B.W. Newton, Psalms

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The Observations on the Psalms are not so precise as the Synopsis, but there is more freshness in them (this at least), so that I enjoyed it more when I read it. The essential difference is that many more Psalms are applied to Christ in the Observations than in the Synopsis, as is habitually the case. In the Synopsis the remnant is much more prominently brought into view, and I think rightly.
As to Psa. 31, the remark that "it is not expressed in the historical order," is the key to what is said. His whole life is viewed as to position, but the close is seen first, as stamping its character upon His sorrows (not atonement). He was isolated, hated, &c., but His mind, as being perfect, saw not merely the fruit of faithfulness, which is not the subject of this Psalm, though He were faithful in everything, but that the Israel whom He had taken up in grace had to come into judgment. Prophetically the shadow of the cross was cast upon His life, as I doubt not He often in fact anticipated it. His communion with God was perfect with respect to these very things. We have an example in "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father glorify thy name." Only I doubt not He often felt what the place of Israel was according to God; but as long as He lived, that is, till the last entry into Jerusalem, it was still open to the people to repent. It is closed by "Now are they hid from thine eyes." Still I doubt not He often, nay always, saw where all was going as to Israel, and felt it in perfect communion with God. This breach was sealed on the cross besides the atoning work. There He took His place under it for the purpose of atonement, but He saw it as the full rejection of Israel too. His rejection, which He felt all through, was really Israel's rejection. And He could say, "If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, but... "
Now the comment on the Psalm supposes that the full result is prophetically here seen, and the circumstances leading to the crisis there gone into taking their color from the crisis, but their color to His spirit in full communion with God. So that words of deep comfort flow from this depth of communion, and perfect thoughts in the trial for those who have to go through the experience of it, in a measure at least, hereafter. Verse 22 shows the full agony of Gethsemane (compare Psa. 103) casting its shadow on the whole; but the circumstances are from without, which are felt, as in verses 4, 9, 10, 11, &c. I think it is more critically exact to begin from the remnant, but the deepest profit, at any rate, is seeing the blessed Lord entering into it.
Let no one fear that is N.'s doctrine: not only is it not, but he says he does not mean this, and puts his views in contrast with it; and so it is, he wholly excludes this. If his be true, this would have been impossible. He holds Christ was by faith associated with the ungodly Jews. I teach how He was the blessed Son of God, in perfect communion, and entering as a faithful One into the sorrows of the godly remnant Only seeing that for them and to deliver them, there must be a rejection of the nation, and of Messiah as connected with it in flesh, to have it on a new ground—the sure mercies of David, thus proving resurrection. I do not expect many at once to enter into this. The sympathies of Christ they will feel, His atonement they see with thankfulness for themselves, His own sorrows they but little enter into, but that does not make them the less precious, if we can. "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said I go unto the Father." But to me, this sorrow of Christ is very clear in scripture.
As to Psa. 61, there is no ground for the question: none surely ever felt our sins as Jesus did, their horribleness in God's sight, how they separated from God, our ruin by them. That is not the same thing as bearing them. He groaned deeply in spirit, He groaned in Himself at seeing the power of death at the tomb of Lazarus. That was not bearing them, or meeting wrath for them. This surely is very simple. I dread extremely the sense of Christ's sufferings, the sorrows of the blessed Lord being weakened by the deadly doctrine which the devil has raised up to make them not such at all, but a relationship with God that made Him feel them for Himself I hope I have made it clear: if not, you can let me know. The thirty-first a man must be spiritual to understand: what is said as to Psa. 61, it seems to me any one might who knows what Christ's sympathy means.
Affectionately yours.
Date uncertain.]