« AnteriorContinuar »
HE Christian Church has in all Ages, with great Reason, appointed the Tfalms to be constantly read in its Publick Service: There being no Book in the Holy Scriptures, wherein are such high Raptures of Devotion, transmitting to Mankind the most awful and sublime Ideas of the Supreme Being, and the Immensity of his Goodness in the Redemption of the World by the MesSiah.
THE learned Dr. Hammond^ in his Preface to the 'Paraphrase on the Tsa/ms, fays, "That the Fathers of the Church assure us, "that in the first Ages of Christianity, Psal"mody was the constant Attendant, some"times of their Meals, generally of their "Business, in the Shop and in the Field: "That they learnt the whole Book by Heart, "and their whole Age continued singing or "saying Psalms.
THERE is nothing, certainly, doth more prepare the Mind for the highest Felicities, than the Contemplation and Love of the Su
A a. preme preme Being; for infinite Goodness, Omnipotence, and Omniscience, do dilate, awe, and chear the Spirits, while they are fixed upon them $ the Ideas of which, together with their Effects, as conveyed to the Mind in this Sacred Book, are the best Help to Divine Contemplation, as will appear in the few Instances following: Viz..
WHEN the Royal Prophet contemplates the Almighty Power of the Creator, it is thus expressed:
Psal. viii., i. 0 Lord, bow excellent is thy Name in all the Earth! thou hast set thy Glory above the Heavens.
Ps. cii. 25,2(5. -Andthou. Lord, in the Beginning haft laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are 'the Work of thine Hands; they Jhallperi/h, but thou remainest.
Ps. xc. 2. Before the Mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the Earth and the World, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
WHEN he sings of the Mercy of the Lord, and would make known his Faithfulness to all Generations, in how lofty a Manner does the Psalmist express it?
Ps. lxxxix. 2, j, 6. 1 have said, Mercy jhall be built up for ever, and thy Faithfulness jhalt thou establifi in the very Heavens: And the Heavens jhall praise- thy Wonders, O Lord, and thy Faithfulness in the Congregation of the Saints i for who is he in the Heavens that can he compared unto the Lord? Who among the Sons of the Mighty can be likened unto the Lord?
WITH what Thankfulness and Joy does he acknowledge the Divine Goodness?
Ps. ciii. jBless the Lord, 0 my Soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name; who forgivesb all thine Iniquities, who healetb all thy Diseases, who redeemeth thy Life from TXftrutf/on.
WHEN he contemplates the Condescension df Gob to Mankind, with what Solemnity doth he reflect upon it?
Ps. viii. When I consider thy Heavens, the Work of tby Fingers, the Moon and the Stars, which thou hast ordained what is Man, that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that thou vijftest him 1
WHEN he expresses the Sense of his Guilt, and implores Pardon, with what HumiVky doth he prostrate himself?'
Ps. li. Have Mercy upon me, 0 God, ac* Wording to to thy loving Kindness; according to the Multitude of thy tender Mercies, blot out my Transgressions; wash me throughly from mine Iniquity, and cleanse me from my Sin i for I acknowledge my Transgression, and my Sin is ever before me: 'Behold, I was shaken in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me.
WHEN he expresses his Hope in God, with what Confidence is it fix'd?
Ps. xlvi. God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in Trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be removed, and though the Mountains be carried into the midst of the Sea for the Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge.
WHEN the Psalmist implores the Divine Favour, with what Elegancy doth he express the Vehemence of his Desires?
Ps. xlii. As the Hart pantetb after the Water-brooks, jo pant et h my Soul after thee, 0 God. My Soul thirsieth for God, for the living God. Early will I seek thee ; my Soul tbirsteth for thee, my Flesh longetb after thee, to fee thy Tower and thy Glory.
WHEN he speaks of the Kingdom of the Messiah, how sublime are the Representations of his Grandeur and Magnificence?
Ps. cxlv. I will extol thee, O God, my King, and will bless thy Name for ever and ever. All thy Works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy Saints Jhall bless thee > they shall jpeak of the Glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy Tower; to make known to the Sons of Men his mighty Ails, and the glorious Majesty of bis Kingdom. T'hy Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all Generations.
IF the brightest Ideas, and sublimest Expressions of the most celebrated Poets be compared with these, they will appear to be flat and mean: These are Thoughts too elevated for any thing less than an inspired Heart to conceive.
A S the Psalms contain Matters of a very different Nature, some Parts being Prophecies, and others Supplications j I have