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admirable sagacity and integrity of his judicial decisions : but we read not at all, as far as I recollect, of the extraordinary comeliness of his person, or the affability of his speech. And if he possessed these qualities, they are no more than other monarchs have possessed in a degree not to be surpassed by Solomon. Splendour and stateliness of dress, twice mentioned in this psalm, were not peculiar to Solomon, but belong to every great and opulent monarch. Other circumstances might be mentioned, applicable, indeed, to Solomon, but no otherwise than as generally applicable to every king. But the circumstances which are characteristic of the king who is the hero of this poem, are every one of them utterly inapplicable to Solomon, insomuch, that not one of them can be ascribed to him, without contradicting the history of his reign. The hero of this poem is a warrior, who girds his sword upon
his thigh, rides in pursuit of flying foes, makes havoc among them with his sharp arrows, and reigns at last by conquest over his vanquished enemies. Now, Solomon was no warrior: he enjoyed a long reign of forty years of uninterrupted peace. He retained, indeed, the sovereignty of the countries which his father had conquered, but he made no new conquests of his own. “He had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates, over all the kings on this side of the river (they were his vassals), and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine, and under his figtree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.” If Solomon ever girded a sword upon his thigh, it must have been merely for state; if he had a quiver of sharp arrows, he could have had no use for them but in hunting. We read, indeed, that Jehovah, offended at the idolatries of Solomon in his old age, stirred up an adversary unto. Solomon in Hadad the Edomite, and another in Rezon the Syrian, and a third in Jeroboam the son of Nebat. But though Hadad and Rezon bore Solomon and his people a grudge, there is no reason to suppose that the enmity of either broke out into acts of open hostility, during Solomon's life at least,-certainly into none of such importance as to engage the old monarch in a war with either. The contrary is evident from two circumstances; the first, that the return of Hadad into his country from Egypt was early in the reign of Solomon; for he returned as soon as he heard that David and Joab were both dead. And if this Edomite had provoked a war in so early a period of Solomon's reign, the sacred history could not have spoken in the terms of which it speaks of the uninterrupted peace which Israel enjoyed all the days of Solomon. The second circumstance is this:- In that portion of the history which mentions these adversaries, it is said of the third adversary, Jeroboam, “that he lifted up his hand against the king ;” and yet it is certain, that Jeroboam never lifted up his band till Solomon himself was in his grave. Solomon was jealous of Jeroboam, as the person marked by the prophet Ahijab as the future king of one branch of the divided kingdom, "and sought to kill him.” Jeroboam thereupon fled into Egypt, and remained there till the death of Solomon. And this makes it probable of the two foreign adversaries, that, whatever hatred might be rankling in their hearts, they awaited for Solomon's death, before they proceeded to open hostilities. But, however that might be, it is most certain, that the character of a warrior and a conquerer never less belonged to any monarch than to Solomon,
Another circumstance of distinction in the great personage celebrated in this psalm, is bis love of righteousness, and hatred of wickedness. The original expresses that he had set his heart upon righteousness, and boré an antipathy to wickedness. His. love of righteousness and hatred of wickedness had been so much the ruling principles of his whole conduct, that for this he was advanced to a condition of the highest bliss, and endless perpetuity was promised to bis kingdom. The word we render righteousness, in its strict and proper meaning, signifies “juse
tice," or the constant and perpetual observance of the natural distinctions of right and wrong in civil society: and principally with respect to property in private persons, and, in a magistrate or sovereign, in the impartial exercise of judicial authority. But the word we render wickedneess, denotes not only injustice, but whatever is contrary to moral purity in the indulgence of the appetites of the individual, and whatever is contrary to a principle of true piety toward God. Now the word righteousness being here opposed to this wickedness, must certainly be taken as generally as the word to which it is opposed in a contrary signification. It must signify, therefore, not merely "justice,” in the sense we have explained, but purity of private manners, and piety toward God. Now Solomon was certainly upon the whole a good king ; nor was he without piety: but his love of righteousness, in the large sense in which we have shown the word is to be taken, and his antipathy to the contrary, fell very far short of what the Psalmist ascribes to his great king, and procured for him no such stability of his monarchy. Solomon, whatever might be the general worth and virtue of his character, had no such predominant attachment to righteousness nor antipathy to wickedness, in the large sense in which the words are taken by the Psalmist, but that his love for the one, and his hatred of the other, were overpowered by his doating fondness for many of his seven hundred wives, who had so much influence with him in his later
years, that they turned away his heart to other gods, and prevailed
upon the aged king to erect temples to their idols. Another circumstance wholly inapplicable to Solomon is, the numerous progeny of sons, the issue of the marriage, all of whom were to be made princes over all the earth. Solomon had but one son, that we read of, that ever came to be a king, his son and successor Rehoboam; and so far was he from being a prince over all the earth, that he was no sooner seated on the throne than he lost the greater part of his father's kingdom.
Upon the whole, therefore, it appears, that in the character which the Psalmist draws of the king, whose marriage is the occasion and the subject of this song, some things are so general, as in a certain sense to be applicable to any great king, of fable or of history, of ancient or of modern times. And these things are, indeed, applicable to Solomon, because he was a great king, but for no other reason. They are no otherwise applicable to him, than to king Priam or Agamemnon, to king Tarquin or king Herod, to a king of Persia or a king of Egypt, a king of Jewry or a king of England. But those circumstances of the description which are properly characteristic, are evidently appropriate to some particular king, —not common to any and to all. Every one of these circumstances, in the Psalmist's description of his king, positively exclude king Solomon; being manifestly contradictory to the history of his reign, inconsistent with the tenor of his private life, and not verified in the fortunes of his family. There are, again, other circumstances, which clearly exclude every earthly king, --such as the salutation of the king by the title of God, in a manner in which that title never is applied to any created being; and the promise of the endless perpetuity of his kingdom. At the same time, every particular of the description, interpreted according to the usual and established significance of the figured style of prophecy, is applicable to, and expressive of, some circumstance in the mystical union between Christ and his church. A greater, therefore, than Solomon is here; and this I shall show more particularly in the sea quel. It is certain, therefore, that this mystical wedding is the sole subject of this psalm, without any
reference to the marriage of Solomon, or any other earthly monarch, as a type. And it was with great good judgment, that upon the revision of our English Bible, in the reign of James the First, the Calvinistic argument of this psalm, as it stood in queen Elizabeth's Bible, was expunged, and that other substituted which we now read in our Bible of the larger size, in these words: “The majesty and grace of Christ's kingdom; the duty of the church, and the benefits thereof;" which, indeed, contain a most exact summary of the whole doctrine of the psalm. And the particulars of this, it is my intention in future discourses to expound.
I speak of the things which I have made touching the King, or unto
the King.-Psalm xlv. I.
In my last Discourse in this place, I undertook to show, that the subject of this psalm (which, in its composition, is evidently in the form ofan epithalamium, or a marriage song) is the connexion between Christ and his church, represented here, as in other parts of Scripture, under the emblem of a marriage. I undertook to show, that this is the immediate and single subject of the psalm, in the first intention of the author, without any reference to the marriage of Solomon, or any earthly monarch, as a type. But as this, which was the unanimous opinion of all antiquity, has been brought into some degree of doubt, by the credit which a contrary opinion obtained among Protestants at the beginning of the Reformation, upon the authority of so great a man as Calvin, I thought proper to argue the matter in some detail; and to show, by the particulars of the character of the Psalmist's king, that Solomon more especially, but in truth every earthly monarch, is excluded. I might otherwise have drawn my conclusion at once, from that portion of the first verse which I chose for my text: “I speak of the things which I have made touching the King, or unto the King;” or, as the original might be still more exactly rendered, “I address my performance to the King.” It is a remark, and a very just remark, of the Jewish expositors, -and it carries the more weight