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ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY
HUNDRED AND NINETEENTH PSALM.
REV. THOMAS MANTON, D.D.
A COMPLETE ALPHABETICAL TABLE, DIRECTING TO THE PRINCIPAL
MATTERS CONTAINED THEREIN.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
“All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and
in the Psalms, concerning me."-LUKE Xxiv. 44.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
BY WILLIAM HARRIS, D.D.
It is the honour of the Evangelical Ministry, that it was principally instituted for the service of God, not as he is the Governor of the earth, but the Lord of heaven, and to prepare men by holiness for his eternal kingdom. And it is an excellent favour of God to his ministers, when their labours are eminently useful for this blessed end. This singular grace and privilege God was pleased to confer upon his faithful servant Dr. Manton, whose life was spent in the most precious work of converting souls to Christ, and preparing them for the celestial paradise ; and, since his retiring from the world by death, his soul now enjoying the blessed rest above, yet he remains with us in what was most valuable of him, his excellent Sermons, the productions of his holy mind and heart; and the pen, having a larger extent than the tongue in communicating them, may be more beneficial to the church than before.
The following Sermons were preached by him in his usual course of three times a-week, which I do not mention to lessen their worth, but to show how diligent and exact he was in the performance of his duty. Indeed, his ordinary Sermons, considering the substantial matter, clear order, and vigorous, full expressions, may well pass for extraordinary. I cannot but admire the fecundity and variety of his thoughts, that the same things so often occurring in the verses of this Psalm, yet, by a judicious observing the different arguments and motives whereby the Psalmist enforces the same requests, or some other circumstances, every Sermon contains new conceptions and proper to the text. Some few verses were not handled by him. I earnestly pray that those who shall read these Sermons may taste the sweetness of the Divine truths opened in them, and may be transformed into the spirit of David, by an inward feeling of the affections, and verifying in their own breasts the words of the holy Prophet.
It is somewhat difficult not to applaud that excellency which has first approved itself to our judgment. Hence is it, that, though this work needs it not, I will so far gratify my own affections, and comply with obtaining custom, as to acquaint thee, that, if thou hadst my eyes and taste, thou must admire its beauty, and confess its sweetness ; much more when thou shalt use thy own more discerning eye and judicious palate.
The matter of these Sermons is spiritual, and speaks the Author one intimately acquainted with the secrets of wisdom. He writes like one that knew the Psalmist's heart, and felt in his own the sanctifying power of what he wrote. Their design is practice; beginning with the understanding, dealing with the affections, but still driving on the advancement of practical holiness. They come home and close to the Conscience; first presenting us a glass, wherein we may view the spots of our souls, and then directing us to that fountain wherein we may wash them away. They are of an evangelical complexion, abasing proud, corrupt nature, and advancing free and efficacious grace in the conversion of sinners. The exhortations are powerful, admirably suited to treat with reasonable creatures, yet still supposing them to be the vehicle of the Holy Spirit, through which he communicates life and power to obey them.
The manner of handling is not inferior to the dignity of the matter; so plain as to accommodate the most sublime truths to the meanest spiritual capacity, and yet so elevated as to approve itself to the most refined understanding. He knew how to be succinct without obscurity, and, where the weight of the argument required it, to enlarge without nauseous prolixity. He studied more to profit than please; and yet an honest heart will then be best pleased when most profited. He chose rather to speak appositely than elegantly; and yet the judicious do account propriety the choicest elegancy. He laboured more industriously to conceal his learning, than some others to ostentate theirs; and yet, when he would most veil it, the discerning reader cannot but discover it, and rejoice to find such a mass, such a treasure of useful learning, couched under a well-studied and artificial plainness. But let the reader take a taste of, let him concoct and digest these spiritual discourses; and he shall say with the Sabæan Queen, “ It was a true report I heard in my own land, but behold the one half was not told me !" Or with the men of Sychar, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying, but because we ourselves have proved and experienced their delicacies ;” as one taste of honey will more effectually commend its sweetness, than the most elaborate oratory.
Those ancients that had seen the first temple, wept bitterly when