Daily Prayer and Praise – The Book of Psalms Arranged for Private and Family Use, by Henry Law, published by the Banner of Truth Trust, 2 volumes, paperback, 384 and 298 pages, £3.95 each, available from the Free Presbyterian Bookroom.
Henry Law (1797-1884) is probably best known for his little volume The Gospel in Genesis. The publishers describe him as “an influential figure in the Evangelical party of the Church of England” (their reference to “the eighteenth century” on the back of these books is obviously a slip). These two volumes cover the whole Book of Psalms and would be suitable for daily readings. Each short chapter, occupying just two or three pages, prints all or part of a psalm (in the Authorised Version) in sections of varying length. Each section is followed by a brief paragraph of comment.
No one should come to these books expecting detailed explanation of any passage. Their value lies in their reverent devotional spirit. Law’s style is simplicity itself, avoiding long sentences completely. Some comments culled from his work follow (and the chapter on Psalm 122 is reproduced below in a separate article).
“He is well taught who studies God in Christ.”
“Where sin abounded, forgiving mercy abounded much more. Can we refrain to adore, to worship, and to praise? We rob our souls of their most hallowed joy when we are slow to revel in this exercise.”
“Who can regard our mountains of mountains of iniquity and not confess, We are undone? If God should dispense strict justice to our sins, we perish. But in Christ Jesus free grace triumphs.”
“Overflowing streams of mercy follow the redeemed during all their days. Each instance has a voice loudly crying, Give thanks, give praise.”
“Throughout the world no creature lives who is not daily laden with blessings from the Creator’s hand.”
“Unless we are apt pupils in God’s school we shall not clearly see the heavenward road, and quickly shall we be beguiled by error’s snares.”
“The thought of appearing before the tribunal of the law is full of terrors. The law exacts undeviating obedience to the rule of perfect love of God and perfect love to man. A curse is denounced on every transgression. The law allows not the plea of penitence or reformation. It listens not to Christ for pardon. Its severe code admits no mitigation. Let us flee to the covenant of grace. There free favour reigns.”
“They who can become weary of God’s praise would find heaven’s work a tedious task.”
“Great is the Lord’s glory in humbling the loftiest potentates. Let us be wise, and vow allegiance to the King of kings. Let us present unto Him, as a willing offering, our bodies, souls and spirits. He justly claims all reverence. His service is the luxury of life.”
One might have expected an Anglican to assume that the use of musical instruments would carry over into new testament worship. However, Law comments as follows on Psalm 150:3-5: “In the days of Levitical type and shadow, musical instruments of every form and power contributed to swell the melody. Now, when spiritual service takes its enlightening place, let every rational faculty make our hallelujahs sweet and loud.”