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saw, " I saw,9* the Lord always before my face ; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved :
If these words be regarded as the language of David, applied to himself, they may mean that, although banished to a foreign land by Saul, his inveterate enemy and persecutor, and in great trouble, yet having always made it his object to please God, he should still maintain his confidence in him, and hope to be rescued from danger, and to be preserved for the great object of his wishes, the succession to the throne. But considering David as personating Christ, as the apostle does, they may signify that, seeing the presence and favour of God would be with him at all times, he would have no reason to despair of the divine aid in the most unpromising circumstances, even when reduced to the grave.
26. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad : moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope :
27. Besause thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, “ my life in the grave,” neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
" Thou wilt not leave my life in the grave.” The word we translate soul, signifies life also. Thus in the injunction prohibiting murder, it is said, at every man's brother will I require the life of man ; in the original, it is the soul of man. And the ransom of life is the ransom of the soul.t Also the word which we translate hell, signifies more propprly the mansions of the dead, or any place under the surface of the globe, whether that surface be land or water, and consequently the grave. I Indeed, I believe this was the original signification of the English word, hell, a covered place, although it be now used universally to express the place of punishment for the wicked. It ought not, therefore, to have been used on the present occasion, where it gives countenance to the gross mistake which some have fallen into, that the soul of Christ at death descended into the place of the damned.
“Neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.” In the Hebrew it is holy ones, the plural number being used instead of the singular. In many copies, however, the Hebrew corresponds with the Greek ; and Dr. Kennicot thinks they all did so originally, but were afterwards intentionally corrupted, in order to destroy the force of the prophecy. However this may be, the phrase, holy one, is of the same iniport as saint, which frequently has no reference to moral character, but merely to being in a covenant or privileged state. So all Israelites are called saints or holy ones. If this phrase was intended for Christ, it denotes the purity and excellence of his character. To see corruption, is the same thing as being corrupted or perishing, as to see death, is to die.
“ My flesh shall rest in hope.” Flesh does not seem here to be
put for the body, in opposition to the mind; but for the life, as it is afterwards explained, or for the whole man. Thus, all flesh signifies not all human bodies, but all mankind, or beings consisting of both principles. If these words, then, are capable of any application to David, they express his strong confidence in God, that, notwithstanding the dangers which now surround him from his enemies, he should not be suffered to die, nor left to perish in the grave: but should still live, to experience the goodness of God in general, and particularly in bestowing upon him the crown of Israel. Considered as the words of Christ, they express his persuasion that, although brought to the grave, he should be raised thence to life, without remaining there long enough to be corrupted, and the joy and gratitude which he felt in the prospect of such an event.
28. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life : thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
- Thou hast made known to me the ways of life.” This, if applied to David, must mean that God had instructed him how to preserve his life, and to avoid the snares of death. Considered as the words of Christ, they mean, Thou hast made me acquainted with the way of returning to life, by raising me from the dead.
6. Thou shall make me full of joy with thy countenance.” In the sixteenth Psalm the words are, “ In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” The words of Peter, however, express nearly the same meaning, the joy to be derived from the countenance or presence of God.
In the case of David, this joy must be the pleasure to be derived from approaching God in the tabernacle, in which the king of Israel seems to have placed tbe chief delight of his life. In regard to Christ, it is the pleasure arising from a sense of the divine presence and favour, after he disappeared from the world.
There are other variations from the original in this quotation, besides those above-mentioned, which I have not noticed, because they appear to be immaterial.
29. Brethren, I may freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, to set up of the fruit of his loins upon his throne ;
31. He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his life was not left in the grave, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32. This Jesus God hath raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
I have left out the words, “ according to the flesh he would raise up Christ,” which are found in our translation of the thirtieth verse, because they are evidently spurious, being omitted in the best manuscripts and versions.
“ I may freely speak unto you of the patriarch David." This kind of apology was necessary in addressing Jews on the subject of this patriarch, by whom he was held in high estimation, and who might be offended at any thing which seemed derogatory from his honour, as this application of his language to another person, and not to himself, might appear to'some.
“ That God had sworn with an oath.” This oath is mentioned in Ps. cxxxii. 11, and is referred to in several passages of the historical books. " To set up the fruit of his loins upon his throne.” This expression plainly implies that Christ was to be a natural descendant of David, by the male or direct line. It was in that line that all genealogies were reckoned among the Jews.
6 He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ." It is plain hence, and indeed from the whole of Peter's comment upon the language of this Psalm, that he considered the words of David as a direct prophecy of the resurrection of Christ, and not in any degree applicable to himself. Paul likewise refers to them with the same view, in his address to the Jews at Antioch in Pisidia, recorded in chapter the thirteenth of this book. And this interpretation seems to have been admitted as just in both cases by the Jews; for in consequence of the apostle's reasoning upon this subject, many of them embraced Christianity. Yet it has been observed by some, of no small reputation for sagacity, that in reading the Psalms, without any knowledge of this interpretation, all persons at the present day would have concluded that David was speaking of himself only, and intending to say, that God would not suffer him to perish by the hands of his enemies, or at most, that if he should die, God would raise him from the dead, and admit him to a state of greater happiness in a future life. It has likewse been said, that in the whole Psalm there is not a single expression which David may not well be supposed to have used concerning himself, and that no second person is mentioned or alluded to. What weight these circumstances ought to have, in opposition to the authorities before mentioned, I shall leave to the reader to determine.*
33. Therefore being by, 6 at," the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.
“ Being at the right hand of God exalted." These words are not to be interpreted literally, as if the Supreme Being were seated upon a visible throne in the sky, and had a right hand and left, where beings are stationed according to the degree of favour which they enjoy ; but, to be exalted at the right hand of God, is to be understood metaphorically, for enjoying the first place in his favour
* Theological Repository, Vol. IV. p. 113.
and confidence. The language is evidently borrowed from the practice of the courts of earthly princes, where men are placed at the right hand or left, according as they possess more or less of the prince's favour. That it is a metaphorical exaltation which is here referred to, is evident hence, that the proof, which is adduced of his possessing it, is not his being seen lifted up on high, but his shedding forth these extraordinary powers.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are called the promise of the Father, because they had been promised to Jesus by him; and they are said to be shed or poured out by Christ, because given at his request, and through his agency.
34. For David is not ascended into the heavens ; but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35. Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Peter now produces a fresh proof of Christ's exaltation, which is borrowed from Ps. cx. 1, where David seems to be favoured with a prospect of the future Messiah, in the same manner as Abraham saw Christ's day, and to hear the language which God, the great Lord of all, addresses to him, desiring him to sit at his right hand, in the place of chief honour until he should bring all his enemies to his feet, or make them his footstool; that is, bring them to a state of the lowest subjection. This, Peter observes, David could only have said by the gift of prophecy ; for he was not in heaven to hear the language, but was now lying in the grave.
36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Not Lord of the whole creation, a title which belongs to Jehovah alone, but the Lord just spoken of in the prophecy of David ; his Lord or superior, or the head of the Christian church.
1. LET Christians rejoice in the exaltation of their Master. He who was treated with contempt and scorn by the world, who was condemned and crucified as a malefactor, is raised to a post of the highest dignity and honour, the honour of bestowing upon men those miraculous powers by which superstition, idolatry and vice, were to be overthrown; and by which virtue, truth and righteousness were to be established in the world. A glorious prince, more honourable than any who occupied the throne of his father David ! A happy triumph, not obtained by blood and slaughter and the many evils of war, but by the sacred energy of truth; the willing subjection of the mind to laws which it approves ! It is the emancipation of slaves from the tyranny of vice. Such a triumph is as honourable for the vanquished as for the victor. Let us rejoice that our Master has obtained the joy set before him, the glory which he desired, the only object worthy of the ambition of a truly virtuous and benevolent mind, that of conferring upon mankind the most extensive blessings. He has now a nane given him above every name; he stands first in the list of virtuous characters and of the benefactors of the human race. And well does he deserve this distinction ; for although in the form of God, although possessed of a power of working miracles at pleasure like God, he restrained the exercise of this power, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and became obedient to death, the death of the cross.
2. After beholding the exaltation of Jesus, let none of his followers be discouraged from persevering in the path of virtue. Whatever difficulties you have to contend with, you will one day surmount; whatever afflictions it my seem fit to Divine Providence that you should now endure, they shall at length be excharged for joy. Never can your condition be more unpromising than that of your Master was. In his reward and triumph you may see a pledge of your own. It is a faithful saying, “ If we be dead with Christ we shall live with him ; if we suffer we shall also reign with him ;” but “ if we deny him he will deny us.”
3. If Jesus is made lord in his church, let us be careful to render him due obedience in that character. Let us take our rule of faith from his gospel, without adding thereto or taking from it. In matters of religion let us submit to his authority alone. To follow the imaginations of our minds, or to receive the dictates of fellowcreatures, whether one or a greater number, is to renounce the allegiance which we owe to Christ, and to choose another master. Such conduct cannot fail to be highly offensive to him, as well as injurious to his religion.
The historian now proceeds to give an account of the impression made upon the multitude by the miracle of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and the reasoning of Peter upon the subject.
37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, “ to the heart," and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, 66 brethren,” what shall we do?
How shall we escape the calamities which are coming upon the Jewish nation, and repair the error which we have committed in rejecting and crucifying the Messiah ? By the quotations which Peter made from Joel, in which the prophet speaks of the sun being turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, and of blood and fire, and vapour of smoke preceding the terrible day of the Lord, which the apostle applied to the present occasion, they understand that great and uncommon evils were about to befal their country, and they are anxious to be informed in what manner they