Page images
PDF
EPUB

between the several verses ; at least not beyond the several divisions of the Psalm. Probably nothing more was intended, than the record of the exercises of his own heart at different periods, and under different circumstances. If however they are not links on the same chain, in continuous and unbroken dependence ; they may at least be considered as pearls upon one string, of equal though independent value. The prominent characteristic of the Psalm is a love for the word of God, which is brought before us under no less than ten different names,1 ó referring to some latent and distinguishing properties of the Divine word, whose manifold excellences and perfections are thus illustrated with much elegant variety of diction.'? In many instances, however, the several terms appear to have been varied, to adapt themselves to the metre; while, perhaps, at other times they may be promiscuously used for the whole revelation of God;' that the view of its inexhaustible fulness might thus conciliate a more attentive regard to its authority; and might add fresh strength to the obligation to read, believe, love and live in it.

If the writer may be permitted to suggest the method, in which this Exposition may be best studied to advantage, he would beg to refer to the advice of the excellent Philip Henry to his children—that they

* Such as way, law, judgments, words, statutes, commandments, precepts, testimonies, righteousness, truth.

2 Rev. T. H. Horne's Introduction to Scripture, Vol. ii. 536.

3 As a proof of the promiscuous and extended application of those terms, whose definite sense is restricted to particular parts of revelation-we may mark the use of the word “ law," applied by our Saviour to quotations from the book of Psalms. Compare John xv. 25. with Psalm xxxv. 16; \xix. 4: also John x. 34, with Psalm lxxxii. 6. Under this word—“law".-Calvin observes - there is no doubt, but that David comprehended the sum of all the doctrine, which God gave to his church. Sermons on Psalm cxix. verse 153. Compare Psalm xix. 7. marg.

should take a verse of Psalm cxix. every morning to meditate upon, and so go over the Psalm twice in a year:' and that'-said he will bring you to be in love with all the rest of the Scripture.'' Not that the Writer presumes to suppose, that this superficial sketch will supply food for meditation year after year! at the same time he ventures to hope, that it may have its use, in directing the attention from time to time to a most precious portion of Holy Writ; which however unfruitful it may have proved to the undiscerning mind, will be found by the serious and intelligent reader to be “ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous

ness.

The composition of this work has been diversified with as much variety as the nature of the subject would allow. The descriptive character of the book will be found to be interspersed with matter of discussion, personal address, hints for self-inquiry, and occasional supplication, with the earnest endeavour to cast the mind into that meditative, self-scrutinizing, devotional frame, in which the new creature is strengthened, and increases, and goes on to perfection. Such however as the work is, the writer would commend it

· P. Henry's Life, William's Edition, p. 247. In conformity with this rule, we find his godly daughter writing thus in her diary, *1687-8, March 9, Friday morning. I have been of late taking some pains to learn by heart Psalm cxix. and have made some progress therein.' Extracted from Mrs. Savage's MSS. in P. Henry's Life-Ditto.-As an illustration of the view given by this excellent man of the importance of this Psalm, an Index is added to this work of the several matters more or less touched upon, to which, as well as to the texts referred to throughout the work, the reader's attention is invited.

2 Timothy iii. 16. Bishop Cowper sweetly calls it~'a Holy Alphabet-so plain that children may understand it—so rich and instructive, that the wisest and most experienced may learn every day something from it,

2

to the gracious consideration of the great Head of the Church ; imploring pardon for what in it may be his own, and a blessing on what may be traced to a purer source :—and in giving both the pardon and the blessing, may his holy name be abundantly glorified.

1 Domine Deus, quæcunque dixi de tuo, agnoscant et tui. Siqua de meo, et tu ignosce et tui.-August. Lib. 15, de Trin.

Old Newton Vicarage,
July 20th, 1827.

PREFACE TO THE TENTH EDITION.

The writer cannot forbear any longer to acknowledge the kind indulgence, with which his work has been received by the Church of Christ. He feels his special need of watchfulness and prayer to preserve him from the baneful influence of self-complacency in the knowledge of the Christian usefulness, connected with this work ; Oh! may his God and Saviour have all the glory, while he is humbled in thankfulness for the high privilege of leading his fellow-sinners into the “ ways of pleasantness and peace," and of ministering to the spiritual edification of the family of God.

The numerous alterations and additions in the later editions have not, it is hoped, altogether failed in giving increased perspicuity to the style, and fulness of evangelical statement to the matter. The Writer has desired that every page should be lighted up with the beam of the Sun of Righteousness,” who is the glory of the Revelation of God-the Christian's “ All in all.” He has endeavoured to illustrate true religion as the work of the Divine Spirit, grounded on the knowledge of Christ, advancing in communion with him, and completed in the enjoyment of Him, and of the Father by Him. He has also aimed to elevate the standard of Christian privilege as flowing immediately from Him, by giving such a scriptural statement of the doctrine of assurance, as may quicken the slothful to greater diligence in their holy profession, and at the same time encourage the weak and fearful to a clearer apprehension of their present salvation.

OLD NEWTON, January 14, 1834.

AN EXPOSITION OF

PSALM CXIX.

PART I.

1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who wulk in

the law of the Lord.

This most interesting and instructive Psalm, like the Psalter itself, opens with a Beatitude for our comfort and encouragement, directing us immediately to that happiness, which all mankind in different ways are seeking and inquiring after. All would secure themselves from the incursions of misery ; but all do not consider that misery is the offspring of sin, from which therefore it is necessary to be delivered and preserved, in order to become happy or blessed."' 1

The character described in this verse marks, in an Evangelical sense, “ an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile” 2—not one who is without sin, but one who in the sincerity of his heart can say—“ that which I do I allow not.” 3 As his way is, so is his “ walk, in the law of the Lord.He is “ strengthened in the Lord, and he walks up and down in his name.” +

Bp. Horne on Psalm i. l. 2 John i. 47. Comp. Acts xxiv. 16. ! Rom. vii, 15.

4 Zech. x. 12.

1

B

« PreviousContinue »