Thursday, February 01, 2007

the psalms: "an inexhaustible variety of the noblest matter"

Commentary On The Psalms, George Horne, (reprinted by Old Paths Publications, $18.00, available from Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids USA,
Horne's Commentary on the Psalms is a devotional classic. Spurgeon wrote: "He is among the best of our English writers on this part of Scripture and certainly one of the most popular." It is a commentary intended to be of devotional value to every Christian not a learned and technical Horne believes that the Psalms are "an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion". The Psalms contain that which is found elsewhere in Scripture in terms of doctrine, history, duty and prophecy but express them in the spirit of devotion. Horne's commentary explains the Psalms in "their literal or historical sense, as they relate to King David, and the people of Israel" but also spiritually in "their application to the Messiah, to the Church, and to individuals as members thereof." In his own refreshingly meditative approach, Horne finds Christ in most of the Psalms. Not limiting himself to those cited in the New Testament alone, he follows the principles underlying the apostolic interpretation of the Psalms. His approach follows from the best insights of Chrysostom and Augustine on this portion of Scripture.

Many in our own day do not recognise the sufficiency and entire relevance of the Psalms. Nothing could be better suited for the purposes of devotion. Horne notes that the "Psalms when thus applied, have advantages, which no fresh compositions, however finely executed, can possibly have...they point out the connexion between the old and new dispensations, thereby teaching us to admire and adore the wisdom of God displayed in both, and furnishing us while we read or sing them, an inexhaustible variety of the noblest matter that can engage the contemplations of man." This is a commentary designed to help the individual Christian to sing with the spirit and the understanding.

Horne (1730-1792), was a noted evangelical preacher who was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Dean of Canterbury, and Bishop of Norwich. While his Anglican allegiance appears in various interpretations and expressions it is not over intrusive in the commentary which he published commentary in 1771. He comments on the pleasure that he had in meditating on the Book of Psalms in putting together the Commentary. "Happier hours than those which have been spent on these meditations on the Songs of Sion, he never expects to see in this world". It was written for those "who will exercise their faculties in discerning and contemplating the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and who are going on to perfection: to increase their faith, and inflame their charity: to delight them in prosperity, to comfort them in adversity, to edify them at all times". And truly if we use and apply the Psalms aright they will be blessed to us in this way.