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rience the manifestations of his favour ; or, being in a state of grace, that you may walk in the light of his countenance, and abound unto every good work, that we may give up our account of you
with joy and not with grief; fo that those who sow and those who reap may, at length, rejoice together.. This is the fincere defire and prayer of
The Friend of your souls,
Nov. 9, 1678.
LIFE IN GOD'S FAVOUR.
SOME INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
Psalm xxx. 5. In his Favour is Life.
THE divine poem in which we mect with these words, bears the title of A psalm and
long at the dedication of David's house. What is intended by this dedication, or with what ceremonies it wils performed, we are not told. Mofes faid to the armies of Israel, when going out to battle, “What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, left he die in battle, and ancther inan dedicate it." Hiram, king of Tyre, sent messengers to David, and cedar-trees, and carpenters, and masons, and they built David an house. Whether this psalm
was composed when he first became an inhabitant of this house, or when he returned to it after Absalom had defiled it, I will not determine. This holy man was concerned to have his habitation to be an house for God, and devoted to him ; where his name should be called upon, and his praises sung, whose favour is to be valued infinitely above all earthly enjoyments, and is that which sanétifies and ennobles thein all,
The psalm which was composed and sung on this occasion, may be called, a divine miscellany, defa criptive of the various experiences of a child of God. I shall just hint at a few particulars.
The Psalmist here exalts God in his praises, who had exalted him in the manifestations of his
mercy. “I will extol tree, O Lord, for thou hast lifted me up." When the Father of mercies has brought us up out of the depths of distress and indigence, we ought to give him the glory; and the higher our ada vancement is, the more exalted should be our praises. This is a delightful, as it is a reasonable service.
David had cried to God, and experienced his present help and healing, in bodily affli&tion, domestic trouble, and distress of mind." I have cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.” Relief was
It was but asking with fervour and sincerity, and the great Physician was ready, with his healing
. hand, to remove his domestic distractions, to reftore his decayed health, and to pour the oil and wine of heavenly confolation into the wounds of his mind. He was raised up from the borders of the grave, and preserved from going down to the pit. He had been brought into the greatest dangers, as to his property, his kingdom, and his life; his fout, through oppressive terrors, horrid temptations, and deep despondency, had been near the pit of hell, to his own apprehension; but God, in answer to his cries, had mercifully delivered and reftored him. “ O Lord, thou haft brought up my soul from the grave; thou haft kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.”
Hence the Psalmist, as might be supposed, was deeply affected with the' manifeftations of divine goodness in his favour. His heart was. warm and full of gratitude. He invites others to assist him in praising his merciful Deliverer. Sing unto the Lord, Oye faints of his.” We see here, that prayers, fervent and earnest prayers, fhall in due time be turned into praises. The more we abound in prayer, the more shall we be furnished with matter of praise. And in this delightful employment, it is desirable to have the company of our fellow-saints, that we may join in holy concert, somewhat like the happy society above. In heaven, the blessed choir of faints
and angels sweetly unite in unceasing songs of gratitude and praise. Those whom David invites to assist him in this joyful work, are the saints; who fo proper as holy souls to give thanks at the remembrance of God's holiness?
The Psalmist intimates, that he had tasted both of God's displeasure and of his love, in a short space of time. “ His anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” The peculiar manifestations of divine mercy are sometimes preceded by seasons of distress and discouragement; a storm is before a calm; the thundering terrors of the law before the joyful sound of the gospel; the Strong wind, earthquake and fire, before the small fill voice; that we may, by a night of darkness, be prepared for a morning of light, and know how to
David owns the frong disposition he had felt to security and carnal confidence in a prosperous state; “In my prosperity, I said, I shall never be moved. Thus I flattered myself, when my path was finooth, and I had the full enjoyment of health and tranquillity.” O deceitful heart! A healthy man thinks not of fickness. "God built me a house; I built myself a castle; but it was a castle in the air, the baseless fabric of a vision, which had a sudden fall."