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beg he may pardon the liberty), without the writer's knowledge or correction.
By any friends who may see these pages, and for such only they are intended, these primitiæ studiorum of a deacon in his twentyfourth year, will not be severely criticised; while, should it please God to spare my nephew's life, they will, I trust, be the precursors of better things to come.
Psalm cxxii. 6–9.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ;
They shall prosper that love thee :
And prosperity within thy palaces :
I will now say, Peace be within thee :
I will seek thy good.
The divine Poem, of which these verses form a considerable part, is one of those fifteen psalms, intitled Psalms of Degrees. The exact meaning of this title is uncertain : the original Hebrew word, signifying elevation or ascension, has given rise to a variety of conjectures. But whichever of these conjectures is to be adopted; - whether they received their name, from being performed in the Temple, with a more than common elevation of voices and instruments; or, from being sung whilst the Priest ascended the
steps of the altar (like the hymn that is used in our choirs, whilst the minister approaches the Holy Table); or else, when the tribes ascended up, on stated festivals, to Jerusalem, thus much is certain, that the Psalms in question are stamped with a character peculiarly their own: all contain, within a short compass, affecting and simple expressions of an unshaken confidence in the Almighty; and an elevation of heart towards the Heavenly Father of Israel. But that particular one, which I have chosen as the subject of to-day's consideration, yields to none, in tenderness of feeling, unity of plan, and elegance of construction. Let us, therefore, before we proceed to apply it more particularly to our own condition, briefly examine the design and purport of the Psalm, as intended by David, its inspired composer.
On a great public occasion, probably at the celebration of some signal deliverance, or at one of the chief ecclesiastical festivals of the Jews, the Psalmist thus gave vent to the feelings of his pious and affectionate heart. Rejoiced at beholding the unconstrained alacrity of his countrymen in resorting to the House of God, and cheerfully expressing a purpose so congenial to his own liveliest affections, he exclaims, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the House of the
Lord : our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
But, at the mention of Jerusalem, that chosen spot, which, from a fortress of the Gentiles, he had raised to the dignity of being the metropolis of God's inheritance, he looks around him, and, in honest exultation, rejoices in its outward beauty : Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together : that is, instead of being, as formerly, a miserable straggling village, imperfectly connecting some rude fortifications, it is become a noble city; its strong holds crowned with lofty palaces, its vallies filled with welldisposed and thickly-planted habitations.
But its moral beauty had greater charms for him. In a much higher sense was it compact together, when considered as the centre of the Jewish polity; the seat of the ecclesiastical establishment, and the civil government: For thither the tribes go up; even the tribes of the Lord : unto the testimony of Israel; to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. — It had the distinguished honour of periodically receiving the tribes of Israel, when they came to sacrifice before the testimony, or ark of the covenant, contained within the tabernacle; and to perform their service of thanks, to that incommunicable Name, which is above heaven and earth. It had
the glorious privilege of being the only place in the world where that mysterious sacrifice was celebrated, typical of the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world ; and, above all, of being the peculiar residence of the Divine Presence.
Such were its religious advantages; inestimable beyond all others, and more than sufficient, of themselves, to give Jerusalem an undisputed pre-eminence over every earthly city.
But, that nothing might be wanting to show her perfection, he adds: For there, close to the tabernacle, in the immediate presence of the Almighty, are set the thrones of judgment, the seats of the Sanhedrim, or national council; the thrones of the house of David, the palaces of the supreme earthly power of that illustrious house, whence the promised King of Judah was to spring. Such were its political advantages : and surely, if any where equal laws and impartial justice were to be expected, it must have been in such a neighbourhood, and under the influence of such heavenly protection.
Having thus exulted in its present flourishing state, the natural course of his thoughts led him to wish fervently for its continuance. Nor is he content with private supplications. He earnestly calls upon the multitude, who are thronging to