Sermon 2870. Revelation and Conversion
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1904.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 23, 1876.
"The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7.
WHEN he spoke of "the Law of the Lord, David did not merely mean the Law as it was given in the Ten Commandments, althoughthat also is perfect and is used, to some extent, in the conversion of souls. The term includes the entire Doctrine of God-thewhole Divine Revelation and though, in David's day, there was not so full and clear a Revelation as we have-for the New Testamentwas not then given, nor much of the Old Testament, yet the text has lost none of its former force, but has rather gained more.So I shall use it as applicable to the entire Scriptures-to the Law and to the Gospel-and to all that God has revealed. Andspeaking of it in that sense, I may truly say that it is perfect and that it converts the soul.
A tree is known by its fruit and a book must be tested by its effects. There are some books which bear their fruit for thehangman and the jail-and such books are very widely read nowadays. They are frequently embellished with engravings and putinto the hands of boys and girls-and a crop of criminals is constantly the result of their publication and circulation! Therehave been books written which have spread moral contagion throughout centuries. I need not mention them, but if it were possibleto gather them all together in one heap and burn them as the Ephesians burnt their books of magic, it would be one of thegreatest blessings conceivable! Yet, if that were done, I fear that other wicked brains would be set to work to think outsimilar blasphemies and that other hands would be found to scatter their vile productions.
The Word of God must be tested, like other books, by the effect which it produces, and I am going to speak upon one of itseffects to which many of us here present can bear personal witness. The old proverb says, "Speak as you find," and I am goingto speak of the Bible as I have found it-to praise the bridge that has carried me over every difficulty until now-and thathas carried a great many of you over, also. We know that the Law of the Lord is good because it converts the soul and, toour mind, the best proof of its purity and power is that it has converted oursoul.
My first objective will be to show how the Word of God converts the soul Then to show the excellence of the work of conversion.And, therefore, thirdly, the excellence of that Book which produces conversion.
I. First, then, I am to show HOW THE WORD OF GOD CONVERTS THE SOUL.
Man's face is turned away from his Maker. Ever since the fatal day when our first parents broke the Law of God, we have been,all of us, guilty of the same great crime. We stand as men who have their backs to the light and we are going the downwardroad, the road which leads to destruction. What we need is to be turned around, for that is the meaning of the word, "converted"-turnedright about. We need to hear the command, "Right about face," and to march in the opposite direction from any in which wehave ever marched before. Our text truly says that the Word of God turns us around. It does not mean that the Word alone doesthat apart from the Spirit of God, because a man may read the Bible through 50 times and, for 50 years hear sermons that haveall come out of the Bible, and yet they will never turn him unless the Spirit of God makes use of the Word of God or the preacher'ssermons. But when the Spirit of God goes with the Word, then the Word becomes the instrument of the conversion of the soulsof men.
This is how the work of conversion is worked. First, it is by the Scriptures of Truth that men are made to see that they arein error. There are millions upon millions of men in the world who are going the wrong way, yet they do not
know it. And there are tens of thousands who believe that they are even doing God service when they are utterly opposing Him.Some who, as far as it is in their power, are even slaying Christ, know not what they are doing. One of the pleas that ourSavior used upon the Cross was, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." To take my own case, I know that foryears I was not conscious of having committed any great sin. I had been, by God's restraining Grace, kept from outward immoralitiesand from gross transgressions and, therefore, I thought I was all right. Did I not pray? Did I not attend a place of worship?Did I not do what was right towards my fellow men? Did I not, even as a child, have a tender conscience? It seemed to me,for a time, that all was well and, perhaps, I am addressing someone else who says, "Well, if I am not right, I wonder whois? And if I have gone wrong, where must my neighbors be going?"
Ah, that is often the way we talk! As long as we are blind, we can see no faults in ourselves. But when the Spirit of Godcomes to us and reveals to us the Law of God, then we perceive that we have broken the whole of the Ten Commandments in thespirit, if not in the letter of them. Even the most chaste of men may well tremble when they remember that searching wordof Christ-"Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." When you understandthat the Commandments of God not only forbid wrong actions, but also the desires, imaginations and thoughts of the heart-andthat, consequently, a man may commit murder while he lies in his bed- may rob his neighbor without touching a penny of hismoney or any of his goods-may blaspheme God though he never uttered an oath-and may break all the commands of the Law of God,from the first to the last, before he has put on his garments in the morning-when you come to examine your life in thatlight,you will see that you are in a very different condition than you thought you were!
Think, for instance, of that solemn declaration of our Lord, "I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, theyshall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment." It is by bringing home to the heart such Truths of God as these that theSpirit of God, through the Word, makes a man see that he is in error and in danger! And this is the beginning of his conversion!You cannot turn a man around as long as he believes he is going in the right way. While he has that idea in his head, he goesstraight on, marching, as he supposes, safely. So the very first thing to be done to him is to let him see that there is aterrible precipice right before him-over which he will fall if he goes on as he is going. When he realizes that, he stopsand considers his position.
Then the Word of God comes in, in the next place, to take the man off from all attempts to get around by wrong ways. Whena man knows that he is going wrong, his instinct should lead him to seek to get right, but, unhappily, many people try toget right by getting wrong in another direction! A good man sent me a volume of his poems the other day. As soon as I lookedinto it, I saw that there was one line of the verse that was too short. The good Brother evidently felt that it was, so hetried to set the matter right by making the next line too long, which, as you see at once, made two faults instead of one!In like manner, you will find that men who are wrong in one direction with regard to their fellow men, often become very superstitiousand go a great deal further in another directions than God asks them to go and so, practically, make a long line towards Godin order to make up for the short line towards men! And thus they commit two errors instead of one.
Here is a sheep that has gone astray. It has wandered so far to the East that, in order to get right, it tries to go justas far to the West-and if convinced that it is on the wrong road, all it does is to stray just as far to the North and, by-and-by,to the South! It is wandering all the while in a different way with the intent to get back to the fold and, in this respect,sinners are just as silly as the sheep! Now, the Word of God tells a man that by the works of the Law he cannot be justified.It tells him that his heart is defiled, that he, himself, is already condemned, that he is shut up under condemnation forhaving broken God's Law. And it indicates to him that whatever he may do, or however much he may struggle, if he does notseek salvation in God's way, he will only make the bad, worse, and be like a drowning man who sinks the faster the more hestruggles! When the Word of God shows a man that-and makes him feel as though he were hopeless, helpless, shut up in the condemnedcell-it has done a great deal towards turning him around!
The next thing the Word of God does is to show the man how he might get right. And, oh, how perfectly it shows him this! Itcomes to the man and says to him, "Your sin deserves punishment. God has laid that punishment upon His only-begotten Son and,therefore, He is ready to forgive you freely for Christ's sake-not because of anything good in you, or anything you ever cando-but entirely of His free mercy! He bids you trust yourself in the hands of Jesus that He may save you." Come, then, andrely upon what Christ has done and is still doing for you, and believe in the mercy of
God, in Christ Jesus, to all who trust Him! Oh, how clearly the Word of God sets Christ before us! It is a sort of mirrorin which He is revealed. Christ Himself is up in Heaven and a poor sinner, down here on earth, cannot see Him however longhe looks. But this Word of the Lord is like a huge mirror, better, even, than Solomon's molten sea-and Jesus Christ looksdown into this mirror and then, if you and I come and look into it, we can see the reflection of His face! Blessed be Hisholy name, it is true, as Dr. Watts Sings-
"Here I behold my Savior's face Almost in every page."
There is scarcely one chapter in which Christ is not, more or less clearly, set forth as the Savior of sinners. So the Wordof God, you see, shows the man that he is in the wrong, takes him away from wrong ways of trying to get right, and then putshim in the way to get right, namely, by believing in Jesus!
But the Word of the Lord does more than that. In the power of the Holy Spirit, it helps the man to believe, for, at the first,he is quite staggered at the idea of free salvation-instantaneous pardon-the blotting out of sin-all for nothing-pardon forthe worst and vilest freely given and given now! The man says, "Surely, it is too good to be true." He is filled with amazement,for God's thoughts are as high above him and as far out of his reach as the heavens are above the earth! Then the Word comesto him and says, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as whiteas snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The Word also says to him, "All manner of sin and of blasphemyshall be forgiven unto men." The Word says, "The mercy of the Lord endures forever." "He delights in mercy." "I have blottedout, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins." I need not go on repeating the texts with which Ihope many of you have long been familiar. There is a great number of them-precious promises, gracious invitations and comfortingDoctrines-and, as the sinner reads them, with trembling gaze, the Spirit of God applies them to his soul and he says, "I canand I do believe in Jesus! Lord, I do gladly accept Your pardoning mercy. I look unto Him who was nailed to the Cross andI find in Him the cure for the serpent bites of sin. I do and I will believe in Jesus and venture my soul upon Him." It isthus that the Word of God converts the soul-by helping the man to believe in Jesus.
And when it has done that, the man is converted, for when a man looks to Christ, alone, he has turned his face towards God.Now he has confidence in God and out of this grows love to God. And now he desires to please God because God has been so verygracious in providing such a Savior for him. The man is turned right around-from rebelling against God he has come to feelintense gratitude to his Redeemer-and he seeks to live to God's Glory as he would never have thought of doing before!
I ask you who are the people of God, whether you have not felt, since your conversion, the power of the Word of God in sustainingyou in your converted condition. Do you not often feel, as you hear the Gospel preached, your heart grow warm within you?Some time ago, when I went away for a week's holiday, I was more than a little troubled about many things. I had been, fora long while, preaching to others and I thought I should like to feel the power of the Word in hearing it myself. I went toa little chapel in the country and there I heard a lay brother-I think he must have been an engineer-preach a sermon. Therewas nothing very grand in it except that it was full of Christ. And as I listened to it, my tears began to flow. I wish that,sometimes, some of you, my Brothers, would preach and let me take my turn at listening. Well, on that occasion, my soul wasmelted as I heard the Gospel proclaimed very simply, and I thought, "After all, I do feel its power! I do enjoy its sweetness!"And while I listened to it, my heart overflowed with joy and delight- and I could only sit still and weep as I heard the simplestory of the Cross.
And have not you, Beloved, often found it so, in your experience, as you have been reading the Word of the Lord? If you everget dull in the things of God, it is not the Bible that has made you so! If ever your heart grows cold, it is not the promisesof God that have made you cold! If ever you cannot sing, and cannot pray, it is not the searching of the Scriptures that hasbrought you into that condition. And if you ever have the misery of hearing a sermon that deadens your spiritual life, I amquite certain that that sermon is not in harmony with the mind of God and not according to the teaching of the Word of God.But when you hear the Gospel fully and faithfully preached, if your heart is at all capable of feeling its power, it stirsyour spirit, it wakes you up, it produces holy emotions-love to God, love to your fellow men, heart-searching, deep humiliation,ardent zeal and all the Christian Graces in full exercise! The Word of the Lord is perfect and its effect is continually torestore and revive the soul of the Christian.
This has been to me one of the great evidences of the Truth of Inspiration. Standing alone at night and looking up to thestarry vault of Heaven, I have asked myself, "Is this Gospel which I have believed, which I have preached to others for somany years, really true?" Being absolutely certain that there is a God-for none but a fool can doubt that-I have said, "Well,this Gospel has made me love God. I know I love Him with all my heart and soul. And whenever it exerts its rightful powerover me, it makes me try to please Him. Whenever I am under its influence, it makes me hate all wrong, all meanness and allfalseness. Now, it would be a very strange thing if a lie could lead a man to act like that, so it must be true." The moraleffect of the Word of God upon one's own nature, from day to day, becomes, in the absence of all other proof-even if we hadno other-the surest and best evidence to a man that "the Law of the Lord is perfect," for it converts his soul!
I once heard a charming story about Robert Hall-that mightiest of our Baptist orators-perhaps one of the greatest and mosteloquent ministers who ever lived. He was subject to fits of terrible depression of spirits and, one night, he had been snowedup, on his way to a certain place where he was going to preach. There was such a great depth of snow that he was obliged tostay for the night at the farmhouse where he had stopped. But he must preach, he said. He had his discourse ready and he mustdeliver it-so they fetched in the servants and the farm people, and he preached the sermon he had prepared-a very wonderfulone to be delivered in a farmhouse parlor. And after the others had all gone, he sat down by the fireside with the good manof the house and he said to him-a plain, country farmer, "Now tell me, Mr. So-and-So, what do you think is the sure evidenceof a man being a child of God, for I sometimes am afraid I am not one?"
"Oh," said the farmer, "my dear Mr. Hall, how can you talk like that?" "Well, what do you think is the best evidence thata man is really a child of God?" "Oh," replied the farmer, "I feel sure that if a man loves God, it must be all right withhim." "Then," said the farmer, as he told the story, "you should have heard him speak. He said, 'Love God, Sir? Love God?If I were damned, I would still love Him! He is such a blessed Being-so holy, so true, so gracious, so kind, so just!' Hewent on for an hour praising God, the tears running down his cheeks as he kept on saying, 'Love Him? I cannot help lovingHim! I must love Him! Whatever He does to me, I must love Him!'"
Well, now, I have felt just like that, sometimes, and then I have said to myself, "What made me love the Lord thus? Why, thisthat I have read about Him in this blessed Book! And this that I believe that He has done for me, in the Person of His dearSon. And that which brings me into such a state that I love Him with all my nature must be a right and a true thing."
The Word of God is perfect, converting the soul. You will find it to be so the longer you live and the more you test and tryit. Whenever you go astray, it is because you get away from the Word of God. And as long as you are kept right, it is becauseyou are drinking in the precious Truths of God concerning Jesus as they are revealed in the Bible. That is the one perfectBook in the whole world and it will also make youperfect if you will yield to its gracious influence. Only submit yourselfto it and you will, one day, become perfect and be taken up to dwell where the perfect God, who wrote the perfect Book, willreveal to you the perfection of bliss forever and forevermore! God grant to you, dear Brothers and Sisters, to know the powerof this converting Book!
If any of you have backslidden, I pray that this same blessed Book may bring you back. I had a letter, the other day, fromthe backwoods of America that did my heart good. It was from a man who was one of my first converts at New Park Street Chapel.He had been for years a member of the Church, but he grew cold and ceased to attend the means of Grace and, at last, he hadto be excommunicated from the Church. He went out to America and there, far away, he began to examine himself-and the Spiritof God brought home to his heart the old texts which he used to hear. He writes that he was brought to his knees and now heis actively engaged in the service of God, endeavoring to bring other backsliders and sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ! Itis the Word of God that will restore you, Backslider! I hope it will do so this very hour and that, soon, you will come tous, and say, "Take me into the Church again, for the Lord has restored me to fellowship with Him through His blessed Word."
II. I must be very brief upon the second part of my subject, which is, THE EXCELLENCE OF THIS WORK OF CONVERSION. That isa boundless theme, but I must be content just to touch upon a few points of this excellence.
When the Word of God converts a man, it takes away from him his despair, but it does not take from him his repentance. Hedoes not now think that his sin will cast him into Hell, but he does not, therefore, think that his sin is a trifle. He hatesthe sin as much as if he feared that it would destroy him forever. That is a grand kind of conversion-that the
man, who had been in despair because of his sin, is made to know that his sin is forgiven and yet he is not led to trifleor tamper with sin. By faith he sees the wounds of Jesus and he knows how Christ bled to set him free from the bondage ofsin-and that makes him forever hate sin. Is not that an excellent conversion?
True conversion also gives a man pardon, but does not make him presumptuous. His past transgression is all forgiven him, buthe does not, therefore, say, "I will go and transgress in the same fashion again. If pardon is so easily obtained, why shouldI not sin?" If a truly converted man ever talked like that, or, if such a thought ever occurred to him, he must have saidat once, "Get you behind me, Satan, for you savor not the things that are of God." Such talks as that would be diabolical!"Shall we sin, that Grace may abound? God forbid!" Though the man is pardoned, he hates sin as the burnt child dreads thefire. He is afraid lest, by any inadvertent step, he should grieve his Lord who has blotted out the past.
Further, true conversion gives a man perfect rest, but does not stop his progress. He knows that the work that has saved himis the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he has not to add even one thread to the robe of righteousness whichhas been given to him! Yet he desires to grow in Grace, to become holier and holier, more like his Lord and Master. Whilehe perfectly rests in Christ, he spreads the wings of his soul that he may fly higher and higher towards his Lord and Master.
Again, true conversion gives a man security, but it does not allow him to leave off being watchful. He knows that he is safeand that he shall never perish, neither shall any pluck him out of Christ's hands-but he is always on the watch against everyenemy-against the world, the flesh, and the devil. One of our hymn-writers puts this double Truth of God very sweetly-
"We have no fear that You should lose One whom eternal love could choose But we would ne'er this Grace abuse, Let us not fall.Let us not fall."
True conversion also gives a man strength and holiness, but it never lets him boast. He glories, but he glories only in theLord. He knows that a great change has been worked in him, but he still sees so much of his own imperfections that he mournsover them before the Lord. He has no time for boasting because all his time is taken up with repenting for his sins, believingin his Savior and seeking to live to the praise and glory of God!
True conversion, likewise, gives a harmony to all the duties of Christian life. It makes a man love his God better and lovehis fellow men better. I have no opinion of that religion which consists in a so-called profession of religion which makesa young woman leave her father and mother and all her family-and go and shut herself up in a convent, or become a sister ofmisery of some sort or other! If my child, when he says that he is converted, leaves off loving his father, I have very gravedoubts about his conversion! I think it must be a conversion worked by the devil, not by God. But wherever there is true loveto God, there is sure to be love to our fellow men also. The same God who wrote on one tablet certain commands in referenceto Himself, wrote on the other tablet the commands with regard to our fellow men. "You shall love the Lord your God," is certainlya Divine Command-and so is the other, "and your neighbor as yourself." True conversion balances all duties, emotions, hopesand enjoyments.
True conversion brings a man to live for God. He does everything for the Glory of God-whether he eats, or drinks, or whateverhe does. True conversion makes a man live before God. He used to try to fancy that God did not see him. But now he desiresto live as in God's sight at all times and he is glad to be there-glad even that God should see his sin- that He may blotit out as soon as ever He beholds it. And such a man now comes to live with God. He has blessed communion with Him, He talkswith Him as a man talks with his friend and, by-and-by, he shall dwell with God throughout eternity in the palace above! Thisought to convince you what an excellent thing true and real conversion is.
III. I have no need to say much, in the third place, concerning THE CONSEQUENT EXCELLENCE OF THE WORD OF GOD. The Law of theLord which accomplishes such an excellent work, must itself be excellent. I will, therefore, only make one or two brief remarksand then close.
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul," right away from the beginning of conversion to the end. Whenever wewant to have converts-and I hope that is always-the best thing for us to do is to "preach the Word." There is nothing better!There can be nothing more-there must be nothing less! I do not wonder that in some churches and chapels, there are no conversions-becausethe sermons that are preached there are not adapted to that end. They
are like a book I reviewed, the other day, of which I said that there was, possibly, one person in the world who understoodit, and that was the writer of the book. And that if he did not read it through every morning, he certainly would not know,the next day, what he meant by it. In some such fashion as that, there are sermons that are so involved- perplexing, metaphysicaland I know not what besides-that I do not see how any souls can ever be converted by them! The people need to have a dictionaryin the pew, instead of a Bible! They need never turn to any Biblical references, but they need someone to explain to themthe meaning of the hard words which the preacher is so fond of using. Have I not also read sermons which were very highlypolished, and which, I daresay, were preceded by a prayer that God would convert souls by them? But it was morally impossiblethat the Lord should do anything of the sort unless He reversed all His usual methods of procedure, for there was nothingin the sermon that could have been made the means of the conversion of a soul.
But, my dear Brother, if you preach the Word of God. If you lift up the crucified Christ on the pole of the Gospel you neednot be very particular about the style of your speech! You need not say, "I must be a first-class speaker. I must be a brainedrhetorician." I believe that a great deal of that first-class speaking is simply the means of veiling the Cross of Christ-andthat fine talk about Jesus Christ is about the last thing that poor sinners need! I sat at a hotel table, in Men-tone, oneevening at dinner, and I wanted to speak to a friend who was sitting opposite to me, but someone had put a most magnificentbouquet of flowers in a very splendid vase between us. I was grateful that those flowers bloomed in the middle of winter,and I was pleased to see and to smell them, but, by-and-by, I moved them on one side because they stood in the way of my viewof my friend's face. So I admire fine language-nobody enjoys it more than I do in its proper place-I even think that I couldmanage a little of it myself if I were to try. But whenever it stands between a poor soul and Christ, I would like to say,"Break that vase into a thousand pieces! Fling those flowers into the fire! We do not want them there, for we want the poorsinner to see Christ!"
It is the Word of God that converts the soul-not our pretty figures about the Word, not our fine talk about it- but the Worditself. So, dear teachers, and dear Brother-ministers, let us give them the Word! Yes, that is a very handsome scabbard, but,if you are going to fight, you must pull it off! There is nothing like the naked blade, the sword of the Spirit, the Wordof God, to cut and hew, and hack and kill, in a spiritual sense! That same Word will, by God's almighty Grace, make men aliveagain, so we must "preach the Word" if we want to have conversions!
There is another thing that I feel I must say to you. We must not think that in order to have conversions, it is necessaryto leave out any part of the Gospel. I am afraid that some people think that if you stand and shout, "Believe, believe, believe,believe, believe, believe, believe, you will convert any number of people-but it is not so. You must tell your hearers whattheyhave to believe. You must give them the Word of God, the Doctrines of the Gospel, for the people who are said to be convertedwithout being taught from the Scriptures will very soon need to be "converted" again. There must be shot and shell in ourguns if any real execution is to be done! Blowing off a lot of powder and making a great noise may sound very well for a time,but it comes to nothing in the end. Just the same Gospel adapted as to its tone and method, but the same Gospel-that I preachin this place, I would preach in a thieves' kitchen, or to the poorest of the poor-andthe most illiterate of mankind! It isthe Gospel and only the Gospel that will convert the soul.
Now, dear Friends, you who are not converted, my closing word is to you. If you really wish for strength, life, salva-tion-youwill get it through hearing the Word of God, or through reading this precious Book. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing bythe Word of God." Eye-Gate is not usually the way by which Immanuel rides into the city of Man-soul. The lifting up of thehost, the pretty decorations on the priest's robe, the crucifix, the stations of the cross, and all that Roman Catholic mummerywill save nobody! That is not God's way of salvation!
Christ comes into Mansoul through Ear-Gate. "Incline your ear, and came unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live." Wheneverthe Gospel is preached, dear Hearer, do really hear it. Remember how our Lord Jesus Christ said, "He that has ears to hear,let him hear"? Some people do not hear. I have often been thankful, when I have heard some people talk, that I have two ears,because, though their conversation goes in one ear, I thank God I can let it go out the other, and so it does me no harm!But if you are hearing the Gospel, mind that you do not act like that. Then let your two ears be two entrances for the Word.Do not have one for entrance and the other for exit, but, "let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom." Letit go in both ears and remain in your memory until it reaches your heart. I do not believe that anybody is an earnest andattentive hearer, longing to hear to his soul's profit, without his so hearing if the Gospel is
preached to him. As I have already told you, the promise is, "Hear, and your soul shall live." And if you come with a willingmind-willing to judge, weigh and then to believe the Word-the moment you do believe it, you are saved! That Word of God whichleads you to believe has already converted you, so, come out and confess what God has done for you, and then go on your wayrejoicing! May God bless everyone of you without a single exception, for His name's sake! Amen.
HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-551, 658, 561.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM19.
This Psalm teaches us the excellence of the two Revelations which God has made to man. The first is the Revelation which Hehas made in Nature, and the second is that which He has made in His Inspired Word. The Psalmist first sings of God as He displaysHimself in His works in Creation.
Verse 1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork So much is this the case that it hasbeen well said that "an undevout astronomer is mad." There are such traces of the Infinite and the Omnipotent in the stars,that the more thoroughly they are studied, and the science of mathematics is brought to bear upon them, in order, in somedegree, to guess at the incalculable distances and mighty weights of the starry orbs, that a man must perceive in them tracesof the Divine handiwork if he is only willing to do so! "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows Hishandiwork."
2. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. Every day speaks to the following one, even as the daythat went before it spoke to it, and each day has its own message. Its history is an echo of the Voice of God and if man hadbut ears to hear, he would perceive that the things which happen from day to day proclaim the Presence and power of God. Andeven night, with her impressive silence, reveals the Most High in the solemn hush and stillness. In the great primeval forests,the winds seem with songs without words to declare the Presence of the Most High. There is a something there, in the stillnessof the night, as weird-like and so solemn, which has made Unbelief retreat and caused Faith to lift up her eyes and see morein the heavens at night than she had seen by day-"Night unto night shows knowledge."
3, 4. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and theirwords to the end of the world. Though Nature does not speak, yet its words go to the ends of the earth and, silently, theysing the praises of God. To the inner ears of an enlightened man, there is a measure of spiritual teaching always going on.
4-6. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strongman to run a race. Its rising from one end of Heaven, and its circuit to the other end: and there is nothing hid from theheat thereof. All this is emblematical of the spread of the Gospel-so Paul tells us in the Epistle to the Romans, "Their soulswent into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." Our Lord Jesus, springing up from the couch where Heslept awhile, has sent His Light even to the ends of the earth-
"Nor shall His spreading Gospel rest Till through the world His Truth has run- Till Christ has all the nations blest, Thatsee the light, or feel the sun." There are brighter days yet to come to us! The strength of Christ, as He daily runs the Gospelrace, has not diminished. Indeed, He puts it out yet more and more, and the day shall come when, as the full sunlight makesthe perfect day, so shall the full Revelation of the Gospel to the eyes of all men fill the whole earth with the praises ofGod! Now let us read concerning the Book of God. We have read about His works, now let us read about His words. 7. The lawof the LORD is perfect. "The Doctrine of the Lord (as it may be read) is perfect." 7. Converting [or, restoring] the soulthe testimony of the LORD is sure. Oh, what a mercy that is! What could our souls do with ifs and buts and perhapses? Butthe teachings of God's Word are certain, positive, Infallible!
7. Making wise the simple. No matter how foolish, how childlike we may be to begin with, so long as our minds are free fromcunning and craftiness, and so are simple and sincere, this Book will make us truly wise.
8. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. You know they do. Oftentimes has your heart leaped for joy whenthe statutes of the Lord have been made known to you.
8-11. The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgmentsof the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter alsothan honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Your servant warned. Do you not find it so-that oftentimes a text of Scripturecomes to your mind just at the moment when you were about to suffer spiritual shipwreck? When you would have done somethingthat would have caused you lifelong grief and vast damage, the Word of God has stepped before you with the flaming dangersignal and you have been stopped in time!
11. And in keeping of them there is great reward. Not forkeeping of them, for it is not of debt, but, "in keeping of them."It is always best to do as God bids you. You never forget a duty, or refuse to do it without suffering loss, and every mistakeyou make, with regard to your Lord's will, is a damage to yourselves. The keeping of His commands is most soul-enriching.The most profitable business that a child of God can carry on is the business of obedience to his Lord's commands. "In keepingof them there is great reward."
12. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. The man who searches his heart most will yet leave somesin undiscovered and he who says, "I have no sin. I am living without sin," has surely never seen into his own heart at all!He must be an utter stranger to the condition it is in. Let this be the prayer of each one of us-"Cleanse me from secret faults."
13. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins. "Let me never dare to do what I know to be wrong. Let me not say,'I will go just so far and then stop.' Let me not tempt the Holy Spirit of God. Oh, let me never tempt the devil to temptme and put myself into a dangerous position under the notion that God will keep me if I am His child! 'Keep back Your servantalso from presumptuous sins.'"
13. Let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Youwill never go into apostasy if you are watchful against presumption. Those men who, like Judas, commit the great transgressionand utterly perish, are men who knew nothing about watching their own hearts, but who presumed, and were sinfully bold andself-confident-and so came to an ill end. You know where John Bunyan says Heedless and Too-Bold went-and there are many likethem.
14. Let the word of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight; O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer.