it, who is true and faithful to his word and cannot lie, but because I hold that promise fast by a fixed and assured faith, and rest securely on it without any doubt whatever, being fully persuaded that my confidence will not deceive me: and therefore with all the trust of an unshaken mind, I rest in the Word of God. And being thereby anointed with real gladness, I am now ready to yield all obedience to his will, and willing to live. or die, or to do or suffer any thing. For I know and am persuaded where this life-this spirit will remain. It will not wander in darkness, uncertainty, and doubt; nor will it depart unhappily out of this mortal body. For I know that I have the sure promise of God concerning the Messiah, and I hold the same in an unshaken faith.
The Hebrew word HUKAM can hardly be rendered by us in one word. Hieronymus says it signifies constituted,'
nor is he far from the mark; for it signifies established,' certified,' confirmed.' And I believe the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews referred, and alluded, to this word, when, in his description of "faith," he defined it as being "the substance," (in the Greek (HUPOSTASIS,) that is, a firm and sure confidence or expectation, resting on the word of God as a firm and immovable foundation. For that faith, which is truly a faith in the Word of God, ought to be that firmness and stability of mind, which neither shakes, nor wavers, nor is moved from its point, nor trembles, nor looks this way and that with anxiety; but which firmly and steadily rests on a sure and immovable foundation; that is the Word of God.
The same Hebrew word is found in that passage of Isaiah xl. 8, " But the word of the Lord shall stand for ever." For the primitive word is LAKOM. As though he had said, 'The Word of the Lord stands,'' stands firm,'' is stable,'' does not depart,' 'does not shake,' does not fluctuate,' 'does not flee,'' does not slide,'' is not frustrated.' Wherefore, when this same Word is truly apprehended by faith, the heart becomes like it, certain, firm, and secure; and stands immovable, erect, and invincible against all the attacks and impressions of temptations from the devil, death, and hell, by which it may be assailed; and, with a greatness and confidence, yields not to evils, but the more and more boldly withstands and bursts through them, courageously despising, and, as it were, looking down with proud contempt upon whatever it feels to attack or oppose it, or to cause doubt or distress.
It is such a person as this, that is termed HUKAM, ' established;' and as you may say substantiated,' confirmed,' and assured passively; that is, fully persuaded; even as the Word of God is sure actively. Such also is Paul, where he says, Rom. viii. 38, 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." And again, 2 Tim. i. 12," For I know whom I have believed; and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." And the same is written 2 Pet. i. 10, Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure."
Thus, David is here rightly called HUKAM, as having also a sure promise, (which was given also to the patriarch Jacob, Gen. xlix. 10, " The sceptre shall not depart from Judah-until Shiloh come," &c.) and resting upon it in an assured and firm faith; that this Messiah shall surely be born, and shall manifest himself, from out of his posterity. For this promise is here repeated to David, and made much more expressive and manifest, for, leaving out all the rest of the race and family of Judah, it points to the house or posterity of David only;-that the Messiah is to be surely expected from that family.
But you must here bear this in mind-that this assurance in which David says he stands, or is HUKAM, is to be referred most especially to the divine promise itself. Because there is a difference between the certainty of the promise, and the certainty of our faith; though these two must always go together. For where there is no promise there can be no faith and again, where there is no faith, the promise is in vain. But our faith is not always sufficiently firm, but is sometimes attacked by temptations, and becomes languid, and oftentimes well nigh fails. Whereas the promise, as being the eternal and immutable decree of God, stands for ever fixed, firm, and immovable. Hence, it is in respect of the promise itself that this honour is given to David, when he is called HUKAM, or fully assured,' because he has the sure promise made unto him; though he could not apprehend and hold fast that promise but by faith, for faith there must be.-But, so far concerning this first particular.
HE NOW goes on glorying, and adds, "Sweet, or