Sermon 3314. God in Nature and in Revelation
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 1912.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 11, 1866.
"The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutesof the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORDis clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." Psalm 19:7-9.
[Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon upon the first clause of verse 7 is #2870, Volume 50-REVELATION AND CONVERSION.]
WHAT I have to say this evening will really be an exposition of the whole Psalm. I have only selected these three verses forthe convenience of having a short text. The Psalm begins upon a high note-"The heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmamentshows His handiwork." Only let the film of unbelief be taken from our eyes and we shall see that everything in the great templeof Nature proclaims the greatness and the Glory of God. Only let the naturally deaf ear be unstopped and there will be heardvoices-mysterious yet clearly intelligible-revealing that God is still here working in Providence, as of old He worked inCreation. It seems to me that those persons who think that Christians are not to be delighted with the wonders and beautiesof the natural world, differ very widely from the Psalmist whose words we are considering. One truly excellent man, whom weall very highly esteem, declared that when travelling up the Rhine, he did not look at the landscape because he desired tohave his thoughts completely taken up with spiritual things. I cannot condemn the good man, yet I think that as I am dwellingin my Father's House, I ought to take delight in my Father's works-and I must be a strange sort of child if I think it isa token of my affection for my Father not to care to look at the garden which He has laid out or the House which He has built!While earnestly exhorting you to be spiritually-minded, I would remind you that it is just as easy to be spiritually-mindedwith your eyes open as with your eyes shut to all the beauties of Nature by which you are surrounded!
There are two things in the Psalm about which I am going to speak. The first is a parallel intended. And the second, praiseexpressed.
I. First, there is A PARALLEL INTENDED.
This parallel was suggested to my mind while reading Bishop Horne's Commentary upon this Psalm. He confesses his acknowledgmentto some older author for the idea. The parallel is this-David first extols the Revelation of God in Nature, and then extolsthe Revelation of God in His Word. And he seems to imply that there is a likeness between the two Revelations-that they are,in fact, two books of the same Revelation or two parts of one great poem!
In reading David's remarks concerning the heavens, we may truthfully apply them to the Scriptures. Like the heavens, the Scripturesdeclare the Glory of God, and like the firmament, they show His handiwork Only that while the firmament shows God's handiworkin Creation, the Word of God shows that same handiwork in Redemption, in that newcreation by Him who says, "Behold, I makeall things new." Consider first the vast expanse of the heavens. Who can measure the great curtain which God has stretchedout as a tent to dwell in? Who knows the height thereof or the breadth thereof? Where are the compasses that can describethis wondrous circle? And the Scriptures are just as expansive as are the heavens-no man has yet compassed all the Truth ofDivine Revelation. As we look up to the great doctrines that tower above us like the high mountains, we may well say, "Theyare high, we cannot attain unto them." The length and breadth and depth and height of Scripture all surpass the comprehensionof mortal men! And though we do unfeig-
nedly believe and devoutly rejoice in them, it is not within the range of our powers to fully comprehend them. There are somepersons who talk as if they know the whole circle of Divine Truth. They think they have put the great ocean of Revelationinto the small measure of their mortal capacity, but you know, dear Friends, that it is not so. No man will ever be able tohold the heavens in his hand or to compass the firmament with a span. But even if he could do this, he would still find thatthe Word of God in all its wondrous immensity was too vast for him to grasp! We must hold firmly whatever we have learnedof the Truth of God, but we must always be prepared to learn more. To say of my Bible that I have attained to every heightthat it reveals, is as foolish as to say that I have reached the highest degree of spiritual life that is possible. Paul said,"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for whichalso I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." And when I have strived my utmost to know the Word of God, I still feel that I haveneed to pray, "Teach me Your statutes, O Lord, and enlarge my understanding that I may know more and more of Your Truth!"For expanse, for loftiness, for brightness, for glory, the Scriptures are comparable to the heavens which declare the Gloryof God-and to the firmament which shows His handiwork.
Then the Psalmist goes on to say, "Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge," and so, the Revelationof God in the Scriptures is always speaking to men. Let them turn to it whenever they may-it has a message for them at allseasons. When we are happy and rejoicing, it has a voice for our brightest day! And when we are mourning and sorrowing, itis the comfort of our darkest night. During this long night of the Church's history-the long night of her Lord's absence-Histrue ministers are enabled to shine as stars in His right hand and many a sorrowful spirit is cheered, and many a marinerupon the sea of life is guided by their light. By-and-by, the blessed Sun of Righteousness shall again arise with healingin His wings-and then throughout the long and bright millennia day, and afterwards throughout that everlasting day to whichthere shall be no night-we shall continue to learn more and more of the wonders of that Revelation which He has given us inHis Word.
One great glory of the heavens is that they have a voice to all lands-"There is no speech nor language where their voice isnot heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." In a language understoodby all the sons of men-not in the language of only the Jew or of the Gentile, not in the language of the barbarian or theGreek, alone, but in the language of all alike-ancient and modern, bond and free-the voice of the heavens has gone forth thewide world over declaring the Glory of God! So is it with the Gospel! No matter where you introduce it, its message is adaptedto all the sons of men. Paul proved the power of the Gospel among the idolaters of Ly-caonia and among the sages of Greece.It has a voice for men of all temperaments. It speaks with equal authority to the sturdy Anglo-Saxon and to the more volatileFrenchman. It has a peculiar facility for adapting itself to all nationalities-it is neither the Gospel of the Englishman,alone, nor of the American, nor of the African, but it speaks to-
"All people that on earth do dwell!" Wherever the Bible goes, it appears not as an exotic, but as a homegrown flower! Andwhenever the Gospel is preached, it comes, not as a Revelation from the East, or the West, or the North, or the South, butas God's message to all mankind in the whole world!
The glory of the Scriptures is like the glory of the heavens-"in them has He set a tabernacle for the sun"-and in the Wordof God there is a tabernacle for the Sun of Righteousness. It is within the Truths of Divine Revelation that Jesus Christabides as the sun does in its proper sphere. What would the heavens be without the sun? And what would the Scriptures be withoutthe Sun of Righteousness? I may truly say of the Bible-
"Here I behold my Savior's face Almost on every page."
The glory of the Gospel is that in it, God is revealed as manifest in human flesh-all the Divine attributes are displayedin the Person of Emmanuel, God With Us. Take Jesus Christ away from the Gospel and its power is gone-and take Jesus Christaway from the Christian ministry and it becomes utterly powerless. I am grieved to have to say it, but I believe that it isbecause there has been so little preaching of Christ in many of our pulpits that the hearers have been driven off to Romanismand to all sorts of errors. The human heart needs some supreme object of affection-and it can never be satisfied with philosophicalessays, or discussions about morality, or similar themes which have wasted hundreds of Sundays and made the services of thesanctuary a weariness to God's people. Oh, that there were more preaching of Jesus
Christ and Him Crucified! If He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him-and He must be lifted up, or else the preachingis a mere sham, a joy to devils, but to no one else!
David next very expressively says of the sun, "which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber," and is not this a truepicture of Christ as He is revealed in the Scriptures? He compared Himself to a bridegroom during His earthly ministry andthis is His relationship to His Church, which is "the bride, the Lamb's wife." He is here said to be "coming out of His chamber,"as He came out of the council chamber of the Divine decree, saying, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written ofMe. I delight to do Your will, O My God: yes, Your Law is within My heart"-coming out of the chamber of the Divine and invisible,and dressing Himself in the humble robes of our humanity! Coming to a life of sorrow and suffering, yet coming to it withjoyous steps because He delighted to do the will of God and was charmed to redeem His spouse from death and Hell! Then later,coming out of the chamber in which He had concealed the glories of His Deity during the 33 years of His sojourn among men.And now, coming out of His chamber continually as His Gospel is faithfully proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit! Verily,this is a true picture of Christ as He is revealed in the Scriptures, "as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber."
It is also a picture of Him as a Champion-"and rejoices as a strong man to rule a race"-"as a strong man"-not as a weakling,panting and struggling to stay on the track, but as a strong man rejoicing because he knows that he shall victoriously reachthe goal! Coming forth in the Gospel, Sunday by Sunday, and week by week, our Lord Jesus Christ does not come forth to bedefeated! He does not come forth, as some of my Brothers seen to imagine, needing their proofs of His existence and Deity!Or their apologies for His Gospel, but He comes forth to achieve His everlasting purposes, that He may be able to say to HisFather at the last even as He said when here upon the earth, "I have finished the work which You gave Me to do." "The pleasureof the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." Like a strong manrejoicing to run a race, He is confident that He shall reach the goal and win the prize. It is a long race, a toilsome race,a race in which there are many competitors-but as Jesus looks at them, He knows that He will beat them all-and that the crownof victory shall surely be His!
I hope some poor troubled soul will be comforted by the next verse of the Psalm-"His goings forth is from the end of the Heaven,and His circuit unto the end of it." The light of the sun reaches even the ice-caves of the frozen North and it pours downit shining rays most lavishly upon-
"India's coral strand"-
"Where Africa's sunny fountains Roll down their golden sand."
So is it in the going forth of Christ in His Gospel-"His going forth is from the end of Heaven, and His circuit unto the endsof it." The light of His Gospel shines upon all ranks, all classes and all characters-the rich and the poor, the learned andthe illiterate! And the time shall come when it will shine over the whole world, for-
"Jesus shall reign wherever the sun
Does his successive journeys run-
His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall grow and wane no more." Then the Psalmist adds, "and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." The heatof the sun finds out the little flower in the darkest glade of the forest and no doubt it exerts a mysterious influence evenin the depths of the sea and at the bottom of the deepest mines! "There is nothing hid from the heat thereof," even thoughmuch is hid from the light thereof. So is it with the Gospel and with the love of Christ. Where some of you are tonight, youmay imagine that you are hidden from the heat of the Savior's love, but is it so? You hear the Gospel, do you not? That issomething, but you say that you want to find the Christ who has His tabernacle in the Gospel. But that very desire of yoursproves that you are not hidden from the heat of the Savior's love, for that desire is one of the gifts of His Grace! If youhave any broken-ness of heart, any consciousness of guilt, any inclination towards repentance, this is the work of Christ!Trust His Ever-Blessed Spirit! The flower does not know that it could not bloom without the sun, but it is true. Perhaps itthinks that the sun has too much to do in watching over the wide expanse of sea and land, and in seeing its beams reflectedfrom the glittering palace roof to notice one poor little poppy in a glen or one primrose hidden away in a mossy bank! Butit is not
so. The sun sheds its beams upon all and is none the poorer for doing so! And so is it with the love of Christ. If you feeleven a longingafter Him, that is a proof that you are not hidden from the heat of His love! Breathe this prayer again andagain, "Jesus, You glorious Sun of Righteousness, shine on me and fill me with Your Divine Grace!" As the sunflower is saidto turn its face to the sun, so turn your face to Christ! I have noticed that flowers which grow in that part of the gardenwhich is much in the shade always try to twist themselves into the sunlight if they can-and you have probably noticed thatwhen you have flowers at your windows at home, they always try to grow towards the glass. Do seek, especially if you are aBeliever, to grow towards the light, and most of all to grow towards Christ who is the Light, the Light of the World, theSun of Righteousness! Try to catch as many of His heavenly beams as you can. Remember that the sun is none the less gloriousbecause he gives so many of his beams to the flowers-and Jesus Christ will be no loser by the gift of His Grace to you! TheSun of Righteousness will be just as bright and just as glorious as before! No, He will be all the more glorious as His Gloryis displayed in you!
I want you, then, to look upon the Word of God with great reverence and affection because therein is set a tabernacle forJesus Christ. If you would learn all that you can concerning Jesus Christ, you must diligently study the Word which revealsHim to us.
II. Having spoken upon the parallel intended, I now turn to our second subject which is PRAISE EXPRESSED. I remind you againthat I am giving an exposition rather than preaching a sermon-and I very much question whether it would not be better if wemore often expounded Scripture rather than gave utterance to so many of our own words and thoughts.
In speaking in this Psalm concerning the Word of God, David uses six different expression to describe it. And to each onehe attaches a special tribute to commend it to us. As a rule, the ungodly know the Bible only by one name or, perhaps, two.They call it the Bible or the Scriptures-and that is about all that most of those know concerning it. But a man who is wellacquainted with its contents has many names for it. The most notable instance of this is the 119th Psalm, which contains 176verses, almost everyone of which has a mention of the Word of the Lord. It would be a profitable exercise to read that longPsalm through carefully-and to note all the variations of expression that the Psalmist uses concerning the Scriptures as faras they were known to him. But for our present purpose it will suffice if we confine our thoughts to the six descriptionsand tributes that we find in this 19th Psalm.
First, David says, "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." In the margin, we have the word, "Doctrine," asanother rendering of the word, Law, and we know that the term, "the Law of the Lord" is not restricted to the Decalogue, sowe shall not do wrong if we apply this expression to the Gospel which is God's special means of converting souls-and to thewhole Revelation of God's plan and method of salvation which we find in the Scriptures. If I want to know how I am to be saved,I come to this blessed Book and I read here, "the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," which Paul said had made himfree from the Law of sin and death. I read here Christ's own words, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." I readhere the matchless story of Him on who I am to believe. I read about His Person, His Character, His Doctrine, His mission-andthis "Law of the Lord" begins to operate upon my heart as I read it! It not only changes my outward actions, but it renewsmy mind, it alters the whole bent and purpose of my life-in David's phrase-it converts my soul! The springs of my being, whichonce were poisoned by sin, become purified by Grace. I know that you have found this to be true, Beloved, and that, therefore,you love this "Law of the Lord." McCheyne says that it is God's Word, and not our comments upon it, that saves souls. AndI have frequently noticed, in conversions, that it has not been so much the word of the preacher that has been blessed asthe Word of God, itself-though this, of course, is a rule to which there are exceptions, for our Lord Jesus, Himself, saidin His great intercessory prayer, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them, also, which shall believe on Me through theirword"-not only through Christ's own word, but through the truthful and faithful testimony off His servants-and still is theword of earnest, believing preachers and teachers blessed to their hearers and scholars! Yet the great converting agency isthe Word of God, for this "Law of the Lord is perfect"-there is nothing in it in excess and there is nothing omitted fromit. It is perfect in all its operations upon my nature, perfect to inspire my whole life and to kindle enthusiasm in my soul,perfect to enlighten my understanding and to subdue my will, perfect for everything which is needed for the conversion ofmy soul!
David next says, "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." I take this word, "testimony," to mean the Revelationof Himself which God has given us in His Word. He gives testimony to His own Fatherhood and to
His adoption into His family of all who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. He gives testimony to all His attributes as theyare revealed in the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. He gives testimony to His own everlasting love and to His faithfulnessto every promise which He has made to His elect. He gives testimony to many things which we could never have discovered fromNature and all His testimony makes the simple wise. Over the porch of one of the academies in Athens was written, "He thatis ignorant of arithmetic may not enter here." But over the porch of God's Word is inscribed, "He that is ignorant is welcomehere." "The testimony of the Lord" is full of Divine Wisdom, yet it is put into such plain language that even children canunderstand it-so the simple come to it that they may be made wise and, often that which is hidden from the wise and prudentis revealed unto babes-for so it seems good in God's sight!
I take the Word of God, then, as first of all teaching me how my soul may be converted. And then, being converted, I cometo this blessed Book with quite another objective-not to find out how I am to be saved, but that I may learn more concerningthe God who has saved me! And as I read His testimony with regard to Himself, it makes my simple soul wise.
When I have got as far as that, I need something more, and David next says, "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicingthe heart." By this word, "statutes," I understand the Lord's ordinances of decree, the King's royal edicts and mandates-andalso His promises which are a transcript of His decrees. David says that these "statutes of the Lord are right." Of coursethey are, because they are His statutes-and that they cause the heart to rejoice-a statement we can confirm from our own experience!I have often confessed that when my spirit gets depressed, nothing will sustain it but the good, old-fashioned, CalvinisticDoctrine. You may be content with the fare set before you by the modern school of preachers when you are not hungry. You mayenjoy it when there is fine weather. But when storms of tribulation are howling around you, when you are conscious of a greatneed of soul-satisfying food, then I believe that the old Augusti-nian Doctrine-which is the Doctrine of the Apostle Pauland of His Lord and Master, Jesus Christ-is the only fare upon which your heart can feast with rejoicing! How sweet it is,at such a time, to fall back upon the eternal purposes of God in Christ Jesus! To know one's calling and election sure, toknow that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose"-thisis, indeed, "a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined."King Lemuel's mother said, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that are of heavy hearts."And in a Spiritual sense, it is the strong drink and the nourishing wine of the Doctrines of Grace that can alone sustainthose who are spiritually ready to perish and heavy of heart!
There are some who would agree with David as far as we have gone, but they are not so eager to listen to his next sentence-"The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." Being converted, a man learns all he can of the testimony ofthe Lord, then his heart rejoices in the statutes of the Lord and he goes on to get further enlightenment from the commandmentof the Lord. Some persons never seem to have their eyes enlightened because they neglect to obey the Lord's precepts. Disobedienceis sure to bring its own punishment and there are some who cannot clearly read their own interest in Christ because theirneglect to keep His commandments has closed their eyes just as a cloud of dust might have done. There is a great reward forthose who obey His precepts and although we are saved by Grace, and not by our works, yet in the economy of Grace there arecertain rewards which are only given to them who diligently keep the King's commandments! Happy are they who, like Caleb,follow the Lord fully. Surely they shall be among the virgin souls that, in the heavenly Mount Zion, "follow the Lamb whereverHe goes."
David next mentions a very practical matter-"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever." Some kinds of fear are anythingbut clean! "The fear of man" has been a foul snare in which many have been captured for the devil. Compromise is very popular,today, but the Bible is a most uncompromising Book-and "the fear of the Lord" is a most uncompromising principle! Once letthis gracious fear thoroughly permeate our soul and we shall never lose it, for David truly says that it endures forever.If ever a man is really dead, buried and risen with Christ, there is no fear of his ever undergoing such a backward processas being dead with Christ and then alive again to the world! There are some principles which are only powerful for a time,but the principle of Grace, which produces the fear of the Lord, exerts a permanent influence upon everyone in whom the HolySpirit works it-and there is no possibility of the love of the world or the fear of man casting it out! May that graciousSpirit work this holy fear in each one of us!
Then, lastly, David says, " The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." Whenever I think of the judgmentsof the Lord in the olden times, I always regard them as righteous judgments. Just were You, O Lord, when You did pour downthe fiery hail upon Sodom and Gomorrah! When You did smite Pharaoh and overthrow his hosts in the Red Sea, and when Your angelslew the army of Sennacherib! Just have You been, O God, in overturning ancient mo-narchs which had become hoary in iniquity!And these are "the judgments of the Lord" which are yet to be executed, concerning which we have the repeated declarationsof Revelation that they will all be "true and righteous." These are the very words that are used concerning the Lord's judgmentsupon that great harlot which has corrupted the earth with her fornications! With this blessed Book in our hands-and especiallyif its Truths are enshrined in our hearts-we may confidently face the future and not be alarmed by any of the errors and heresiesthat may spring up around us! The teachers of falsehood are only imitating the folly of the builders of Babel-and all theirinventions will but end in their own confusion.
The sun has gone down and in an hour or two the world will appear in a more somber dress than it now wears. If you come outat midnight, you will see nothing but the twinkling stars and a few glimmering lamps. Yet the sun is not put out-his lightis not quenched. Wait till the appointed time and the great light of day shall again be "as a bridegroom coming out of hischamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race." Darkness may be covering your mind tonight. Darkness may cover yourcircumstances. Darkness may, for a while, cover even the Church of God on earth-but that old promise is still true-"Unto youthat fear My name shall the Sun of Righteous arise with healing in His wings." Only be sure that you are on the Lord's side!Put your trust in the precious blood of Jesus and wait for Him more than they that watch for the morning. And then, when Hecomes, it will be to you a day of light and not of darkness, and the days of your mourning will have ended forever! So maythe Lord comfort your hearts, sustain you under every trial, keep you in His love and enable you patiently to wait for Hiscoming, for His dear name's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 119:9-32.
Verse 9. How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Your Word. "How shall a young man cleansehis way?" A vital and solemn question. His way is full of temptations and he, himself, has strong passions. How shall he makehis way clean and keep it so? "By taking heed thereto according to Your Word." Without heed he will soon be in the mire, butcarefully walking with God's Word as his rule, by the blessing of God's Grace it will keep him out of sin.
10. With my whole heart have I sought You: O let me not wander from Your commandments. There might be thought in this confessionto be some commendation of himself and, therefore, he salts it with this prayer-"I have sought You, Lord, sincerely, but still,notwithstanding that, I am very apt to stray away. And I shall sadly wander unless You keep me. O let me not wander from Yourcommandments."
11. Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You. The best thing put into the best place for the bestof all purposes! There is no antidote against sin like the possession of the Word of God in the soul.
12. Blessed are You, O LORD: teach me Your statutes. You are blessed, make me blessed. You are the happy God, instruct mein the way of happiness.
13. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I am a learner, but I have tried to be a teacher, too. Ihave not kept the Word of God to myself as though it were only a personal treasure for me, but what I have heard in the secretchamber of fellowship, that have I spoken on the housetops. Have you published abroad what you know? Then you are the personto learn more. When men drop their money into a money box, they have to break it to get it out again, and if they have notneed of it they will not do so. God does not care to drop His treasure into a heart that never uses it and imparts it. Letyour lips speak what your heart learns!
14. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. If all sorts of riches were put together, Ihave found them all, and more than them all in Your testimonies! I am rich in all respects when I have You.
15. I will meditate on Your precepts, and have respect unto Your way. Meditation treads the wine press and gets the juiceout of the grapes. A man may read too much if he reads without meditation. "I will meditate." It is the harvesting by reapingof what we have sown by reading.
16. I will delight myself in Your statutes: I will not forget Your Word. I will take a deep pleasure in them and I will findan intense joy in every pondering of them. "I will not forget Your Word." I will never let it go out of the precincts of mymemory. I will recall again and again. I will always have a text of Your precious Book ready to my tongue.
17. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live, and keep Your Word. Give me much of Your comfort, royally of Yourself!Deal bountifully with me. I have great necessities. I am a mass of needs, therefore, "Deal bountifully with me that I maylive." And I have great tendencies to wander. Great risks and perils. Give me abundance of Grace that I may keep Your Word.
18. Open You my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law. The wonders are there-cause me to behold them! Aman may have a fair landscape before him, rich in all beauties of form and color, but if his eyes are closed, is he betterfor it?
19. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not Your commandments from me. "I am a stranger in the earth." I do not now belongto it. I am born and bound for Heaven. I am a pilgrim here-men do not understand me, neither have I any settled business here."I am a stranger in the earth: hide not Your commandments from me." Oh, remember that I am Your alien, Your banished one!Send me love messages from the old home and loved country.
20. My soul breaks for the longing that it has unto Your judgments at all times. Broken souls are many. But not on this account!Oh, how few are in danger of breaking through such a longing as this! Would God there were many more that did sigh and cryafter the Word of God-for longings such as these are sure to lead to an earnest search-and the earnest search will increaseknowledge and increase Grace.
21. You have rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from Your commandments. A proud man is surely a sinful man. Hemay think himself a righteous man, but he cannot be so. He has gone far astray from the very essence of God's Law, which isthat he should walk humbly with his God.
22. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept Your testimonies. A man that does that is pretty sure to be reproachedand to be condemned by man, for they think that one who follows God faithfully "is very old-fashioned, he has not much spirit,he has not drunk in the philosophy of the age, he is a fossilized Christian," and so on. Well, we can bear all such reproach-stillwe are truly glad when we escape it.
23. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but Your servant did meditate on Your statutes. And a great man's word goesa long way with some people. They think a prince a great authority. "But Your servant did meditate on Your statutes." He didnot burst out in angry reply. He did not give fierce railing for railing, but he sat himself down as quietly as he could-themore abundantly to meditate on God's statutes. What calmness there is here and what wisdom! For if princes should speak againstus, and the great ones of the earth should rail, what does it matter? If they drive us away from our faith, it would matter-butif they drive us to our Bibles, it is a benefit!
24. 25. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. My soul cleaves unto the dust: quicken You me according toYour Word. Here He prays for quickening. He felt the spiritual death that was so natural to him, the heaviness of his heart,the tendency to sink, the attractions of the world.
26. I have declared my ways, and You heard me: teach me Your statutes. Open confession is good for the soul and I have madethis confession. You have heard me. Now "teach me Your statutes."
27. Make me to understand the way of Your precepts, so shall I talk of Your wondrous works. Lord ground me and found me inYour knowledge. Give me to know fully, firmly, what I do know. I would not be as a man that eats, but thinks not from wherethe bread came, but I would wish to understand the way of Your precepts. "So shall I talk of Your wondrous works."
28. My soul melts for heaviness. Strengthen You me according unto Your Word. Will not this prayer suit some that are in thishouse this evening who are very dull and depressed? Oh, if your soul sinks, still pray and say, "Strengthen You me." You needstrength, dear Friends. If you had more strength, your troubles would not crush you. Your soul would not melt if you had morestrength and confidence.
29. 30. Remove from me the way oflying: and graciously grant me Your Law. Ihave chosen the way of truth: Your judgments haveI laid before me. As a captain lays out his chart so as to keep his course correctly and safely, so I try to sail by it. Ihave chosen Your Law and precepts and commands as my course, and I would gladly keep to them.
31. I have stuck unto Your testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. I am glued to them-there is no separating me, no tearingme apart from them! "O Lord, put me not to shame."
32. I will run the way of Your commandments when You shall enlarge my heart. I will go quicker and faster, I will have moreenergy, more flaming zeal in Your service-"When You shall enlarge my heart." O Lord, it is very narrow and very contracted.I cannot think great thoughts, nor do great things, nor believe great promises unless You shall enlarge my heart! Lord, giveme a larger heart, stronger to obey, more tender to love for Your name's sake!