Preface to Volume 2, Psalms 27-52
Greatly encouraged by the generous reception given my first volume, I labored diligently and am now able to present the second installment of work. Whether life and health will be given to complete my task, which probably extend to six volumes, remains with our gracious Preserver. With His aid and allowance, my face is set toward that goal. I pray my purpose may be achieved, if for the divine glory and the good of His church.
In this volume, which, like the first, contains twenty-six sacred odes, we have several of Zion's more memorable and precious songs. In commenting on some of them, I have been overwhelmed with awe and said with Jacob, "How awesome is place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven" (Genesis 28:17). Especially was this the case with the fifty-first Psalm; I postponed expounding it week after week, feeling more and more my inability. Often I sat and rose again without having penned a line. It is a bush burning with fire but not consumed. Out of it a voice seemed to cry, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, the place where you stand is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). The Psalm is human. Its cries and sobs are of one born of a woman. It is freighted with an inspiration all divine, as if the Great Father were putting words in His child's mouth. Such a Psalm may be wept over, absorbed into the soul, and exhaled again in devotion, but commented on—Ah! Where is one who, having attempted it, can do other than blush.
I have followed the same format as in the former volume, not only because I am committed to it by the law of uniformity, but also because it is advantageous. Some people suggested alternatives, but many more have commended the very features that I would have been improved anyway. Thus, I have continued with the same method.
Greater use has been made of the Latin writers. Extracts have been made not only from those condensed in Poole's Synopsis, but also from many others. These works are a mine of exposition and far too little known. If this serves to introduce fresh expositions to my ministerial readers, I will not have labored in vain.
The acknowledgments made in Volume One can justly be repeated in Volume Two. Please consider them as again recorded. It may be necessary to repeat that each author quoted is personally responsible for his own sentiments. I do not wish it to be supposed that I endorse all that is inserted. It is often useful to know what has been said by authors whose views we could by no means accept.
Frequently, the conviction is forced on my heart that people must personally travel the territory of the Psalms if they would know what a goodly land it is. The Psalms flow with milk and honey, but not to strangers. They are only fertile to lovers of their hills and valleys. None but the Holy Spirit can give you the key to the Treasury of David, and even He gives it more to experience than to study. Happy are they who know the secret of the Psalms.
If permitted by the Great Master whom I serve, I will now proceed with another portion of this Treasury of David. The labor and research are exceedingly great, and my other occupations are pressing. I ask the patience of the Christian public.