Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 84: A Vision of the King in His Temple

images (6)Psalm 84

Jocelyn,in his life of Kentigern, tells of an interview between him and Columba, in A.D. 584, at a place called Mellindenor, where they and their companies met one another singing psalms. Mellindenor is what is now known as Molendinar, rivus molendinarius, the little stream by Glasgow Cathedral, used for the primitive mill, –the first glimpse we have of the city with mills innumerable, with a kind of anticipation of its motto of welfare through the preaching of the Word. The psalms said to have been sung were on the side of Kentigern, Ps. 138:5, ‘In the ways of the Lord, how great is the glory of the Lord!’ and on the side of Columba ‘they sang with tuneful voices’ Ps. 84:7, ‘The saints shall go from strength to strength, until unto the God of gods appeareth everyone in Sion.’ It is matter of regret that the lives of these good men should have been disfigured, through the superstition of a later age, with so many trifling legends; but the evidence we have of their delight in the Psalms and Gospels is proof of their deep spiritual feeling.

Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, under the year 1554, in the reign of Queen Mary, gives an account of one William Hunter, nineteen years of age, who was pursued to death for the gospel’s sake. It is taken from his brother’s narration. ‘He suffered with great constancy, and recited the 84th Psalm as he was a-dying. There was a gentleman standing beside him who said,” I pray God have mercy upon his soul.” The people said, “Amen, Amen.” Immediately fire was made. Then William cast his Psalter right into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ, and be not afraid of death!” And William answered, ” I am not afraid.” Then, lifting up his hands to heaven, he said,”Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;” and, casting down his head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.’

When Thomas Halyburton was dying, he caused them to read the 84th Psalm, and to sing the latter part of it,”

‘Lord God of hosts, my prayer hear ;
O Jacob’s God, give ear.
See God our shield,look on the face
Of thine anointed dear.’

He joined in singing, and, after prayer, he said, ‘I had always a mistimed voice and a bad ear, but that which is worst of all, is a mistimed heart. But, shortly, when I join the temple service above, there shall not be, world without end, one string of the affections out of tune.’ And, after that, he caused one of the ministers to read to him what Dr. Owen had said of this temple service above, in his book on the Person of Christ.

Thomas Halyburton, born 1674, died 1712, with a brief life, has left in Scotland a well-known name. He was a man of remarkable ability, uniting a fervent nature with a decided power of metaphysical thought. His piety had the character of that of Rutherford and M’Cheyne, clinging to the person of Christ with a deep, intimate affection. His death-bed sayings, many of which were preserved by his friends, are like those of Bunyan’s pilgrims by the river’s brink when they looked across to the King in his beauty. One of them is,

‘O blessed be God that ever I was born! I have
a father, a mother, and ten brethren and sisters in
heaven, and I shall be the eleventh. O blessed be
the day that ever I was born !’

He was Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews, and lies there by Rutherford’s side.

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Psalm 84

Geneva Bible

O Lord of hosts, how amiable are thy Tabernacles? My soul longeth, yea, and fainted for the courts of the Lord: for my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest for her, where she may lay her young: even by thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thine house, they will ever praise thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, and in whose heart are thy ways. They going through the valley of Baca, make wells therein: the rain also covereth the pools. They go from strength to strength, till every one appear before God in Zion. 

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, hearken, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God, our shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand other where: I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tabernacles of wickedness. For the Lord God is the sun and shield unto us: the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

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Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,”
Wikipedia, and other sources.
Edited for thought and sense.