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My soul cleaveth to the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

THESE words contain a confession of our state by nature, and a suitable prayer to God, for our spiritual and eternal restoration. And the manner how this is to be effected, is also mentioned, and is grounded on the divine promise made to all who stand in need of it, are sensible of it, and are truly desirous of it. It is indeed a wonderful and a humiliating consideration, that the spiritual and immortal soul of man with the sublimest faculties and principles, with which divinity can endow a created beingthat such a being as this, should cleave to the dust! But such by transgression and by nature, is now the state of manyea, of the man also who is regenerating. And the Lord alone by, and according to, his holy word, can quicken, elevate, make alive, sanctify, and save our souls.


Regeneration (blessed be God) is possible in this natural word, and indeed no where else. And two grand essentials on our part are, to know the necessity of it, and to apply earnestly to him, who alone can effect it. Man of himself is continually falling; but by the Lord he is as continually raised up. He is mercifully gifted with an evangelical perception of his state. The Lord is at hand to help him. He hath promised to do it. Ilis divine love and wisdom have found out the way. And his holy word is given to us, as the grand, continual, and everlasting medium of conveyance, for his truth and good to us. The same ever blessed God it is, who first breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and in whom we live, and move, and have our being— who alone can vivify and restore us from a merely natural, to a spiritual and holy life. He alone can furnish a remedy against the inordinate and excessive inclination of the mind to terrestrial things, which are unworthy of it, and which, instead of being the final ends of human life, are only what they ought to beinstruments and servants of present use.

Therefore, although our souls cleave to the dust, yet the Lord alone is able and willing to quicken us, according to his word.

In discoursing upon these words, I shall divide them into two parts, viz.

FIRST, The Confession of our fallen, abject, natural, depraved state of life, and present condition in this world, as here represented-" My soul cleaveth to the dust." And

SECONDLY, This most suitable, salutary, and all-sufficient prayer to God, viz. "Quicken thou me, according to thy word."

FIRST, Then, as to the introductory, fundamental confession of a sinner, and a man in this world: "My soul cleaveth to the dust."

Now, the soul is the spiritual, immaterial, essential life of man, which can never be destroyed, but by the second death; and can never be annihilated while God exists. For the soul may be not improperly considered, as the man himself, in perfect, human, and substantial form, which causes the body to have that appearance. The soul's essence

may also be defined, (originally to be,) love and wisdom; but, nevertheless, it is only a finite recipient of the divine love and divine wisdom of God, the infinite Creator. But to be more particular: Love is the primary, essential ground of the life of man. Hence, the expression in the text, to cleave, adhere, or earnestly incline to, is used. And the human understanding, may be rather described, as the form, appearance, and outgoing sphere, or visible, proceeding derivation of the will of man; which if in evil, (when man is consistent) his understanding is in falsehood; but if in good, his understanding is in truth. Or, if you prefer this phraseology, which comes to the same sense, you may say, vice and error, immorality and ignorance, or lust and folly, instead of evil and falsehood: and in the opposite case, you may equally put, virtue and intelligence, holiness and wisdom, or justice and judgment, as synonymous substitutes for the two important and fundamental qualities, called also in Scripture, goodness and truth.

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