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I have been prompted to the work proposed in the title page, from a humble hope, that under the blessing of God the Holy Ghost, it may be rendered useful to the Christian world in general; and yet more particularly so, to that handful of the people, who read my Poor Man's COMMENTARY on the Bible, lately published in penny numbers. It struck me, that a work of this kind, might form a proper Appendix to it, and be found not a little helpful to serious readers. Under this impression, I have engaged in this service; and for their accommodation, have directed the bookseller to publish an edition of
the same plan and form as the Commentary. May the Lord commission both to his glory!
There can need no recommendation of the word of God, more than its own intrinsic excellency. In the Jewish Church, so infinitely important was it considered, that the prince of the people was enjoined, “ To write a copy of the Law of the Lord with his own hand in a book; and to read in it all the days of his life : that he might learn to fear the Lord his God; and that his heart should not be lifted up above his brethren.” (Deut.
How vastly increased is the obligation in the Christian church, which adds to the Old Testament Scripture, the whole confirmation of the New; and compriseth within its life-giving contents
, every thing that can be called interesting, in reference to the Person, Work, Character, Offices, and Relations of the Lord Jesus Christ! which hath indeed, in the fullest sense of the word, " the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come.”
Here, the claim of the Word of Life is upon every soul! Here, both high and low, rich and poor, the king and the beggar, stand upon a level. And here, from hence must issue, the final decision of every man's everlasting state.“ The word (saith Jesus) that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John xii. 48.) Many have reproached themselves in a dying hour, for having neglected the study of the word of life. But never was it known in the annals of mankind, that any in the close of life regretted that he had regarded the things of the world too little, and the Bible too much.
It will be highly proper that the reader should be informed in this place, and before he enters upon the work here presented to him, what is proposed in the contents of it: that he may not expect more from it than is intended, and in the end find himself disappointed. He should be told then, that the present CONCORDANCE, is meant to differ in a great measure, from all preceding Dictionaries of the kind. The author wishes to compress into as small a compass as possible, all that is useful in a way of explanation, so as to pass over nothing that is essential, and at the same time to notice nothing that is superfluous. Hence many words will be omitted, whose obvious meaning, in the present day of knowledge, is so well understood, as to render their insertion here unnecessary. While on the other hand, some, that perhaps are but just glanced at in former Concordances, (but which according to the author's view demand more attention) will have a larger discussion.
In short, the present design aims rather to be useful than large; to suit the humble Christian more than the learned. The reader is requested to keep in remembrance, through the whole of the work, that it is the Poor Man's ConCORDANCE. And to all such it is hoped, that what is here offered, under the divine blessing, will prove helpful, in “ making wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in CHRIST JESUS !”
One word more I would beg to offer, by way of Preface : namely, to observe, that with a view to greater usefulness, I have sometimes judged it might be profitable, when giving the names of persons, and of places, to direct the reader to the original
word or root, from whence either hath been derived. It will not be unfrequently found that much meaning is veiled under it. And in doing this, I have only followed the plan of our old Bibles, whose marginal readings are truly valuable on this account. It is well known to all lovers of Biblical truths, that it was the uniform custom with our fathers in the church of God, and from the earliest period, to own God in his providences, by giving names to persons and places, when at any time receiving some more than ordinary manifestation of divine favour. Thus Abraham called the mount of deliverance in a , critical moment, Jehovah JIREH. Jacob styled the place where the visions of the Lord began with him, Bethel; and Moses was so called by his mother, from being drawn out of the water. And Hannah, no less from the same view of the Lord, had her Samuel. And the margin of the Bible, at each of those histories, as well as in numberless other instances of a like nature, hath thrown great light upon the subject, in giving their explanation. (See Gen. xxii. 14. Gen. xxviii. 19. Exod. ii. 10. Sam. i. 20.) It hath been my endeavour to render this department of the Poor Man's CONCORDANCE particularly useful, by adopting the same plan. And I venture to persuade myself, that I shall have thereby performed no unacceptable service to the truly pious reader.
Perhaps, with some readers, an apology may be thought necessary, that I have entered upon this service, in sending forth before the Public a CONCORDANce before that I have finished my COMMENTARY. But the truth is, I have, through grace, concluded my writings on the Old Testament Scripture; and many months since set up my EBEN-EZER upon that occasion. What I propose therefore by this Concordance, is intended only by way of a parenthesis, between my finishing the Commentary on the Old Testament, and my entering on the New. I hope very shortly, if the Lord spares, (and long before my Printer is ready for me,) to re-assume that soul-refreshing service of the sacred word, and of going over the gospel of the ever blessed God; and sure I am, that when I have closed my Concordance, which furnisheth
both profit and amusement for my leisure hours, I shall enter on the remaining engagement of the Commentary, with increasing earnestness and delight. In the meantime, I take occasion in this place, to beg an interest in the prayers of the faithful, for those, and indeed all my other poor labours in my
honoured Lord's household ; commending both myself and them to the Master's blessing.
I am well aware that I am proposing to myself great undertakings, with slender means; and marking out much to be done in the remainder of life, when but little of life itself remains to be filled up. Hastening now. fast to the boundary of time, as it stands with me, it might be expected from my declining years, that I should rather retire from past labours than commence
But I have long known that if “the pillar of the cloud” go before in the way, it matters not what year we count in the Arithmetic of human life. That sweet promise is sure, it hath never yet failed, “ As thy day is, so shall thy strength be." If the Lord's glory be the end proposed, the Lord's grace will furnish means to the accomplishment. And if the Lord be pleased to appoint that I am to finish life, before that I have finished my proposed labours, it will be but to leave that imperfect, which forms a part in all the imperfections of human nature. And surely no man can propose to himself a sweeter close to the whole of his pilgrimage upon earth, than to depart with the Word of God in his hand, and Christ in his heart, the hope of glory. Amen.