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They saw the Upholder of all so using His power as to supplement and help all classes of men in their distress, even when it had been occasioned by their thoughtlessness, folly, and sin. Of this we have the most complete statement in that praise of Divine goodness, the 107th Psalm. The weary wanderers in the desert, hungry and thirsty till their soul faints in them, cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distress, by leading them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. The people who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron, because they rebelled against the word of the Lord, and contemned the counsel of the Most High, cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of darkness, and brake their bands in sunder. Sottish and licentious fools, whose transgression has afflicted them, so that their soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and they draw nigh to the gates of death, cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He sends His word, and heals them and delivers them. Sailors, who are lifted up to heaven and carried down to the depths by the storm, so that their soul is melted in them, and they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end, cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet ; so He bringeth them to their desired haven. After the same manner, the Divine intervention in national vicissitude is recorded. As opinions simply, they were unique in their elevation; no other people were at that time capable of uttering them. But they were more than opinions, and had a substantial backing of fact in their own national and personal history.
In addition to the examples of rule over men in their relation to Himself alone, they knew God as 'the Lord who executeth lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth' between man and man. •The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.' The sum of the whole testimony of the Psalms is given in the first, which is regarded as the theme or text of the whole book, and concludes thus : 'For the Lord knoweth the way of the
' righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.' The prominent peculiarity to all the
testimony was an individual consciousness of fellowship with God in all the moral and spiritual manifestations of His character. He is angry with the wicked every day, and David describes his own consciousness of that anger as having ‘His arrows stick fast in him, and His hand pressing him sore.' “There is no soundness in my flesh because of Thine anger, neither rest in my bones because of my
sin.' But when 'day and night the hand of the Lord was heavy upon him, so that his moisture was turned into the drought of summer, he says, 'I acknowledged my sin unto the Lord, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.'
. It was this conscious fellowship which was their special glory. They evidently felt that, great as His gifts were, He Himself was greater; and that 'the Lord was their portion for ever-their inheritance.' Hence their desire was to Him, expressed in language like this: 'As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God : when shall I come and appear before God? My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the
courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.'
Such direct fellowship, joined to a distinct apprehension of the universal presence and operation of the almighty King, produced a regnant emotion, compounded of reverence, awe, respect, and submission, which was called the fear of the Lord,' and which gave a
a general denomination to the religion of the Hebrews. But in the fear of the Lord there was no servility and no terrifying dread. “The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. There is no want to them that fear Him. The secret of the Lord is with them. The eye of the Lord is on them, His salvation is nigh them, His mercy is upon them, and like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.' Thus it was, that 'they which feared the Lord, blessed the Lord, and trusted in Him.' Hence, also, amid the depression of outward trouble, when no way of deliverance appeared, the godly rallied their courage by expostulations like this: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His
countenance.' In all this we have a more complete and definite expression of the experience of Enoch, who walked with God, and of Abraham, His friend.
It is commonly objected to all such representations of Divine action, that they are anthropological, and therefore have authority. But this is their praise, not their blame; for how can there be any just conceptions of the Creator by men which are not anthropological ? The peculiarity of these is, that they appeal to the whole of our nature, both individual and relative. We cannot conceive of humanity as pure intellect, without emotion and capability of action.
Nor can we think of men as springing spontaneously into being, nor as being without father or mother, or as having no relations to others. The result of this complete anthropomorphism is, that it can be apprehended by all classes of people and by all ages. But this cannot be said of the purely intellectual anthropomorphisms which proceed from our philosophical teachers concerning the Divine nature. Taking their own intellect as their only guide, and its operations as the only field of survey and the only rule of measure