Ps. xxi. 1 — 7. The King shall joy in thy strength, Lord ;
and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice ! Thou hast
given him. his heart's desire^ and hast not withholden the
request of his lips. For thou preventest him luith the blessings
of goodness ; thou set test a crown oj' pure gold on his head.
He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of
days Jor ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation :
honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast.
made him most blessed for ever : thou hast made him exceed-
ing glad with thy countenance. For the King irnsteth in the
Lord ; and, through the mercy of the Most High, he shall
not be moved.
THIS psalm is appointed by the Church to be
read on the day of our Lord's Ascension : and on a
close examination, it will appear to be well suited to
that occasion. We will,
1. Explain
I. Explain it —
In its primary and literal sense, it expresses Da-
vid's gratitude on his advancement to the throne of
Israel —
[After acknowledging, in general terms, God's goodness
towards him in this dispensation, he speaks of his elevation as an
answer to his prayers, though in its origin it was altogether un-
solicited and unsought for*. Impressed with the greatness of the
honour conferred upon him, he exults in it, especially as affording
him an opportunity of benefiting others''; and declares his con^-
fidence, that his enemies, so far from ever being able to subvert
his government, shall all be crushed before him '^ —
Parsing over this view of the psalm, we proceed to observe, that]
It is yet more applicable to Christ, as expressing
his feelings on his ascension to the throne of glory —
[David was a type of Christ, as David's kingdom was of
Christ's kingdom : and Christ, on his ascension to heaven, may
be considered as addressing his Father in the words of this psalm.
He declares his joy and gratitude ow accoinit of the blessedness
vouchsafed to him, and on account of the blessedness which he
was nouf empowered to bestow on others. With respect to his
own biessediiess we observe, that his conflicts were now termi-
nated. These had been numerous and severe. From his first
entrance into the world to the instant of his departure from it,
he " was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." View
him especially during the three years of his Ministry, what " con-
tradiction of sinners against himself did he endure!"
View more particularly the four last days of his life, what
grievous and accumulated wrongs did he sustain ! Con-
sider his conflicts also with the powers of darkness, and the
terrors of his Father's wrath O what reason had he to
rejoice in the termination of such sufferings, and to magnify his
Father who had brought him in safety through them ! For this
he had prayed; and God had given him the fullest answer to his
prayers'*. ow also he was restored lo glory. He had "a glory
with the Father before the worlds were made * :" and of that
glory he had divested himself when he assumed our nature ^
But now he was restored to it : and what a contrast did it form
with that state, from which he had been delivered ! A few days
ago he had not where to lay his head : now he is received into
his Father's house, his Father's bosom. Lately he was derided,
mocked, insulted, spit upon, buffeted, and scourged by the vilesfc
of the human race ; and now he is seated on his throne of
* ver. 1—4. * ver. 5, 6. * ver. 7 — 12.
^ Heb. V. 7. with ver. 2, 4. * John i. 1, 18. & xvii, 5.
' Phil. ii. 6—8.
50 PSALMS, XXI. 1 — 7. [342.
glory, and worshipped and adored by all thehostsot heaven — — —
Great indeed was the glory that now accrued to him, and great
*' the majesty that was now laid upon him^" and, as it
had proceeded from his Father'', so he justly acknowledges it as
his Father's gift.
But it was not to himself only that Jesus had respect : he
blesses his Father also for the blessedness which he ivas em-
powered to bestow on others. The words, " Thou hast made
him most blessed for ever," are translated in the margin of our
Bibles, " Thou hast set him to be blessings for ever." This
version opens a new and important view of the subject, a view
which particularly accords with all the prophecies respecting
Christ. It is said again and again concerning him, that " in him
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed :" and we are well
assured, that to communicate blessings to a ruined world is a
source of inconceivable happiness to himself. We apprehend
that to have been a very principal idea in the mind of the
Apostle, when, speaking of Christ, he said, " Wlio for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God'."
With what joy must he behold the myriads ivho had lean
exalted to glory through the virtue of his sacrifice, whilst yet it
remained to be offered ! It was through " his obedience unto
death " that all the ante-diluvian and patriarchal saints were
saved. Our first Parents looked to him as " the seed of the
woman that should bruise the serpent's head." To him right-
eous Abel had respect, in the offering which was honoured with
visible tokens of God's acceptance. To him oah looked,
when he offered the burnt-offerings, from which " God smelled
a sweet savour"^." In a word, it is through his righteousness that
forbearance and forgiveness were exercised from the beginning,
just as they will be exercised even to the end : and all who were
saved before his advent are in that respect on the same level with
those who have been saved since : there is but one song amongst
all the glorified saints in heaven ', they are all harmonious in
singing " to Him that loved them and washed them from their
sins in his own blood, &c." What a joy must it be to Christ to
see in so many myriads the travail of his soul, who '* were
brought forth, as it were, to God even before he travailed!"
With what joy too did he then take upon him to dispense his
blessings to the myriads yet iinhorn! He is " Head over all
things," not for his own sake merely, but " for the Church's
sake." Knowing then how many of his most cruel enemies
were given to him by the Father, with what pleasure would he
look down upon them, (even while their hands were yet reeking
with his blood,) and anticipate their conversion to God by the
^ver. 5. •'Phil. ii. 9— 11.
' Heb. xii. 2. ^ Gen. viii. 20, 21.
influence of his Spirit on the day of Pentecost ! Every child of
man that shall at any period of the world participate his grace.
Was at that moment before his eyes : and with what delight
would he view them, as drawn by his word, as nourished by his
grace, as comforted by his Spirit, as made more than con(|uerors
over all their enemies' At that moment he saw, as it
were, the whole company of the Redeemed, the multitudes which
no man can number, all enthroned around him, the monuments
of his love, the heirs of his glory, the partners of his throne
He saw that the kingdom which he had now established
upon earth " should never be moved ;" that " the gates of hell
should never prevail against it ;" and that it should stand for
ever and ever"". Well therefore might he say, " The King shall
joy in thy strength, O Lord ; and in thy salvation how greatly
shall he rejoice !"]
Having thus explained the psalm, we proceed to,
II. Shew what improvement we should make of it —
From its literal sense we learn, how thankful we
should be for any blessings vouchsafed unto us —
[In many respects God has ^'prevented us with the blessings
of goodness;" and in many he has given them in answer to our
prayers. We may " account even his long-suffering towards us
to be salvation," and much more the gift of his grace, and the
knowledge of his dear Son. Can we reflect on " the salvation
to which he has called us," even " the salvation that is in Christ
Jesus with eternal glory," and not be thankful for it? Can
we reflect on the exaltation which we ourselves have received,
from death to life, from slaves to free-men, from children of the
devil to sons of God, and not rejoice in it ? Can we think of
our having been made " kings and priests unto God," " heirs of
God, and joint-heirs with Christ," yea, partners of his throne,
and partakers of his glory for evermore ; can we contemplate all
this, and not say, " In thy salvation how greatly shall 1 rejoice?"
Verily, if we do not rejoice and shout for joy, " the
very stones will cry out against us" ]
From its mystical or prophetical sense we learn what
should be our disposition and conduct towards the
Lord Jesus —
[Methinks, we should rejoice in his joy. If it were but a
common friend that was released from heavy sufferings and ex-
alted to glory, we should rejoice with him in the blessed change :
how much more then should we participate in our minds the joy
and glory of our adorable Redeemer ! But more parti-
cularly we should submit to Ids government. This is strongly
and awfully suggested in all the latter part of the psalm before
1 Zeph. iii. i;. •" ver. /.
52 PSALMS, XXII. 1 1 — 21. [34Sr*
US. " God has highly exalted Jesus, that at his name every
knee should bow ;" yea, he has sworn, that every knee shall
bow to him ; and that all who will not bow to the sceptre of his
grace, shall be broken in pieces with a rod of iron. Read from
the text to the end of the psalm ; and endeavour to realize every
expression in it O that we may be wise ere it be too
late ! Let us *' kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and we perish :'"
for though now he condescends to follow us with intreaties to be
reconciled towards him, the time is quickly coming, when he will
say, " Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would
not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me,"]
A further improvement we should make of this subject is, to
cojifide in his care. " He is set to be blessings" to a ruined
world. He has " ascended up on high that he might fill all
things:" *' he has received gifts, even for the rebellious;" and
** has all fulness treasured up in him," on purpose that we may
" receive out of his fulness grace for grace." There is nothing
that we can want, but it may be found in him ; nor any thing
which he is not willing to bestow on the very chief of sinners.
Let us then look to him, and trust in him ; and assure ourselves,
that, as " he lost none that had been given him" in the days
of his flesh, so now will he suffer " none to be plucked out of
his hands." We cannot expect too much from such a King :
however ^' wide we open our mouths, he will fill them."
To seek the enlargement of his kingdom is the last duty we
shall mention as suggested by the subject before us. In the
prayer that he has taught us, we say, " Thy kingdom come ;"
and we close that prayer with ascribing to him " the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever : " and it is with
similar sentiments that the psalm before us concludes. Let us
enter into the spirit of them, saying, " Be thou exalted, Lord,
in thine own strength ; so will we sing and praise thy power."
othing should be so dear to us as the advancement of his glory.
Let us reflect, how we may best promote it ; and let the exten-
sion of his kingdom be our chief joy" ]
" Ps. Ixxii. 18, 19.

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