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(IN COMMON USE) -
CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY,
Thy word is to my feet a lamp, and to my paths a light. Psal. cxix. 105.
Psal. xviii. 28.
it is because there is no light in them. Isa. viii. 20.
* 1815. 147. q. 446.
EXERTIONS are making in our day for the spread of the truth that were never known in those of our forefathers.. The Missionary and Bible Societies are like the two buckets of, a well that in their constant motion continually supply each other. While the fountain exists that supply cannot be ex«. hausted. No danger is to be apprehended from the) perus, sal of the Scriptures in a good translation. No less strenuous exertions are making by many, which are not less detructive of genuine Christianity than ruinous to the souls of men. These doctrines, in the words of inspiration, corrode and eat like a cancer, and leave nothing but a barren jejune system, devoid of harmony, consistency, efficacy, and beauty. Such productions, however elegantly written, convey no savour of piety to a pious mind, as experience evinces. The authors of such works are all advocates for the literal sense of Scripture, in which there is no spirit, the mystical terms not suiting their purpose, as being too evana gelical to stand with their glosses. Thus the key given us by the sacred writers themselves, especially in their quota tations from the Book of Psalms, and elucidations of them, is laid aside, and we are taught to substitute that of fallible men in its stead. Say, is that liberty likely to produce sound legitimate interpretations ?
In harmony with such a mode of glossing Scripture, the authors of such works plead that the fittest disposition for in. quiring after truth, and receiving it when discovered, is a to tal indifference about all religious truth, and all the, doctrines and modes of religion, or a mind in a state of equilibrium be. tween truth and error. So far is this from being really the case, we may assert it as a fact, that only good and pious men will ever search after truth in earnest. He that is not a friend to religion in any mode, may be pronounced an enemy to it in every mode. The very essence of true piety is deeply in, volved in the controversy between those who oppose and
those who defend the doctrines of our Lord's Deity and. atonement, and the true fearers of God alone can form a proper judgment of divine truth, as being the only humble, upright, and candid inquirers after it. Then shall they find it when they search for it as for ħid treasure. They that do the will of God shall know of his doctrine, and not search for it in his oracles in vain.-It may be ob. served that these doctrines which bear a hostile aspect on the salvation of the gospel, cannot be of God who is consistent in his word and works. We have often urged, that the scheme of our opponents is equally subversive of salva. tion, as of that restoration for which we plead in these sheets; for a mere human Saviour can neither save nor restore. We cannot therefore view them as fellow labourers, it being their constant employ and aim, in our judgment, to destroy what we build, and to bring the cause in which we are embarked into disrepute. We look upon the revival of such tenets at the present time, as a device of Satan, to make the doctrine of the Restoration to stink in the nostrils of serious and pious people, and the scheme too generally succeeds. If we are so happy as to plead the cause of truth, as we humbly hope we are, then the exertions of opponents must be calculated to throw obstai les in the way.
In prosecuting this work, the author has acted with a single eye to Gods glory, traced the sense from the context, and the analogy of Scripture, at large and so made up his judgment of what he hath published to the world as a comment. He dare not say, he hath in po case erred from the truth, which may be done with the best intention; but it belongs to the reader and the Public to judge what he hath said; making reason and divine truth their rule. What may appear wrong at first view, may be found perfectly correct on farther examination, so that nothing is to be rejected without a trial. We have not dealt in such fanciful glosses as the reader will find in abundance in Baron Swedenborg's small tract on the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem,
which appear rather to puzzle than to edify his reader. If this small tract contains so much of his mere fanciful glosses, what must his large works do? Let the reader consult his gloss on the xxixth Psalm, in proof, in part of the above.
We count it a special favour of Providence, that our life has been spared to finish the attempt, even when death seerned for a time at the door, and all hope given up. But where the Lord hath designs of protracting life, he will raise up from the fearful pit, and miry clay, setting our feet upon a rock and establishing our goings. May a life supported by his power, aud spared by his mercy, be devoted to his honour and service! and if that life be longer spared, may the Lord employ it for the farther honour of his name, and to make his praise glorious! may all the author's feeble productions be accompanied with God's benign blessing, to whose patronage and protection they are daily committed. May this especially follow the work here presented to the reader, that God may be glorified while myriads are edified.
* The Author had prepared a Preface to the Psalms before the Notes were well begun to be transcribed. This somehow fell by, at which he was not a little dissapointed, having placed po small value upon it. He adapted a number of lines, by way of contrast, from Collins's Oriental Dialogues, addressed in his 2d Ecl. by Hassan to his camels travelling through the burning de xerts of the East.
See here no springs ip murmurs die away,