The title of the seventh Psalm is "Shiggaion" probably derived from a word signifying sorrow, and in its spiritual sense the Psalm is descriptive of the sorrows of temptation.
Verses 1, 2. "Save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me ; lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver." The functions of the intellect are represented by the inspiration and expiration of the breath, and the changes which take place in the blood by the decarbonizing of it in the lungs. The primitive meaning of the original word, which is here translated the soul, is the breath ; but it is more frequently rendered by the words soul or life. The conscious life of man depends upon the exercise of the understanding so completely, that, under any suspension of the intellectual functions, all consciousness ceases. The lion that rends the soul in pieces is spiritually some form of falsehood in the understanding, which is the effect of evil in the natural will, and this it is that "rends in pieces," or destroys the perception of truth, by means of which perception the affections of the will are exalted and purified.
The system of the human body corresponds, in the functions of all its parts, to the spiritual system of the human mind, that is, all the phenomena of the body represent and signify, because they are, as phenomena, effects of the peculiar form of the mind, and its form is its adaptation to specific uses. In the vascular system of the body, we have the heart and lungs, with the arteries, veins, and absorbent vessels. The functions of the lungs may for a time be suspended, and yet natural life shall not become extinct, so long as the heart can continue its systolic and diastolic motions, or propel the blood to all parts of the body; but the rational consciousness of existence returns only when the lungs recommence their functions of purifying the blood. This phenomenon is a real correspondency, which represents, because it is an effect of, the conditions of the human will and intellect ; for the return of consciousness does not depend upon the restoration of the lungs to their purifying functions, as its cause, the natural phenomenon being nothing more than an effect, which represents the united action of the will and understanding, and man's restoration to a state of rational consciousness.
Verse 3. "O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there be any iniquity in my hands." The hands correspond to the. power of truth in its ultimate form. The eastern custom of washing the hands from blood- guiltiness, as Pilate did when the Divine Truth was rejected or condemned by the Jews, was derived from its spiritual cause by a knowledge, then lost, of the correspondency of the hands, and the washing of them. " I am innocent of the blood of this just person," he said to the Jews, when he washed his hands before them, and this action was the representative form that, even down to the ultimate or lowest states of the understanding, there was no concurrence in the condemnation and rejection of the Divine Light, which was in them by the possession of the Word, but which the Gentile state, represented by Pilate, had not.
Verse 4. " If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me." He who is at peace with me, is the Lord, who is the Prince of Peace : and to reward evil unto him, is to destroy the Divine Goodness by the evil lusts of the natural man, cutting off the influx of the Divine Life, the life of love and charity, which can only inflow through the internal or spiritual man. For there can be no true charity and faith in us unless our actions and our worship spring from pure and honest motives, that is, unless we receive our love and faith from the Lord ; but when we receive them from Him, then our love of others and our perception of truth spring from His Love and His Wisdom in us.
Verse 5. " Let the enemy persecute my soul and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust." In the spiritual sense, man is here described as perceiving the consequences of having iniquity in his hands, and of rewarding evil unto him that was at peace .with him. To tread down man's life upon the earth is to debase the Lord's life of love and charity by the depravities and disorders of the natural will, which is signified by the earth. To lay mine honour in the dust, is to obscure and falsify the interior knowledge of truth by bringing truth down to the sterile dust of the natural intellect. For the natural will consists of nothing else but of those debased and debasing propensities to evil, all of which centre in the loves of self and of the world, and the natural intellect, in the fallacious or sensual appearances of truth which agree with his selfish propensities. When man, by the spiritual light of the Divine Truth within him, becomes conscious of his degraded state, then the Lord is called on in his "anger," signifying man's opposition to the Divine Presence, then first felt by him, which arises from the evil desires of the will, and the nocturnal habits of his intellect.
Verse 7. " So shall the congregation of the people compass Thee about; for their sakes therefore return Thou on high" It is the love of self which destroys all but the hypocritical appearance of being swayed by good affections; but according to the measure in which self-love is subdued, " the congregation of the people compass the Lord about," or, spiritually speaking, the truths of our intellects are so arranged and governed by Him, as to minister to still further changes in the affections of our wills. For their sakes therefore "He returns on high," or is glorified, when man is elevated from a natural to a spiritual state of mind, the only heaven in which his Redeemer sits enthroned, when He has spiritually subdued the nations under His feet, and has brought all the states of man's life, even down to the selfish propensities of his sensual nature, into order, and the whole man into a willing submission to His Divine government. It was for this purpose that He came upon earth, that is, in its spiritual sense, presented Himself as the Divine Truth in its lowest form, or in relation to the natural mind and correspondently to the bodily senses.
Verse 9. " For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins." Righteous has relation to the Divine Goodness and God to the Divine Truth, and the righteous God to the unity of both in the Lord ; and therefore the righteous God is here said to try the heart and reins, for the former in its natural functions, represents the will, and the latter, in their functions, represent the intellect in its power of separating the impurities with which the natural life is contaminated.
Verse 15. " He made a fit and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made." The ditch and pit are, in the original, expressed by the same word. This verse spiritually describes the condemnation of evil by its rejection, and the interior conviction that it necessarily involves, and brings upon itself its own punishment.
Verse 16. " His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own pate." The mischief here signifies the evil of intention, and the violent dealing the evil of manifestation. The one therefore relates to the will, and the other to the understanding, in which all evil intentions manifest themselves, and by means of which they are brought into, effect.