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a Bible passage
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
An Invitation to Praise.
4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together 9 Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
The setting up of the kingdom of Christ is here represented as a matter of joy and praise.
I. Let all the children of men rejoice in it, for they all have, or may have, benefit by it. Again and again we are here called upon by all ways and means possible to express our joy in it and give God praise for it: Make a joyful noise, as before, Ps. xcv. 1, 2. Make a loud noise, as those that are affected with those glad tidings and are desirous to affect others with them. Rejoice and sing praise, sing Hosannas (Matt. xxi. 9), sing Hallelujahs, Rev. xix. 6. Let him be welcomed to the throne, as new kings are, with acclamations of joy and loud shouts, till the earth ring again, as when Solomon was proclaimed, 1 Kings i. 40. And let the shouts of the crowd be accompanied with the singers and players on instruments (Ps. lxxvii. 7; lxvi. 25), as is usual in such solemnities. 1. Let sacred songs attend the new King: "Sing praise, sing with the voice of a psalm. Express your joy; thus proclaim it, thus excite it yet more, and thus propagate it among others." 2. Let these be assisted with sacred music, not only with the soft and gentle melody of the harp, but since it is a victorious King whose glory is to be celebrated, who goes forth conquering and to conquer, let him be proclaimed with the martial sound of the trumpet and cornet, v. 6. Let all this joy be directed to God, and expressed in a solemn religious manner: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, v. 4. Sing to the Lord, (v. 5); do it before the Lord, the King, v. 6. Carnal mirth is an enemy to this holy joy. When David danced before the ark he pleaded that it was before the Lord; and the piety and devotion of the intention not only vindicated what he did, but commended it. We must rejoice before the Lord whenever we draw near to him (Deut. xii. 12), before the Lord Jesus, and before him, not only as the Saviour, but as the King, the King of kings, the church's King, and our King.
II. Let the inferior creatures rejoice in it, v. 7-9. This is to the same purport with what we had before (Ps. xcvi. 11-13): Let the sea roar, and let that be called, not as it used to be, a dreadful noise, but a joyful noise; for the coming of Christ, and the salvation wrought out by him, have quite altered the property of the troubles and terrors of this world, so that when the floods lift up their voice, lift up their waves, we must not construe that to be the sea roaring against us, but rather rejoicing with us. Let the floods express their joy, as men do when they clap their hands; and let the hills, that trembled for fear before God when he came down to give the law at Mount Sinai, dance for joy before him when his gospel is preached and that word of the Lord goes forth from Zion in a still small voice: Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord. This intimates that the kingdom of Christ would be a blessing to the whole creation; but that, as the inferior creatures declare the glory of the Creator (Ps. xix. 1), so they declare the glory of the Redeemer, for by him all things not only subsist in their being, but consist in their order. It intimates likewise that the children of men would be wanting in paying their due respects to the Redeemer, and therefore that he must look for his honour from the sea and the floods, which would shame the stupidity and ingratitude of mankind. And perhaps respect is here had to the new heavens and the new earth, which we yet, according to his promise, look for (2 Pet. iii. 13), and this second mention of his coming (after the like, Ps. xcvi.) may principally refer to his second coming, when all these things shall be so dissolved as to be refined; then shall he come to judge the world with righteousness. In the prospect of that day all that are sanctified do rejoice, and even the sea, and the floods, and the hills, would rejoice if they could. One would think that Virgil had these psalms in his eye, as well as the oracles of the Cumean Sibyl, in his fourth eclogue, where he either ignorantly or basely applies to Asinius Pollio the ancient prophecies, which at that time were expected to be fulfilled; for he lived in the reign of Augustus Cæsar, a little before our Saviour's birth. He owns they looked for the birth of a child from heaven that should be a great blessing to the world, and restore the golden age:—
Jam nova progenies cœlo demittitur alto—
A new race descends from the lofty sky;
and that should take away sin:—
Te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri,
Irrita perpetua solvent formidine terras—
Thy influence shall efface every stain of corruption,
And free the world from alarm.
Many other things he says of this long-looked-for child, which Ludovicus Vives, in his notes on that eclogue, thinks applicable to Christ; and he concludes, as the psalmist here, with a prospect of the rejoicing of the whole creation herein:—
Aspice, venturo lætentur ut omnia sæclo—
See how this promis'd age makes all rejoice.
And, if all rejoice, why should not we?