Sermon 2396. Eternal Life!
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, JANUARY 20, 1895,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNAOLE, NEWINOTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 6, 1887.
"This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." John 17:3.
"We are in Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keepyourselves from idols." 1 John 5:20,21.
OUR subject this morning [Sermon #1946, Volume 33-Eternal Life within Present Grasp] was concerning laying hold on eternallife, and I thought that I would say a little more, tonight, about eternal life. Many people, when they hear or read thatexpression, suppose that it means Heaven. It does mean that, but it means much more. Eternal life commences here-it beginsin the Believer as soon as he is born again. Then he receives into him that same life which he will have throughout eternity!Eternal life is not a thing of changes. The river widens and deepens, as I showed you this morning, but it is always the sameriver of the Water of Life-it always flows from the same Source-it is always constituted in the same manner. The life of thenew-born Christian who, only a few minutes ago began to pray, is precisely the same life which is to be found in yonder brightspirits that have now been thousands of years in perfection at the right hand of God praising His name! Death does not transportBelievers into a new life-it simply rids us of certain impediments that hamper our true life in its upward flow. The lifeof the Christian, here, is the triumphant life that is to be enjoyed hereafter! It is one and the same life so far as itsreal nature is concerned.
It was the great end of the life, death and work of Christ to give this eternal life to all Believers. He came into the worldon purpose, that they should forever live through Him. He has not accomplished His design in you, my Hearer, unless He hasmade you live unto God. There is a Savior-that you know-but He is not your Savior unless He has infused into you a life infinitelysuperior to that which was born in you at the first. "You must be born again." And by that new birth you must receive a higherand more Divine life than that which throbs in your bosom by nature. Judge for yourself whether Christ has come into the worldto any purpose that affects you and especially judge whether you have received eternal life at His hands. Remember how itis written, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." The ever-living God is notthe Father of dead souls, but He is the Father of those whom He has quickened-and the power to become sons of God lies, ina great measure, in the life which is Divinely imparted to all who receive Christ and believe on His name.
It is in the power of Christ to give this eternal life. In the verse preceding our first text, the Lord Jesus, addressingHis Father, says of Himself, "You have given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Youhave given Him." The Father has life in Himself and He quickens all who live-and even so, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ,has life in Himself-and this life He imparts to all who believe in Him. It is in His power to bestow that life upon everysoul that trusts Him and He delights in exercising His Divine prerogative.
Our Lord Jesus bestows this eternal life only upon His elect. Speaking to His Father, in the verse I quoted just now, He saysof Himself, "You have given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him." Godhas an elect people. So long as the Bible endures, there is no way of getting that doctrine out of it unless men willfullypervert its plainest teaching. From before the foundation of the world the Lord chose a people unto
Himself, according to the Sovereign purpose of His own will, even as He says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
These people whom God has chosen are made known by their being quickened, in due time, into a higher and superior life thanthat of the flesh. Till then they are like the rest of mankind-dead as the dry bones of Ezekiel's Valley of Vision-but theDivine breath of the Eternal Spirit blows upon them and they are made to live and stand upon their feet, an exceedingly greatarmy! By this test can all of you know whether you are the subjects upon whom God's Grace has worked. Is there a new lifewithin your soul? Have you been raised from death unto life? Have you been made to feel new emotions, new desires, new longings,new pains and new joys? For, if you have, then are you the people of God! But if not, I pray that in you, also, Divine Gracemay yet be thus magnified.
The question for us now to consider is in what does this eternal life consist? I do not propose to answer the question asit might be answered, in various ways, but only according to the first of our two texts-"This is life eternal, that they mightknow You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
I. First, then, ETERNAL LIFE CONSISTS IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE ONLY TRUE GOD. Let us think for a little while upon the lackof this knowledge. The loss of this knowledge followed upon the Fall. As long as man knew his God, trusted his God and obeyedhis God, he was happy enough. But man must know the fallen spirit and, once making acquaintance with him, man must know theknowledge of good and evil. And, contrary to the Lord's command, he must take of the forbidden fruit and eat. So he lost theknowledge of God and, with that loss, he lost everything! The highest privilege of manhood is to be acquainted with God-andwhen our first father turned his back upon God and began to unlearn whatever he had known of his Creator and to forget allthat had been revealed concerning his Lord, then came the Fall-and it was a fall, indeed!
Out of this lack of knowledge of God grew all manner of idolatries. Man must have a God-he cannot be happy without one. Thereare some who struggle hard before they yield, but, as surely as a dog must have a master, so surely man must have a God! Thereis a great superior Being, our Creator, Preserver and Judge, whom we must have as our Redeemer, or else we are utterly undone.Without God, our nature is disabled and divided-its best part has run away-it becomes dead, in fact, when it becomes separatedfrom God. It was the lack of knowledge of the only true God that led men to bow down before blocks of wood and stone, to worshipthe sun, moon and stars-and to set up all manner of visible objects and to say of them-"These are our gods." Oh, to what terriblemischief, to what mental and spiritual death, the lack of the knowledge of God has led the sons of men!
Nor is this all that the lack of the knowledge of the true God has produced in us. It has spoiled the best aspirations ofthe noblest men such as Plato and Socrates. Blindly feeling after God, yet without truly knowing Him, what could they do?They could rise to no great height-they could accomplish but little. Men such as they reared an altar and inscribed thereon,"To the unknown god." But what kind of prayer is that which is offered to a god whom we do not know? What comfort can comeout of an unknown god? What peace, what rest, what joy can come from a being after whom we grope in the dark, but whom wedo not know? Not to know the only true God is death-death even to the noblest spirits among us! But it is a much more terribledeath to those who, knowing nothing of God, seek that which will please self, indulge their vile lusts and follow their unbridledpassions! What is all that, indeed, but the result of the fact that, not knowing God, they are seeking to submit themselvesto some other lord? Man must have a master! He is like a horse that must have a rider! He is so constituted that unless heyields himself to a power superior to himself, he grovels and sinks down yet more and more until his condition is little betterthan that of the beasts that perish! Indeed, in some respects, he is worse off than they are.
I can scarcely picture what manhood would have been if we had never fallen. The chief joy, I think, would have been that eachone among us would have had the only true God as ours. We should have been born into the world, whatever our circumstances,under the patronage of God! We would have gone forth to our labor, sweetly singing in the companionship of God. We would haveretired to our rest at night-supposing that things had been as they are now-and we would have fallen asleep as in the embracesof our God, or on our Father's breast. Days would have had a brightness about them superior to any the sun can yield, andnights would have had nothing for us to dread even in their densest darkness, for the Lord would still have been there! Asa child is happy and knows no care nor need while a good father provides for him everything he needs, such would man havebeen. Oh, men are miserable who have not known their God! Unhappy men! Well may Scripture speak of them as dead, for it isdeath to be without the knowledge of God!
But, Brothers and Sisters, what is this knowledge of God which is eternal life? Let us talk a little about the meaning ofthis knowledge. It is not eternal life to know that there is a God! A great many people know as much as that and still remaindead. Those who know not that there is a God are dead in the dark, but those who know that there is a God and yet do not trustHim, are dead in the light! That condition is, perhaps, the worse of the two. At any rate, it involves a greater responsibility.Yet, to know that there is a God is not the same thing as knowing God. I may know that there is a Queen of England, but Imay not know her. I know that there are many persons in the world whom I do not know and it is a sad thing for anyone to knowthat there is a God and yet not truly to know God.
To explain what is meant by knowing God, I must say, first, that it is to know Him as God, that is to say, to know Him asGod to us. I have already told you that everybody has something that is god to him-something that is superior to himself andwhich rules him-something to which he looks up to and which he worships. Now, the great invisible Jehovah, the one God thatmade Heaven and earth, in whose hands our breath is, who has revealed Himself in the Trinity of His Divine Persons, Father,Son and Holy Spirit-the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob-the God of the whole earth, must be God to us! That means thatwe reverence Him, that we bow before Him as worshippers, that we submit ourselves to His Law, that we seek to do His pleasure.No man really knows God who does not know Him as God, and does not accept Him as His God-and to accept God as your God iseternal life! This is how eternal life becomes yours! And if you have come to that point, you have eternal life.
Still, that statement does not fully explain what it is to know God. It is to be on terms of personal acquaintance with Him.The Lord is not to be seen, neither can His footsteps be heard, but to know God is to be conscious of His Presence by an inwardsense which does both see and hear. It is to feel that He is everywhere-on the land or on the sea and, knowing that He isthere, to rejoice in being with Him! In fact, it is to find great delight in this God who is not far from any of us. It isto be (let me put it very plainly) on speaking terms with Him! It is to be so reconciled to Him that you have no dread ofHim, no bondage and fear when you think of Him.
You then regard God as your best Friend whom you love and, in whom you delight, to whom you talk as naturally as you talkto friend or father, into whose bosom you pour your griefs, into whose heart you tell your joys. God is nearer than your mostfamiliar friend, nearer to you than eyes and ears, nearer to you than your own body, for He gets within your soul, which yourbody can never do! If you really know, experimentally, what I am talking about, you have eternal life. If this is so, thatyou know the only true God, distinctly recognizing His Presence, speaking with Him and rejoicing in Him and, if, above all,you are striving to be like He-if His Spirit in you is photographing the image of God upon your nature so that the old image,which He gave to Adam, but which was effaced by sin, is being reproduced in you by the Holy Spirit-then you know the onlytrue God and this, dear Friends, is eternal life!
Now, having shown you what the lack of this knowledge produces and the meaning of this knowledge, let me briefly speak ofthe connection between the knowledge of God and eternal life.
A man without God is a living man, of course, for he works, he eats, he drinks. Yes, but he has missed the only true life.He has missed a secret happiness which is the very essence of life and, without which life is really death. You do not knowit, dear Hearer, if you have never believed in Christ! And I do not expect you to believe what I say, but let me tell youthat there is a something that makes life worth living when you once come to know God. There is a secret bliss-I cannot callit anything less than bliss! There is a little Heaven, a compendious, compressed, essential Heaven which God drops into thatsoul that lives with Him, so that we know that which makes us leap for joy and makes us bless God that we were ever created!If I had no God, I could say, "Cursed was the day in which it was said to my mother that a man-child was born into the world."But now I thank God for my existence! Sometimes, when in great pain and anguish, yet having God with me, I have felt inclinednot to curse the day of my birth, but to rejoice that I was ever born, even if I had to live a life of perpetual pain, seeingthat I have a God who is, indeed, my own!
To have a God also means that you have a grand objective in life. Look at many of you, how you work hard from morning to nightjust to provide enough to keep body and soul together. If you have not a God, you are wretched creatures, indeed! But theslave who tugs at the oar of the galley and receives no pay but the cruel lash, is a happy and blessed man if God is withhim! Many and many a Huguenot prisoner, condemned for life to the galleys because of his faith, has been happier than theking upon his throne who thrust him there! With God, all conditions of life become life that is life, indeed-but without Him,there is nothing to live for! Here is a poor fellow who lives till he has accumulated millions- it must be all the harderto die and leave so much, must it not? What is the good of it? To get a paragraph in the Illustrated London News saying thatSo-and-So died worth so much? Oh, the misery of having existed for so small a result! But when you have God, you have somethingto live for, something that makes every little thing sublime and turns the most common actions of daily life into a holy exerciseof a royal priesthood unto the Most High!
The man who has God also has the explanation of a great many things which puzzle other people and he has something better,still, for he has his God to fall back upon when he cannot explain anything. I like, sometimes, to have to pull up againsta huge granite rock and feel, "I never shall see through that rock and I shall never see my way through that difficulty."Well, I do not need to see my way through it! I do not need a tunnel from here to New Zealand-do you? I know that I cannotgo through the very heart of the earth and I have no wish to do so. I am very glad to know that I cannot, by a stamp of myfoot, force my way through to the other side of the globe-it would be a poor globe if I could! I would not worship a god thatI could fully understand. I do not know how I would feel devout over a faith which I perfectly comprehended. If I could putmy religion into my pocket, like a box of lozenges, I should soon suck it all away, but I like something that is grander thanmy loftiest thought, more sublime than my noblest conceptions, and which tops me altogether! And I find it a blessed thingin life, when troubled with all these difficult problems of our teeming population and ever-present distress, to fall backupon this fact-"There is a God who will overrule it all and, from the seeming evil, will produce a good-and from that goodsomething better, to His own praise and glory!"
A man with God-you may strip him, but he is clothed in the Light of God. A man with God-you may shut him up in prison, buthe is perfectly at liberty, for his spirit soars into the immensities! A man with God-he may be afflicted with a hundred diseasesat once, but he has the best of all health, even the sanity of his soul! A man with God has a window to his room-a man withoutGod goes round, and round, and round, and looks, but does not see anything at all! Sometimes he thinks, "I wish that I couldsee something, but there is nothing to be seen." To those who are without God, the future is all a blank-they call themselves"agnostics"-that is, men who do not know anything. But you who have God look for eternal life in His Presence. If men talkto you of joy, you say, "Oh, yes, there must be joy to one who is at peace with God. It cannot be that any man who loves Godand is reconciled to Him, should be perpetually unhappy!" That cannot be, so that, in knowing God, there springs up in theman's heart a hope, no, an assurance that it must be well with his soul and that, though Heaven and earth should pass away,God's Word can never pass away and, therefore, the safety of the man who clings to that Word must be secure! Yes, to knowthe only true God is to get where life is life, to get into eternal life-not mere existence, but into that which is worthyto be called life, indeed!
II. Now, dear Brothers and Sisters, in the second place, notice that ETERNAL LIFE ALSO CONSISTS IN THE
KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST, WHOM GOD HAS SENT-"This is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and JesusChrist, whom You have sent."
Our second text shows that the first one by no means implies that Jesus Christ is not God, for it expressly declares, concerningJesus Christ, "This is the true God, and eternal life." This is the teaching of both passages. It would not be eternal lifeto know God apart from Christ. God the Father, apart from Jesus Christ, is just an Almighty Being infinitely just, whose LawsI have violated-a Being infinitely loving, who would bless me, but who cannot do so while I violate His Laws-a God full oftremendous power and unerring wisdom who would exercise all these for me but that I, having broken His Law, the penaltiesof that Law are inevitable, and cannot be reversed! It was wise and just on God's part to append a penalty to sin-nothingcould be crueler than to allow men to sin without being punished for it! It would be abhorrent to a God of Love as much asto a God of Justice if sin could be made a trifle and there were no punishment attached to it. The first knowledge you andI ever get of God, when we come to know Him, is as One who is infinitely loving, but who, nevertheless, no, who, for thatvery reason, is infinitely Just and must punish sin.
No one knows the true God in the real sense of knowledge except through Jesus Christ, for no man comes unto the Father butby the Son. But even if he could know God, in a measure, apart from the Revelation of Him in Christ Jesus, it would be a knowledgeof terror that would make him flee away and avoid God! It would not be life to our souls to know God apart from His Son, JesusChrist! We must know the Christ whom He has sent or our knowledge does not bring eternal life to us. But, Beloved, when wesee God in Christ meeting us, demanding a penalty and yet providing it, Himself, decreeing the punishment most justly andthen bearing it Himself. When we see Him to be both Judge and Expiation, both Ruler and Sacrifice, then we see that "hereinis love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." Then it is, inthe knowledge of God in Christ and God through Christ, that we find that we have entered into eternal life!
Let me add, here, that it would not be eternal life to know Jesus Christ if He were not God-if, as some say, He was only agood man-that He was only a good man is impossible, for He was the worst of impostors if He was not God, for He spoke of Himselfas God! And if He were not Divine, then He imposed on men. If He were nothing but a mere man, how could He give us eternallife? And of what use were trust in Him? But if He who bled on Calvary was very God of very God, as well as Man, then thesacrifice He offered has an infinite value about it and I, even I, dare trust my soul to Him with the full assurance thatthere must be, in such a Savior, ability to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him!
How do we come to know Christ? I do not think it necessary, at this time, to explain much about how we know Christ, becauseI am addressing thousands of persons who do know Him. Brothers and Sisters, you know Christ in the glory of His Divine Person,God and Man. You have no doubts about either His Deity or His Humanity-you have tasted of the sympathy that comes to you throughHis Manhood, and you have felt the majesty of His Godhead-He is to you your Brother and yet your God! You know Him, then,in the glory of His Person.
You also know Him in the peace-speaking power of His precious blood. This is, to me, the best evidence of the Truth of ourholy religion. I was once troubled and tossed to and fro, driven almost to despair under a sense of sin-it was only when Iunderstood Christ's substitutionary Sacrifice and realized that He stood in my place and bore my sin in His own body on theCross that I obtained peace with God! I know the power of His blood by the peace it brought me! Do not many of you know italso? I am sure that many of you do. Whenever sin returns to assail you and you get troubled and perplexed, do you not goand look, again, to Christ upon the Cross, and all your anxiety disappears? The wounds of Jesus bleed a balsam that healsyour wounds! And His death yields the life that delivers you from going down to death!
We also know Christ in the perfection of His righteousness. By faith we have put on that glorious robe and we have gone inunto God with our Brother's garments on-and the Lord has accepted us for His sake-and we have come from the Divine Presenceexceedingly comforted and blessed, "accepted in the Beloved." We know, dear Friends, now, what communion with God means. Ihave never seen Him, but I know Him better than anybody I ever saw! I have never heard His voice, nor do I expect to hearit till these ears are deaf in the grave, unless the Lord should first come suddenly, but I know His voice better than I knowthe voice of anyone on earth! I can discern it in a moment. A stranger will I not follow, for I know not the voice of strangers,but if there is any Truth of God uttered, I know that Truth by a kind of instinct within my soul. The charm of it is thatJesus has spoken it and it commands my immediate loyal acceptance. Question anything Christ has said? Brethren, if I findChrist contradicting everything that I ever thought of, or any decision I had arrived at, I would, without regret, fling everythought in my mind to the winds-and I would embrace each syllable that He has spoken with a joy most intense and a loyaltythat never questions!
I have heard of "life in London." I do not know much about what that expression means, but I know what life in Christ is,and there is nothing like it! Life in Heaven is only life in Christ-if He were gone from the realms of bliss, there wouldbe no life in Heaven, itself-the center, the core, the soul of the everlasting joy of the redeemed lies in the fact of Christbeing with them and their knowing Him! This is life eternal, to know Jesus Christ whom God has sent, and to know God in Him.
This will give you life, you daughters of despair who are at death's dark door-know God and Christ and you shall live! Thiswill give you life, you disappointed ones, to whom life seems to be like a sucked orange which you would gladly throw away!This will be the cup of life, again, and put into it the nectar of true life. This will give you something to trust in! Thiswill give you rest to your spirit, this will give you power for service, this will give you a holy expectancy for the worldto come! In fact, everything that life means comes to the man who knows God and knows Christ-and everything that death meanscomes to the man who does not know God, and does not know Christ-he is dead even while he continues to exist.
I have finished all my discourse but for one fragment. Did you notice the last clause in our second text? "This is the trueGod, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Do you see the drift of the Apostle's injunction?
You live by the true God, you live by Jesus Christ-therefore, keep yourselves from idols. Idols are untrue gods and they aredeath to you. Therefore, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."
Of course, I need not say to you that we must carefully preserve our integrity in the matter of worshipping anything thatcan be seen. No child of God may dare to worship a picture, an image, or anything that is visible! I would like to break outof every church window every image of the saints, lest it should be worshipped-and especially to banish from all public observationevery symbol and sign that ever has been worshipped in the Church of Rome lest they should be worshipped again! I see, inthe symbolism of certain churches, a tendency to set up something visible as an object of worship. Remember the commandment,"You shall have no other gods before Me," that is, have nothing to worship but God, and then, next, "You shall not make untoyou any engraved image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is inthe water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showingmercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep My Commandments."
The worship of the cross, the crucifix, the "consecrated" bread, or anything of that kind is sheer idolatry, and it alwaysbrings death with it. Gospel Light dies out when anything but the true God is worshipped. Therefore, away with idols! Havea holy iconoclastic zeal against anything that is regarded by men with the reverence which is due to God, alone!
But keep yourselves from all other idols-from the idols of your own brain, from creeds of your own making, from thoughts ofyour own imagining. Keep yourselves from letting anything but God rule you. Keep yourselves from golden idols-keep yourselvesfrom the love of fame- keep yourselves from the adoration of human science! "Keep yourselves from idols." There is no Godbut God and Christ Jesus, His Son, is the only Mediator between God and men. Keep yourselves from allowing anything but Godto get the upper hand of you. Make not gods of yourselves, your own persons- make not gods of your families, make not godsof your children.
Verily, I say unto you, there are many who worship their children and set them up as little gods! And when they are takenaway from them, as they will be when they worship them, then they cry out against God most bitterly. How could they thinkthat God would allow the little Dagons to be set up in His place? It must be God first, God last, God midst, and God, withoutend! May He make it so with us that, from now on, we shall have this eternal life which consists in knowing the only trueGod, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM27.
Verse 1. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? If all your light comes from the Father of Lights, withwhom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, you need not be afraid of losing your light! "The Lord is my light andmy salvation." If your salvation comes from the God of Salvation, if it is worked out by the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ,you need not be afraid that you will ever be robbed of that salvation-and you may confidently sing, "Jehovah is my light andmy salvation; whom shall I fear?"
1. The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? "He puts His own force into me and if He who is Omnipotentis the strength of my life, who can stand against me? If my strength were in myself, I might well be afraid, but if it isin God, alone, if, 'the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?'" Dismiss your fears, then, whatever maybe the cause of them, all you who are trusting in the Lord Jehovah! The causes of fear are many, but the cure of fear is one,namely, faith in the living God!
2. When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. This is the recordof the Psalmist's past experience. David was a soldier and he had a soldier's dangers and a soldier's deliverances. And herehe writes the history of his battles. These are dispatches from the field. When the Psalmist's enemies rushed upon him likehungry lions seeking to eat him up, they stumbled and fell! He had not to fight, or even to sound a trumpet, for the Lordfought for him!
3. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I beconfident. The past gives him confidence both for the present and for the future. Happy is the man who can fall back uponhis past experience, not to make of it a bed to lie upon, but to make of it a lever with which to lift his soul out of theSlough of Despond! I think I have sometimes said that we may use our past experiences as the bargemen use their oars whenthey push backward to drive the boat forward. You must never lie down upon past mercies and say, "I am satisfied with allthat has happened," but use the past to help you in the present and the future.
4. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the House of the LORD all the days ofmy life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His Temple. David wanted to spend his days in the House of hisGod and we, also, may do the same, not only in the place that is used for public worship, but wherever we may be! The greatHouse of God is everywhere and His children can always be at home with Him. That is the ideal of a Christian's life, to bealways in God's House-
"No more a stranger or a guest, But like a child at home."
David desired not only that he might dwell in God's House, but that he might spend his time in adoring contemplation of thebeauty of his God-"to behold the beauty of the Lord." Did you ever think of the wonderful beauties that there are in the Characterof the Most High? If you want to see them, behold Him who is altogether lovely, in whom the Father is to be most clearly seen,though veiled in human flesh! This should also be our lifelong work, to study, to understand, and to enjoy the beauty of theLord, "and to enquire in His Temple," not only to see Him, but to speak with Him and to hear Him speak. A Christian is onewho makes enquiries of his God-he is an enquirer when he begins, and he should be an enquirer till he ends. The Apostle Petertells us that the angels belong to the honorable company of enquirers concerning "things that accompany salvation." "Whichthings the angels desire to look into." Christian men should go to God with their enquiries and when they come to public worship,this should be one great end of it, "to enquire in His Temple."
5. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion. "For"-and this is a reason for dismissing all our fear-"inthe time of trouble He shall hide me." "I am so little that I may easily be hidden away by One so great as God is. 'He shallhide me in His pavilion,' in His own royal tent and beneath the majesty of His Sovereignty my soul shall find perfect security."
5. In the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me. "In that Most Holy Place where none can come and live but those whomGod brings there! In the sacred spot where the security must be absolute! In the Tabernacle of Sacrifice sprinkled with theblood of Atonement, shall He hide me." Oh, what a hiding place is this for one who is in trouble!
6. He shall set me up upon a rock. What perfect security the child of God has, first, in the pavilion of Sovereignty, next,in the secrecy of Sacrifice-and thirdly, on the rock of Immutability! "He shall set me up upon a rock."
6. And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrificesofjoy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises unto the LORD. If an ungodly man's head were lifted up above His enemies, hewould begin to denounce them and to curse them. But when a Believer's head is thus lifted up, he begins to praise his God.Then are his songs louder and sweeter than they ever were before! "I will sing, yes, I will sing praises unto the
7. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. I thought you were going to sing, David,but you are at prayer, I see. This is how we live spiritually-we breathe in the air by prayer, and we breathe it out by praise!This is the holy respiration of a Christian's life! Prayer and praise must be mingled in a divinely wise proportion and thenthey make a sweet incense, acceptable to God. I hope we can say that we have never finished praying but that we feel we mustbegin singing, and that we have never finished singing but that we must begin praying! What a blessed interchange this makesfor the whole of life! "I will sing, yes, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: havemercy, also, upon me, and answer me."
8. When You said, Seek you My face; my heart said unto You, Your face, LORD, will I seek. The child of God knows His Father'svoice and responds to it. God's Word is like a seal and we should be like the wax, ready to take the impress of it. "Seekyou My face." "Your face, Lord, will I seek." It is the same expression reversed, just as it is when the seal makes an impression.
9. Hide not Your face far from me. I do not know why the translators put in that word, "far." It is printed in italics, butit should not be there at all! "Hide not Your face from me at all, my Lord. I do not ask You not to hide it far from me, butI pray You not to hide it at all! Make no break in my sunlight. Let me always see You-this is all I ask. Hide not Your facefrom me."
9. Put not Your servant away in anger. "Put not Your servant away." God will not put away His children, but He does, sometimes,put His servants away. I know that this is often a prayer of mine. I wonder whether it is yours also- "Dismiss me not fromYour service, Lord." We may remain His children and yet we may scarcely be fit to be employed, any longer, in His service.Let this be your prayer as well as David's, "Put not Your servant away in anger."
9. You have been my help. "Yes, that You have, O Lord! You have been my help."
9, 10. Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD willtake me up. There is a poor child and his father and mother have both gone away and left him. But the Divine Father comesalong, picks the child up and clasps him to His bosom-"Then the Lord will take me up." It is a wonderful thing to be takenup by God! A man prospers in business and people say, "Oh, yes, he may get on very well, for such-and-such a great man hastaken him up!" But how much better shall you and I prosper who can say, "The Lord will take me up"? If He has taken us up,what a wonderful Patron we have! There is no other like the Lord!
11. Teach me Your way, O LORD. "I am only a child. Teach me, Lord. I am fatherless and motherless. Take me into Your orphanageand teach me Your way, O Lord!"
11. And lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies. "Make my way to be very straightforward! May my life be such thatI never have to apologize for it! May there be no places in it about which unpleasant questions can be asked! Lead me in aplain path because of my enemies. If they can find fault with me, they will do so and if they cannot rightly find fault withme, they will make up some accusation against me. Therefore, O Lord, 'lead me in a plain path because of my enemies.'"
12, 13. Deliver me not over unto the will of my enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breatheout cruelty. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Men say that "seeingis believing," but that is not true-believing is seeing! So David says, "I had fainted unless I had believed to see." It isby believing that we see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
14. Wait on the LORD. I think I hear David say this short sentence to each one in this great assembly tonight, "Wait on theLord."
14. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say. David says it from his own experience and thus, asit were, puts his name and seal at the end of the Psalm-"Wait, I say"-
14. On the LORD. Everyone who has ever proven the power of prayer may use the same words as David did! The preacher certainlydoes and with the Psalmist, he exclaims, "Wait, I say, on the Lord."