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unto him, if thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken; for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. And he said, I beseech thee shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee; and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy," Exod. xxxiii. 11—19.
Now let the regenerated child of God, as Moses was, (for it is of such only I speak) pause and ponder over this holy and familiar communion, which the gracious God held with his faithful servant whom he had called by sovereign grace. Let him first observe, that here, as in the former instances, the conversation began on the part of God. Let him next notice how much was said on both sides in answers and responses. And let him not overlook that as the gracious conference began with God, so it ended with God. God will never be outdone by his people. After the child of God hath duly pondered these precious things, let him next observe, that the sole cause here assigned for which Jehovah went forth, and is now going forth in acts of communion with his people is, because they have found grace in the Lord's sight. This is the bottom of all our mercies. Not for any thing we have done; no, nor any thing we can do; but, as the Lord himself saith, "Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, but for mine holy name's sake, O house of Israel.” Ezek. xxxvi. 22. And wherefore then did God the Holy Ghost record this sweet scripture, and cause it to be handed down to the church of God in all ages ? Wherefore is it we read the familiar manner in which
the Lord deals with his people, in allowing a conversation “as a man talketh with his friend," but to
encourage the Lord's people to come to him in every time of need. Have we indeed found grace in his sight, and in conesquence doth the Lord say to us, as to Moses of old, "I will do this thing which thou hast said, my presence shall go with thee; I will give thee rest." And doth the Lord make all his goodness pass before us, and proclaim his great and glorious name in being "gracious to whom he will be gracious, and shewing mercy to whom he will shew mercy ?" And can the regenerated child of God (for it is of such only I speak) want words with these precious words before him to come before him? Can we need any other to tell the Lord than what the Lord hath first told us, when we have found grace in his sight, and the Lord calleth us by name, in speaking to us personally in all we have, and all we are, both the objects and the subjects of his everlasting love and unceasing care?" Isa. xxvii. 2, 3.
And what a pattern doth the Holy Ghost furnish for the church of God, in both testaments of scripture of songs of thanksgivings and praise to form our hymns upon in the songs of Moses, Exod. xv. 1-21. Judges v. throughout. 1 Sam. ii. 1-10. And Deborah, and Hannah, and the Psalms, in the Songs of Solomon, and the writings of Isaiah, and the prophets, Habak. iii. throughout; the virgin Mary, Luke i. 46. Zacharias and holy Simeon, Luke ii. 25, &c. Let the regenerated child of God (for it is of such only I speak) look at all those and the like scriptures. Let him ponder well their sweet contents. Let him observe the gracious variety contained in them, as if God the Holy Ghost had studied the cases of all the Lord's people, so as to suit not only the circumstances of those in whose hearts the Lord then endited them; but so framed the whole as to suit the exercised state of all
the saints of God, in all ages of the church; and then let him ask his own heart whether any form of words can come up to these sacred words, and in which so much of the savour of the Lord's name can be found? Surely it is a self-evident truth, that this divine treasury was made for the everlasting supply of the church of the living God in all the approaches of the Lord's people to the Lord's throne; here are the words which we are commanded to take with us when we turn to the Lord; here is the open fountain for Zion's travellers to be refreshed from by the way. And here therefore whenever grace is in lively exercise for holy communion with the Lord, we may "with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation," Isa. xii. 3.
I have unwarily, and without design, increased the pages of this little work, much beyond the original intention. I had in contemplation, when I began it, just to have stated what appeared to me to be scriptural teachings on the subject of prayer; and to have added, by way of recommendation, a few scriptural examples of the Lord's chosen ones at prayer. And, as I designed it for humble pockets, I meant that it should come within the reach of all such, among the Lord's poor; and therefore called it the Poor Man's Prayer Book, formed from God's Scripture Book. And mdeed, I still hope, though the subject hath increased upon me, as I have prosecuted it, that it will be rendered by the bookseller so cheap, as not to exceed the ability of any of that class of people for whom it is designed. And under this hope, I venture to add one or two more examples in the history of the Lord's people, at their communions with the Lord, as may become, under the Lord the Spirit's gracious teaching, models for our own.
One of the most striking, in the scriptures of the old testamen, under this particular is, that of the patriarch David; because the Holy Ghost hath drawn his
portrait under so many and various points of view, with all his shades, as well as his more pleasing colours, as renders his history, on this ground, more generally useful. And it hath pleased God the Holy Ghost to give the church so much of this man's life in detail, and caused to be recorded with it so great a variety of the burstings of his soul in prayer and praise, upon the various occasions with which he was exercised, as in my apprehension most decidedly shews, that the Lord intended his regenerated children, (and it is of such only I speak) should continually have in remembrance the Lord's dealings with this subject of his free and sovereign grace, in order to see the blessedness of that everlasting covenant the Lord hath given to his people," even the sure mercies of David," Isaiah lv. 3. Acts xiii. 34. The period in the patriarch's life, which I would more particularly select for this purpose, is that which the Holy Ghost hath thought so important to have recorded, that it occupieth no less a portion than two whole chapters: the former, the 7th of the first book of Samuel; and the latter, the 17th of the first book of the Chronicles; where the whole is again, and almost word for word repeated. I beseech the reader to open the bible at either, or both of those chapters; and if the Lord be his teacher, he will discover the gracious acts there recorded of the Lord towards David; and the gracious workings of David's spirit, in the views the Lord then gave him of divine mercy. The chapter opens with an account of the Lord's stirring up the mind of David, as he sat in his house, to review the Lord's gracious dealings with him. His account thereof to Nathan; and Nathan's message to David from the Lord. And then follows the effects on David's mind.
"Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord. And he said, who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this
was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God: but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O And what can David say more unto thee: For thy
Lord God? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant. word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things to make thy servant know them. And now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever; and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever: saying, the Lord of Hosts is the God of Israel! and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee!""
What a most interesting representation hath God the Holy Ghost here given, in a few words, of the patriarch David! What a life of mercies was his! What a subject of rich, free, sovereign, and unmerited grace, from beginning to end! And what a frame of mind was the man brought into, in this pause of life, when the Lord led him, in the full contemplation of it, to go in and sit down before the Lord! The thought of his own nothingness, and his father's house, the sheep-cote from whence the Lord had taken him to make him a ruler over Israel, the house which he as a prophet knew that God had sworn with an oath to found in the Person of God's dear Son, as the fruit of his loins after the flesh; (see Acts ii. 30.) the covenant God had made with him, "ordered in all things and sure;" (2 Sam. xxiii. 5.) the review of his mercies; the consciousness of his sins; the recollection of the past; the prospect to come; the unalterable assurance of the divine promises that all the blessings Jehovah in his Trinity of Persons had given in Christ, should be established for ever; these, and all the wonders of grace, pouring in upon his mind as an overflowing tide from the ocean of divine love, so rushed to his view in one and the same mo