18. Object of this Work.
The great object of this work is the glorv of God in the edification of his church. If it shall fail of practical usefulness and religious profit, it will gain no important end. The author has endeavored to embody all the most valuable suggestions of others together with his own reflections on this inspired book. And he begs his readers to remember that as it is in vain to light a candle to examine the sun-dial, so human wit will make no good progress in learning this or any other portion of God's word except as the Sun of Righteousness by his Holy Spirit shines upon the sacred page. All attempts to understand the spiritual import of God's word without divine teaching must ever prove failures. This fact and the reasons of it are clearly given in Scripture. Let every one, therefore, seek help from God in earnest fervent prayer. John Newton: "A few minutes of the Spirit's teaching will furnish us with more real useful knowledge, than toiling through whole folios of commentators and expositors, — they are useful in their places, and are not to be undervalued by those, who can perhaps in general do better without them; but it will be our wisdom to deal less with the streams, and be more close in applying to the fountainhead. The Scripture itself and the Spirit of God are the best and the only sufficient expositors of Scripture. . . It is absurd to read or study the Scripture with any other view than to receive its doctrines, submit to its reproofs, and obey its precepts that we may be made wise unto salvation. All disquisitions and criticisms that stop short of this, that do not amend the heart as well as furnish the head, are empty and dangerous, at least to ourselves of whatever use they may be to others. An experience of this caused a learned critic and eminent commentator (Grotius) to confess towards the close of his life, 'Alas! I have wasted my life in much labor to no purpose.' " Luther : " We must not simply tead or sing the Psalms, as if they did not concern us; but we must read and sing them for this purpose, that we may be improved by them, may have our faith strengthened, and our hearts comforted amid all sorts of necessities. For the Psalter is nothing else than a school and exercise for our heart and mind, to the end, that we may have our thoughts and inclinations turned into the same channel. So that he reads the Psalter without spirit, who reads it without faith and understanding."