Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

PREFACE.

The Psalms, or the songs, and praises, and prayers of Israel, contain a complete history and description of the internal states, and of the spiritual experience of every member of the Lord's Church. On the one hand we behold the good and the pious, strengthened by Divine merey and power, withstanding the “fiery darts” of the wicked, and though a “ host encamp around them,” yet “are they not afraid;" though they “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” yet “they fear not," because they are comforted and protected by the rod and staff” of infinite power and goodness. When in temptations, “combating the foes of their own household,” the great REDEEMER JESUS CHRIST, the Mighty God, the Everlasting FATHER, is represented as “their shield and their buckler, their high tower, and their mighty bulwark of defence.” When on their weary pilgrimage through the wilderness of this world, when their soul is fainting within them,” he leads them in a

cloudy pillar by day, and in a pillar of fire by night;" he “ strikes the rock in the desert," and the waters flow, and sends “bread from heaven, to satisfy the longing soul.” Thus, the good and the pious find in the songs of Zion every encouragement, every consolation, every support, and the nearer they approach the gates of the celestial city, the more the “wondrous things" contained in the Psalms of David open to their enraptured minds. As the dawn of day gradually breaks upon the darkness of night, and continually brightens to a meridian splendour,

discovering in indefinite variety the numberless objects of creation, so the “day-spring” from on high gradually dawns upon the benighted perceptions of the unregenerate mind, when it begins to be delighted with the divine objects which the Psalmist contemplates, and opens to its view the celestial prospects and the divine realities of the kingdom of heaven.

66 the

To the wicked and impious, on the contrary, if they will but for a moment arouse to serious reflection and feeling, the book of Psalms exhibits in most awful imagery, if they still persist in the “counsel of the ungodly,” and still “sit in the seat of the scornful,” their final allotments :- “the snare of the fowler" will beset them, noisome pestilence" will seize upon them, “the terror by night will affright them,” “the arrow that flieth by day will pierce them,” and “the wasting destruction will overwhelm them.” How dreadful are these figures ! But, how much more dreadful are the corresponding realities! As no state of goodness is left unnoticed and undescribed in the Divine Psalms from the “little good of the righteous,” to that denoted by the purest “gold of Opbir,” or the “heights of Zion,” so no state of evil from the “slipping of the foot” to the “lowest hell” is permitted to lie in concealment. The Psalms, therefore, spiritually understood, and practically applied, are a universal palladium to the regenerate and the pious, warning and guarding them against every evil from the “lifting up of the heel,” to the “raising of the head,”—from the grossest sensual propensities, to the inmost subtleties of a deeprooted self-love, and a universal panacea to the evil and unregenerate, who may there find a power by which they “may burst asunder the bands of wickedness, and cast away from them its cords,” who may thus have every “plague stayed,” every “disease healed,” be established in spiritual health, “clad with light as with a garment, and adorned with the "beauties of holiness."

These are the great and “wondrous things” of which the Psalms treat! All subjects of less moment than these are as inferior to the primary object and end for which these divine songs have been inspired by the mouth of God, as the earth is inferior to heaven. Every idea which binds these divine inspirations down to the personal history of David, and the circumstances of his age, as is the case with some commentators, is represented in the powerful language of scripture as “drawing the stars from heaven, and casting them down to the earth,” that is, as prostituting the sacred knowledges of the spiritual sense of God's most Holy Word, to mere earthly and selfish purposes, of abiding in the letter which killeth,” to the

quenching of the Spirit which maketh alive.” David, and the history of his age, formed the direct base and plane into which the treasures of revealed wisdom could flow, and in which, as in suitable vessels, they could be transmitted to the remotest generations of mankind. Whilst, therefore, the literal sense of the Psalms in the following translation has been regarded with the most scrupulous, yea, most anxious solicitude, and with the most profound veneration, yet, it is especially to the spiritual and “wondrous things” of the internal sense that the reader's devout attention is invited.

66

That the Psalms, alike with every other portion of the Word of God, contain an internal, or spiritual sense, is well known to the readers of the doctrines of the New Jerusalem, but the assertion may probably appear strange and fanciful to those who are not yet acquainted with those doctrines. To them, therefore, a few words respecting the nature and tendency of the spiritual sense may not only be acceptable but expedient, in order that they may properly appreciate the following spiritual interpretations of the Psalms, and thus see the beauty, uniformity, and universal applicability of that admirable, yea, divine science, the science of correspondences, by which those interpretations have been made. In order to give the reader a concise view of the nature and tendency of the internal, or spiritual sense, contained in every portion of the Word of God, we cannot do better than make two or three extracts on the subject from the writings of the enlightened Swedenborg, who, as is verily believed, was the instrument, under especial divine auspices, of making known that sense to mankind, and thus of enabling them through it as a means, aided by the Holy Spirit of the LORD, clearly to understand the Sacred Scriptures of revealed truth, and in this manner to banish all discord, dissension, and heresy from the christian church.

“That all things in nature,” says Swedenborg, “both in general and in particular, correspond to things spiritual, and in like manner all and every thing in the human body, is shewn in the treatise concerning HEAVEN AND Hell, n. 87 to 105. But what is meant by correspondence, hath to this day remained unknown, notwithstanding it was a subject most familiar to the men of the most ancient times, who esteemed it the science of sciences, and cultivated it so universally, that all their books and tracts were written by correspondences. The book of Job, which was a book of the ancient church, is full of correspondences. The hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, and the fabulous stories of antiquity, were founded on the same science. All the ancient churches were churches representative of spiritual things, and their ceremonies, and also their statutes, which were rules for the institution of their worship, consisted of mere correspondences : in like manner, every

« НазадПродовжити »