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[Being ignorant of God, and destitute of any real love to him, they have no part or lot in his salvation. They are strangers to all those sublime pleasures, which are communicated to God's peculiar people. The witness of the Spirit, and many other unspeakably precious tokens of the divine favour, are withheld from them. If they be in trouble, they have no heavenly consolations to support them. They may have the wealth of this world, and the honour which cometh of men; but they can expect no salvation from God, nor any thing but shame and everlasting contempto. O that they were wise and would consider these things!) 2. How plain and simple is the duty of God's people!
[The privileges before mentioned, are all bestowed on us because we love and seek the Lord. Not that our services are meritorious, and can claim a "reward of debt;" but God has appointed these as means, in the use of which we shall attain the end. Would we then have more abundant tokens of God's favour here, and secure a still richer inheritance hereafter ? Let us study to “grow in the knowledge of him," and in a more fervent and fixed love towards him. Let us wait
upon him earnestly and with greater constancy in prayer. Thus shall his blessings infinitely exceed our highest expectations, and be enjoyed by us when the fleeting vanities of time shall be no more.]
e Dan. xii. 2.
GOD ADMIRED IN HIS WORKS. Ps. xcii. 4, 5. Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy
work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
TO man, in this vale of tears, God has opened many sources of happiness; many in his intercourse with his fellow-man, but more and greater in communion with his God. In truth, if it be not his own fault, he may have in a measure the felicity of the Paradisiacal state restored to him: for though, through the weakness of the flesh, “he is in heaviness through manifold temptations," he has a God to go unto, a God ever at hand, in whom it is his privilege always to rejoice : “ Rejoice in the Lord alway,” says the Apostle; and “ again,” he adds, “ Rejoice.”
The frame of David's mind, in the psalm before us, (for we can scarcely doubt but that the composition
was his,) being that which we should cultivate, we will consider, I. The works which he contemplated
It is probable that the writer of this psalm had primarily in his view the wonders of creation ; because the psalm was written for the Sabbath-day“, which was instituted to commemorate God's rest from his creating work. Yet, in the body of the psalm, much is spoken respecting the dispensations of God in his providence : and David, whom I consider as the author of it, had experienced the most wonderful interpositions in his behalf; so that, amongst all the children of men, there was not one who had more cause than he to sing of “the loving-kindness and the faithfulness of Jehovah;" of his “ loving-kindness," in selecting him to such high destinies; and his “ faithfulness,” in accomplishing to him his promises in their full extent. But the language of my text necessarily leads our minds to that greatest and most stupendous of all God's works, the work of Redemption
[This may be treated either in reference to Redemption generally, as wrought out for us by the incarnation, and death, and resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with a special reference to any one of these topics which may be suited to a particular season. But, in whatever way it be treated, the greatness of the work must be the point chiefly insisted on.] II. His experience in the contemplation of them-
He was filled,
[It is not possible to view these wonders of Redeeming Love, and not feel the reasonableness of that command: “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice b.". Well does the Psalmist say, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” It is indeed good, at all times, and in every possible way. In this holy exercise should every faculty of our souls be engaged] 2. With adoring gratitude[This, after all
, is the fittest expression of our joy. The wonders of God's love are so stupendous, that all attempts to
a See the title to the Psalm. b Phil. iv. 4. c ver. 2. d ver. 3.
e Ps. cüïi. 1.
celebrate them aright must fail; and silence, the profoundest silence, on such a subject, if proceeding from an overwhelming sense of it, may justly be accounted the sublimest eloquence. The Psalmist's experience was of this kind?; as were St. Paul's also, when he exclaimed, “O the depth&!") ADDRESS1. Those who are strangers to this frame
[Alas! how little is this state of mind experienced by the generality of Christians! and in what humiliating terms is their insensibility described in the words following my text! I would not speak offensively, or wound the feelings of any: but I would ask you, whether David speaks too strongly, when he characterizes such persons as “brutish and fools b?” You well know that the prophets often speak the same language'; and I
pray you to repent of your insensibility, that these characters may no longer attach to you.] 2. Those who aspire after it
[Let your thoughts soar to high and heavenly things ; and especially let them be occupied on the works of God, and on his perfections as displayed in the great mystery of Redemption. Surely you shall not long meditate on these things in vain. Your God will cause you to
triumph in Christ Jesus."
But never rest, till you have those overwhelming views of Christ which characterize the worship of heaven. The glorified saints and angels all fall upon their faces before the throne: seek ye the same frame of mind with them; and soon you shall join with them in everlasting hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb.] ver. 5.
g Rom. xi. 33.
THE BELIEVER'S SECURITY. Ps. xcii. 12—15. The righteous shall flourish like the palm
tree : he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age ; they shall be fat and flourishing ; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
WELL may we be filled with gratitude, whilst we contemplate the wonders of creation and of providence a: but deeper far are the wonders of redeeming love, secured as they are to the saints by the immutable perfections of God. “A brutish man, indeed, knows them not; nor does a fool understand them." but those who “are anointed with that heavenly unction which teacheth them all things c” have an insight into them, and can attest the truth of the assertions of the Psalmist, whilst he declares, I. The privileges of the righteous
a ver. 1-5.
“ The righteous” are indeed highly favoured of the Lord. To them, amidst innumerable other blessings, are secured, 1. Stability,
[" The palm-tree and the cedar" are trees of most majestic growth; the one retaining its foliage all the year, and the other pre-eminent in respect of strength and durability. And like these shall the righteous “flourish:” nothing shall despoil them of their beauty, nothing shall subvert their souls —
- They may indeed be assailed with many storms and tempests; but they shall not be cast down; or, if cast down, shall not be destroyed ---Being once “ planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God,” never withering for want of nourishmento, nor ever decaying by the lapse of years?.] 2. Fruitfulness
[The Gospel, wherever it comes, brings forth fruits; and all who receive it aright become “fat and flourishing," " being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God". For every season in the year they have appropriate fruit': and even to old age, when other trees decay, these retain their vigour and fertility. There may, indeed, be a difference in the fruits produced by them at the different periods of life; that of youth being more beauteous to the eye; and that of age, more pleasant to the taste, as savouring less of crudity, and as being more richly flavoured through the influence of many ripening suns.
- The fruits of the Spirit,” indeed, are seen in both*; but in one, the fruit of activity and zeal; and in the other, a patient waiting for the coming of their Lord! To the latest hour of their existence shall they bring forth fruit unto Godm, and God shall be “glorified in them.” Never shall their leaf wither or their fruit fail, till they are transplanted to the Paradise above.] ver. 6.
c 1 John ü. 20, 27. d Job v. 19. Ps. xxxiv. 19. 2 Cor. iv. 8–10. e Ps. i. 3. and Jer, xvii. 8. f Isai. lxv. 22. 8 Col. i. 6. h Phil. i. 11.
i Ezek. xlvii. 12. k Gal. v. 22, 23. I 1 Cor. i. 7. m Hos. xiv. 5—7. n Isai. lxi. 3.
The confidence with which David announces to the righteous their privileges, will lead us to consider, II. Their security for the enjoyment of them
God has solemnly engaged to confer these blessings upon them,
[From all eternity did he enter into covenant with his dear Son, that "if he would make his soul an offering for sin, he should see a seed, who should prolong their days; and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hando." The terms being accepted by the Lord Jesus, a people were “ given to him;" with an assurance that not one of them should ever be lost p. Accordingly, we find innumerable promises made to them, that “God will keep their feetq,” and carry on his work in their hearts”, and “ preserve them blameless unto his heavenly kingdom."]
From respect to these engagements, he will assuredly fulfil his word—
[Not one jot or tittle of his word shall failt. His children may, indeed, by their transgressions, call forth some tokens of his displeasure : yet, though he visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, his loving-kindness will he not utterly take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. His covenant will he not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips; for once he has sworn by his holiness, that he will not lie unto Davido. . Having thus pledged his truth and faithfulness in their behalf>, and engaged never to leave them till he has accomplished in them and for them all that he has promisedy, he considers his own honour as involved in their happiness ? ; and would account himself “ unrighteous," if he left so much as one of them to perisha. But “ he cannot lieb!" and, therefore, all who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them, may have the most abundant consolation," in an assured expectation that "he will perfect that which concerneth them," and " keep them, by his own power, unto everlasting salvatione."] Comforting as this Scripture is, it needs to be very
carefully guarded from abuse. Permit me, then, to ADDRESS myself,
o Isai. liji. 10.
P John xvii. 2, 6, 9, 10—12, 24. 9 1 Sam. ii. 9.
I Phil. i. 6. s 1 Cor. i. 8. 1 Thess. v. 23.
t Isai. liv. 9, 10. u Ps.lxxxix. 30—35. x 1 Thess. v. 24. y Heb. xiii. 5, 6. 2 Ezek. xxxix. 25. a Heb. vi. 10. b Tit. i. 2. c Heb. vi. 17, 18.
d Ps. cxxxviii. 8. e 1 Pet. i. 5.