I have been all the longer over this portion of my task because I have been bewildered in the expanse of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm, which makes up the bulk of this volume.  Its dimensions and its depths alike overcame me.  It spread itself out before me like a vast, rolling prairie, to which I could see no bound, and this alone created a feeling of dismay.  Its expanse was unbroken by a bluff or headland and, hence, it threatened [to be] a monotonous task, although the fear has not been realized.

This marvelous poem seemed, to me, a great sea of holy teaching, moving, in its many verses, wave upon wave, altogether without an island of special and remarkable statement to break it up.  I confess I hesitated to launch upon it.  Other psalms have been mere lakes, but this is the main ocean.  It is a continent of sacred thought, every inch of which is fertile, as the garden of the Lord.  It is an amazing level of abundance, a mighty stretch of harvest fields.  I have now crossed the great plain for myself, but not without persevering and, I will add, pleasurable toil.

Several great authors have traversed this region and left their tracks behind them and, so far, the journey has been all the easier for me.  But yet, to me and to my helpers, it has been no mean feat of patient authorship and research.  This great Psalm is a book in itself.  Instead of being one among many psalms, it is worthy to be set forth by itself as a poem of surpassing excellence.  Those who have never studied it may pronounce it [to be] commonplace and complain of its repetitions.  But, to the thoughtful student, it is like the great deep: full, so as never to be measured, and varied, so as never to weary the eye.  Its depth is as great as its length.  It is mystery, not set forth as mystery, but concealed beneath the simplest statements.  May I say that it is experience allowed to prattle, to preach, to praise, and to pray like a child-prophet in his own Father’s house? – Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), from the preface to Volume 6 of The Treasury of David (1882)




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