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of old, “ Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate on thy word;" he will soon add to it, that blessed testimony, “ The law of thy mouth is dearer unto me than thousands of gold and silver, Psalm cxix. 72.
THE SELECTION OF A CHAPTER FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND
ANOTHER FROM THE NEW, BY WAY OF FURTHER ILLUSTRA-
I will assume for granted, that the regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) from what hath been brought before him in the preceding pages, cannot but conclude with me that the sacred scriptures of God possess a fund of the most precious words, with which under divine leadings the Lord's people may draw nigh unto God, as well as under the same divine teachings, may be “ made wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus." And it will be a matter of much joy to my heart, if from the Lord's gracious blessings on my labours, any of the Lord's little ones shall be led henceforth to seek the Lord's face in the Lord's strength, and approach the mercy-seat when drawing nigh to the Holy Three in One, which bear record in heaven, through the mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, “ not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”
Under these hopes, and with a longing eye to the God of all grace for his blessing to be upon it, I shall now fold up this little work, with giving an analysis of a chapter or two in the bible, by way of explaining, according to my views, how eyery regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) may through
the divine teaching, form his daily prayers to God in the words of God; and when reading the Lord's holy book, convert the whole into his own prayer book, and speak to the Lord, in what the Lord hath first said unto his people; and thus through the leadings of God the Holy Ghost, have continual “ fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." And for the more effectual carrying on this sweet intercourse between God in his Trinity of Persons and the soul, if no better method be known by the child of God, (whom the Lord hath quickened by sovereign grace, and brought into an holy familiarity and acquaintance with himself) I would venture to suggest one, which I have long used, both in private when alone, and in my own family, when gathered together for prayer; and with all humility of soul and thankfulness before the Lord, I hope I can say, that I have often found profitable. One of my household begins, with reading the Morning or Evening Portion (as it may be) for the day, from · The Poor Man's Portion, with the observations. And this is done by way of solemnizing the mind, before we enter upon the more enlarged portion of God's word, in the scriptures of eternal truth.
Every regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) cannot but know how full of vain thoughts the heart is. Even when we purposely enter into the more immediate presence of God, and with an intention for communion with God, how often do we find, (at least, I take shame to myself in the confession when I say I do) the heart wandering like the fool's eyes to the end of the earth! And certain it is, that the Lord alone can fix the wandering heart, and prepare the unprepared heart.
unprepared heart. And this he doth, at times, most graciously, by working in us“ both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” One look from Jesus, such as with which he looked on Peter, will
effectually induce an holy reverence and godly fear, and spiritualize the whole affections of the soul. With this view we read the portion, and then a chapter or Psalm, from the word of God. And when during the reading of the holy word, Jesus himself draweth nigh, and doth by us as he did by his disciples in their walk to Emmaus in the morning of his resurrection, “ make our hearts burn within us while he talketh with us by the way, and while he himself openeth to us his scriptures,” (Luke xxiv. 32.) every one so blessed and sanctified, will feel, as David felt, when he cried out under the gracious influence, My heart is fixed, O God; my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise. Awake up my glory; awake psaltery and harp; I myself will awake right early,” Ps. lvii, 8.
Twelfth Chapter of the Prophecy of Isaiah. 1. “ And in that day, thou shalt say, O Lord! I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.”
2. “ Behold! God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
3. “ Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." 4. “ And in that day shall ye say, praise the Lord,
his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.”
Sing unto the Lord, for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.”
6. “ Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
Now if the regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) will ponder well, the several parts
of this blessed gospel song, or prayer, (for it is indeed most blessed, and nothing but pure gospel from beginning to end) he will discover, under divine teaching, that, short as it is, there is contained in it such vast matter both for prayer and praise, as though but six verses, yet enough to furnish out errands to go with to the throne and mercy-seat of God in Christ, not only for six prayers, but for six thousand; nay, to fill in every prayer through life, from the first call of grace until grace is ripened into glory. I will beg to prove somewhat of what I say, by analizing the several parts of it; and then draw out before the child of God, what, under the Lord's teaching, I myself might be supposed to offer upon it.
“ And in that day.” What day can this be but the gospel day ? the day which “ Abraham saw afar off, rejoiced, and was glad,” John viii. 56. The day which Jesus saith, “ many prophets and righteous men desired to see!” Matt. xii. 17. The day which every regenerated child of God (and it is of such only I speak) truly seeth, when like Zaccheus the Lord comes home to his heart, and reveals himself to his heart, and saith as he did to him, “ this day is salvation come to this house; forasmuch also as he is a son of Abraham.” Luke xix. 9. For then it is (and not before) the poor sinner hath his eyes open to see his misery by nature, and the blessedness of his recovery by grace. And then he is led to confess from the heart, what before he only repeated with the tongue—“O Lord, I will praise thee !" There can be no praise in the heart to the Lord, before we know the Lord. An unknown God can neither be loved nor praised. Neither can any man have a just apprehension of the Lord's anger against sin, nor of his being justly exposed to the wrath of God for sin, until the Lord hath made him acquainted with the plague of his own heart, and shewn him his complete deliverance, both from the guilt and condemnation of sin by
Jesus Christ. Then he seeth and blesseth the Lord, on the view of what he is delivered from, by the rich salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ; and can and doth say with the church, in this divine song of praise and prayer, " thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me!"
Behold, God is my salvation !” Observe, how beautiful and blessed this is ! the regenerated child of God (and it is of such only I speak) doth not merely say, the Lord hath granted me salvation, but that God himself is my salvation ; not simply all that is blessed is from him, but blessedness is all in him, yea, that he himself is the blessedness of his people. Oh! what endless prayers and praises arise from hence, in that not only the Lord gives his people all they need, but that he is himself to them all they need; not merely imparts to them life, but is himself their life, their portion, their home, their happiness, and that for ever. Well may the child of God add, “ I will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation !” For what can they have to fear who have the Lord Jehovah for their portion ? What shall arise to counteract what the Lord Jehovah hath appointed ? What shall dry up the streams of everlasting love? What shall break down the arch of everlasting strength ? Oh! how eternally safe and eternally blessed are they “who have the eternal God for their refuge, and underneath whom are the everlasting arms !" Deut. xxxiii. 27. Who of God's dear children who knows and lives in the daily, hourly enjoyment of these things, can do otherwise than trust and not be afraid; or want words or subjects both of praise and prayer, for all and every event which may arise in this short and dying state of things while going home to his father's house?
But the great glory, and strength, and blessedness of this gospel song and prayer lies in the incommunicable