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cited in the Epistle to the Hebrews, shews, that the whole psalm is as proper for the use of the Christian, as it was of the Jewish, Church. The peculiar circumstance of its consisting of a mutual exhortation is there expressly noticed : and noticed with particular approbation : “Exhort one another daily, while it is called To-daya.” This hint the Compilers of our Liturgy attended to, when they appointed this psalm to be read constantly in the Morning Service, as introductory to the other psalms that should come in rotation : and, as being so appointed, it deserves from us a more than ordinary attention.
In discoursing upon it, we shall notice, 1. The exhortation
[The proper object of our worship is here described. As addressed to the Jews, the terms here used would fix their attention on Jehovah, as contra-distinguished from all false gods : but, as addressed to Christians, they lead our minds to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is “ God with us,” even all, blessed for evermore.” He is our Maker; for were all things created, both which are in heaven and in earth." He is “the good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep,” and who watches over them, and preserves them day and nighto.
Him then we must worship with all humility of mind, “ bowing down, and kneeling before him.” At his hands must we seek for mercy, even through his all-atoning sacrifice and from him, as our living Head, must we look for all necessary supplies of grace and peace
O come, let us thus approach him! let us do it not merely in the public services of our Church, but in our secret chambers; and not occasionally only, but constantly; having all our dependence upon him, and all our expectations from him.]
That this exhortation may not be in vain, we entreat you to consider, II. The warning with which it is enforced
[The Jews who, in the wilderness, disobeyed the heavenly call, were never suffered to enter into the land of Canaan. In the judgments inflicted upon them, they are held forth as a warning to usd. Like them, we have seen all the wonders of God's love, in delivering us from a far sorer than Egyptian
“ God over
by him bondage. Like them, we have had spiritual food administered to us in rich abundance in the Gospel of Christ. And if, like them, we harden our hearts, and rebel against our God, like them, we must be excluded from the heavenly Canaan. They by their obstinacy provoked God to exclude them with an oath: O that we may never provoke him to swear that we also shall never enter into his rest!” That we are in danger of bringing this awful judgment on ourselves is evident from the intimation given us by the Apostle Jude, and yet more plainly from the warnings which St. Paul founds on this very passager Let us then“ hear the voice" of our good Shepherd, ere it be too late. Let us "grieve him" no longer
a Heb. iii. 13. b John i. 3. c John x. 11. Heb. xiii. 20. Ezek. xxxiv. 11-16. d 1 Cor. x. 1-11.
- but let us turn to him with our whole hearts
Caleb and Joshua were admitted into Canaan, because " they followed the Lord fully:" let us follow him fully, and we shall certainly attain the promised rest.]
After the example of St. Paul, we would with all earnestness caution you against, 1. Unbelief
[The Jews believed neither the promises nor the threatenings of God, and therefore they perished. Let us beware lest we fall after the same example of unbelief. If we will not believe that we stand in need of mercy to the extent that God has declared, or that the service of God is so reasonable and blessed as he has represented it to be, or that the judgments of God shall infallibly come on all who refuse to serve him, there is no hope: we must perish, notwithstanding all the offers of mercy that are sent to us: for “ the word preached cannot profit us, if it be not mixed with faith in them that hear it h.”] 2. Hardness of heart
[As Israel hardened themselves against God when his messages were sent them by Moses, so do many now harden themselves against the word preached by the ministers of Christ. They "puff at” all the judgments denounced against them! But " who ever hardened himself against God, and prospered ?" O!“ will your hearts be stout in the day that he shall deal with you? and will you thunder with a voice like his?” Be persuaded: humble yourselves before him, yea, “ bow down and kneel before him,” and never cease to cry for mercy, till he has turned away his anger, and spoken peace to your souls.] 3. Delay
[“ To-day,” says the Psalmist: “To-day, while it is called To-day,” says the Apostle Paul: and “ To-day,” would I say: e ver. 5.
f Heb. iii. 7—19. and iv. 1. & Heb. iv. 12. h Heb. iv. 2. i P. 3, 4, 5.
yes, Brethren, “ to-day” “ harden not your hearts;" for you know not what a day may bring forth. Before another day, you may be taken into the eternal world; or, if not, you may provoke God to swear in his wrath, that you shall never enter into his rest; and then your remaining days will answer no other end, than to fill up the measure of your iniquities. But surely you have grieved him long enough already; some of you twenty, some thirty, some perhaps even “ forty years.' Let there be an end of this rebellion against your Maker and your Redeemer; and let this, which is with him the day of grace, be to you “the day of salvation."]
DCLXI. THE DUTY OF MAKING CHRIST KNOWN TO THE HEATHEN. Ps. xcvi. 1-3. O sing unto the Lord a new song ; sing unto
the Lord all the earth. Sing unto the Lord ; bless his name : shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
TO any one who looks even in the most superficial manner into the Holy Scriptures, there must appear a very wide difference between the experience of the saints recorded there, and that which is found amongst persons reputed saints in the present day. The Saviour himself is not so much the object of holy glorying, as he was amongst some, who looked forward to him at the distance of a thousand years; nor are the same elevated affections towards him brought into exercise, as were displayed by them. A man who should now exclaim, as David did, “O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth : sing unto the Lord; bless his name ; shew forth his salvation from day to day !” he, I say, would be accounted an enthusiast at least; and it would be well if he were not characterized by a yet harsher term. But religion is, or ought to be, the same in all ages; except indeed that our views of Christ should be more elevated, and our delight in him be more ardent, in proportion as our means of knowing him are more ample, and our motives to love him more enlarged. The psalm before us undoubtedly refers to him; for it speaks expressly of the publication of his Gospel to the Gentile world. It is indeed only a part of a psalm written originally by David at the time of his bringing up the ark to Mount Zion from the house of Obed-edoma : and this part was selected afterwards for the constant use of the Church, as being calculated to keep up in the minds of men an expectation of the Messiah, and to prepare their hearts for the reception of him.
In discoursing on that portion of it which we have read, we shall, 1. Point out your duty to the Lord Jesus Christ
In speaking to persons who profess to derive all their hopes of salvation from the Lord Jesus, methinks it is scarcely necessary to say, that, 1. We should praise him ourselves—
[We should not be content to acknowledge him in words; we should feel towards him in deed, as our “ All in all b.” These feelings we should express in songs of praise: or if we be silent as to our voice, we should at least“ make melody to him in our hearts;" “ blessing" and adoring him from our inmost souls.
We should sing to him “ a new song.” It was so called by David, because it was a song that was to be sung especially at the introduction of the Christian dispensation, the events predicted and shadowed forth being then fulfilled. But it is still a new song to all who sing it; because in their unconverted state they have no disposition, no ability to sing it: “they cannot, in that sense, say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghosto.” Moreover, it will to all eternity continue new; fresh discoveries of his glory being ever manifested to the soul, and fresh energies supplied for the celebration of his praise. Hence in heaven itself the songs of all the glorified saints are thus designated : "they sing unto the Lord a new song , " Thus “ from day to day” our harps should be tuned afresh, and our praises ascend to heaven with every breath we draw.] 2. We should make him known to others
[Who that had ever tasted of the blessings of salvation would “ eat his morsel alone?” who would not wish all the world to partake with him? Yes surely, we should declare his glory among the heathen, and his wonders among all people. ” O what “wonders” of love and mercy_have we to proclaim ! Who can reflect on the person of our Emmanuel, who is God with us,” leaving the bosom of his father, taking our nature, bearing our sins, and effecting by his obedience unto death our reconciliation with God; who, I say, can reflect on this, and not desire to make it known to all the sinners of mankind ? In a word, who can have beheld “the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ,” and not desire to reflect the light of it on all who are sitting in darkness and the shadow of death? This is undoubtedly our duty: we are not to put our light under a bushel, but to set it on a candlestick, that all the world, if possible, may see the light.]
a 1 Chron. xvi. 7-36. 0 1 John iii. 18. c 1 Cor. xii. 3.
d Rev. v. 9. and xiv. 3.
This then being our duty to the Lord Jesus Christ, we will proceed to, II. Call you to the performance of it
[How inconceivably great are these! If we attempt to estimate them, where shall we begin? or, having begun, where shall we end? If you have not yet experienced his converting grace, the very provision of a salvation for you, a salvation so dearly bought, and so freely offered, demands from you every tribute of love and gratitude that you can ever pay. But if you have reason to think yourselves partakers of this salvation, and are enabled with appropriating faith to say, “He has loved me, and given himself for me," there should be no bounds to your zeal and diligence in his service. Time, talents, property, yea life itself, should be esteemed by you as of no value, any farther than they may enable you to glorify his name. Enter then minutely into the consideration of this subject, and say, Whether,"if
stones will not cry out against you?"] 2. The necessities of the heathen world
[The whole Scriptures speak of the heathen world as perishing for lack of knowledge: and though we will not presume to say, that none of them shall be made partakers of God's mercy for Christ's sake; yet we are sure, that, as a body, they are under a sentence of guilt and condemnation. Can we then know the remedy which God has provided for them, and not feel ourselves bound to reveal it to them, and to labour, as far as possible, to extend to them its saving benefits? Can we reflect on the unhappy state of the Jews, and not pity them; blinded as they are by prejudice, and bent as they are on their own destruction? Can we look on all the different classes of the Gentile world, and see what penances they endure to pacify the supposed wrath of their senseless idols, and not feel a desire to proclaim to them the glad tidings of the Gospel? If it would be our duty to stretch out our hand to one sinking in the waters, and to rescue him from destruction,