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memorable picture of the suffering for a time in this world of sin of the Messenger of God (Ps. xxii.), we recognise, indeed, the pathetic utterance of the soul of the persecuted Psalmist himself, and yet, even had not Our Lord on the Cross taken this utterance as His own, we could hardly have failed to read in the whole Psalm a marvellous foreshadowing, even in its details, of the great Passion on Calvary-corresponding from the side of inner consciousness to the celebrated picture from without of the Suffering Messiah in Is. liii. In these instances, as in many others, the general principle is clearly brought out. As Christian life is the conscious reproduction of the Life of Christ manifested on earth, so, far more vaguely but still truly, the godly life of the ancient servants of God was a foreshadowing of that which was to be revealed. It is in virtue of this fundamental principle that all Christian ages have followed the early Apostolic teaching, by acknowledging in the Psalms a typical witness of Christ.
(VI.) THE FORM OF THE PSALMS.-It remains now only to notice briefly the peculiar poetical form of the Psalm, and the various methods of its musical recitation.
The poetry of the Psalm, like all other Hebrew poetry, is marked by a PARALLELISM of idea, generally expressed within the limits of each verse, sometimes extending to groups of verses. Each verse is mostly of the nature of a distich, in which there is a close correspondence of the two members in three chief relations.
(a) Most frequently this relation is a relation of Identity-the latter half of the verse simply repeating the idea of the former in different words; as
"The Lord hath heard my petition,
The Lord will receive my prayer.'
"His travail shall come on his own head,
His wickedness shall fall on his own pate."
(b) Sometimes the relation is of Antithesis-the latter clause supplying an idea exactly opposite to that of the former; as
66 The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous;
"There is neither speech nor language:
But their voices are heard among them."
(c) Sometimes the relation is of Inference-the latter clause containing a conclusion drawn from the former; as
"The Lord is known to execute judgment;
The ungodly is trapped in the work of his own hands." Or
"The Lord is my Shepherd:
Therefore can I lack nothing."
Occasionally, but more rarely, the verse assumes the character of a tristich, or three-line stanza-the latter member being (so to speak) enlarged; as
"Thou shalt show me the path of life:
In Thy Presence is fulness of joy;
At Thy right hand is pleasure for evermore."
66 My heart was glad;
My glory rejoiced;
My flesh shall rest in hope."
Occasionally even of a tetrastich or four-line stanza; as
"The ungodly have drawn the sword,
They have bent their bow:
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay such as are of right conversation."
Besides, however, this parallelism in successive verses, we find cases in which the correspondence extends over groups of successive verses; as
In this case, as in some others, the beginning and end of the connected group of verses is marked by the insertion of " Selah," indicating (as we have seen) the interposition of a musical symphony. By this (for example) we see that Ps. iii. is divided into three stanzas; the first two of two verses each, contrasting the sense of trouble expressed in rs. 1, 2, with the sense of God's protection in vs. 3, 4; the last of four verses applying both in mingled prayer and thanksgiving. So again Ps. Ixi. is similarly divided into two stanzas, each of four verses.
In other cases this division of idea is marked by the recurrence of a burden with or without the interposed "Selah." Thus in Ps. xlvi., the last two sections (vs. 4-7, 8-11) end with the joyful exclamation-
"The Lord of Hosts is with us;
Again, in Ps. xlii., xliii., which are virtually one Psalm, we have three such sections-each ended with the cry
Why art thou so heavy, O my soul?
Why art thou so disquieted within me?
I will yet give Him thanks;
Who is the help of my countenance and my God."
The grandest instance is, however, Ps. cvii., in which the first four sections, containing distinct pictures of life's vicissitudes, are ended with a burden, of which the first member is always the
O that men would praise God for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!" while the second member varies at each successive repetition.
In a few Psalms the acrostic principle is preserved in successive clauses (as in Ps. cxi., cxii.); in successive verses (as in Ps. xxv., xxxiv.); or in successive groups of verses (as in Ps. xxxvii., cxix.). This is, however, exceptional; it has more artificiality of system than usual, and tends to break up the sense of the Psalm into separate ideas or maxims. It was probably adopted as a help to memory.
In these various ways, without being subjected to the rigid fetters of rhythm or rhyme, the language of the Psalms has impressed upon it that modulation and partial artificiality of form, which in all literatures seems to intensify, by confining within limits, the imaginative force of poetry. It is remarkable, and singularly conducive to the universal use of the Psalter, that since this kind of poetic form, unlike those of more modern poetry, attaches to idea more than word, it admits of free rendering in all the various languages into which the Psalms have been translated.
THE MUSICAL RECITATION OF THE PSALMS.-In some degree correspondent to this parallelism is the nature of the music, to which in the Christian Church the Psalms have been set. Of the methods of musical recitation of the Psalms, as they existed in the Jewish Church, although much speculation, more or less probable, has been employed, we cannot be said to know anything with certainty. In the Christian Church we not only know from very early times that, as their original intention demanded, they were sung and not said, and, where there was opportunity, musically accompanied; but we learn of three methods of singing them. Sometimes they were sung in full by the whole congrega tion; sometimes they were sung responsively, a Precentor singing alternate verses and Congregation or Choir taking up the others; sometimes, and most frequently of all, they were sung antiphonally by the two sides of the Choir or the Congregation. The last method is of immemorial antiquity in the East, and it is said to have been introduced into the West by St. Ambrose in the
fifth century. With this introduction is connected the origination of the old Ambrosian settings, which were afterwards improved by Gregory the Great (about A.D. 600) into the well-known Gregorian Tones. From that time onwards the prevalence of antiphonal singing-not, however, without some exemplifications of the other two forms-has been the rule of the Church; and various forms of Chant have been introduced, all having the same character of correspondence, as is perceptible in the idea of the Psalms themselves, and all the older forms preserving the completeness of each verse as a whole. Like other preservations of ancient usage, it was attacked by the more extreme Puritan party, who would have superseded its congregational use by the new Hymnody, and in plain disregard of the intrinsic character of the Psalter, claimed that it should be used only as other parts of Holy Scripture are used. Even in 1689, among other proposals of the Revisers, it was suggested that all chanting should be abolished. But happily these proposals have never been carried out. In her use of the Psalter the Church of England has remained in harmony with the best traditions of the ancient Church; and the Psalms have continued to be the leading element in her Service of Praise, and a most powerful influence over the spiritual devotion of her members.
[It should be noticed that the Psalter in the Prayer Book is still taken from the older Version of the "Great Bible" of 1540; which by familiarity had been so endeared to the people, that it was felt undesirable to change it, even for the more accurate translation of 1611; and which, indeed, seems to lend itself with special appropriateness and beauty to Liturgical use.]
PSALMS OF DAVID.
PSALM 1. Beatus vir, qui non abiit, &c. Bnot walked in the counsel of
LESSED is the man that hath
the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law will he exercise himself day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the water-side: that will bring forth his fruit in due
4 His leaf also shall not wither: and look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.
5 As for the ungodly, it is not so with them but they are like the chaff, which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.
6 Therefore the ungodly shall not be able to stand in the judgment neither the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
7 But the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Quare fremuerunt gentes?
of the Lord hath said unto me: Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
8 Desire of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance: and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt bruise them with a rod of iron and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be learned, ye that are judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord in fear and rejoice unto him with reverence.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish from the right way: if his wrath be kindled, (yea, but a little,) blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Domine, quid multiplicati? LORD, how are they increased that trouble me many are they that rise against me.
2 Many one there be that say of my soul: There is no help for him in his God.
3 But thou, O Lord, art my
WHY do the heathen so fu- defender: thou art my worship,
riously rage together and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed.
3 Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my King: upon my holy hill of Sion.
7 I will preach the law, where
and the lifter up of my head.
4 I did call upon the Lord with my voice and he heard me out of his holy hill.
5 I laid me down and slept, and rose up again: for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid for ten thousands of the people that have set themselves against me round about.
7 Up, Lord, and help me, O my God for thou smitest all mine enemies upon the cheekbone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the Lord and thy blessing is upon thy people.