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DEDICATED, BY PERMISSION, TO
BY THOMAS WILLIAMS,
A DICTIONARY OF ALL RELIGIONS, RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS, &c. &c.
PSA L M S.
INTRODUCTION. WE shall introduce this book with some excellent remarks from the Preface to Bishop Herne's valuable Commentary.
“The Psalms (says this excellent writer) are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creation and formation of the world; the dispensations of Providence and the economy of grace; the transactions of the patriarcbs; the exodus of the children of Israel; their journey through the wilderness and settlement in Canaan; their law, priesthood, and ritual; the exploits of their great men, wrought through faith; their sins and captivities; their repentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon; the advent of Messiah, with its effects and consequences; his incarnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, and priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit; the conversion of the nations; the rejection of the Jews; the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian church; the end of the world ; the geceral judgment; the condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the righteous with the Lord their king. These are the subjects here presented to our weditatioos. We are instructed how to conceive of them aright, and to express the different affections, which, when so conceived of, they must excite in our minds. They are, for this purpose, adorned with the figures and set off with all the graces of poetry; and poetry itself is designed yet farther to be recommended by the charms of music thus consecrated to the service of God; that so delight may prepare the way for improvement, and pleasure become the handmaid of wisdom, while every turbulent passion is calmcd by sacred melody, and the evil spirit is still dispossessed by the harp of the Son of Jesse. This little volume, like the paradise of Eden, affords us in perfection, though in miniature, every thing that groweth elsewhere, ' Every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food :' and above all, what was lust, but is here restored, the tree of life in the midst of the garden.'" (Preface, p. i.)
The same learned and pious prelate adds, “What is said in the Psalms occasionally of the Law and its ceremonies, sacrifices, ablutions, and purifications; of the tabernacle and temple, with the services therein performed; and of the Aaronical priesthood : all this Christians transfer to the new law [i.e. the Gospel ;] to the oblation of Christ; to justification by his blood, and sanctification by his Spirit ; to the true tabernacle, or temple not made with hands; and to what was therein done for the salvation of the world, by Him who was, in one respect a sacrifice, in another a temple, and in a third an bigb-priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek. That such was the intention of these legal figures is declared at large in the Epistle to the Hebrews : and they are of great assistance to us now in forming our ideas of the realities to which they correspond. Under the Jewish economy, says the excelient M. Pascal, “Truth appeared but in a 'figure: in heaven it is open and without a veil : in the church miliiant it is so veiled as to be yet discerned by its correspondence to the figure. As the figure was first built upon the truth, so the truth is now distinguishable by the figure.' The variety of strong expressions used by David in the xixth and cxixth Psalms, to extol the enlivening, saving, healing, comforting efficacy of a law, which, in the letter of it, whether ceremonial or moral, without pardon and grace, could minister nothing but condemnatios, do sufficiently prove that David understood the spirit of it, which was the Gospel itself. And if any who recited those Psalms had vot the same idea, it was not the fault of the Law or of the Psalms, of Moses or of David, or of Him who inspired both; but it was their own, as it is that of the Jews at this hour, though their prophecies have now been fulfilled, and their types realized. He that takes his estimate of the Jewish * religion fron the grossness of the Jewish multitude, (as the last cited author obierves,)