THE BOOK OF PSALMS:
SUBJECT-CONTENTS OF ALL THE PSALMS;
NOW FIRST TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH
BY THE REV. HENRY COLE,
LATE OF CLARE-HALL, CAMBRIDGE ; TRANSLATOR OF “SELECT
WORKS” OF LUTHER, &C.
PUBLISHED BY R. B. SEELEY AND W. BURNSIDE ;
AND SOLD BY L. AND G. SEELEY,
FLEET STREET, LONDON.
MARTIN LUTHER’S INTRODUCTORY
BEFORE I commence my SUMMARIES, or SUBJECT CONTENTS of the Psalms, I would desire the reader to bear in mind that the Psalms contained in this Book of David are of five different kinds.
1. Some Psalms are Prophecies concerning Christ, the church, the different states of the church, and the various afflictions of the saints, &c. To this class belong all those Psalms which contain promises and threatenings, —promises concerning the deliverances and salvation of the godly; and threatenings concerning the destruction of the wicked.
2. There are some Psalms which teach us what we ought to do, and what we ought not to do, according to the law of God. To this kind belong all those Psalms which condemn human doctrines, and extol the majesty and authority of the word of God.
3. There are Psalms of consolation; which comfort and lift up the hearts of those who are distressed, tempted, and afflicted by Satan and the world: and which, on the other hand, rebuke and terrify tyrants. To this class belong all those Psalms which minister consolation to the godly, and threaten the oppressors with the judgments of God.
4. There are supplicatory Psalms, wherein the prophet and others in their afflictions call upon God in prayer and implore his help. To this class belong all those Psalms which complain of persecutions from the wicked.
5. There are also Psalms of thanksgiving; wherein thanks are rendered to God for all his mercies and benefits, and for his deliverance in various times of need. To this class belong all those Psalms which celebrate the praises of God and laud him for his works. These are the principal Psalms in the whole Book; and these peculiarly come under the denomination of Psalms: for the whole Book was expressly written to praise God and to worship him according to the First Commandment. Hence, in the Hebrew, the Book is called SEPHER IL CHILLIM: that is, the Book of Praises and Thanksgivings.
The reader, however, is to bear in mind also, that the Psalms are not to be understood in a superstitious manner. He is not to suppose that every Psalm must be divided into these five particulars in certain verses; for some Psalms contain two of these particulars, some three, and some all five of them: for, very often, the same Psalm contains prophecy, doctrine, consolation, supplication and thanksgiving. But I have just made these remarks, that the reader may know that the Psalms contain these five particulars; for knowing that, is of great help, not only to the understanding of them, but to the perceiving of their order, to the bearing of them in memory, and to the perfect knowledge of them.
Martin Luther’s Letter to His Friend.
Martin Luther’s Preface to the Psalms.