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THE PSALMS OF DAVID AND OF HIS TIME.
O F David we know from the sacred history, that he was the
king and the Psalmist of Israel. No other man was either king or Psalmist in the same sense, and hence he is rightly styled not only the Founder of the Hebrew monarchy, but of the Hebrew Psalter.
As God raised up Moses to give to His people and to His Church an institute of law, so He raised up David to be His vicegerent and to wield His sceptre upon earth, and further to be the sweet singer of Israel, that in him both His people then and His Church for all time might have a 'rule for uttering its gladness and its glory, its lamentation and its grief.'
Of this king and Psalmist we know further both his character and the circumstances of his life; how God richly endowed his character with gifts and capacities and affections manifold, and trained and matured it by circumstances, which brought all those gifts to their perfection. “He brought him up among the sheep pastures, that the groundwork of his character might be laid among simple and universal forms of feeling. He took him to the camp and made him a conqueror, that he might be filled with nobleness of soul and ideas of glory. He placed him in the palace, that he might be filled with ideas of majesty and sovereign might. He carried him to the wilderness and placed him in solitudes, that his soul might dwell alone in the sublime conceptions of God and His mighty works; and He kept him there for long years with only one step between him and death, that he might be well-schooled to trust and depend upon the providence of God!!! Moreover, He framed him of force both of body and mind, such as to make him the natural successor to those great captains and chiefs, who had in earlier times achieved the conquests and maintained the position of the chosen people ; of such surpassing grace, as to intertwine his name and his memory amid the very heartstrings of the nation; and withal of such tenderness and depth of emotion, as to make him the faithfullest of friends, the most affectionate of fathers, of subjects the most loyal, and,—whether in pathetic compassion for his people or in the sternness of his rule, —the most royal of kings.
Such is the portrait of David presented to us by history. If we turn from it to that collection of Psalms, which, though probably formed by the union of smaller collections, has from David's pre-eminence as the Psalmist of Israel been always rightly called by his name, and if we put to ourselves this question; which of these many Psalms bear the impress of his wonderful character, what answer do we receive ?
History assigns to David by name the most sublime of all autobiographies, the marvellous summary both of his inner and
1 Irving. Introduction to Horne on the Psalms.