Sermon 3039. The King's Sharp Arrows
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 9, 1907.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JANUARY 16, 1870.
"Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under You." Psalm 45:5.
WHEN our Lord Jesus Christ is represented as a King, we delight to think of Him as the Prince of Peace whose dominion shallput an end to all war and make it unnecessary for the nations of the earth to learn the arts of war any longer. Meanwhile,however, in this present state, evil is in the world, sin is all around us and thus sin is the curse of mankind. Christ, therefore,for our good, is a fighting King, combating evil and contending against sin in every shape and form and, in that aspect, weregard Him as standing in His glorious war chariot, riding through the world in the power of His Gospel, smiting right andleft with the great sword of the Spirit and, at the same time, shooting His sharp arrows of Gospel Truth to the very endsof the earth! The Truth of God is the weapon that Christ uses. The weapons of His warfare are not carnal any more than areours. The Truth of God is His sword and the Truth of God is His arrow!
There are some Truths which Jesus Christ proclaims in the Gospel and which He bids us also proclaim, which are like sharparrows-wounding, piercing, killing-and of these I am about to speak, hoping and trusting that those arrows may, in all theirsharpness, pierce all hearts that have not felt them yet! And that where they go, they may kill sin and that He may then comein to heal who has wounded them and to give life to those whom He has slain.
First, we shall ask and answer the question, what are those Truths which are like sharp arrows?Secondly, why are they arrows?And thirdly, how come they stick fast in human hearts?
I. First, then, WHAT ARE THOSE TRUTHS WHICH ARE SHARP AS ARROWS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN?
There are many of them, but I shall only mention such as are most usually felt when men are convinced of sin. One arrow thatis always sharp is this-the spirituality and holiness of the Law of God. Many men read the Law of the Ten Commandments, orhear it read in their churches on the Sabbath, but they do not know that that Law means a great deal more than the mere wordsseem to convey. For instance, it is written, "You shall not commit adultery," but Christ tells us that even though no actof unchastity is committed, the very thought of it is condemned and he who indulges an unclean look has already broken thecommand. The Law of God not only deals with the overt acts, but also with desires-and even with those imaginations which scarcelyamount to desires, in which a man pictures the sin and feels a pleasure in the picture, though he has not actually committedthe sin. Now, when a man comes to understand in his heart, as well as to hear with his ears that God looks thus at his thoughts,imaginations, desires and words as well as at his actions, then he stands in awe and amazement of the Law and says, "I cannotkeep this Law of God, for I am already condemned by it-and being condemned, what way of escape is there for me? How can Iget my sins forgiven? By what means can I be reconciled to God?"
This Truth of God is, indeed, a sharp arrow, and well do I remember when first it pierced my heart and conscience. I feltthat I could not stand the test of such a Law for a single moment and that if called to stand before God's bar to be triedon such grounds, I would not require a trial, but must plead guilty at once, or stand there in silence to hear His righteoussentence of condemnation-
"How long beneath the Law I lay In bondage and distress! I toiled the precepts to obey, But toiled without success.
Then, to abstain from outward sin, Was more than I could do. Now, ifI feel its power within, I feel I hate it too."
Another of the Truths connected with Christ's Gospel that is like a sharp arrow is this-the utter impossibility of self-justification.This is one of the Truths of the Gospel that we must never fail to proclaim-"By the deeds of the Law there shall no fleshbe justified in His sight." Having offended against God, you cannot expiate the past by any actions of yours. If you shouldhenceforth keep the Law without a single breach or slip, the fact remains that the sentence of condemnation has already goneforth against you! It is often said that this life is a life of probation, but that is not true. We have passed our probation!We have been proved guilty and we are already condemned! And we shall abide under that sentence of condemnation unless wehave help outside of ourselves to rescue us from it. Lost, lost, lost-utterly lost is the entire human race apart from theDivine and supreme power which has been put forth in the Person of Jesus Christ! Well do I remember when I first learned thatno works of mine-no repentance, no prayers, and no tears could deliver me from the horrible pit into which I was cast throughsin! Then was I pierced, indeed, as with a barbed shaft that went right through my soul to the killing of all my proud hopesand boasts! May such an arrow from the King now pierce to the heart anyone here who still cherishes any hope of self-justification!
A third shaft from the King's bow is this-the certainty of the judgment If there is any one Truth that Christ proclaimed moreoften than another, it seems to me to be this-that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of theunjust. And that the actions of this life will be reviewed in another life, and that rewards and punishments will be metedout by the Great Judge who cannot err. Kind and gracious as the mighty Prophet of Nazareth was, who has described in moregraphic words than He did, the separation of the sheep from the goats-and the blessing of those on the right hand and thecursing of those on the left? What words could there be more terrible than His when He spoke of the worm that dies not andof the fire that never shall be quenched? O Sinner, your sin is immortal! And there is only One who can kill it and put itaway-even Christ Jesus! You shall live again, Sir! It shall not be the end of you when you are carried to your grave and greengrass grows above you. You shall live again and your thoughts, words and actions shall also live! Let them now live in yourconscience. Let the recollection of them alarm you even before they arise and accuse you before Him who shall sit on the GreatWhite Throne at the last tremendous Judgment Day! I know this-let a man be thoroughly convinced that he has sinned againstGod, that he cannot deliver himself from his sin and that as surely as he lives, there is a Day of Judgment awaiting him-hehas an arrow sticking fast in his heart which he will be compelled to say is sharp as long as he is one of the King's enemies!
Another sharp arrow is the sense of the need of an entire renewal of our nature if we are not to be condemned at that Judgment-
"Not all the outward forms on earth, Nor rites that God has given, Nor will of man, nor blood, nor birth, Can raise a soulto Heaven! The Sovereign will of God alone Creates us heirs of Grace- Born in the image of His Son, A new peculiar race."
Christ's words are clear and positive, "You must be born-again." Some perhaps ask, "But Master, may we not reform and amend?"Yes, you may as far as you can, but that will not suffice. "But, Master, may we not observe certain ceremonies which You haveordained, may we not attend to Your precepts and so modify our present nature, and make ourselves fit for Heaven?" Jesus saysto them, as He said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born from above," (for so stands the original),"he cannot see the Kingdom of God." The Holy Spirit must come upon you and create in you new hearts and right spirits. Theremust be as total a change in you as though you actually became new creatures! Otherwise from Hell you can never escape andinto Heaven you can never enter-and this is true not only of the debauched, the dissolute and the depraved, but also of themost moral, amiable and honorable of the whole human race! "You must be born-again," or you cannot enter into Heaven. I rememberhow this sharp arrow stuck in my heart
and how I wandered to and fro, hoping that I might yet be born-again-and sighing and crying in my soul because I lacked theone thing necessary-which I could not give to myself, but for which I must look up to that great God whom I had offended andwho, I feared, would never deign to grant so great a gift to so unworthy a rebel! May that sharp arrow pierce other heartsjust now!
Another arrow from the bow of King Jesus is the Sovereignty of God. God has the right to bestow His mercy where He wills,or to withhold it if He so pleases. His Grace is in no sense the discharge of a debt which He owes to us. If He had determinedto destroy the whole race of men, we must admit that they had deserved such a doom. As He has chosen to save some, it is HisGrace that has done it, so let Him be forever adored for it! The Apostle Paul, writing under Inspiration, quotes God's wordsto Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion," and adds,"So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." What humbling words are these! Theymake the sinner lie all broken and helpless at the feet of the God whom he has offended. They tell him that he cannot savehimself, and that now his only hope lies absolutely in the Sovereign will of that God who can destroy him in a moment if Heso wills! Men do not like this sharp arrow and will do anything to get rid of it. They will try to deny the truth of it ifthey can, but let the Lord once drive this arrow right home through the heart and conscience and I do not know any shaft outof the Divine quiver that is more killing to human pride and more deadly to self-righteousness than this eternal Truth ofGod which has already brought many to Christ and will bring many more, God blessing it-
"Praise the God of all creation,
Praise the Father's boundless love!
Praise the Lamb, our expiation,
Priest and King enthroned above!
Praise the Fountain of salvation,
Him by whom our spirits live-
To the one Jehovah give."
Further, the Lord Jesus Christ often drives the arrow of conviction home in this form-the aggravation of the sin of men whenthey sin against light and against love. It is no little evil to break God's Law at all, but to do it knowingly is far worsethan to do it ignorantly. To do it after many admonitions to the contrary, to continue to offend God after being frequentlyrebuked, to refuse all the invitations of His mercy, to resist the strivings of His Spirit, to be resolved to be lost, tobe resolute upon damnation-this is the very worst form of sin! There are some of you in whose hearts this arrow might wellfind a place, for you were brought up by godly parents, you were dandled upon the knees of piety, you heard the name of Jesusamong the first sounds that saluted your infant ears. You were carried to the House of God before you were old enough to walkthere-and your mother's tears have fallen upon your infant brow as she has wept out her prayers to God that the soul of herchild might be precious in His sight.
Some of you remember when the Word used to prick your conscience as you heard it preached-you would go home and shut yourbedroom door and kneel down and pray-and there was a time when, for weeks or months together, you could not sin as you usedto, but felt obliged to give up one evil and another. Yet you resisted the conviction that was then upon you. You struggledagainst it, you overcame it and you went back into sin. You have never had so severe a contest with Grace since then-still,you have had some struggles and by dint of awful perseverance-oh, that we had half the perseverance to be saved that somehave to be lost! By dint, I say, of awful perseverance, you have managed to remain a servant of Satan until now! Nor can webring you to accept the Gospel of Christ. If you remain as you are, the Lord Jesus tells you, as He told the people of Capernaumand Bethsaida of old, that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah at the Day of Judgment than for you! It wouldhave been better for you if you had never been born. It would have been better for you, Sir, if, when you were yet a babe,unconscious of right and wrong, a millstone had been hung about your neck and you had been cast into the depths of the sea!O man, I pray that this sharp arrow may strike you, now, and wound you and that God may bless it to you! If you and I shouldbe lost after having such mothers and fathers as we had. If you and I should perish after such Christian training as we havehad-when we meet each other in the lowest depths of Hell, our miserable salutation would surely be something of this kind,"What fools we were, with so
much light to prefer the darkness, with so much love from God to resolve to hate Him! Knowing so well as we did our duty,what arrant fools we were to have neglected it! Knowing that sin was folly, how could we choose it? And knowing that holinesswas happiness, for we saw it reflected in the faces of our dearest relatives and friends, how was it that we did not seekit for ourselves?" How we shall wring our hands in unutterable anguish if this should ever be our portion! The Lord preventit, by His Grace!
The last sharp arrow that I shall mention is one which Christ Himself has often shot, it is this-that condemnation for sinis a matter of this present time. Dear Hearers, if you have never heard this Truth of God before, hear it now and trembleat it! You have not to wait until you rise from the dead to receive your condemnation-"He that believes not is condemned already,because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." And as "there is, therefore, now no condemnationto them which are in Christ Jesus," so we may solemnly say, "There is, therefore, now a most weighty condemnation upon youwho are not in Christ Jesus, who are walking not after the Spirit, but after the flesh." Your sentence is already passed,like that of the poor wretch who is now lying in the condemned cell, tomorrow to suffer the extreme penalty of the law! Suchis your lot-"condemned already."
All these Truths of God are the sharp arrows from the bow of King Jesus!
II. Now, secondly, let us inquire, WHY ARE THEY CALLED ARROWS?
First, they are called arrows because they are far-reaching. Some people who have never heard the Gospel have, nevertheless,unexpectedly found one or other of these arrows rankling in their hearts. We have known men who have been at their ordinarywork when one of these arrows has suddenly struck them. Where the voice of the minister could not go, there the arrow of Christcould find its mark! Never give up hope for the world, even in its darkest days. The world was once in a very midnight andthere was a monk, named Luther, on his knees, going up the so-called staircase of Pilate at Rome-and repeating a prayer onevery step in order to try to win his way to Heaven. And there came to him, while on those very stairs, an arrow from theKing that pierced him right to his heart! The arrow bore this inscription, "The just shall live by faith"-a sentence whichhad previously been discovered by Luther in a Bible in the monastery at Erfurt. He was attempting to justify himself by workslike that of climbing the so-called holy stairs. But he found that it was of no use and, through faith in Jesus, he becamethe great leader of the Reformers of his day! Perhaps at this very moment, while we are assembled here worshipping God, theremay be men, similarly deluded, in places where an idolatrous system has usurped the name and place of Christianity, yet theGospel may reach them even amidst the mummeries of the "mass"! Yes, and at the ale-bench, and in still worse places, if Godso wills it, the arrow from the Prince's bow may find its target and reach the human heart! Pray, my Brothers and Sisters,that the King may be profuse with His sharp arrows, so that many may fall under His power!
They are called arrows, again, because they are penetrating. These Truths of God enter a man's heart whether he likes themor not. There are some of these arrows that are aimed at a man, but he seems to be clad in steel and they cannot gain an entrancefor a time. But, by-and-by, they pierce him to the heart and cut him to the very quick. We have known some sinners to be veryangry when this has been the case with them. That is of very little consequence so long as they do but get wounded by thearrows of King Jesus! Because these Truths wound people, penetrating their hearts, they are rightly called arrows.
They are also called arrows because if they once get in, they rankle, and you cannot get them out Often have I heard somethinglike this said by those who have come here to make a profession of their faith in Christ, "I was utterly godless and neverwent to any place of worship. But one evening I stole in here and listened to a sermon. I was angry to the last degree atwhat I heard-I could have cursed the preacher to his face! Yet, I do not know how it was, I soon found myself in this placeagain, wanting to know more about this religion that I detested all the time." I have often heard a man say, "I could nothelp thinking of it, Sir. It haunted my dreams. It stayed with me at my work. I loathed it, yet there it was always near me!Certain questions arose within me that I could not answer and difficulties came up which I could not solve. So I was obligedto let this strange new influence which had got hold of me, still rankle within my heart." I have sometimes likened an unconvertedman to a wild giraffe in an African forest-and Christ's Gospel, like a mighty lion, leaps upon him from the thicket, fastensits powerful fangs in his flesh and begins to tear away his very life. He strives and struggles, dashes here and there, andtries to rid himself of the awful load that he bears upon his back, but all his efforts are in vain. The poor giraffe in thegrip of the lion is distracted-and the man under conviction of sin cannot imagine
what is to become of him. He thinks that he is lost and that he must feel the full force of Divine Wrath against sin-yet thisis the way of Mercy-it is thus that men are saved! At last the man falls down and then He who seemed to be his enemy stoopsdown and nobly gives back the life that appeared to have gone from him. Or, rather, gives him an infinitely nobler life andso the forgiven sinner lives forever! Oh, that the power of the Gospel may thus be exerted upon some wild, untamable spiritthat may be here just now!
The Gospel message is especially called an arrow because it kills. What does it kill? It kills many things. Gospel preaching,when applied by the Holy Spirit, kills carnal ease in men. A man, when he first hears the Gospel, may perhaps say, "What isthe need to bother oneself about that? It will all come right, I have no doubt." Ah, but let one of these Truths that I havementioned-that Truth of God, for instance, about the Judgment to come-get into his heart and rankle there-the man will nottalk any longer about not bothering himself! He must care. "Why," he says, "tomorrow I may be before God's Judgment Throneand I am unprepared to meet Him! My brother died only last week and my sister was taken away only a fortnight ago-and I maybe called away at any moment. I cannot bear the thought of being in Hell forever! I must begin to think. I must begin to careabout my soul." Carnal ease is one of the first things that is killed by the arrows of Christ!
I will tell you another thing that is killed by these sharp arrows, and that is the foolish skepticism which some people thinkwe ought to nurse and cuddle up in our places of worship. I do not believe that the skepticism of this age has so much todo with people's heads as with their hearts. If they were not wicked, they would not doubt, but because they will not be holy,they will not believe. To answer many of their questions would be as foolish as to do what a boy did, according to a fablewhich I read in an old book the other day. A boy, in a scavenger's cart, was so badly disposed that he said he would throwdirt in the face of the moon. And another boy, who, I suppose, was a great deal better, but certainly not any wiser, fetcheda basin of water and a piece of sponge to wash the moon's face. When I read that story, I thought of those who are alwaysfinding out some reason to doubt the authenticity of the Bible, or who throw dirt in the face of the Gospel in some otherway. And then there is some well-meaning but foolish Divine who leaves off preaching the Truth of God and runs with his spongeand his basin of water to wash the face of the blessed Gospel which is as clean as the sun or the moon and needs none of hiswashing, for it is not defiled with the dirt that any fool may choose to fling at it! I believe that at the bottom of yourhearts, you do not really doubt, for you know that God will bring you before His Judgment bar to give an account of your actions!And when the King's sharp arrows pierce your hearts, all your whimsies die, your idle fancies flee away and your cry is, "DoI not believe? Indeed I do! Oh, that I could but doubt in order to get a little rest to my troubled spirit, or, rather, BlessedSpirit, come and teach me if there is not something to be believed by which a lost and condemned spirit may find peace withGod!"
The arrows of Christ, wherever they come, always kill self-righteousness. There was never a shaft shot from Christ's bow thatwas not fatal to all trust in our own goodness! Christ abhors that abomination and kills it wherever He finds it. Hardnessof heart, lack of feeling-this is also slain wherever Christ's sharp arrows come. So also is procrastination, that great ruinerof the souls of men. Oh, that some sharp arrow might fly from Christ's bow into the heart of any sinner here who is saying,"There is time enough yet!" Instead of talking like that, he would say, "I want to be forgiven tonight! I cannot bear thisterrible burden of guilt any longer. If there were no future, my present agony is so great that I long for immediate deliverancefrom it." Jesus, You blessed Divine Archer, shoot forth Your arrows now into men's hearts, that all these ills that they have-unbelief,hardness of heart, love of sin and delay, may fall down slain at Your glorious feet. And then come and save the sinners, byYour Grace, and Your head shall wear the crown forever and ever!
How gladly would I, if I could, say anything that might encourage any of you to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, but I knowthat my feeble voice is not sufficient to help you. It is the almighty Spirit who alone can do this-and I earnestly pray thatHe may. My grief is not so much concerning you who are seeking the Savior, as concerning you who are not seeking Him. Youmay think that it is a trifling matter to preach the Gospel, or to listen to preaching. But the hour comes-and every momentbrings it nearer-when you will know that the Truths of which I have been speaking are the only real things this side of Heavenand Hell! When you lie dying and are brought face to face with the mysteries of the next world, you will count all your money,your amusements and all else to be but foolery. Oh, do not trifle any longer with your eternal interests! If any of you mustplay the fool, do it with your money, or your estates, or your bodies, but do not do it with your immortal souls, for these,if once lost, can never be recovered! Once let the Divine sentence go forth, "Depart, you cursed," and it can never be reversedand changed into a benediction! Once let the iron bar that shuts up lost spirits in Hell be driven home by the hand of InfiniteJustice, and there is no hand in Heaven, or earth, or Hell, that can ever slide that iron bar back! Once done, 'tis done forever!So, Sirs, I beseech you, escape to the Cross while you may! Look to Him who died upon it! Trust yourselves wholly to Him.Forsake your sins, walk in His ways and live as His followers should-for then, but not till then will you be safe!
III. And now, to conclude, having examined the King's sharp arrows and seen why they are called by that name, let us inquire,HOW DO THEY GET INTO MEN'S HEARTS?
Many are the times that I have handled these arrows of the King. And many are the times that from this, my watch-tower, Ihave shot them from my bow. And the Lord knows with what intense desire I have longed that they might enter the hearts ofthose at whom I have aimed them! I could, with my finger-but I shall not-indicate some of the targets at which I have aimed.I will mention no names-there is no need for me to do that-you know very well to whom these personal messages have been addressed.I suppose I cannot have been a good shot, for, with many of you, I have not yet found the joint in your harness through whichI could reach your heart. Oh, that I might speedily be able to do so!
But, according to my text, the arrows which are there spoken of and which are shot by the King, do get right into the heartsof His enemies-and I suppose this is for two reasons-first, because the Lord Jesus Christ always takes good aim. We cannotdo this except as He puts His hands on our hands, for then the aim will be His rather than ours, like the shots of certaineminent people in great public occasions who have the sighting done for them by experts. It is only when the Lord Jesus Christdoes this for us that the arrow of the Truth of God goes home to the heart and conscience of the hearer! Christ's aim is alwaystrue. If the Truth of God should come home to any of you, believe that it was meant for you! Do not be vexed, or think thatthere has been a mistake. It was meant for you and although it may pain you, bless God for the pain! It will be better foryou thus to be pained and afterwards be fitted to enter into Heaven, than to be left to get a seared and hardened conscience-andto be cast into Hell.
The other reason why these arrows of the King get into the hearts of his enemies is that together with the good aim, thereis always almighty strength at the back of the bow. It is said that the bow of William the Conqueror was so strong that noman in England, except himself, could bend it. And the great bow of King Jesus is such as none of us can bend! It has thepower of the Holy Spirit in it-it is the Holy Spirit, Himself, who gives force and power to the Word so that it pierces throughall the sinner's armor, the most vital part of his being and smites him even in the heart. Bearing this last thought in mind,I say to you who love the Lord, do you not see how dependent we are upon the Holy Spirit? There lie the arrows, but they willkill nobody till the Holy Spirit gets them into the hearts of sinners! There is much precious Truth in this blessed Book,but there it will lie till the Holy Spirit takes it and shoots it right into the hearts of men. So, what is our duty as Christianmen and women? Why, dear Brothers and Sisters, let us never grieve the Holy Spirit! You know that we can do it by neglectingto honor Him, by falling out among ourselves, by cherishing unlovely dispositions, by being unholy. As church members, wecan easily drive the Holy Spirit away from us, but, instead of grieving Him, let us honor Him and let us entreat Him to workwith us.
Brothers and Sisters, pray for us. I believe I am the constant subject of the prayers of the different members of this Church-towhom I feel the deepest gratitude. But I also beg you to pray for all the ministers of Christ and for one another, and forall work that is being done for Christ. Remember the Sunday school teachers. Think of those good men who, all week, are doingthe hard work of City Missionaries-and those good women who are working as Bible women-pray for all such laborers and forall who are doing anything for Christ-ask that the Holy Spirit may be with them to make their labors a means of blessing tothe people. Whenever you seek to do anything for Christ-as you begin and as you go on, and when you conclude-let it all bedone in real dependence upon the Holy Spirit! Blessed be God, the Holy Spirit is not far away from us, nor is He hard to find,for He dwells within the true Church of Christ. We are not to think of Him as if He were some mysterious Being, very far distantfrom us and not easily to be brought to us, to whom we need to cry as Baal's priests cried to their idol god, "O Baal, hearus!" The Holy Spirit is always at work in the Church and it is a wonder that He does so much while the Church often does solittle. Oh, if we were but all awake, all alive, all full of zeal, all full of love, all full of self-sacrifice, then, dependingupon Him, we might expect to see the King's sharp arrows flying from His bow to the right and to the left, behind and in thefront, while tens of thousands would fall
down before Him! And London, and Great Britain, and the world at large would behold the King riding in triumph in His gloriouschariot of salvation!
The Lord send it! The Lord send it! I know your hearts say, "Amen!" But you must work for it and watch for it and pray forit-and then it will come! And unto Christ shall be the Glory forever. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM45.
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, (or, upon the lilies,) for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of Loves. We may lookupon the 45th Psalm as being a sort of compendium of the Song of Solomon. It is written, too, upon the same subject. And thatis not the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh's daughter-only the strangest and most whimsical fancy could ever have found Pharaoh'sdaughter either in this Psalm or in the Book of the Canticles! It is a description of Christ and His Church! A song of lovebetween that pair forever affianced and soon to sit down together at the marriage supper in Glory!
Verse 1. My heart is inditing a good matter Or, as the margin has it, "My heart boils or bubbles up with good matter." Itis said of Origen, one of the ancient fathers of the Church, that whenever he preached, he preached with great earnestnessand fervor-but that when he spoke of Christ, he seemed to be all on fire. So, whenever our hearts speak of the good matterwhich concerns Christ, our souls should be all on fire-we should be boiling over with love to Him!
1. I speak of the things which I have made touching the king. A man can never speak so well of the things which he has learned,or heard, as of the things which he has made, that is, the things which he has experienced. Indeed, this is your life-workand mine, Beloved, to tell others the things which we have made our own touching the King!
1. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer A ready writer writes what he has thought of beforehand, what he has well meditatedupon and digested. So the Psalmist declares that this rapturous song is as certainly true as the verba scripta of a thoughtfulaccomplished penman.
2. You are fairer than the children of men. The Hebrew word here is doubled, as much as to say, "You are doubly fair. Youare fair, fair. Twice fairer than the children of men." Both in outward appearance-although His visage was so sadly marredwhile He was here-and in personal Character, our Lord Jesus Christ is "fairer than the children of men."
2. Grace is poured into Your lips. Grace has, in the most copious manner, been poured upon Christ and now there pours fromHis lips a very cataract of Grace-floods of love, tenderness and holy eloquence stream from His lips.
2, 3. Therefore God has blessed You forever Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O most mighty, with Your glory and Your majesty.Put Your sword where it will be ready for use. Come forth and let us see You appear in Your strength, O most Mighty! For thisis one of the names of Christ-"I have laid help upon One That Is Mighty-I have exalted One Chosen Out of the people."
4, 5. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Your right hand shall teachYou terrible things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under You. You maysee, on some of the ancient slabs, representations of Oriental monarchs riding in their chariots, perhaps engaged in hunting,or pursuing their enemies, with their bow and arrow in their hands, and their sword upon their thigh. So is our Savior thusgraphically described. His Word is His sword, and the testimony of His ministers He makes to be like sharp arrows stickingin the hearts of His enemies. May it be so this day and every day. May Christ thus ride prosperously!
6. Your Throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of Your Kingdom is a right scepter This could not have been said ofSolomon, for He was never called God. It refers to none other than Christ the King, whose Throne is forever and ever!
7-9. You love righteousness, and hate wickedness: therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness aboveYour fellows. All Your garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Youglad. Kings' daughters were among Your honorable women. Your maids of honor, for all those who truly wait on Christ becomeat once the King's daughters. It is more noble to serve God than to sit as king upon a
throne. The day shall come when all the honor of earthly kings' daughters will have passed away, but the glory of those whoare in Christ's court as honorable women shall abide forever.
9. At Your right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.In the best and purest gold. Every member of the Church of Christmay well say, with Dr. Watts-
"Strangely, my Soul, are You arrayed By the great Sacred Three!"
10, 11. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget also your own people, and your father's house; soshall the King greatly desire your beauty: for He is your Lord; and worship you Him. Though the Church has been brought upin the world, she is to be separated from it. The more distinction there can be between Christians and worldlings, the betterwill it be for both. Christ greatly admires the beauty of His Church when she is separated from the world, and it is nothingbut an adulterous alliance when the church becomes united to the State. We never can expect any great and permanent blessingto any church which thus degrades and dishonors itself. If a church cannot stand without the support of the civil power, letit fall! But happy is that Church which relies alone upon the King, Himself, and is content with the dowry which He givesher.
12. And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat your favor. The dayis coming when the Church of Christ shall be honored by all men. The merchant princes, who now esteem her as a thing of naught,shall come with their tribute to her-and those who once despised her shall entreat her favor.
13, 14. The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of worked gold. She shall be brought unto the King inraiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto You. Happy was John the Baptist tobe "the friend of the Bridegroom" to Christ, and happy are the hearts of those who are the bridesmaids to His Church-"thevirgins her companions that follow her"-you, whose pure hearts are set upon the Lord alone, and who follow wherever He leads.You, too, "shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework" with His Church.
15, 16. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King's palace. Instead of Your fathersshall be Your children, whom You may make princes in all the earth. There is such a thing as an Apostolic succession, thoughnot the fiction which usually goes by that name. The Lord is constantly raising up fresh disciples, fresh preachers and freshteachers whom He makes to be princes in His earthly courts, and who shall be princes in His heavenly courts forever and ever.
17. I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise You forever and ever-
"Jesus shall reign wherever the sun Does its successive journeys run. His Kingdom stretches from shore to shore Till moonsshall wax and wane no more."