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It was during a protracted illness of several months duration that I penned the following meditations. Having the Bible for my only companion, I read and re-read it, ever with renewed pleasure, light, and instruction, that at last, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and earnest prayer for guidance, I became so impressed, not only with God's great and exceeding love to sinners, but with the glorious prospect of the speedy advent of our blessed Saviour to gather His bride—the church-unto himself; to collect together the scattered sheep of the house of Israel ; to put down all things that offend ; to redeem by His personal presence this once beautiful earth from the curse brought upon it by Adam's fall, and to reign gloriously on Mount Zion for a thousand years over His ransomed people.
I am not conscious that my mind was warped, or enslaved by any foregone theories or prejudices : I read the Bible in a literal sense, believing that God intended it to be deciphered and understood by all men in a plain, intelligible way, and not, by a system of allegory or spiritualising, have its simple and impressive truths tortured into worthless fables.
of the past.
I am free to confess that in by-gone days I had perused some of the prophetical works of that eminent servant of God, Edward Irving, and it is possible that my mind may have imbibed a tinge of the doctrines therein inculcated, for early impressions are not easily eradicated; but so many years had passed since then, and my heart, I grieve sore to say, had been so estranged from God's grace by the cares and allurements of the world, that little true vitality or memory of holier things survived to remind me
But God's ways are not our ways: He graciously afflicted me for a season, that He might show forth in me the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards me in Christ Jesus; for by grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God; and I, who aforetime was afar off, have again been brought nigh in the blood of Christ.
The following notes, as may be seen, are the impressions on various parts of Scripture as they were unfolded to my view. They embrace a large assemblage on different subjects, some of a millennarian tendency, others doctrinal, ethical and preceptive; they are more or less devotional, according as the thermometrical gauge of the heart, prompted their conception ; for it is a fact every Christian will admit, that the affections are not always attuned to the high sense of our heavenly calling : the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak : and our poor corrupted bodies chain us to the earth, and prevent our soaring continually in the glorious light of God's unbounded love. The deep and holy things of God are not always grasped and fed upon with an equal ardor and tenderness, and the soul, pained and grieved in its inward recesses, finds relief in such portions of God's word which, though deeply interesting and instructive, do not demand the same spiritual elevation. But as all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable, I am in hopes that these meditations may be found useful to the Bible student, and that their perasal may incite him prayerfully to search the Scriptures, and therein to find fresh riches whereon his soul may feed and meditate: for the word of God is far above the price of rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to it.
It only remains now to solicit the kind indulgence of the reader for the typographical errors that deface some of the pages, as well as for the faults of punctuation. The author's excuse is the weak and depressing nature of his illness, which precluded his correcting the proof sheets as they passed through the press with that attention which the work required.
With regard to the passages quoted from the New Testament, the author has in most instances availed himself of Dean Alford's revised edition, which critically is more correct than the Authorised Version, thereby in many instances avoiding explanations which a different system would have rendered necessary. Where the passages are not taken from Dean Alford they have been quoted from memory, and may in some cases differ verbally both from the revised and Authorised Version, but the substance is always in accordance with the inspired word.