« AnteriorContinuar »
attempted to separate the one from the other; and I think they may, for the most part, be disposed under the following Heads :
A'S they give a Representation of the BLESSEDNESS of the Righteous, and the very different State the UNGODLY are in ; as in the First, and many other Psalms.
AS they are express PROPHECIES of the MESSIAH, describing his Passion, DEATH, RESURRECTION, and ASCENSION.
THE great OPPOSITION that was to be to his KINGDOM by the Princes of the Earth, and the cruel SUFFERINGS that his SUBJECTS should undergo for many Ages; but that he should rule bis Enemies with a Rod of Iron, and daflo them in pieces like a Potter's Del sel, as in the second Pfalm. The Truth of which is fully verified by the History of all Ages; and to this Pfalm St. Peter exprefly refers.
AND the GRANDEUR, MAGNIFICENCF, and UNIVERSALITY of his Kingdom, which was to diffuse the Knowledge of the only true God throughout the World ; and thereby introduce such a State of RIGHTEOUSNESS and Peace, as should free Mankind from that Oppression and Cruelty, under which the World bath so long groaned ; and which are referred to by the Evangelists and Apostles ; as also by Ísaiah, Daniel, and other Prophets ; as in Psalms xlv, lxviii, lxxii, lxxxix, xcii, xciii, xcvi, xcvii, xcix, and cx.
- AS they have an exprefs Reference to the State of the Jews, under their several Captivities, and their last great Dispersion, under which they have lain now above Sixteen Hundred Years; and from which they are to be restored, as is foretold by Meses, and other Prophets, and to which feveral of the Psalms allude.
AS they are Hymns of Praise, wherein the MAJESTY, GLORY, Power, and Mercy of the Deity are celebrated : wherein devout Minds may have a Foretaste of Celestial Joys.
BUT the greatest Part of the Psalms are Supplications, and contain a : System of the most exalted Devotion, that ever Mankind was blessed with; calculated for the various Distresses, Afflictions, and Temptations, with which renewed Souls are to conflict:
OUR Saviour commands the Jews, that they should search the Scriptures, for in them (says he) you think you have Eternal Life ; for they are they which testify of me : And therefore we find, that both our Saviour and the Apostles, in very many Instances, use the very Expressions in the Psalms, and in many Places refer to them. * So that the Holy Scripture must be the best Comment upon itself, as the Comparifon of one place with another doth most fully illustrate it.
I HAVE therefore, according to the best of my mean Capacity, attempted to fix the HARMONY between the PSALMS and other parts of the Holy SCRIPTURES, but especially between them and the NEW TESTAMENT.
THESE PRAYERS are composed out of the Words of the Psalms, and are disposed in one Column, with References to the other; and the fame Method is follow'd as to other parts of the Psalms.
AS no human Understanding can compose such Expressions, as we find in the Psalms, to present our humble Addresses to the Almighty ; so nothing can be a higher Encouragement to our Confidence and Hope, than to have at the same time in view the PROMISES of the Gospel, which are adapted to all the Distresses and Amiations both of Soul and Body.
BU T how exalted foever the Expressions may be, which we make use of in our Ad. dresses to Heaven, there is still something more required to make them successful : End therefore all Prayer that is fincere, or can be made effectual, must spring from the Consciousness of our Guilt and Misery, and a due Sense of our own INABILITY to confer upon our selves, the Things that are necefsary for our Welfare in this world, and our Felicity in the next; and must be assisted with the Influence of the HOLY SPIRIT, which maketh Intercession for the Saints, according to the Will of God.
FOR he that worships not in Spirit and in TRUTH, is no true Worshipper : And he that is not conscious of his Offences against the Almighty, can never, with any Fervour or Devotion, implore the Mercy of GOD. The Immensity of the Divine Goodness has very little or no Influence upon the Mind, till it feels its Guilt, and fees its Danger : Stupidity and Hardness of Heart, is the fatal Disease that has fiezed upon all Mankind;
; and till this is removed, the Redemption purchased by the facred Blood of Jesus, is very little valued ; and neither the Justice nor Mercy of the Almighty, can make any great Impression upon the Mind.
IN order therefore that every pious Soul may make the true Use of this Sacred Book, let it be consider'd; That as all the Works of Nature, all the Magnificence of the Creation, are display'd in it, to raise the highest Ideas of the Supreme Being : so all the Weakness of human Nature are likewise fully represented, and most passionately bewailed ; that the Divine Mercy, in the Redemption of the World by the MESSIAH, may be magnified above all the Glories of the Creation, the Height, the Depth, the Breadth, and Length of which surpasses all Knowledge.
THE Contemplation whereof fo affected the great Genius of the Lord Bacon, that in his Confession of Faith, he hath this wondrous Expression.
xi I BELIEVE that God is so holy, pure, and jealous, as it is impossible for him to be pleased in any Creature, though the work of his own Hands : So that neither Angel, Man, nor World,
could stand, or can stand one Moment in « his Eyes, without beholding the same in
the Face of a MEDIATOR : And therefore, that before Him, with whom all Things are present, the Lamb of God was flain before all Worlds. Which is the great Mystery, and perfect Centre of all God's
Ways with his Creatures, and unto which “ all his other Works and Wonders do but " serve and refer.
IT is a sad Truth, that the Generality of those that call themselves CHRISTIANS, are very little affected either with the Promises or Terrors that are revealed from Heaven; and, in very different Ways, endeavour to silence and stupify their Consciences. Some satisfy themselves only with their Attendance on the Prayers of the Church, assuming a Form of Godliness, without that Power which should influence their Thoughts and A&ions : Others secure themselves against all Self-reflection, by the Business, Cares or Pleasures of this Life ; and very many by plunging themselves into the most enormous Vices.
THERE is too much Reason to think that this is the reigning Impiety of the present Age, which has brought Men to throw off all Regard to the very Religion they