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In order that we may read the Psalms (and, indeed, any of the poetical parts of Scripture,) with greater delight and benefit, we should have some right notion of the nature of Hebrew verse. following brief notice of the subject may suffice here.


The characteristic of Hebrew poetry is Parallelism; that is, a certain equality, resemblance, or relationship between the members of each period; so that in two lines, or members of the same period, things shall answer to things, and words to words, as if fitted to each other by a kind of rule or measure.

Three sorts of parallel lines demand our consideration.

I. "Cognate Parallelism."


The thought which is expressed in the first line is repeated in the second line in stronger words, or more emphatically. This species of parallelism is the most frequent of all.

See Psalm xxi. 1—8.

II. Constructive Parallelism."

Word does not answer to word, and sentence to sentence, as equivalent or opposite; but there is a correspondence and equality between the different propositions, in respect of the shape and turn of the whole sentence: such as noun answering to noun, verb to verb, member to member, negative to negative, interrogative to interrogative.

See Psalm xix. 7-10. cxlviii. 7-13.

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Two lines correspond one with another, by an opposition of terms and sentiments; the second is contrasted with the first, sometimes in expression, sometimes in sense only.

See Psalm xx. 7, 8. xxx. 5.

Each of these kinds of parallelism admits of many subordinate varieties; and, in combination of verses, the several kinds are perpetually intermingled. This enlivens and beautifies the composition, and frequently gives peculiar distinctness and precision to the train of thought.

1. Sometimes the lines are " Bi-membral;" that is, they consist each of double members, or two propositions.

See Psalm xlvi. 6 and 10. cxliv. 5, 6.

2. There are parallels formed by a repetition of part of the first sentence.

See Psalm 1xxvii. 1, 11, 16.

3. There are parallel Triplets.

A third line is added to two parallel lines.

See Psalm cxii. 10. xci. 7.

The three lines may be constructive.

See Psalm cxii. 9. CXXXV. 7.

4. There are parallels of four lines, which make one stanza.

See Psalm xxxvii. 1, 2. This Psalm is chiefly composed of such stanzas.

5. In stanzas of four lines the parallelism may be alternate.

See Psalm ciii. 11, 12. xxxiii. 13, 14.

6. Stanzas may consist of five lines.

They may have a line thrown in between two pairs of cognate parallels.

See Psalm xxxix. 12.

They may have a line added to four parallel lines.

See Psalm xliv. 3.



DAY 1.]


Instructive: the conduct and end of good and bad men. Author uncertain; probably Ezra. Compare Jeremiah xvii. 5—8.

(I. Conduct and happiness of the good man.)

1 BLESSED is the man

That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor standeth in the way of sinners,

Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
And in His law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree

planted by the rivers of water,

That bringeth forth his fruit in his season;

His leaf also shall not wither;

And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

(II. Unhappiness of the wicked.)

4 The ungodly are not so;

But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: But the way of the ungodly shall perish.



Here observe three things; the Conduct of the good man; his Blessedness; and the Contrast between him and the wicked man.

1. His Conduct. As to evil, he keeps far from the counsels, the course of life, and the society of the wicked. He stands, as it were, at a distance from sin and sinners. As to good, he delights in God's word, and makes it the subject of his continual meditation.

2. His Blessedness. Observe him in this world. The emblem of him is a green, flourishing, and fruitful tree. He is a tree of righteousness. He enjoys the divine favour; for God approves his course of life.-Observe him in the last day: he stands in the judgment; he is acquitted; he is in the congregation of the righteous; and he is advanced to everlasting happiness.

3. The Contrast. The counsel of the ungodly is error and folly, and their way is evil. Truth and obedience are forgotten by them. They are as chaff, light and worthless, driven away by the whirlwind of God's displeasure, to be burnt "with unquenchable fire." They are condemned in judgment, and perish for ever.

O Christian! consider these things: seek divine grace; renounce evil; search the Scriptures; and thus shalt thou be a tree "the planting of the Lord," blessed now and for evermore.


Grant, O Lord, that by Thy grace we may hate and

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