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LONDON CRITICAL JOURNAL.
ART. I.-The Book of Psalms, translated from the Hebrew; with Notes explanatory and critical. By Samuel Horsley, LL.D. F.R.S. F.A. S. late Lord Bishop of St. Asaph. 2 Vols. 8vo. London. Rivingtons, Longman and Co.
THE moral of life, the mystery of redeeming grace, the display of Almighty power and Almighty love, the spiritual history of the world, the passage of Jehovah through the wonders of his creation; all that can alarm the wicked, revive the penitent, console the afflicted, and confirm the faithful, is to be found in the Book of Psalms. But in this same book these subjects are often to be sought for so much below the shining surface of its poetical beauties, so deep in the recesses of spiritual wisdom, and so near the border of the invisible world, that minds of the greatest grasp, and longest reach, are never more usefully employed for mankind, than when engaged in the interpretation of this part of holy Scripture. Lessons of wisdom, as salutary as they are intelligible, lie open in the Psalms to the ordinary reader: the attributes of God, the rewards of piety, the vanity of human cares, and the deceitfulness of human counsels, are enforced and exposed by examples, by images, and by descriptions so magnificent, yet so familiar; so elevating, yet so natural; so suitable to common feeling, yet so commensurate with our highest faculties, that all must acknowledge their excellence, and few can wholly resist their influence: but to the mind inquisitively pious, and ardent in the pursuit of heavenly knowledge, these seraphic songs present a path of discovery continually opening before them, re
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fulgent with the footsteps of the Messiah, and resounding with the promises of the Gospel.
The title of the Book of Psalms to a place in the Sacred Canon of Scripture has never been controverted. As a work of inspiration its claim has been established by Christ and his apostles. Many of them have had their application to the great mystery of man's redemption settled and determined in an express manner by the inspired writers; and the probability is, that none of them can properly be understood as confined to temporary events and occasions. The Jews themselves, by making them a part of their daily service, plainly discover their own conviction of the prophetical and mystical character of the Psalms in general; for if understood only in their literal sense, few of them could be considered as applicable to the nation at large, but rather to the circumstances of some particular person, and therefore improper to form a part of a perpetual system of worship. They considered the shell of the holy minstrel as full of oracular virtue, and as recording the whole of God's dispensations in respect to themselves; but still as comprising only a scheme of mercy and deliverance limited to their earthly Jerusalem, Many of the Psalms they referred to Messiah and his kingdom; and though in respect to the person and character of the one, and the nature and meaning of the other, they entertained ideas infinitely below the purity and truth of Scripture, yet in the principles of interpretation, they have agreed with the primitive method of the Christian expositors.
It was impossible, in the earliest periods of the Church of Christ, for those who studied his word, not to learn from him and his apostles the proper use to be made of the Psalms. Succeeding ages have improved that use as the progress of learning and study have corrected its excesses and enlarged its foundation. The ardour of critical research which has been brought to the examination of the language of Scripture, and the indefatigable industry with which the manuscripts of the holy text have been compared and corrected, have given to the moderns very decided advantages over the ancients, in tracing the beautiful connection between the Old and New Testament.. Time, that impairs and obscures the works of human intellect, consolidates and illustrates the Bible, developes its harmonies, and brings it into closer union with our understandings and our affections.
At the head of expositors of the book of Psalms, at the head of those who have shown to Christians their peculiar interest in these inspired compositions, stands the, venerable name of the late amiable and learned Bishop Horne, Improving upon all that had gone before him, he followed up that noble scheme of