THE main object for which these Meditations were originally written down, was practically to exhibit a mode of reading the Scriptures, and especially the Book of Psalms, which has been found most useful and precious by many of God's people. This consists in turning them, verse by verse, and almost clause by clause, into spiritual food, by making them subject of devout meditation and object of believing prayer. It is wonderful how, when thus musing, the fire burns within us, and our words of prayer flow apace. Our desires are drawn out, our faith, hope, and love are quickened and exercised, our prayers cease to be vague, and become special and earnest, and the Scriptures are opened up to us. The Holy Spirit shines upon His own Word and into our hearts. In this respect, I may venture to say that some of the most blessed hours of the writer have been spent over these pages, and if in their perusal the reader derive, in any measure, the spiritual refreshing experienced in writing them, their chief purpose will have been served.
When requested by Christian brethren—some of them personally unknown to me—to gather these Meditations into a volume, I felt it necessary carefully to consult the Hebrew text, and to add a sort of commentary to what originally were only meditations. In so doing, I have also availed myself of the best modern commentaries, such as those of Hengstenberg and Delitzsch. Written in the leisure hours of a more than usually busy ministry, and under peculiar personal circumstances, I am only too painfully conscious of shortcomings, both in the substance and in the form of this small volume. I know that what of the manna is not used for daily supply, should be laid up in golden pots before the Lord.
I have arranged the book into fifty-two Meditations, adapted for each Lord's Day, not merely because it is not intended to read them continuously through, but because the subject is, so to speak, specially identified with the risen Saviour. For the truth lying at the foundation of the Psalms, and which makes them the Hymnal of the Church, is the identification of Christ with the Church. All the sorrows of the believer run up into the sorrow of Christ; and all the joys of the believer flow from the joy of Christ. And around these three truths—helpless misery, glorious salvation, and faith, with its exponent, prayer—move all the Psalms. Any seeming repetitions may therefore in part perhaps be due to the constant recurrence of these three elements throughout the Psalms.
Had the volume been suitable for it, I would fain have inscribed it, such as it is, to those loved friends to whom it is my privilege to minister in the gospel of His Son. Any mark of affection, however slender, to those who are themselves so earnest and loving, would have been peculiarly grateful. And now I would send it forth with the earnest prayer that the Lord the Spirit, who indited the Psalms, would give us all increasingly. the spiritual understanding and the spiritual joy of them in Christ; and so bless the effort to open this alabaster-box, that the savour of His name may be as ointment poured forth.
The Manse, Torquay,
December 25, 1865.