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ourselves, we need not fear but that our Lord will soon come to our help: “ He will never break a bruised reed or quench the smoking flax, but will bring forth judgment unto victory." The sighs and groans of a contrite soul will surely enter into his ears, and call forth his almighty aid. He may indeed for wise purposes suffer the pressure to be heavy and of long continuance*, insomuch that the weeping penitent may be ready to say, “ The Lord will not hear, neither will the Almighty regard me:" but at the fittest season he will interpose to revive the drooping spirit, and to “ make the bones which he hath broken to rejoice:" " he will take the beggar from the dunghill to set him among the princes y."]
3. To “the righteous” who are delivered from the power of sin
[They are justly deemed “righteous," who, in the habit of their minds, and the general tenour of their lives, are devoted to God. Allowed sin, of whatever kind it were, would exclude us from this number, and mark us as children of the devila: but if we be really clothed with the Redeemer's righteousness, and "walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” we need not fear to take to ourselves this honourable appellation a. And if this character be ours, the Lord loves us, not merely as he does sinners in general, with a love of pity, but with a love of complacency: “ he joys over us with joy, he rests in his love, he joys over us with singing b." There is not any blessing which our souls can want, but his love will bestow it. We say not, That he will forbear to chasten us (for that would be a mark of hatred rather than of love) but, That he will deal with us in all things as a wise and tender parent, administering to us such things, in such a measure, at such a time, and in such a manner, as his unerring wisdom knows to be best for us.]
But we cannot rightly appreciate the Saviour's love, unless we notice particularly, II. Its unremitted exercise
Long before David existed in the world, our Lord had shewn forth all his love to his people in the wilderness; nor did he ever leave that ungrateful nation without abundant tokens of his regard. In the days of his sojourning on earth his whole life was spent in doing good to the most indigent and most unworthy. Nor has he yet suspended the exercise of his grace ; he still manifests his regard to his people, and effects his purposes towards them, 1. By his providence
* Ps. xxxviii. 2, 4, 6, 8, 21, 22. and cxlii. 6, 7. y 1 Sam. ii. 7, 8. z 1 John iii. 8. a Rom. vii. 1. • Zeph. iii. 17.
c Heb. xii. 6—8.
[Wonderful are the ways whereby he accomplishes his own eternal counsels. The histories of Joseph and his family, and of Esther and the captive Jews, give us an insight into the things which are yet daily passing in the world. Many events appear to us casual and trifling: but the truth is, that not one is casual, not one is trifling: every the minutest circumstance is ordered by the Lord, and forms a link in the chain of his unerring providence. Not a hair of our head falls but by his appointment; and it remains with us to mark his dispensations with care, and improve them with diligence. Let any whose eyes have been opened, or whose souls have been liberated from spiritual bondage, look back and see the way by which they have been brought to the enjoyment of these mercies; and they shall find such a mysterious concatenation of causes and effects as will furnish them with matter of astonishment to all eternity.] 2. By his grace
[It is not said in the text that the Lord had done or should do those particular things ascribed to him: but he is spoken of as actually doing them; so that there is no day, no hour, wherein he is not engaged in this blessed work. He makes his word effectual at this time, no less than formerly, “ to turn men from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” At this time also he heals the wounded spirit, and sheds abroad his love in the hearts of his faithful people. What if his word have not as much energy as in the days of the Apostles? or his Spirit be not poured out in such an abundant measure? “Has he forgotten to be gracious, or, in anger, shut up his tender mercies?” Surely there are many in these days, who can say, I was once in bondage, but now enjoy liberty ; I was blind, but now see; I was bowed down under a heavy load of temptation and corruption, but my strength has been renewed like the eagle's; I once had no idea what was meant by the sealing of the Spirit, or the witness of the Spirit, but I have now received such tokens of my Saviour's love, as have assured my mind, that my “ Beloved is mine, and I am his.” Let it be known then that Christ is still communicating his blessings to his church, and that it is both our duty and our privilege to enjoy them.] INFER
1. How great is the folly and wickedness of those who neglect Christ!
[If our maladies were of a bodily nature, and relief were offered us, should we not be deemed insane if we despised it? And, if our benefactor had put himself to great expense and trouble to procure us that relief, would our contempt of him be thought a light offence? The application of this to our state is obvious. But let the energetic language of the text be marked: wherefore does the Psalmist no less than four times repeat the name of Christ? Is it not the more effectually to call our attention to him? and does not this in a very pointed manner reprove the sin of neglecting him? If then we would not greatly multiply our own sorrows, and rush on blindly to everlasting destruction, let us seek to experience his proffered mercies, and to become the objects of his unalterable love.]
2. How little reason is there for any one to entertain desponding fears !
[The state of those who are immured in dungeons under a sentence of condemnation, or are deprived of the faculty of vision, may be justly considered as desperate in the extreme, and as representing in very gloomy colours the condition of men's souls. But there is nothing impossible with God: our adorable Saviour is both able and willing to effect deliverance: and, if, like the woman in the Gospel, we have been bowed down under a spirit of infirmity for eighteen, or eighty, yearsa, one word of his can instantly release us. And, if once we be interested in his righteousness, and renewed in the spirit of our minds, there is not any thing which we may not expect from him: if once he love us, he will love us to the ende. Let none then say, There is no hope: but let us entertain worthy thoughts of our almighty Deliverer: for, however much our expectations of mercy may be raised, we can never be disappointed, if we put our trust in him.] d Luke xiii. 11, 12.
e John xiii. 1.
THE POWER AND WISDOM OF GOD. Ps. cxlvii. 5-7. Great is our Lord, and of great power : his
understanding is infinite. The Lord lifteth up the meek : he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving ; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.
AN acquaintance with God is the one object which we should seek after; since by that alone can we ascertain the extent of our guilt and danger; or be brought to accept the salvation offered us in the Gospel. In the passage before us we have a glorious representation of him: and if we view him aright, our souls will be filled with unutterable peace and joy.
Let us consider,
He is here set before us,
[He is a God of inconceivable power, and of infinite wisdom. View him in the works of creation, and see what an union of these two perfections is displayed both in heaven and arth
Behold the same in all the works of providence, upholding every thing in its order, and accomplishing for every thing all that is necessary for its well-being
Behold it above all in his works of grace. Well is the Gospel called the “wisdom of God and the power of Goda." Truly when man had fallen after the example of angels, it seemed impossible but that he must also share their doom. But infinite wisdom devised a way whereby mercy might be extended to sinners in perfect consistency with the rights of justice; and the power of God has carried into effect that plan, “ laying help for us upon One that was mighty," and opening, through the sacrifice of his only-begotten Son, a way of acceptance with him for every child of man
Had either of these perfections existed in him without the other, his power would have been an object of terror only, and his wisdom might have been exercised for us in vain. But their united exercise renders him a fit object for our most ardent love, and unbounded affiance.] 2. In his dealings with mankind
[“ The meek" are objects of his peculiar care. But under this name we do not comprehend those who are naturally of a calm and placid disposition ; but those who are humbled under a sense of sin, and abased before God as deserving his wrath and indignation --- Now such as these “he lifteth up, " speaking peace to their souls, and causing their hearts to overflow with joyd If there were but one such person in the universe, God would search him oute – and “raise him up out of the dust to set him among princes, and to make him inherit a throne of glory?"
On the other hand, “ the wicked," who hold fast their wickedness and refuse to humble themselves before him," he will cast down to the ground," and consign over to everlasting perditions He will assuredly, and in all cases, carry into effect that determination which he has so often announced
a 1 Cor. i. 24. b John iii. 16. 1 Tim. i. 15. c Isai. lxi. 1. d Isai. lxi. 3. e Isai. lxvi. 2. f 1 Sam. ii. 8. g Ps. ix. 17.
to us, of “ abasing the proud, and exalting those who humble themselves before him h -]
Let us now proceed to mark, II. The effect which this view of him should produce
upon usIn this view should every living soul rejoice. 1. The wicked themselves
[What a ground of joy should it be to them, that they are not, as they well might have been, shut up in hell, but that they have still an opportunity of embracing the salvation which infinite wisdom has devised: and almighty power is ready to impart!--- To every such person I say, Compare your state with those whose day of grace has closed, and, amidst all your sorrows for your past sins, bless and adore and magnify your God, that it is yet “the day of salvation" to you', and that you have yet One following you with that blessed assurance,
“ Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out”---] 2. The meek in particular
[Well does the Psalmist say to you, “Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.” Do but think what a Protector you have, even one who is infinitely wise to discover all that your great adversary is plotting for your destruction and infinitely powerful to shield you from his fiercest assaults Surely you may adopt the triumphant language of St. Paul“, since, however weak you be, God has engaged to “perfect his own strength in your weakness”
Think too what a Friend you have, who will " supply your every want out of the fulness that is in Christ Jesus," and employ all his wisdom and all his power for the enriching and comforting of your souls
Lastly, think what a Rewarder you have, who has provided for you on earth whatsoever his infinite wisdom has judged best, and his almighty power can impart to make you happy whilst in heaven is reserved for you an eternity of inconceivable and unutterable bliss
I say then to you especially,“ tune your harps to sing the praises” of your redeeming God and live in the habitual and delightful anticipation of the blessedness that awaits you in a better world - ]
h Isai. ii. 11.
i 2 Cor. vi. 2.
k Rom. viii. 35–39.