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are thy thoughts soon be conere is no end. In all the wonde
fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."]
Nor need we despair of resembling David; since he points out, in our text, II. The way in which it may be attained
As he attained it, so should we, 1. By meditation
[His “ meditations on God were sweet,” though in the psalm before us, they related only to the creation and providence of God. But the minuteness with which he describes all these things clearly shews what delight he found in surveying every particular which might illustrate his subject. What delight, then, should we feel in contemplating all the wonders of redemption! Of these there is no end. In meditating on these, we should soon be constrained to say, “ How precious are thy thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with theeh.” Let us, then, address ourselves to this holy employment. Let us say, with David, “ I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doingsi.”] 2. By resolving to rest in nothing short of it
[We do well to say, 'I will fear the Lord;' and well to say, 'I will serve him. But these are far below our duty. We should aspire after higher attainments than these: we should say, with David, “I will be glad in the Lord:" "I will never be satisfied, till I have such views of his excellency, and such a sense of his love, that I can rejoice in him, yea, till I can rejoice in him all the day.' Men attain not this, because they do not aim at it. They are contented with lower acquirements; and hence they know but little of delight in God. O beloved Brethren! I would have “ your hearts to be lifted up in the ways of the Lord.” Why should any of you be strangers to this holy frame? Why should you not “ sing in the ways of the Lord," as others have done before you? I know, indeed, that you cannot of yourselves create these heavenly joys: but I know what God has said; “ They shall praise the Lord that seek him:" and if you set yourselves in earnest to enjoy him, you shall receive from him “the Spirit of adoption,” whereby you shall be able to call him Father; and have “ the witness of the Spirit,” whereby you shall know that you are his children.
remember thy wemember the worloyment. Let us us, th
Thus walking in the light of his countenance here, you shall have an earnest and a foretaste of your heavenly bliss.] APPLICATION,
[I beseech you, Brethren, live not so far below your privileges as Christians in general are wont to live. How much happier might you be, if you lived near to God in the contemplation of his excellencies, and in the delightful exercise of prayer and praise! This should be the very bent of your mind from day to day, and it should continue to be so to the latest hour of your life. True, indeed, this cannot be expected, unless you embrace him and cleave unto him as your God. First learn to say to him, “ O God, thou art my God!" and then you will find no difficulty in adding, “ Early will I seek theek." Then will praise be, as it were, the natural language of your heart, and the constant employment of your lives? Then in death, also, will your soul be joyful in your God: and “ an abundant entrance will be ministered unto you into the realms of bliss," where, to all eternity, you shall know no other feeling than that of joy, no other language than that of praise.] k Ps. lxiii. 1.
Ps. cxlv. 1, 2. and cxlvi. 1, 2.
THE CHRISTIAN'S DESIRE. Ps. cvi. 4, 5. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people : O visit me with thy salvation ; that I may see the good of thy chosen; that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation ; that I may glory with thine inheritance!
THE Psalms, though in many parts historical, doctrinal, and preceptive, may yet be considered as differing materially from the rest of the inspired volume, inasmuch as, while other books of Scripture inculcate religion, these exemplify its operations on the heart.
The words before us express the fervent desires of David's heart; and give occasion for observing, that, I. The lot of God's people is truly desirableGod “ bears a peculiar favour” towards them
(He esteems them as “ his chosen,” “ his people," "his inheritance a ;" and shews the same tender regard towards them as he did towards Israel of old; guiding, protecting, and even bearing them as on eagles' wingsb. Hence that congratulation
a 1 Pet. ij. 9. Deut. xxxii. 9—13. Isai. Ixiii. 9.
given them by Moses, a congratulation applicable to them in every age and place.] He gives them to enjoy the truest “ good”—
[The enemies of God often possess the greatest share of this world's goodsd: but his own people have that which is really good, and which shall endure when all sublunary things are come to an end'. He “ visits them with salvation," which comprehends every solid good, whether for soul or body, whether for time or eternity.) He fills them with “gladness” and holy“glorying”
[They are not indeed always joyful, because they have much, both within and without, which may well occasionally produce sorrow8: but they have seasons of joy, and sometimes are enabled to rejoice with joy unspeakableh. Even in the midst of tribulations they can often glory', and shew to all around them, that they have supports and consolations which the world can neither give nor take away k. But what gladness and glorying will they have, when all grounds of sorrow shall be finally removed"!]
Surely such a state is the most excellent on earth: and therefore, II. To desire a participation of it, is a laudable am
The fervent petitions in the text were, doubtless, acceptable to God
(Every man naturally desires his own happiness: nor is this species of self-love ever wrong, except when it leads us to seek the end by improper means. When “ salvation" is the object of our wishes, we cannot covet it too earnestly: God himself has taught us to pray for it, and to urge our petitions with an importunity that will take no denialm. And the answers which he gave to David" and others in the days of old, sufficiently evince, that he is a prayer-hearing Godo, and that “he delighteth in the prayer of the uprightp."]
Nor can we please God more than by pleading with him after David's example
[There is nothing so great, but we may freely ask it at the hands of God. Nor is there any thing so peculiar to the saints, but we may ask it as sinners, and be certain of obtaining it, provided we ask in humility and faith. Salvation especially, with all its attendant joys and blessings, he is ready to give unto all that call upon him. Let us then beg of him to impart it to us. And let us particularly bear in mind, that we must first be “ visited with his salvation," before we can “ see the good of his chosen, and glory with his inheritance.” It is through the knowledge of Him, as our Saviour and Redeemer, that we are to be made partakers of all other blessings. In vain do we hope to have fellowship with his people in their felicity, unless we first have fellowship with him in his salvation 9] ADDRESS
c Deut. xxxii. 29. d Ps. xvii. 14, and lxxiij. 7. e Isai. lv. 2.
Prov. viii. 18. & 1 Pet. i. 6. h 1 Pet. i. 8. i Rom. v. 3.
k Ps. xciv. 19. 1 Isai. xxxv. 10. and lx. 19, 20. m Luke xviii. 1. Ps. lxxxi. 10. Isai. xlv. 11. n Ps. xxxiv. 6. and cxxxviii. 3.
• Ps. lxv. 2. P Prov. xv. 8.
1. To those who are grasping after this world
[All persons are apt to think that this world can make them happy: but David and Solomon, who enjoyed all that the world could give them, found all to be vanity and vexation of spirit. Let not us then follow the beaten track, but rather aspire after a good that never cloys, an inheritance that never fades".]
2. To those who are sincerely, though faintly, pursuing the path assigned them
[We need not fear a disappointment on account of any unworthiness in ourselves. Let us beg of God to “ remember us," and he will remember us. Let us seek “his favour" in Christ Jesus, and he will be ever ready to grant it. Only let us prosecute this end steadily, and without wavering: so shall we attain the object of our desires, and glory with God's inheritance" for ever and ever.]
9 1 John i. 3. r1 Pet. i. 4.
DCLXXVII. THE EFFECTS WHICH NATIONAL MERCIES SHOULD PRODUCE
ON US. Ps. cvi. 10–12. He saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies : there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praises.
GRATITUDE for mercies received is a duty universally approved. Every one sees the propriety of acknowledging personal obligations; nor is it less incumbent on us to be thankful for blessings conferred on us in our national capacity. The words before us record the conduct of the Israelites when a signal deliverance had been vouchsafed to them: may we be as devoutly, and more abidingly impressed, while we consider,
1. The mercy vouchsafed unto them
They had been in a state of extreme danger and distress
[After their departure from Egypt they encamped by the Red Sea ; there they were hemmed in by impassable mountains and morasses. Pharaoh, greatly incensed, followed them with all his hosts, nor doubted but that he should speedily destroy them all. They, to all appearance, had no means either of escape or self-defence, and in this situation expected nothing but instant ruin.]
But God vouchsafed them a most astonishing deliverance
[He prevented the nearer approach of Pharaoh by interposing a thick cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians. He made a path across the sea, the waters standing as a wall on either side: he led his people through it as on dry land. Giving up Pharoah to judicial blindness and obduracy, he suffered him, at the head of his army, to follow the hosts of Israel ; but, when the Israelites were passed over, he let loose the waves upon their pursuers : thus in an instant were the Egyptian armies overwhelmed, and Israel saw their enemies dead upon the sea-shore. How wonderful was this interposition of the Deity, and how great the obligation conferred by it!)
Nor were they at the time insensible of the kindness manifested to them : II. The effects produced by it
They had shewed themselves an ungrateful and unbelieving people-
But now, for a season, they were greatly changed: 1. They believed God's word
[They had had reason enough before to believe the promises made to them : Moses had confirmed his word by many stupendous miracles; but they no sooner came into difficulty than they renewed their murmurs. Now, however, they were forced to confess the power and faithfulness of God, nor did they suppose that they should ever yield to unbelief again.] 2. They sang his praise
[The salvation afforded them was inexpressibly great, and the hand of God in it was too visible to be overlooked : however therefore they might pity the individuals who perished, they could not but rejoice in their own safety, nor could they