Practical Reflections on the Psalms - Book 1a

J. N. Darby.

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My purpose in this series of papers is not to interpret the Psalms, but to draw from them some portion of the spiritual instruction and edification they afford our souls. The interpretation has been sought to be given elsewhere. The Psalms afford us special light on the government of God and the sympathies of the Spirit of Christ with His people. This, in the first instance, has the Jews for its object and centre of display. Still, in making allowance for the difference of their state and ours, and of the relationship of a people with Jehovah and children with a Father, God's ways in government apply to us Christians also. If it is not the highest ground on which a Christian is viewed, for that is heavenly; it is a most important and interesting one, and brings out all the tenderest displays of divine care, the care of Him who counts the very hairs of our head, and the seriousness and vigilance required in walking before God, who never swerves from His holy ways, who is not mocked, nor withdraws His eyes from the righteous, though all be the ministration of His grace for perfecting us according to these ways before Him. Of this application of the government of God to the Christian's ways, the Epistles of Peter are more especially the witness. See, for example, 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Peter 3:10-15, and the spirit and tenor of the whole Epistle. This government in the second Epistle is carried on to the consummation of all things. The first is more the government of the righteous, the second the judgment of the wicked, though that judgment, as closing the power of evil and the deliverance of the just, be alluded to in the first also. He was the apostle of the circumcision, and this subject came specially under his eye in teaching.

Psalm 1. This government in the earth is plainly pointed out in the first psalm, and the character of those whom that government blesses. He it is who keeps separate from the wicked in his way, and delights in the law of Jehovah, and meditates on it. Submission to the Christ, as the depositary of this government in God's counsels at the close of this time of trial, is the subject of the second. Only a few words on the first of these two psalms, which lay the basis of all the rest. The counsel of the ungodly, the way of sinners, and the seat of the scornful are avoided. While here connected with human responsibility in walk, yet it is being kept from the evil. I do not desire to spin out the force of the words, but a few remarks may be made on these words. The ungodly have plans, counsels of their own will, their own way of viewing things, and arrangements to obtain their purpose. There the just is not found. The sinner has a path in which he walks, pleasing himself there: the just does not walk with him. The scornful are at ease, despising God: there the just will not sit. Judgment will come, and such will not be allowed to stand in the congregation of the just then brought to rest by the glory of God.

2 Psalm 2. This psalm announces the establishment of Christ's earthly triumph and royalty in Zion, when the heathen shall be given Him for an inheritance. This is not yet fulfilled. The government of God does not secure the good from suffering as it will then, but turns suffering to spiritual blessing, and restrains the remainder of wrath, giving a glorious reward for our little sorrows. But for us a Father's name is revealed in them. We call on the Father who, without respect of persons, judges according to every man's work, and we pass the time of our sojourning here in fear, knowing that we are redeemed. Here kings are called on to submit before the coming judgment of the earth. But this is not yet executed, and we have to learn our own lesson in patience. This the Psalms will teach us.

Psalm 3. Let us see the lessons of the first psalms which follow. Troublers are multiplied, but the first thought of faith is Jehovah. There the spirit is at home, and looks at troublers from thence. Jehovah is thus trusted. When Jehovah comes in the heart before those that trouble me, all is well. Our spirits see Him concerned in matters, and are at peace. He is a glory, shield, and lifter up. Another point is, it is not a lazy, listless, view of evil and good, nor listless confidence. Desire and dependence are active, the links of the soul with Jehovah. I cried, and lie heard. That is certain. That is the confidence that, if we ask anything according to His will He hears, and if He hears, we have the petition. We do not desire, if sincere, to have anything not according to His will; but it is an immense thing, in the midst of trial and difficulty, to be sure of God's hearing, and God's arm in what is according to His will. Hence rest and peace. "I laid me down and slept; I awaked: for Jehovah sustained me." How emphatic and simple! Is it so with you, reader? Does all trouble find your heart so resting on God as your Father, that, when it is multiplied, it leaves your spirit at rest, your sleep sweet, lying down sleeping, and rising as if all was peace around you, because you know God is and disposes of all things? Is He thus between you and your troubles and troublers? And if He is, what can reach you? The thousands of enemies make no difference if God is there. The Assyrian is gone before he can arise to trouble or execute the threats, which, after all, betray his conscious fear. We are foolish as to difficulties and trials, measuring them by our strength instead of God's, who is for us if we are His. What matter that the cities of Canaan were walled up to heaven, if the walls fell at the blast of a ram's horn? Could Peter have walked on a smooth sea better than on a rough one? Our wisdom is to know that we - can do nothing without Jesus - with Him everything that is according to His will. The secret of peace is to be occupied with Him for His own sake, and we shall find peace in Him and through Him, and be more than conquerors when trouble comes; not that we shall be insensible to trial, but find Him and His tender care with us when trouble comes.

3 Psalm 4. This psalm affords us another most important principle, the effect of a good conscience in calling upon God in our distress. It is not here a good conscience as justified from sin, but a practically good conscience, giving confidence towards God. If our heart condemn us not, says the apostle, then have we confidence towards God. "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness." He does not say, Justify me, O God of my righteousness; but, Hear me, The soul is in trouble, yet had been enlarged, had had experience of God's faithful loving-kindness. His glory and honour was from God, How true this was of Christ! Man turned it into shame, and sought after vanity. Still it remained unalterably true, in the divine government of Him who cannot deny Himself, that He has set apart the godly for Himself. They are Thine, says Christ. We are a peculiar people to Himself. Now this is always true, but in walking in godliness we have the present confidence of it, and our eye sees God brightly, and we know then He will hear us. We have not lost the perception of what He is at the present moment for us. Our soul is not beclouded, and nothing is so soon clouded as present dependence on and confidence in God. Integrity, when there is dependence, gives courage. It is not that God will not hear us from the depths of contrition, but this is another thing. Integrity of heart gives confidence in the day of trouble, because God is seen by the spirit. The eye is then fixed on Him across all the trouble. And so it is here: Commune with your own heart and be still worship God in integrity, without fear, and trust in Him. In what is around us, many might say, Where is any good to be found? and, discouraged and disheartened, despair of finding any; but in and through all circumstances the light of God's countenance is the secure and unchangeable good. His favour is better than life. Besides, it secures good. The power of evil is below the power of God. He disposes of it, removes it, turns it to blessing, annuls it as He sees fit. The light of His countenance does this for faith. And the soul rises above evil, and rejoices in God. Hence there is more joy than in temporal blessings. They may be taken away: besides, they are not God Himself, and the light of His Countenance in trouble is altogether Himself, and gives the secret to the soul of His being for us. Hence one lies down in peace and sleeps - does not disquiet himself in anxious watchfulness against evil, for after all it is God only that secures him in joy or trouble.

4 Psalm 5 furnishes the occasion of saying a word on the calls for judgment which are many times found in the book, and with that I shall pass it over. There is constancy of cry in the presence of enemies. It is to Jehovah the tried one looks; but it is on the ground of that righteous character and government of God which makes it impossible for Him to look on evil complacently. He will destroy the violent and deceitful man. And this is right. The Christian feels God ought not to let successful evil go on for ever. When his mind rests on the government of God, he looks for the removal of evil by judgment, and rejoices in it; not in thinking of the evil doer, but of the righteousness and the result. Vengeance belongs to God. But it is in no way the element He lives in. The Jew having his portion in the earth - "for the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" - looks for the removal of the violent and deceitful man, in order to his own comfort and rest. Not so the Christian. He leaves the violent man here and goes to heaven. He walks, as to his personal walk, in the time of grace, and leaves it for glory. Even in the millennium, when government will be exercised and the wicked cut off, his distinctive place is grace. The river of water flows out of the city; the leaves of the tree of life, of which he eats the full ripe fruit, are for the healing of the nations. Now his place is wholly grace and patience. He does well, suffers for it, and takes it patiently, and knows this is acceptable with God. He would overcome evil with good. He sees the evil, knows it will be judged, that the judgment shall devour the adversaries, and, viewed as adversaries, can be glad that they are removed from hindering good. Righteous judgment, I repeat, his soul owns and acquiesces in. But he looks not for it for his own gain or liberty. He is above this in grace. And this was Christ's place. He will execute judgment. His Spirit calls in these Psalms for judgment. But as walking on earth, in which He was a personal pattern for us, He did not call for judgment on His enemies. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," was His word when their violence was directed against Himself; and in judgment He opened not His mouth.

5 Now Psalm 5 takes up the call for judgment according to God's government of the earth, founded on Jehovah's immutable character, and looks for the happiness and joy of Jehovah's people flowing from it. And so it will; but not ours, because our joy is in heaven, where such deliverances are not needed. We leave the earth. Hence, while the spirit sees and feels the rightness of this psalm, I do not give it as in any way the experience of a Christian, save that his cry in difficulty and trial is undividedly and actively directed to the Lord - we may say to the Father.

Psalm 6 and 7 both partake of this character and call for judgment. But Psalm 6 is on very different ground from Psalm 5, and in certain respects will afford us experimental light for the Christian. When the believing soul is under trial, the recurrence to God as its resource and hope is the natural movement of faith; the great grace of God in being for us, the sense that there is nothing like this love, and the confidence which accompanies submission of heart, draw out the heart towards Him. Nor is there a sweeter time for the soul that trusts Him than the time of trial. This supposes indeed the will to be broken, and the heart subject, and God's love to be known. When this is not the case, the trial through grace works submission and is then removed, or the soul finds its happiness in the wise and holy will of God, and in the fruit it bears. But there is another case where trial, though ever salutary and gracious, has another element in which it makes confiding love to God more difficult. I mean where the trial has its source in the conduct of the person suffering. If I have brought trial on myself by sin, how difficult to see love in it! how difficult not to groan in the consciousness that it is the fruit of sin, and just rebuke for it, and hence that we have no right to think of love in it! Yet where can we turn but to Him? and how look to Him to deliver whom we have offended? Such is the real and distressing difficulty of a soul which, feeling that it has brought sorrow on itself, feels it has no right to took for deliverance. It is indeed almost tempted to despair and sink under the sense of hopelessness. This was the force of our Lord's intercession for Peter, that his faith might not fail, his confidence in Christ and his love and hope of divine favour not be lost, or he might fall into the hands of Satan through despair and remorse. In his case it was not trial or chastening, but the danger was the same. Faith hinders this despairing feeling, but it does not take away the sense of sin or of the justness of rebuke; but it trusts God and His love and goodness, which now take the character of mercy to the spirit of the sufferer. The sense of sin is deeper, the dread of consequences less, and God is trusted with a humbled heart in spite of all. Still it is felt that rebuke is deserved - nay, the soul may be in a measure under it.

6 This is the state brought before us in Psalm 6. It pleads the distress and desolateness under which it is lying, and looks for mercy, and pleads that the rebuke may not be in anger. It has confidence in God, though in presence of the thought that the rebuke of His anger would be but the natural consequence. It owns the justness of this, yet resting in faith on grace says, How long? God cannot cast off for ever those who trust in Him: light will spring up. There is relationship with God and faith counts on it. So that the heart can plead its extreme sorrow and trial with a God whose compassions are known. The last three verses express this confidence fully. We see how the government of God applies to this world, so that death has the character, in that government, when so failing on any one, of cutting off. This was fully true with the Jew, as we see in Hezekiah and even in Job. But it is true in a measure as to the Christian. There are sins unto death, and death may have the character of discipline, as in 1 Corinthians 11, and may be arrested, as we read in James' and John's epistles. The Psalm does not look beyond it, save into darkness, nor does the government of God either. When the believer has peace, he looks at discipline, even when justly severe, in the sense of certain divine favour. Hence his horror of sin is of a much purer kind, for it abhors the sin and not its consequences. It may be that the fiery darts of the wicked reach him or that dread threatens him at least. He looks through it to God's mercy and faithfulness. His faith through Christ's intercession does not fail. Still this is a terrible state; but the heart clings to God and can say, How long?

7 Psalm 7 is a full and elaborate appeal to righteousness and vengeance, and faith in that judgment. Thus the congregation of the peoples of the earth will own Jehovah and compass Him about.

He looks for God's anger on the wicked as he deprecated it for himself, and he expects it with a certain faith. This we do and own it all to be most right and excellent; but I cannot give the Psalm as presenting anything of the experience of the Christian, save the consciousness of integrity and the fact of trusting God. It is all true and certain; but it is for those who are in the distress produced by the haughty wicked, and look for deliverance, yet not to suffer like and with Christ that they may be glorified together, that the psalm provides an expression of feeling.

Psalm 8 is the celebration of Jehovah's millennial dominion and the glory of the Son of man in connection with, and in the mouth of, the Jewish people. But the psalm gives us a most interesting insight into the glory of Christ, and, as far as is possible in the Old Testament, our association with Him. It views man, set as the image of the invisible God, ruler over creation. It does not, and could not in direct revelation, go beyond man's place in this world, for the mystery was not revealed in the Old Testament; but Adam was the image of Him that was to come, Jehovah is the Lord of Israel. What is man? Christ is the answer. But He is Jehovah, and His glory set above the heavens, the earth put under His feet. Even in the days of His humiliation, the enemy and avenger was stilled by babes and sucklings uttering His praise; for the Father took care that, if for His sake the Lord was despised and rejected of men, there should be the testimony to His glory; and so it was, as Son of God, Son of David (as to which these words are quoted), and Son of man. (See John 11 and 12.) But in that day His name will be excellent in all the earth, Meanwhile He is crowned with glory and honour, even while all things are not put under Him. As a mere creature, man is small and feeble. But the Man of God's counsel, the last Adam, is over all. See Proverbs 8, where, before the creation, Christ is seen as the wisdom of God, Jehovah's delight, and His delight in the sons of men. So, when He was born, the angels celebrate God's delight in (not "goodwill towards") men. What is man? is asked by Job, irritated. Why could God not let him alone? (Job 7:17.) And in Psalm 144, why should God so patiently spare the wicked? But here it is Man in the counsels of God, the last Adam, the second Man, Christ, the glory of Jehovah, set as Man above the heavens, and the earth subject under His feet, yea, all things, which as yet we see not, only the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ crowned with glory and honour, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.

8 I pass over Psalms 9 and 10 - the former celebrating the judgment of the enemies of Israel, the latter descriptive of the wickedness of their oppressors, They express the consciousness during the oppression that God does see it, and does not forget the humble; and then, on the deliverance, they celebrate the faithfulness of Jehovah. The world is judged in righteousness, and Jehovah known by the judgment which He executes. I have only to draw the reader's serious attention to the judgment of the world here spoken of, and the main scene of it in the land of Israel; while in every case, the humble soul in oppression and trial may walk in peaceful assurance that God sees it, and that its cause is in the hands of God; yea, what is more difficult, that when it has brought it on itself, if truly humbled, it may count on God. I now turn to the expression of the feeling of those who are in the trial before the deliverance comes, and while they have to possess their souls in patience.

Psalm 11 sees distinctly - as is always true, though not publicly manifested as at that time - that there is no hope from, no reliance on, man on the earth - that nothing earthly is stable, and that evil has brought in ruin. The foundations are cast down, and what are the righteous to do? This, for faith, is true, since the time that Christ was rejected on earth; only the restraining hand of God checks the power of evil, as long as patience can be exercised, and there are souls yet to be drawn out to the fellowship of Christ. It will be openly the case when the wicked one wields power in the earth, before God arises to judgment, and to help all the meek of the earth. Cases of peculiar trial bring us often into analogous circumstances in our own little sphere. Only we must remember that we have to do with a Father known as such, who disciplines us for our profit, for our heavenly and eternal gain, with a well-known love which has not spared His own Son, but delivered Him up for us.

9 The question put in the psalm is: If the foundations be cast down, what can the righteous do? - what they might refer to as of divine stability? For good does not exist, and the wicked are disturbed by no scruple of conscience, and with fraud of heart seek to destroy the righteous. There is a time when the Lord warns to flee, when no action and no patience is of any avail. This is not the case here. It is only so when God delivers up all to the wicked for a time, Fear and unbelief would urge flight, as a bird, away from the scene to a place of refuge and human security. Faith looks higher. "In Jehovah put I my trust." Trust in Jehovah, who is above all, to whom nothing is unknown, whom nothing escapes, whose faithfulness is unchangeable, without whom not a sparrow falls to the ground, who, after all, orders everything, whatever man's plans are, who is our Father. Trust in Him is the resource and peace-giving feeling of the righteous. This, in its nature, gives a perfect walk and calmness at all times; because circumstances do not govern the feelings, and the soul has no motive to lead it but the will of God, and can have boldness to do it when called on, through confidence in Him. It gives calmness too, because God is trusted for every result.

But the simple fact of this confidence is not all the psalm teaches us. All is subverted and in confusion on earth; no security for the righteous there. But Jehovah is in His holy temple; His throne is in heaven; and His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. He does not slumber nor sleep; the righteous may leave his cause to Him. But there is, besides this, an explanation of God's ways in the time of sorrow. Jehovah tries the righteous. When His eyelids, who sees all things according to His own purity, try the children of men, He has an object as regards the righteous; He proves and sifts them. This is a most important truth - the activity of God in dealing with the righteous, to accomplish His own gracious purposes as to them, to manifest His own character, to judge, and lead them to judge, all that is not according to it, and thus give them the intelligence of what He is, and conform them morally to it, at the same time subjecting their wills, and engaging their affections, by the sense of His faithfulness and love. The breaking of the will is a great means of opening the understanding.

10 But His temple and His throne govern all this. In His temple every one speaks of His honour. It is the place where man approaches Him, where His nature and character are revealed for man to be associated with Him according to them. And the throne orders all things to associate us rightly with the temple. The flesh, of course, cannot always like it; but this dealing with it is just what is profitable in the matter. He tries the children of men. Their actions do not escape His eye. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do, and He judges of them all. But more particularly He tries the righteous. This is in contrast with His hatred of the wicked, on whom He will pour out judgment. In His trial of the righteous one must first think of God's own character and glory. This He maintains. For, however His countenance beholds the upright, however much He delights in them in love, He cannot deny Himself. He will conform them to what He is, but not relinquish this. He maintains His character in government. He has let the earth know, in Israel, that He will not have wickedness, The nearness of a people to Him is only an additional motive for this. "Thee only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for your iniquities." And now, whatever His grace, God is not mocked: what a man sows he will reap. The passages are numberless in which this principle is applied to Israel. It is carefully maintained in Romans 2:6, and following verses. The Epistles of Peter particularly unfold this righteous government of God - the first, as regards the righteous; the second, as against the wicked. In trying the righteous, God vindicates and maintains His character in those near Him.

But it is for the profit also of those who are tried, the precious proof of the constant watchful care of God. "He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous," says Elihu. It is, if need be, that we are in heaviness through manifold temptations or trials. We are to count it even all joy (James 1:2-3) when we fall into divers temptations, seeing that they work patience. And mark the fruit: "Let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." We are to glory in tribulations (Rom. 5): they work patience and this brightens, in its result, our hope, the love of God being shed abroad in the heart - the true key to all that comes.

11 The love of God in the chastening itself leads to two conclusions, expressed in Hebrews 12 - not to despise the chastening, for there must be a reason for it in us if love does it; and not to faint, because it is love which does it.

There are two causes which, as we are taught in the book of Job, bring trial on the saint. First, God shews the transgressions in which man has exceeded, that is, positive faults. Secondly, He withdraws man from his purpose, and hides pride from him; Job 33:16-17; chap. 36:7-9. This book gives us full divine instruction as to God's ways in trying the righteous. There we learn another truth, important to exercised souls, who often dwell on secondary causes - that God is the cause, and moves in all these exercises. The origin of all Job's trials was not Satan's accusation, but God's word, "Hast thou considered my servant Job?" God had, and saw that he needed this. The instruments were wicked, or disasters caused by Satan; but God had considered His servant, tried the righteous, but measured exactly the trial - stayed His rough wind in the day of the east wind ["in measure debate with"]; and when He had done His own work (which Satan could not do at all), and shewn Job to himself, blessed him abundantly.

He humbles us and proves us, that we may know what is in our heart - feeds us with the bread of faith; but it is to do us good in our latter end.

When the trial is met in the truth and power of spiritual life, it develops and brings out much more softness and maturity of grace - a spirit more separated from the world to God, and more acquainted with God. Where it is met by or meets the flesh, the will of this - its rebellion - is brought to light, the conscience becomes sensible of it before God, and, by the discipline itself, the self-will is, even insensibly, destroyed.

Trial cannot in itself confer grace; but, under God's hand it can break the will, and detect hidden and unsuspected evils so that the new life is more fully and largely developed. God has a larger place in the heart, there is more intelligence in His ways, more lowly dependence, more consciousness that the world is nothing, more distrust of flesh and self. The saint is more emptied of self and filled with the Lord. What is eternal and true, because divine, has a much larger place in the soul; what is false is detected and set aside. There is more ripeness in our relationship with God. We dwell more in the eternal scenes into which He has brought our souls. We can look back then, and see the love which has brought us through it all, and bless God with dependent thanksgiving for every trial. Such only purge away the dross, and confirm us in brighter, fuller, clearer hope, and increasing our knowledge of God, self being proportionately destroyed.

12 Psalm 12. It is evident that it is written under the pressure of extreme wrong and violence and the feeling of being isolated. Human power, and those that have confidence in it, are all against the soul. It is rare to be in such a case rightly, that is, to have occasion to suffer as is here described. But it may come. Individual Christians may find themselves isolated and pressed down. Verse 5 introduces Jehovah's judgments, which will put an end to it. This He often does still in His government, but it is not the direct proper hope of the Christian. For him to do well, suffer for it and take it patiently, is acceptable with God. His rest is elsewhere, where God is perfectly glorified; so it was with Christ, and, therefore, with us. He surely did well, suffered for it here on the earth, was not delivered. How acceptable it was with God I need not say. It behoved Christ to suffer. It is our profit; so that we can glory in tribulations also, because of their fruits, a far higher fruit than ease or repose here, and which ripens in heaven, in our being fitted for enjoying God more deeply; and if we suffer for righteousness' and Christ's sake, we can say, Happy are we: the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us. But in many cases of detail, deliverance, if we wait patiently for it, comes even here. At any rate, and this is the point of the psalm, the words of Jehovah are pure words; they prove all that is in man, but they may be thoroughly relied on as genuine. He will hold good in holiness, but make good in power, all that His mouth has uttered. Our wisdom is to hold fast by the word of the Lord, come what will. Outward trials are but instruments of purification and of trying the heart as to faith. The word is the test of all for the soul, the inward measure of its condition before God, and the infallible ground of confidence. If it tries the heart, if the circumstances we are in try the heart, it is only to free it from all that would hinder our leaning on and appropriating every word that has come out of the mouth of God. We shall surely live by it.

13 Psalm 13 continues the expression of the workings of a soul under the trials we have seen referred to in Psalm 10. We have, comparatively speaking, less to do with it. Yet the Christian may be tried by the momentary and apparent triumph of the power of evil, and in such can look to the Lord for deliverance, not to be left as if God did not care for him. We see the difference of the Jewish remnant here and Christ, for outwardly He was left in the hand of the wicked; whereas (though indeed some of the wise will fall by the hand of the enemy in that day, obtaining a better resurrection, but), in general, they will be spared and delivered. But our object now is the moral lesson. Not only in the midst of heartless and conscienceless enemies, but apparently forgotten of God, the soul trusts in His mercy, counts on Himself in goodness and faithfulness of mercy so as to rejoice in deliverance by His power before it comes. So we thank God, when we pray, before we receive the answer, because knowing in our hearts by faith that God has heard and answered us, we bless Him before His answer comes outwardly; and this is just the proof of faith. Such confidence gives wonderful peace in the midst of trials - we may not know how God will deliver, but we are sure He will, and rightly. He has all at His disposal. It is Himself we trust, and in looking to Him the heart receives a real answer on which it relies. The circumstances and the word try the heart. Confidence and divine deliverance rejoice the spirit. One knows, even before the deliverance comes, that God is for us. The taking counsel in the heart is very natural, but not faith. It wears and distresses the spirit. The sorrow tends to work death. The soul, even though submitting, preys on itself; it is turning to the Lord which lightens the soul. The consciousness that it is the enemy who works against us helps the soul to confidence. It is a solemn, and for man would be an appalling, thought, but with the Lord is a ground of being assured of deliverance.

Psalm 14 is an eminent example of a principle of very frequent application: how psalms or other passages of scripture, clearly applicable literally to the Jews in the last days, and to events then occurring, are used as great principles deciding morally on important truths at all times - truths which are then publicly and judicially brought to light. The apostle applies this psalm as the expression of the divine judgment on the state of the Jews, as declared in their own scriptures, and proving the need of a righteousness not their own. I have not much to remark on it here. We may expect to meet with difficulties which arise from a total absence of the fear of God in those with whom we have to do. It is hardly credible for one that fears God, that this can be so, that there should be no compunction nothing that stays the heart in wickedness, at least in deliberate wickedness, But we must expect this sometimes, where we should least expect it. But Jehovah sees all this. This is our confidence. He may take time, be patient with evil, or at least with evil doers, and exercise us; but He sees it all. Not only so, but God Himself is in the generation of the righteous. There is an influence produced by the presence of God with the righteous, which the enemies of Jehovah feel, and which in the righteous is known only by faith. We may see an example in what Rahab evidently saw among the Canaanites; Joshua 2:9. The same feeling is referred to in Philippians 1:28. This feeling of fear, in those who oppose the truth, may be accompanied with boasting and violence; but when faith has confidence in Jehovah, the wicked, even if they succeed, have always fear. So the Jews, even when they had crucified Christ, feared lest, after all, His absence from the tomb should make matters worse than before, But there must be the sense of God's presence for the righteous to be thus sustained.

14 Psalm 15 shews evidently that the direct application of these psalms is to the Jews in the last days. Still there is a present government of God which it is well for saints to remember. It is developed in the Epistles of Peter - in the first in favour of the righteous, in the second in the judgment of the wicked. See 1 Peter 3:10-15, shewing the Christian application of the principles on which God dealt with the Jews as a people, and will still more absolutely in the last days, but which have their application to the time of our sojourn here below.

Thus, though this psalm be strictly Jewish in its character, we have principles to act on; and so verse 4 gives what, in principle, pleases the Lord at an times.

15 Psalm 16. With these few remarks I pass on to Psalm 16, which applies directly to Christ, but in which we shall find the sweetest instruction also for ourselves. It is essentially Christ taking the place of a man, and pointing out the path of life before Him through death, since He came for us, but trusting in Jehovah, into His presence, where is fulness of joy. We must not lose sight of the direct prophetic character; still this path is an example for us. The good Shepherd has gone before the sheep. The great principle proposed in the psalm is trust in the Lord, even in death - the place of dependent obedience; and the Lord Himself's being the whole portion of man excluded all inconsistent with this; we may add, having Him always in view. These are the great principles of divine life, and of divine life come into the scene of sin and death. No doubt we should speak of communion with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in this path of life; but the great moral principles, the subjective state of soul, is brought out before us here, and that in Christ Himself. And note here, it is His perfection as man, and before God and towards God. It is not divine perfection, God manifested to man, but what He was as man dependent on God. We have not even His offering Himself, in which we have also to follow Him (1 John 3:16), but His place as man in perfection. It is perfectness before God - the principle that governed Him. Hence even the word, "My goodness extendeth not to thee," has its application also to us. That our goodness does not actually reach God, it might seem almost absurd to affirm; but when it is applied to Christ as man, who was absolutely perfect, it affords us an apprehension of the nature of this goodness, a principle which we can apply to ourselves, and which puts us in our place. It is man's perfection towards God, the new path of which Christ is the perfection and example in the earth. But this thought shews the unspeakably blessed place which we have as Christians, though in our own case in the midst not only of weakness but of internal conflicts which were not in Christ, in whom was no sin. But Christ's place is the perfect expression of our place before God. This is fully unfolded at the close of the Gospel of John, and particularly in chapter 17.

The Epistle of John too, which first presents Christ as the manifestation on earth of that eternal life which was with the Father (its manifestation in a man whom their hands had touched), teaches that this was true in Christians as in Him (1 John 2:8), and unfolds the character of this life in righteousness and in love, adding the presence of the Holy Ghost, through which we can dwell in God and God in us. We have this eternal life, which is come down from heaven but is only said to be in the Son, yet he who has the Son has it; indeed, this gives it all its value. No doubt the Epistle of John unfolds it in all its extent and value, as it cannot be unfolded in the Psalms: still in this psalm we have Christ taking the place itself as amongst the excellent of the earth. I may remark here that the writings of John, though intimating it and just shewing that we shall be with Christ above, do not pursue this life to its presentation in glory before God. This is Paul's office; indeed, he had only so seen Christ. John presents the life in itself and manifested on earth. The life is the light of men.

16 I have already made some allusion to a restriction which we must put, in speaking of this psalm, to the development of the life of Christ on earth. But this restriction only brings out more directly and blessedly in its place that part of Christ's life, which is the subject of the psalm itself. Christ was the manifestation of God Himself (I speak of the divine traits of His character, not of His divine nature and title) in His path in this world. Perfect love was seen there, perfect holiness and righteousness. He was the truth in the revelation of all that God is. And this is most blessed; and in this we have to imitate Him. See Ephesians 4:32; chap. 5:1-2; Colossians 3:10. But this is not the aspect in which the psalm views Him. It depicts His place as the dependent devoted man. It depicts Him as taking His place among the remnant of Israel in contrast with the idolatry of that people. But on that I do not dwell now. The character of the blessed Lord's life will alone occupy our thoughts,

The expression, "My goodness extendeth not to thee," would not suit the divine manifestation of goodness on the earth. But, taking His place entirely as a man here, the Lord shews us the true place of man living to God; not in his innocence, not surely in sin, but the very opposite; but perfect, in a world of sin; in righteousness and true holiness, having the knowledge of good and evil, tempted but separate from sin and sinners; not made higher than the heavens, but fit for it in the desires of His nature, and in the path towards it dependent, obedient, taking no place with God, but before Him as responsible as man upon earth, and looking towards the place of perfect blessedness as man with God by being in is presence, which would be fulness of joy for Him: a place which, when having His nature, we can have with Christ. It is man trusting God, deriving His pleasure and joy from God, living by faith, and in that sense apart from Him - not God manifested in the flesh, which we know was also true of the blessed Lord. This, while it is our place on earth as sanctified through the truth, is above the place of the Jewish remnant. We have another in the consciousness of union with Christ through the Holy Ghost.

17 The Lord takes the place we are considering, when He says to the young man, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God." Thus far it went outwardly well with the young ruler; but there was more than this to characterise the life where divine life was, in a world of sin and sinners, in its path towards the place of the fulness of joy - what has been shewn in Abraham, and in the saints of God, in the Davids and the prophets - "Jehovah is the portion of mine inheritance" - having the Lord Himself as that which governed and led the heart: "Go sell that thou hast and give to the poor … and come, follow me." But the Lord was not, at any rate then, the portion of his inheritance: only one knows not what may have become afterwards his state through grace.

The state described in this psalm is that of man considered apart from God (I do not mean, of course, morally separated, nor touch upon the union of the divine and human nature in Christ); but it is man partaker of the divine nature, for so only it could be, but having God for his object, his confidence, as alone having authority over him, entirely dependent on God, and perfect in faith in Him. This could only be in one personally partaker of the divine nature, God Himself in man, as Christ was, or derivatively as in one born of God; but, as we have seen, Christ is not here viewed in this aspect nor the believer as united to Him. The divine presence in Him is viewed, not in the manifestation of God in Him, but in its effect in His absolute perfection as man. He is walking as man morally in view of God. Christ here depends on Jehovah for His resurrection. He says, "Thou wilt not leave," though He could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Yet He could say, as perfect Man, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." As Peter among the Jews could say, He hath made Him whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ: while Thomas could say, My Lord and my God. Indeed Peter never leaves this ground - the rejected Man, the Messiah, exalted by God - nor preaches the Son of God (as Paul did at once in the synagogues), though the first, by divine revelation, to confess Him such.

18 Hence Christ as seen here is a perfect model for us - shews what the perfect man is. The first great principle, and that which characterises the whole psalm, is the referring Himself entirely, and with confidence, to the care of God. He does not preserve Himself, take care of Himself, or depend at all on Himself; He refers to God. "Preserve me, O God, for in thee do I put my trust." But this goes far. As God, Christ could have preserved Himself; but He did not come for this. In that sense it was impossible. He came in love to suffer, obey, and so by grace also to save, but to glorify God. From this' morally speaking, He could not swerve; but as to power, He could have preserved Himself, or as to title to favour as Son, He could have asked and had twelve legions of angels. But thus, as He says, He could not have fulfilled the counsels, the revealed counsels, of God.

It was free submission and dependence, but perfect submission and dependence - the one right thing in the position which He had taken. This was perfect faith. He was the leader and completer of faith - absence of self, dependence, and confidence. And, we may add, the word of God was the revelation on which He acted, that which He obeyed, the weapon He used, as we see in His temptation in the desert. He was the word and the truth personally, and all He said expressed what He was; John 8:25. But it is not less true that He used and acted on and obeyed the Scriptures as Man. But here He takes the place of dependence and confidence. As Man, He says, "Preserve me, O God. In thee do I put my trust."

The next point, partly anticipated necessarily in what I have said, is entire subservience to the will of God. Here to God, as revealed among the Jews, Jehovah; to us it would be the Father and the Son - one God, even the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ. "Thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord." Remark, "Thou hast said." He had taken this place, He was Jehovah, but not taking that place at all here in His path. In the form of God, thinking it no robbery to be equal with God, He had taken the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man - freely taken, perfectly preserved in, through death, His taken place through humiliation. Freely to take it is a divine title and action. Creatures have to keep their own; though, when not kept by God, none have done so. His given, but deserved, place as Man is glory; John 17. He humbles Himself, and is highly exalted. He had said to Jehovah, "Thou art my Lord that is, I am subservient to Thee. He had taken a place, while never ceasing to be God, and which Godhead alone could fulfil the conditions of, outside Godhead; but in which as man to satisfy God, to glorify God in an earth of apostasy and sin, indeed with all on earth and Satan's power against Him - at the close, even God's wrath, if to fulfil His glory in righteousness.

19 Hence the Lord Jesus says, "My goodness extendeth not to thee" - up to Thee. He was to fulfil man's place in the condition in which God's glory was now concerned in it. A perfect man, when a perfect man, was alone in perfectness; none to sustain - none even to have compassion on Him. He must trust God in life and through death, yea, through wrath. But here it is in the path of life, and even this shewn Him; v. 11.

But, further, there were objects of divine favour from whom He did not dissociate Himself. But He does not speak of them as chosen by Himself here - as in John of His disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (though there also for service), nor as chosen of God in grace, but as objects of divine delight in the path they trod, as manifested morally - those who were in the path He had to tread in - "the saints that are in the earth, the excellent." This is full of interest. It is still His moral place as man, delighting in what God delighted in, as becomes one perfect with God, as we see in full figure in Moses Heb. 11:24-26. He takes His place with the saints - those really sanctified to God. This we see in fact, and in the way of the most perfect obedience and humiliation, in that the Saviour went to be baptised with the baptism of John, when those moved by the Spirit of God to humble themselves went there. In the first and lowest step of divine life, that of the heart giving itself up to God in the acknowledgment of sin, He who knew no sin went with those who owned it; for their owning it was divine life, and it was consecrating themselves to God. They were the true excellent of the earth, How sweet and consoling in the wilderness to see Christ treading this path, victorious over all temptation in it, as shewn directly after His baptism by John; binding the strong man, in life possessed of, and victorious over, all the power of the enemy.

20 One sees easily here, that though it be the divine life, the fruit of grace, it is not in itself God manifesting Himself, a goodness in its character in itself reaching to God; for it was owning sin, though it was divine grace in Christ to do it. Just as it was not properly of God, as such, to die; though nothing but the perfect love, that is, One who was God Himself, could have died as Christ did, given Himself, laid down His life, given a motive to His Father to love Him for what He did. We see One acting as man in man's place (only absolutely, perfectly, and freely as loving the Father, which He could not have done if not divine) before God and towards God as men had to act. That a divine Person should do this has a value beyond all thought, and it is what, as much else, the blessed Saviour did for us, a man in our place, that is, in the perfection of it as God's delight, and according to what it ought to be, in the midst of this sinful world, what glorified God in it.

And it is of all importance for us to see Christ thus an object of delight, adoring delight, for instruction and confirmation to the soul. It is a path the vulture's eye has not seen and that no man's thought could have traced, if Christ, the perfect One, had not walked in it. We have it in life - in a Person - as it only so could be, the path of life in a living One who was the thing to be loved. No doubt the written word gives us the elements of this life in all details, but at the same time it gives much of it, however many blessed precepts direct our path, in the life of Christ Himself; so that this life is understood according to the degree of spirituality which apprehends that life as depicted in the Gospels or other parts of scripture, its motives, or rather its motive and nature. Even in precept we find a direction to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. How evidently does this require the true knowledge of what He is!

The view which we have taken of this divine life, perfect in itself, but displayed in a knowledge of good and evil and proved in the midst of evil - in us renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him that created us - is brought out distinctly in positive separation from evil, but especially in the motive and spring of life, the confession of Jehovah. He (v. 4) repels all that can be called another God. He will have nothing at all to say to it. It is absolute rejection. He cleaves to Jehovah. Fidelity to Jehovah characterises the life of Christ as so walking on earth. We can say fidelity to Christ Himself. Christ is all and in all. Jehovah is not only Lord to obey, He is the portion of His inheritance. He sought nought else; as of the priest of old and yet better, as in heart and desire, the Lord was His inheritance and the portion of His cup, His lot here, which He had to drink; His enjoyment in hope, His portion by the way.

21 This, I apprehend, is the difference between heritage and cup. The inheritance is the permanent portion of the soul; the cup, what its feelings are occupied with, what comes to a man to occupy his spirit by the way. He gives the cup of wrath to the wicked to drink; the blessed Lord had to drink the cup of wrath on the cross. "My cup runneth over" - was filled to overflow with blessing; so we say, habitually, it was a bitter cup. It is not merely the circumstances we pass through, unless the soul be subject to them; but that which we taste in the circumstances, what our spirits feel, that which presses on them in the circumstances. Thus, in Psalm 23, the circumstances were all sorrowful, but Jehovah being shepherd, all through them, his cup ran over with joy and blessing. Thus Jehovah was the permanent portion of the heart of Christ and, as walking through this world, that on which His heart rested - what formed and characterised His feelings more than the sorrow He went through, save on the cross. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Man (no, not even His disciples) never entered into His thoughts. One who sat at His feet once in affection felt that to which He could give a voice but only to bring out more sadly the failure of all else; but He had meat to eat they knew not of. Jehovah was the portion of His cup, nearer than all circumstances which otherwise could have pressed upon His heart as man, and which He fully felt, if we except the cross, or rather indeed more than ever there, for it was the wrath of Jehovah Himself that pressed upon His soul in the cup He then drank.

22 But otherwise so truly was Jehovah the great circumstance and substance of His life in and through everything, that He could only wish that His joy might be fulfilled in His disciples. But then it was from Jehovah only, and therein His perfection; the world was absolutely a dry and thirsty land, where no water was but Jehovah's favour was better than life, and was His life practically through a world where all was felt, but felt with Jehovah realised Jehovah and His favour, the life of His soul, between Him and all. So the Christian, forsaken perhaps and imprisoned: "rejoice in the Lord alway, and, again I say rejoice," Nature has circumstances between itself and God; faith has God between the heart and circumstances. And what a difference!

No peace like the peace, which hiding in the tabernacle from the provokings of all men gives. But this is a divine life through the world; Jehovah - we say the Father and the Son, a brighter development through the Son Himself - the permanent portion of the soul, its inheritance; Jehovah, the present joy and strength that fills the soul and gives its taste to life. Compare Psalms 64 and 23. And, thirdly, the blessed confidence that Jehovah maintains our lot. We trust not ourselves, not favourable circumstances, not a mountain which the Lord Himself has made strong, but Jehovah Himself. "Delight thyself in Jehovah, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." Faith leans on Jehovah, on the Father's love and Jesus'; for the securing infallibly happiness and peace we need not look to circumstances, save to pass through them with Him. This was perfect in Christ, He had only this, nor looked for aught else. We see it brightly manifested in Paul. In principle, it is the path of every Christian; and some time or other he is exercised in it. The life of faith is this God Himself the portion of our inheritance and of our cup He maintaineth our lot. This is blessedly developed for us in the knowledge of the Father and Son. But the great principle is the same, It is the life of Christ, and this is enjoyed in contrast with and to the exclusion of all else that could become the confidence or the portion of the heart; expressed here in Jewish relationship, but always essentially true.

I may here remark a distinct characteristic of this psalm which comes into greater relief by the contrast of the one which follows. It touches on no circumstances, though it supposes them. It is divine life with God, and it knows and lives in the present consciousness of only Him. We find that there must have been death, hades, and the grave, but they are only mentioned as the occasion of the power and faithfulness of Jehovah. The psalm is man living through, with, and in view of God in this world, and so enjoying Him for ever in spite of death. Circumstances are but circumstances, and not the subject of the psalm. Divine life never passes away, "While we look not," says the apostle, "at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal." Such is the Christian expression of this. The former part of the phrase, which I do not cite, tells the effect of this as to circumstances, and is to be compared rather with the following psalm. The apostle beautifully expresses life itself in one word: "for to me to live is Christ; to die," no wonder, was "gain." But it is important to remember, that there is an inward divine life which dwells and joys in God, having nothing to do with circumstances, though enabling us to go through them, and in us helped by them, because annulling the flesh and the will, so that we live more entirely of the inward life with God.

23 But the consequence in the soul is the deep consciousness of blessing. "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places." Christ could not have said this in the same way, had He had the kingdom living on earth; nor could we, were we in the garden of Eden, or the world at our disposal. This living relationship with God casts a light, a halo on all; it lights the soul up with such a direct consciousness of divine blessing that nothing is like it, save the full realisation of it in the presence of God. A man with God, enjoying Him in a nature capable of doing so with all the necessary conscious result where it shall be fulfilled without a cloud - a man as Christ was in this world with God - is the most perfect joy possible, save the everlasting fulfilment of all known and felt in it. It is not Messiah's portion, it is that joy of which Christ speaks when He says, "that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves." No doubt, He will inherit all things: but I do not think this to be the thought here. This was not the joy set before Him for which He endured the cross and despised the shame. There is "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us." This is known in joying in God. Life has its delight there. In God's presence is fulness of joy. The lines fallen in pleasant places I believe to be His joy as man in God, and in what was before God. Compare Colossians 3:1-3.

24 In what follows we have the active expression of this life in reference to God. "I will bless Jehovah who giveth me counsel." We need in divine life the positive instruction of wisdom - counsel; wisdom, a divine clue and direction in the confusion of evil in this world; to be wise concerning that which is good; "not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time - not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is," Jehovah gives counsel. So if any man "lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not." There is the immense privilege of the positive direction and guidance of God, the interest He feels in guiding the godly man aright, in the true path suited to God Himself, across the wilderness where there is no way. For innocence enjoying the blessings of God, there was no need of a way. In a world departed from God what way can be found? It would be to return, but this is impossible; no sinner ever returned to innocence. The way of the tree of life is shut up on that side; but how a way in a world without God? But God can make a way, if He gives a new life, with a new object to that life - Himself as known in heaven - if there is a new creation, and we are new created. Now Christ is a new life, and passes through the world, according to this life, to a new place given to man; and He does so as man, dependent man. God has prepared the path for man endowed with this life, and so for Christ, who was this life, and so the light of men. He has even prepared the special works suited to it: "good works which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them." This last thought indeed goes somewhat beyond our psalm. It at any rate includes the activity of the divine nature in man, and is not limited to the right and holy path of man having this life before God, a thing as important in its place as the other. So Moses asks not, "Shew me a way across the desert," but "Shew me thy way, that I may know thee, and that I may find grace in thy sight." What Moses sought, Jehovah gives the counsel and guidance of His love. So Christ walked; so He guides His sheep, going before them; and now we are led of the Spirit of God as ourselves sons of God. It is the divine path of wisdom which "the vulture's eye hath not seen": the path of man, but of man with the life of God, going towards the presence of God, and the incorruptible inheritance, in an uncorrupted way - the path of God across the world; but God gives counsel for it. There is dependence on God for this, and Christ walked in it. "Thou shalt guide me by thy counsel," says even the remnant of Israel; as Jehovah in Psalm 32, "I will guide thee by mine eye." I repeat, He is interested in the guidance of the man of God, and the soul blesses Him. In this path Christ trod. The written word is the great means of this; still there is the direct action of God in us by His Spirit.

25 But there is also divine intelligence. "My reins instruct me in the night season." The divine life is intelligent life. I do not separate this from divine grace in us, but it is different from counsel given. We can be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Col. 1:9-10. "Why even of yourselves," says the Lord to the Pharisees, "judge ye not that which is right?" Thus, when removed from external influences, the secret workings and thoughts of the heart shew what is suited to the path and way of God in the world. A man is spiritually minded and discerns all things. It is the working of life within (in us through grace) on divine things, and in the perception of the divine path, that is well pleasing. In Christ this was perfect, in us in the measure of our spirituality; but that to which the Christian has to give much heed, that he neglect not the holy suggestions and conclusions of the divinely instructed life when free from the influence of surrounding circumstances. It may seem folly, but, if found in humbly waiting on God, will in the end prove His wisdom. It can always be discerned from an exalted imagination.

In the first place, the state of the soul is exactly the opposite, for pretension to special spiritual guidance is never humble. But, besides, the controlling judgment of God's word, which overrules the whole divine life, is there to judge false pretensions to it. To this divine life is always absolutely subject. Christ, who was this life - yea, was the Word and Wisdom - yet (and because He was) always wholly honoured the written word as the guidance and authority of God for man.

But guidance by the Lord is not quite all the practical process of the exercise of divine life. It looks entirely to the Lord. "I have set," says Christ, walking as man on earth, "Jehovah always before me." He kept Him always in view. How have our hearts to own that this is not always so! How withdrawn from all evil - how powerful morally in the midst of this world - should we be, were it always so! There is nothing in this world like the dignity of a man always walking with God. Yet nothing is farther from failure in humility: indeed it is here it is perfect. Self-exaltation is neither possible nor desired in the presence and enjoyment of God. What absence of self, what renouncement of all will, what singleness of eye, and hence bright and earnest activity of purpose, when the Lord is the only object and end! I say the Lord, for no other such object can command and sanctify the heart. All would go against duty to Him. He alone can make the whole heart full of light, when duty and purpose of heart go together, and are but one. Indeed this is what James calls "the perfect law of liberty" - perfect obedience, yet perfect purpose of heart, as Jesus says, "that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given me commandment, so I do." We say, as Christians, Christ is all, and he that loves Him keeps His commandments.

26 Thus Jesus set Jehovah always before His face. This is man's perfection as man. This is the measure of our degree of spirituality, the constancy and purity with which we do this. But if Jesus did this, surely Jehovah could not fail Him nor us. So walking, He maintains the saint in the path which is His own. "I have set Jehovah always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." This is known by faith. He may let us suffer for righteousness' sake (Christ did so) - be put to death (Christ was); but not a hair of our head can He let fall to the ground, nor fail in making us enter into life according to the path in which we walk. But here it is confidence in Jehovah Himself. It is faith; not the question of righteousness in Jehovah, which is in the next psalm. Faith, in walking in the path of man according to God's will, and towards God solely as the sanctifying end and object, knows that God is at its right hand. Jehovah will secure. How, or through what, is not the question. It will be Jehovah's security. What strength this gives in passing through a world where all is against us, and what sanctifying power it has! There is no motive, no resource, but Jehovah, which could satisfy any other craving, or by which the heart desires to secure itself in seeking aught else.

27 Hence, come what would, Christ waited patiently for Jehovah, looked for no other deliverance. Nor have we to seek any other, and this makes the way perfect. We turn not aside to make the path easier. And to this the psalm turns. Death was before Christ. As Abraham was called to slay his son in whom the promises were to be fulfilled, Christ, as living on the earth, had to renounce all the promises to which He was entitled, and life with them.

The sorrow of this to Him - for He felt all perfectly - is depicted in Psalm 102: but as Abraham trusted Jehovah, and received Isaac from the dead in a figure, so the Lord here, the leader and finisher of faith, trusts Jehovah in view of His own death - is perfect in trust in it. He had set Jehovah always before Him. He was at His right hand: therefore His heart was glad, and His glory rejoiced His flesh rested in hope, for the Jehovah He trusted would not leave His soul in hades, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. "Holy One" is not here the same as "saints in the earth." "Saints" are those set apart - consecrated to God. Thy "Holy" One is one walking in piety, agreeable to God. It is Christ known in this character. He is also given this name in Psalm 89:19, where read "of thy holy one." Remark that it Is "thy Holy One," One who morally belongs to God by the perfection of His character. Christians are such, only full of imperfections. They are saints, set apart to God, but they are also - and are to walk as the "elect of God, holy and beloved"; and as such to put on the character of grace, in which Christ walked. The former part of Colossians 3 displays this life at large in us. Ephesians 1:4 shews it in its perfection in result. This confidence of the pious soul in the faithfulness of Jehovah, the reasoning of faith from this nature that it could not be otherwise, and the consciousness of relationship with God as His delight, is very beautiful here. It is not, "thou wilt raise me"; but it is not possible in the thought of One in whom is the power of life, that Jehovah should leave the soul that has this life in hades, far from Him in death, and the object of His delight to sink into corruption.

This moral confidence and conclusion is exceedingly beautiful. "It was not," says Peter, "possible that he should be holden of it." This may include His Person, but His power cannot be separated from this grace. The same confidence flowing from life, is manifested as to Jehovah's shewing Him the path of life. It is the perfection of faith as to life, but in Jehovah. "Thou wilt shew me the path of life," perhaps through death; for there, if He was to be perfect with God, this path led - but not to stay there, or it were not a path of life, Jehovah could shew Him no other. Man had taken, in spite of warning, the path of death - the path of his own will and disobedience; but Christ comes, the obedient Man. There was no path for man in paradise, no natural path of life in the desert of sin. Man had not life in himself; but what path of the new divine life in man could there be for man in the world of sin, amongst men already departed from God? The law had indeed proposed one, but it only brought out the sinfulness of man's nature. The knowledge of sin was by it, and its exceeding sinfulness. Christ, who had life, no doubt, could have kept it, yea, did so, because in Him was no sin, but there He was in this wholly dissociated from us who are sinners. He was alone, separate from sinners. But in a path of faith He could be associated with those quickened by the word - confessors of sin, not keepers of law, judges of all evil, separated by quickening grace from sinners, and treading the path of faith across the world, not of it, towards the full issue of this divine life, which was not here, which must go through the death of flesh. He had nothing to judge, nothing to confess, nothing to die to or for in Himself; but He could walk in the holy path of faith across the world in which they, as renewed, had to walk. But for them this holy path was necessarily death, for theirs was a life of sin. He could have abode alone, and had twelve legions of angels, and gone on high; but, speaking reverently, though this would have been righteous as to Him, there was no sense in His becoming a man for this.

28 And not only does He die for them (for expiation is not the subject of this psalm, but life) but, having set out to go with, yea, before them, He treads this path through death, that He may destroy its power for us, and treads it alone, as He had overcome Satan's power in this world, and now destroyed it in death too - treads it alone. The disciples could not follow Him there, till He had destroyed Satan's power in it. "Thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards." No earnestness of human will, no affection, could abide there. But when dead to sin, and strengthened with the strength of Christ, he could let another bind him and carry him (as Jesus did) whither nature would not. Christ then associated Himself from John's baptism with these saints in the earth - trod the path, only perfectly apart from sin, and only with God, doing His will, shewed this path of life in man; then, having died to sin, and, in the full result of this life in its own place, where no evil is, lives to God. He did so by faith, when down on earth, always; but as man, in a world apart from God, and taking the word as His guide, living by every word that came out of the mouth of God as we have to do. The resurrection demonstrated the perfectness of a life which was always according to the Spirit of holiness; but now He lives in it in its own place, and this is what, though through death, in an undiscontinued life, He anticipates. "In thy presence is fulness of joy." This, always His delight, was now His perfect enjoyment, "and at thy right hand" (divine power had brought Him to this place of power and acceptance - the witness of His being perfectly acceptable to God) are "pleasures for evermore."

29 Such is life, as life is with God, life shewn as man in this world, associating itself with the saints on the earth, and treading their path (not Christ uniting them to Himself), life before God, and looking ever at Him: a life which, though free from sin, neither innocence nor sinful man could know, which in fact had not to be lived in paradise, which could not be lived as belonging to the world, but which was lived to God through it, setting Jehovah always before it as its object. Such is the life we have to live. "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Christ, as the psalm shews us, lived the life of faith, and never of anything but faith; and this was His perfection. In this world there is no other for a man, a life which has no object but the Lord Himself.

This is a wonderful point - not one object in the world at all. For otherwise it is not faith, but sight, or lust. Innocent man had no object; he enjoyed in peace God's goodness. Man, departed from God, had many objects; but all these separate his heart from God, and end in death. Morally separated from God he may find a famine in the land, but has in no way God for his object. But the new life which comes down from the Father looks up with desire to its source, and becomes the nature in man which tends towards God, has the Son of God for its object - as Paul says, "that I may win Christ." This life has no portion in this world at all; and, as life in man, looks to God, leans on God, and seeks no other assurance or prop, obeys God, and can live only by faith. But this is a man's life, it does not extend to God. God, as such, is holy, is righteous, is love; but cannot, it is evident, live by faith. He is its object. Nor is it exactly an angel's life, though they are holy, obedient, and loving. It is man's life, living wholly for and towards God in a world departed from Him - hence, towards Him and by faith; for it is not merely that they serve in it: that angels can do. But though not morally of it, for the life is come down from heaven, "They are not of the world, as I am not of the world." Yet, as to their place as man, they are of it, and hence have to live, in order not to be of it morally, objectively entirely out of it; thus having to say to God, or it would be idolatry.

30 But thus, while it is a man's life, and no more as such, yet it must be absolutely for God according to His nature: and it lives, in that it lives, to God. The living Father had sent Christ, and He lived "on account of the Father," "so he that eateth me shall live on account of me." God is the measure of perfection in motive - hence, hereafter in enjoyment, and a heart wholly formed on Him. This life of man Christ led, and filled the whole career of. Out of this Satan wanted Him to come in the wilderness, and have a will - make the stones bread, distrust - try if the Lord would fulfil His promise or fail Him, have an object - the kingdoms of the world. This last destroyed the very nature of the life, and Satan is openly detected and dismissed. Christ would not come out of man's dependent, obedient, place of unquestioning trust in Jehovah. His path here was with the excellent of the earth, perfect in the life which was come down from heaven, but which was lived on earth, looking up to heaven.

Whatever our privileges in union with Christ, it is all important for the Christian to live in the fear and faith of God, according to the life of Christ. It is not man's responsibility without law or under law as a child of Adam; it is all over with us on that ground. It is the responsibility of the new life of faith, which is a pilgrim and a stranger here - a life come down from heaven ("God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath life"), but a life which man lives in passing through this world, yet wholly out of it in its object - a life of faith, which finds in God's presence fulness of joy. A man's life does not extend to God, though perfect for God, and in its delight in God. Such was Christ, though He was much more than this. Such are we as far as we are Christians; only we have to remember that the development of this life in us is not, as in the psalm, in connection with the name of Jehovah, but with the full revelation of the Father and the Son. The blessed One who thus lived as man on earth is as man at God's right hand, where are pleasures for evermore, with Him in whose presence is fulness of joy. His flesh saw no corruption, and His soul was not left in hades. For this joy set before Him, He despised the shame and endured the cross, the leader and finisher of faith.

31 This psalm gives us the inward spiritual life of Christ, and so ours, ending in the highest joy of God's presence.

Psalm 17 considers this life practically here below and in respect to its difficulties with man opposed to what is right. The state of the soul is still marked by entire dependence on God, but, as to integrity towards God, and as against man, the soul can plead righteousness. Still it does not avenge itself, but casts itself entirely on God, and thus gets the fruits of His righteous dealings. This is a great secret of practical wisdom not avenging self - the patience of the new life in the midst of evil, and looking, and leaving all to God. This supposes the righteous path as man of the divine life, which therefore can appeal to God's necessary judgment about it, knowing what He is, and also trusting in Him; but even here deliverance is sought, not vengeance, only the disappointing the plans of wickedness. If we have not walked uprightly, still confidence in God is our true place. He spares and restores in mercy most graciously; but this, though other psalms take it up, is not the subject of this psalm. Here it is the righteous life which God looks at and vindicates against the men of this world, for it is Christ, and Christians as far as they live the life of Christ. Immediately, as ever, it is Christ and the remnant. Jehovah hears the righteous, and the prayer which goes not out of feigned lips.

Remark, that in this psalm the life of Christ is supposed and found to meet opposition, and oppression in the world from the men of this world. We have seen how separated it was, associated with the excellent of the earth, passing as a stranger through it, though humanly in it. But then faith - and this shews how entirely Jehovah is still looked to - sees that the men of this world are the men of God's hand. They serve to prove the heart, and, in us who are ever in danger to slip into the world, to keep us strangers in it. Still God delivers from them, Christ, for blessed reasons, was not delivered, yet as freely giving Himself. The heart has the sense of righteousness here, and hence counts on deliverance; but there is no spirit of vengeance. It is the Spirit of Christ Himself, and hence above the spirit of the remnant, and much more the Christian spirit. There is the consciousness of righteousness and of integrity, but entire dependence on the Lord in respect of it, not as regards justification - it is not the question here - but confidence. "I know nothing of myself," says Paul, "yet am I not hereby justified." Again, "if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God." So Jesus: "The Father hath not left me alone, for I do always those things that please him." There is the consciousness of righteousness and confidence in God. And the heart appeals to Him, because of righteousness. And all this is right, thinks rightly of God, and trusts to God that He will not be inconsistent with Himself, and cannot be. If there be desire of vengeance, we have sunk below this.

32 Remark the further traits of the conscious life. It is not merely righteous walk, but a proved heart, where the secret movements of the heart are alone with God, When the reins instruct, God proves, but nothing is found. This, absolutely true of Christ, is true of the Christian as to the purpose of his heart, and so far as he keeps nothing back, nothing reserved from God. This can be, though then in utter humiliation, where even there has been failure. "Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." So in job. He held fast the consciousness of his integrity - not that he had not failed. The shortcomings of nature had to be checked and judged, and this he only did when humbled in the presence of God. He had for a long while, as God witnesses, held fast his integrity in every sense. He did as with God all through, but did not know himself as this was needed. Christ ever walked so, and the provings of His heart only found integrity to God. There was purpose: His mouth also should not transgress. He was a perfect man, as James says. Next, as regards the works of men, for He walked as a man in this world, the word was His absolute rule. By it He kept Himself from the paths of the destroyer. But there is no pride, but entire dependence on Jehovah in the right path. "Hold thou up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not." Such was the practical life of Christ in this world. This was His life and walk in itself.

33 In what follows from verse 6 it is shewn in looking to God as regards the opposition and oppression of the wicked. He looks for Jehovah's loving-kindness as his sole stay in the presence of his enemies. This, again, is perfection. His path was with God; no yielding to please men and be spared; no complaint that he had not his portion in this world. He sees the success and prosperity of the men of this world, without envy. Faith fully tried is faith still. If we trust the Lord and have Him for our portion, we have courage to walk in His path and not find nature satisfied; but this is faith. If this be not so, there will be some craving after what the natural heart could have, and so danger of yielding in order to have what nature craves and the world gives - after all, husks that perish. But the human heart must have something. If it has the Lord, it suffices, but this tests it. Here we have perfection in respect of the heart and path in this world. The great secret is to have the heart filled with Christ, and so be in the path at God's will. Thus there is no room for will and acts which harass the soul, and of which self is always the centre, as Christ is in the heart walking in faith. Hence His presence in righteousness is what is before the soul as the blessed result. It is in righteousness.

It is not the absolute joy in God of Psalm 16, but the righteousness which gives joy in His presence for those who have suffered for it and by it here below in God's paths, in an opposing world, an absence or denial of self. "God is not unrighteous to forget." "It is a righteous thing with God to recompense … to you who are troubled rest with us." And the heart, too, is satisfied, not here exactly with what God is, but with what we are. "I shall awake up after thy likeness"; so "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." We are predestinated "to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Holy delight in God, having Him always before the face, leads to perfect delight and joy in God, when His presence makes it full. Faithfulness internal and external, to God in the midst of an opposing and perhaps oppressing world, leads to righteous recompense of glory and God's presence in righteousness. Both are perfect in Christ, and through Christ, the portion of the saints.

34 Verses 7, 11, give the general application to those associated with Christ; still, though applicable to the remnant, the psalm gives the proper perfection of Christ and so of the Christian. Deliverance now is looked for in this psalm, not in Psalm 16. There it was the perfect passage of life with God through death, up to fulness of joy in Him in His presence. Here righteous deliverance from men is looked for. And for this - though we may be honoured with martyrdom, according to the pattern of Christ's sufferings - the Christian may look. "The Lord shall deliver me," says the apostle, "from every evil work, and preserve me to his heavenly kingdom." The soul may confidently and entirely trust God, as against all the machinations of the wicked, as walking in the path of righteousness. God saves such by His right hand. He may trust for restoration, if he has failed; but there is a path of righteousness which Christ has traced here below in a world of sin, and left the blessed track of His steps, and the witness of the movements of His heart, for us to walk in and live by.

Psalm 18 is of the deepest interest, as regards the interpretation, presenting as it does the sufferings of Christ as the centre of all the deliverance of Israel. His cry there called out upon Israel all the favour of God in power. But I have not a great deal to say upon it, for that very reason, in its application to us. The great principle developed - and it is a precious one - is the cry to a trusted God in distress, which He surely hears. Of this Christ is the example, as elsewhere. "This poor man cried, and Jehovah heard him." Only that here it is not, as in Psalm 34, tender commiseration towards the suffering poor; but the interest that Jehovah takes in a suffering Christ, who has walked in perfect obedience to the law. The psalm is a psalm of praise, because He has been heard and Jehovah known as a rock and a deliverer; but this, as often remarked, is the result expressed in the first verses, and what leads to it is then pursued.

"I will call upon Jehovah," for His name it is, and His alone, the God of His people, which inspires confidence. It is His name which is celebrated, but what has drawn all His praise out is the answer to the cry raised to Him in distress in the midst of enemies, in the sorrows of death. In that distress Jehovah heard out of His temple. This associates it at once with the earth, and deliverance, and triumph there. But another point of the highest interest does so too - obedience to the law laid as the ground of His being heard in the day of distress v. 20-26. The righteous obedience on earth and dependence of Messiah on Jehovah, calling on Him in distress, brought Him earthly deliverance and earthly triumph. The two previous psalms look onward to heavenly blessing, though the latter of them for the disappointment of the enemy also; and the hope held out is heavenly, the righteousness not legal; but in the former the heart set on Jehovah, in the latter a heart right with God, and in this world, and looking for righteousness.

35 Here, in Psalm 18, there is obedience to His statutes, a cry in distress even to the pains of death, and deliverance, and triumph on the earth. Such is the result of the legal righteousness of Christ when in distress, in the midst of the floods of ungodly men and His strong enemy.

Note, it is the power of men and death, and His crying thus to God, and His cry comes before Him - in no way God's hand upon Him as suffering for sin. Messiah's legal righteousness and distress bring earthly triumph and supremacy to David and to his seed. It is the government of God (see verses 25,26), having regard to righteousness on the earth which in Christ was perfect. But this, perfectly accomplished when Christ's enemies are put under His feet, is not actually so now, because God prepared His saints for a heavenly dwelling and joy, and, during all the proving of the first Adam, shews by their trials that their rest is not here.

Still there are some precious points for every soul. In uprightness and suffering through it, he can surely count upon God; and remark here that there interest and sympathy of God, awakening in us the blessedest affections, are sweetly shewn. The Lord hears when we call in distress, and in the greatest depths we can have confidence, and what ought to seem to shut us out from it is just the occasion of it.

The psalm instructs us thus to call upon the Lord in distress, come how or why it may, to call on the Lord; and thus not only the deliverance is known, but the Lord is known in His sympathy, and kindness, and interest in us. I love Jehovah, he says; or rather the heart turns to Jehovah Himself and says, "I will love thee, O Jehovah, my strength," and then the heart thinks of all He is for us. "Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler, the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." The heart enlarges in the sense of what He has been for us. And so He is. Though our deliverances may not be exactly of the same kind, yet difficulties and distress often beset us, and there is deliverance in crying to the Lord. Note also, there are holy affections drawn out by the dealings of the Lord, as by His eternal salvation, holy and confiding affections, piety; not merely praise, because He has redeemed us for ever, but daily exercise of sympathy and tender thoughts of compassion. He cannot bear to see us suffer, save when needed, and there are trials which draw out love to Him. Surely He says, "Ephraim is my dear son; for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still." There indeed it was the remembrance of him when under chastisement. Here it is suffering in integrity, but at bottom there is integrity in the Christian, and in Christ. He can cry in that distress. The psalm, however, is the cry of a holy and calm spirit, confiding in God and finding the abundant results in His faithfulness. The heart is drawn to Himself. In Psalms 16, 17 and 18, we have found Christ Himself - His personal position, the joy set before Him in heaven, and His final triumph on earth as suffering when legally righteous.

36 In Psalms 19-21 we have the godly remnant contemplating the different testimonies presented to the responsibility of man, A few remarks on each are called for.

First, there is the testimony of creation, and in particular the heavens, for the earth has been given to man and is corrupt. Here, remark, God is spoken of, not Jehovah - His hope in God as such. Hence the godly man sees that the witness goes out into all lands, and that the Gentiles are the objects of God's testimony. This is a very important point, which the Jews ought to have understood, and which Paul, by the Holy Ghost, did understand, citing this psalm to shew it - not resting on what the testimony was, but on the fact that the testimony of God went out into all lands to the ends of the earth. The godly man can delight in this testimony to the glory of His God but he sees it reaches out to all. He enters into and understands the penetrating pervading character of this testimony, and that it is God who is witnessed to by it. Such, I add, will be the estimate of the restored remnant in the last days. See Psalm 148.

37 But the godly man estimates the experimental excellence of the law of Jehovah also; and, though of course for Israel it was the law as given by Moses, we must take it here as the testimony of the word of God to the conscience. I say the conscience, because it is not the revelation of the riches of grace, or the unfolding of the Person of Christ and the ways of God in Him, but the testimony of God's word respecting man, to the conscience of man, even when it is taken in the largest sense. He does not say the law of God here, but "the law of Jehovah," a God known in covenant relationship. His law is given to His people, to His servants. It is perfect, the exact mind of God as to what man ought to be before God, according to God's will, now that evil is known; but man's mind is not such, even when the law of God is delighted in. It sets the soul therefore right. One has the consciousness of its doing so: for the soul, having life, appreciates it when revealed (though it may not have had it in mind), and is livingly susceptible of its truth. It has living power as the word of God for him who lives. But where it is not forgotten, there is enlightening and direction. It is pure and enlightens the eyes, gives to see clearly when we were obscure in heart and spirituality. But the psalm connects this with the state of the heart. There is a reference, not merely to the law, but to the Lord Himself - the effect of the sense of God's presence in the conscience, the fear of the Lord - the introduction of God into everything, and the reference of the heart to Him, and the judgment which He has of everything. This is clean; no spot can remain there, and it is an eternal principle, for it depends on the nature of God Himself. Further, God's dealing - and ways as pronounced (for "judgments" include that, as well as judgments executed - He does shew His judgment of things in His chastisements - but in general every judgment He forms, however shewn) are true and righteous altogether. But they are not only this, but as gold, and the honeycomb to the faithful; they are the expressions of God's mind, and that is infinitely precious and sweet to the saints.

But, besides this, the heart is in the midst of dangers and human tendencies, which draw us far from God. The judgments of the Lord on all human conduct warn us: for the joy of the word, and, in the case of the Christian, of heaven, do not suffice. We need the wisdom and prudence which can point out a divine path in the confusion of evil, to guide our steps out of the reach of evil here. God's word meets us even here. And in keeping His judgments there is great reward, great positive blessing and peace of heart here. The soul is happy with God, and walks in peace through the world; and, as a Christian, the heart is thus wholly free to serve others.

38 Remark that it is not merely what the law is, but what the heart knows it to be: the servant of Jehovah is warned by it. There is delight in it, according to the new nature, and the consciousness of relationship; for we are servants of God, though we have higher, more intimate and glorious, relationships. But in this confidence the effect of this nearness is to turn the eye to another point: the want of full self-knowledge, distrust of self. "Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret [faults]." In many things, although delighting in the word, and appreciating it when thinking of it, I may not have judged my own heart, or be able morally to prove it, so as to judge it according to that perfection: for there is growth in spiritual judgment. But there is integrity and confidence in the Lord, and he demands to be cleansed from his secret faults, and to be kept from all presumptuous faults - what one would commit with open disregard of God. Thus he would be undefiled, and be kept with God, not turning aside to idols or vanity. For small and neglected sins and unjudged confidence of heart lead to forgetfulness of God, and denial of Him in the truth. I do not speak here of security by grace, but of the path in which these evils lead.

Finally, the true desire of the heart is shewn, that the words of the mouth, and the meditations of the heart, may be acceptable in God's sight. This is the true test of a godly life, when good is sought inwardly, when only in God's sight: the research of good with God, not before man or in the knowledge of man. I speak not of hypocrisy, but of walking with God. But in all true righteousness God is owned as our Rock and Redeemer; for we cannot be "with" Him, with the real apprehensions of a new life, without feeling our need of Him in both characters.

Psalms 20 and 21, as remarked elsewhere, present to us the third witness presented to the responsibility of men - Christ. But this is not our only subject here: Psalm 20 shews us the profound interest which the heart takes in watching the Faithful One in His sorrows - in a Jewish form no doubt; still, as elsewhere, the substance is the same for us. It is still confidence in Jehovah which characterises the feeling of Him who speaks; for the God of Jacob is before His thoughts. There is faith in Him in this relationship. Yet Messiah is seen in the trials and questions of His life here below, walking but in piety towards Jehovah, and in dependence on Him. Nothing can shew Christ more completely as a man than this. The Anointed is saved, that is, delivered, and heard. The whole heart of the godly is wrapped up in this. But the remnant see yet farther here, as Israel ought to have done; they see Him answered in His demand for life by a most glorious one for ever in the immediate light of God's countenance, with which He is made glad, and after that, His right hand finding out all His enemies and destroying them. But, even in all this (as in John 17 where one sees at the same time that He must be one with the Father), Messiah receives all from Jehovah as a man, and is so viewed by the godly. And so was He presented by Peter. His privilege is the favour of Jehovah; His piety, confidence in Jehovah. This link is what occupies the godly, who are thus profoundly attached to Messiah, and this was in effect what characterised Christ - seeking His Father's glory, and in nothing His own. So Jehovah associates Himself entirely with Him as in Psalm 21:9, as the godly does on his side also. And as Messiah is exalted by Jehovah in spite of His enemies, so is Jehovah exalted in His glory in doing it; and so it is the remnant, equally interested, exalt and praise the power of Jehovah.

39 This linking up the interests of the godly, bound in heart to Messiah - Messiah and Jehovah, as characterising the piety of the godly, is full of beauty and interest. Yet, in His life, Christ never took this title with His disciples. He would lead them farther. He was Son of man, and spoke of His Father as being Himself Son of God. "My Father," said He to the Jews, "of whom ye say that he is your God." All the moral qualities of Messiah, Son of God, He had, but He was weaning Ms disciples from the earthly associations to higher and heavenly ones; and this shews us the need there is in all our use of the Psalms to make this difference. We see with the profoundest interest the sorrows and sufferings of Christ, but it is from a higher point of view; we look not at His official place and then humiliation, but the divine and perfect love in which He emptied Himself and came down and took the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man, and passed with a purpose of love across the trials and sorrows of this world of sorrow; and we see His glory in it. The truth is much more deeply taught in the New Testament. Still the way Christ is presented as a true dependent Man, and His piety in this dependence is most instructive to us who can add the deeper truth from the revelation of the Son of God. The word of life in it is seen.