Sermon 3399. Good Talk
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1914.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Talk you of all His wondrous works." 1 Chronicles 16:9.
This sentence stands in connection with exhortations to offer thanksgiving unto the Lord and to make known His deeds amongthe people. Thus it runs, "Sing unto Him; sing Psalms unto Him; talk you of all His wondrous works."
The old typical religion of the Jews and the perverse superstition of the heathen made some places sacred and some placesunclean-some actions holy and other actions, performed however well they might be-common and not to be connected in any degreewith holiness. But the religion of Jesus Christ has once and for all swept away all holy places- wherever man is holy, everyplace is hallowed! Jesus Christ has consecrated the world by His Presence and wherever man chooses to worship, there is ahouse for God. The religion of Jesus Christ has also swept away those distinctions which men make as to actions being necessarilyreligious or irreligious. Some will have it that to sing a Psalm is to worship God-a sacred thing-but to feed the sparrowsis, according to them, a secular matter. To come up to a place that shall be set apart for worship and there to bow the kneein prayer is adoration of the Most High-but, according to them, to perform acts of mercy and righteousness is not a tributeof homage to God! Now, the very essence of the Christian religion is just this-that it is not a thing confined to hours, timesand places, but it is a thing of spirit It lies not in outward garbs or in mere words, but pervades the whole spirit of manand makes him turn his entire life into worship! Then every action he performs in its spirit and under its influence is holinessunto the Lord! God is worshipped by servants who fulfill the duties of their station. By judges who decree righteousness.By merchants who deal justly. By children who obey their parents, and by parents who train up their children in the fear ofthe Lord. There is not a line to be drawn anywhere, so that you can say, "Outside of that you go beyond the sanctuary of religionand get into the outer courts frequented by the multitude." Here has been the great mistake which some Christians have madewith regard to politics. They have supposed that a man could not be a Christian and a politician, too. Hence much injusticehas been done. The fact is, when a man feels, "There is nothing that belongs to man but what may be consecrated to God," andwhen he says, "I, being God's servant, may take all that belongs to man and devote it as holiness unto the Lord," he reachesthe highest order of manhood and illustrates the highest style of Christianity. We cannot fully exhibit the spirit of JesusChrist till we have learned that we must carry out in every place-and in every sphere-the spirit of His religion.
I make these remarks because while we are first bid to sing unto God's praise, we are next told to talk about His wondrousworks. There is a praising for the assembly. There is a talking for the fireside-and both are to be holy! The praise is tobe hearty, sincere, unanimous, full of animation-the talk is to be equally sincere, equally earnest, equally sacred. You arenot to say, "I have done with praising God," when the hymn is over and you begin to open your mouths upon ordinary topics!But in your ordinary conversation, in the fields, by the wayside, in the streets and in your chambers, you are still to goon praising God and talking of all His wondrous works.
Shall there be a connection established between such a common word as, "talk," and such grand swelling words as "the wondrousworks of God"? We wonder to find the little monosyllable in such a place! "Preach you of all His wondrous works," would seemwell enough. "Show them," would seem sound theology, but talk you, talk you-in your ordinary, common, everyday conversation-makethe wondrous works of God to be your conversation, your familiar talk! We must talk. We seem born to talk! We were, wretched,indeed, if we were forbidden to speak to our fellow creatures! Why, the world seems to be enlivened by continuous, not tosay, incessant, talking-from the first blush of morning, on through all the bustling day and far into the shades of drowsynight-how our tongues are occupied! They run morequickly than our feet and carry less, though much mischief, sometimes, comesfrom their babble. They are sharper than razors, some of them, and cut deeper than swords, and kindle fire enough to set theworld in a blaze! Now, this talking to which women are proverbially disposed and in which men indulge as freely as inclinationprompts them-to be heard in every street, in every house and in every workshop-this it is which is to be consecrated untoGod! The streams of conversation are everywhere to be drawn off from the gutters and channels in which they gather defilement-tobe strained, cleansed and purified till they become fresh, clear and sparkling! Then the speech of humans-man with man, saintwith saint, redeemed from the beggarly elements of common slander, envy, foolishness and vanity shall be lifted up as on eagles'wings till it is like the fellowship of the angels realizing the prediction of the Psalmist to the praise of the Lord- "Theyshall speak of the glory of Your Kingdom and talk of Your power." Now, first-
I. THE SUBJECT HERE SUGGESTED FOR OUR COMMONPLACE TALK-HIS WONDROUS WORKS- invites notice!
Brothers and Sisters, we ought to talk more about God's wondrous works as we find them in Holy Scripture. Do you read them?Alas, in how many a case the Bible is the least read book in the house! I am inclined to think that although there may bemore Bibles in England than any other book, there is less of Bible reading than anything else in literature! The sacred volumeseems to be scarcely known to many, except from Chapters read in the public services, and the quotations of the minister,while alas, alas, for us, our conversation has very little in it of the records of the mighty acts of the Lord! But the oldsaints were known to speak to one another about the historical parts of Scripture. They dwelt full often, and never seemedhappier than when they were dwelling upon it-on that story of the Red Sea, when the Lord smote Rahab and broke the head ofthe dragon. How they would stand together and speak of the Books of the wars of the Lord, of what He did by the brook Arnon,and how He led His servants through Jordan and brought them into the Promised Land, cast out the Canaanites and slew theirkings! They talked of these things, not merely as historical events, but as seeing the Lord in them all! And they so spokeand so read of them as to see in them subjects worthy of their study. I do not know how it is, but we do not get at the historyof our own country in anything like the way in which one might desire, for really, the wondrous works of God which He hasdone here in this land are such as we ought to speak of at our firesides! We should look upon the events of history and thechronicles of each day in this light. And if, as we scanned the ample pages of history, rich with the spoils of time, we sawGod's hand fashioning its contingencies and molding them into destiny-and the impress of His footsteps upon all its stupendousrevolutions-we should not lack for topics of conversation, but our memories would be stored, our interest excited, our mindselevated with noble passions and our social conversation ennobled by the inexhaustible resources of wisdom as we talked ofall the wondrous works of the
But, Brothers and Sisters, our own history will enable us to relate such a multitude of tender mercies as may well becomeincentives to gratitude and praise. How much might we tell of what the Lord has done for us personally! Here is a subjectthat shall never be exhausted. Talk to one another-especially to those who can understand you because they have felt the same-ofthe long-suffering of God when you were in your ungodly estate-the wonders of that love which tracked you with its many warningswhile you were still strangers to yourselves and to God. Talk of that Almighty Power which, when the predestinated hour hadcome, laid hold upon you and made you yield! Speak of what the Lord did for you when you were in the low dungeon of your ownself-abhorrence-how He met with you when you were brought to death's door-how Jesus appeared for you and clothed you withHis Righteousness-and your spirit revived and your heart was glad. Shall the slave ever forget the music of his chains whenthey dropped from his wrists? And will you ever cease to speak of that happy day, the happiest of all days, when all the chainsof your transgression were forever broken off at the love touch of your Redeemer? Oh, no! Talk still of the wondrous worksof God as connected with your conversion. And since that time, however quiet your life may have been, I am sure there hasbeen much in it that has tenderly illustrated the Lord's Providence, the Lord's guidance, the Lord's deliverance, the Lord'supholding and sustaining you! You have been, perhaps, in poverty-and just when the barrel of meal was empty-then you weresupplied. Talk of His wondrous works! You have been in great temptation and when you were reeling under it, or when you wereslandered and no name was thought bad enough for you, His sweet love has appeared to you and helped you to rejoice in this,also, for Christ's name sake. Talk of this! You have gone, perhaps, Christian, through fire and through water-yours has beena very checkered life. You have fought with lions, or have stood in the Valley of the Shadow of Death-but in it all
God's aid has been very wonderful! There have been miracles, heaped upon miracles along your pathway! Perhaps you are likethe Welsh woman who said that the Ebenezers which she had set up at the places where God had helped her were so thick thatthey made a wall from the very spot she began with Christ to that she had then reached! Is it so with you? Then talk-talkyou of all His wondrous works! I am sure you would find such talk most interesting, most impressive, and most instructive,for the things we have seen and experienced, ourselves, generally wear a novelty and abound in interest beyond any narrativewe get from books, or any unauthenticated story we pick up secondhand. Tell them how God has led you, fed you and broughtyou to this day-and would not let you go!
There is a topic for you-and you never shall know how large it is.
II. THE EXCELLENCY OF THIS SUBJECT IS BOTH NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE.
Were we to talk more of God's wondrous works, there would be this negative good, that we should talk less about our own works.A man never lowers himself more than when he tries to lift himself up. There are some whose propensity is to use vain swellingwords about their own doings-and they seem to be never better pleased than when they are bragging and saying, "I did this.I did that. I did the other." "Talk you of all His wondrous works." As for your puny actions, if you judge and estimate themproperly, you will find more to mourn over than to boast of! Give to the Lord the glory that is due unto His name and yourdiscretion shall not be periled.
If we talked more of God's wondrous works, we would be free from talking of other people's works. It is easy to criticizethose we cannot rival, and carp at those we cannot emulate. He who could not carve a statue, or make a single stroke of thechisel correctly, is quick to point out where the handicraft of the greatest sculptor might have been improved. It is a poor,pitiful occupation, that of picking holes in other people's coats-and yet some people seem so pleased when they can perceivea fault that they roll it under their tongue as a sweet morsel! Why should this be? Why should you find fault with God's servantsin this way? They are not your servants, but His servants-He will call them to account. He does not ask you to be thus officious.Talk you of His wondrous works and you will not speak so unkindly of His servants!
Did we talk more of God's wondrous works, it would keep us from the ordinary frivolities of conversation. In the olden timesthey that feared the Lord spoke often, one to another, and the Lord listened and heard-and a book of remembrance was writtenbefore Him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name. Suppose for a moment that our ordinary conversationwere taken down by an eavesdropper, as in the case mentioned by Malachi? I do not know what your conversation was about attea-time this evening, but supposing that somebody had been listening and hearing-and that you knew for certain that it wasgoing to be put into a book and printed-would you feel quite easy? Suppose we could have put down in a book the talk of allour people during the day-and could have it all read out? I am afraid we would find that our talk is not always such as edifiesand not always seasoned with salt! In fact, some Christian people never thoroughly talk good Gospel talk unless somebody ispresent in whose esteem it is likely to raise them, or until they get into such company as they suppose will relish it-andthen they feel compelled to accommodate themselves to the occasion. The habit of thoroughly good godly talk is not commonamong professors. I wish it were. I wish that not only sometimes our talk were what God would have it to be, but that it werealwaysso, that our common conversation were like salt ministering Divine Grace unto the hearers.
As there is a negative excellence about this subject of conversation, so there is also a positive excellence. Supposing wewere to talk more of God's wondrous works-when the habit was acquired, it would necessitate stricter habits of observationand of discrimination in watching the Providence of God. Memory, the treasure house of the mind, must have its goods assortedand its records indexed so that the things of which we hear and read might not only be well retained, but easily referredto. As Cowper says-
"But conversation, choose what theme we may,
And chiefly when religion leads the way,
Should flow like waters after summer showers,
Not as if raised by mere mechanic powers." Alas, the mercies of God flow by us like a river! We forget to count their multitudinouswaves. We receive the mercies fresh every day and take but slight account of them! Too often they are-
"Forgotten in unthankfulness,
And without mention, die."
The spirit of observing God in all things was prevalent among our Puritan ancestors. They saw God in every single drop ofrain and in every ray of sunlight. They were known to talk about the most common changes of the atmosphere as coming fromthe hand of God! They speak of incidents which we might account trivial as connected with the decrees of Him who orders allthings after the counsel of His own will. Oh, that we, too, amidst the various maze of life, could thus learn to track thecourse "of boundless wisdom and of boundless love"! Such conversation, Brothers and Sisters, would be very ennobling. Why,it would liken us to the ancient saints and the spirits before the Throne of God! What is their conversation there? How theytalk of God's wondrous works, God's works in Creation, God's works in Providence, God's works in Grace! They are too takenup with the splendor of the Divine Presence to suffer their pure conversation to degenerate into any meaner theme. Yes, andliving as we do in the Presence of God, professing to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and to have been lifted up fromthe world into communion with Jesus Christ, it ought to be our holy ambition to let our conversation be of things that arelike our standing-things that are worthy of our high calling and profession-things that have to do with our election and willhelp us onward to our eternal portion! We would not be so groveling, as we are, if we talked more of the wondrous things ofGod.
And Beloved, while holding this lofty fellowship of heart and tongue, how would our gratitude glow and what an impulse wouldbe given to our entire life!I do not know how you find it, but with me it is no easy matter to maintain spiritual life inthe fullness of its vigor. To go week after week, month after month, and year after year, plodding on in the pilgrimage ishard work! It needs no small degree of strength, resolve and skill. If it were one tremendous leap, we could soon performit. If it were but a spurt in the race, we might soon win the prize-but to go on, on, on-and still to keep up our zeal, stillto be awake, still to be earnest-here it is one feels the need of the mercies of God to be means of Grace to us, to refreshour gratitude and put fresh fuel upon the altar. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, we have not lived yet! We do not seem to recognizewhat the Christian life really means! When I instanced our conversation just now as being poor, and mean, and barren, I didbut cull one mildewed leaf out of the whole field, for I fear our whole life is much alike. Lord, revive us! What means isHe likely to use except He employs the rod of chastisement as the renewal of our memory of His great loving kindness, thatwe may be constrained to dedicate ourselves more fully unto Him? But times flies. Let me proceed, therefore-
III. TO URGE THIS TALKING, ORDINARILY AND COMMONLY, ABOUT GOD'S WONDROUS WORKS.
I have already said that it would prevent much evil and do us much good. May I not safely add that it would be the means ofdoing much good to others? If we spoke often of God's wondrous works, we might impress the sinner. We might enlighten theignorant. We might comfort the desponding. You say, "But how are we to do it?" I reply, "How is it you have notdone it before?"If we began early in our Christian course to make Jesus Christ our companion in the family and everywhere we went-and to takeHim always with us-we would never leave off! It would become the business of our life! I have noticed that many Christianpeople delay in this matter for years. They cultivate habits of retirement and reticence more upon this subject than uponany other! Perhaps it is a long time after they have believed that they come forward to obey the second great command of Baptism-andthe same shyness happens with regard to their talking about Christ in all companies. They do love Him-at least in the judgmentof charity, we trust they do. We acknowledge them, but having never began at the first to acknowledge Him openly, they cannotbreak the ice now. If they had then had the courage to say, "I have given Christ my tongue and mean to use it for Him. I amHis servant and I mean to serve Him wherever I go," they would still have continued the profession and the practice! Brothersand Sisters, is it shyness that restrains you? Take care it is shyness and not cowardice! Say to yourselves, each one of you-
"Am I a soldier of the Cross, A follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?"
What? In the presence of the noble army of martyrs who feared not to die, do you fear to speak? What? If they stood on theburning firewood for Christ, cannot you bear, if so it must be, a jeer or sarcasm? Must you be wickedly dumb when you mightdo so much for Christ in the circle where His Providence has cast you? Oh, be ashamed of having been ashamed! Ask the Masterthat whatever fear you have, you may be delivered from the fear of man which brings a snare! "Talk you of all His wondrousworks."
But some will object, "I have no gifts or ability." No, my Brother, my Sister-it does not need any ability to talk, or elsethere would not be so much talk in the world as there is-talk in the ordinary strain, the commonplace prattle which breaksthe silence of the world. It is what everybody is doing. There is no gifted tongue requisite. There are no powers of eloquenceinvoked. Neither laws of rhetoric nor rules of grammar are pronounced indispensable in the simple talk that my text inculcates," Talk you of all His wondrous works." I beg your pardon when you say you cannot do this. You cannot because you will not!If you would, you could speak well of His name. Because there is no need of ability in anyone to say something for Jesus afteran ordinary sort, I press it upon you!
Are you a nursemaid? Talk of His name to the little prattlers with whom you are entrusted. Or are you a crossing-sweeper?Friend, there are some you can get at that I could not! I will be bound to say the crossing-sweeper has a friend who wouldbe frightened if I were to speak to him. "But I am so poor," you reply. "I work in the midst of such a ribald, blasphemingset." Ah, Friend, but you can talk! I know you can! There are times when you can talk even to those blasphemers! It is littleuse talking to a drunk-it is like casting pearls before swine. But he is not always drunk! There is a time of sobriety-andthen it is that you are to go to work. You are not so to talk of Christ as to stop the mill, or to interpose your religionin the way of business. That were indiscreet. But there are leisure times, there are hours for dinner, there are times whenthey talk to you-and then is your time to talk to them. As the profane take the liberty to force their irreligion upon you,so you take the liberty to force your religion upon them! Use your wits. Find out the proper times and then turn them to thebest account. "In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand, for you know not which shall prosper,this or that."
I have only one aim tonight-if I can succeed in it, I shall be very thankful-that Christian people shall talk more of thelove of God at the table! At the breakfast table, at the tea table, at the dinner table-that domestic companionship and socialhospitalities may be hallowed! And this without depriving them of their genial conviviality, but rather infusing into thema higherentertainment. That we who are masters shall talk of the things of God so that our servants shall hear of them andthat servants shall so speak of Christ that their fellows shall hear about Him. The great weapon of the Christian religionhas been the public preaching of the Word, nor would I disparage it, but it will never evangelize the nations unless thereis attendant with it a constant reiteration of the preached Truth of God till it flows through innumerable little conduitsinto every circle of society! Wycliffe was but one man, but he taught others to read. One page of Matthew's Gospel and theEpistle to the Romans was given to each. They went out and read it in the streets. And so was the Truth of God spread untilit was said that you could not meet two men on the roadside, but one of them would be a Lollard! In Luther's day it was notmerely the preaching of Luther, it was the singing of the hymns and the Psalms at the spinning-wheel! It was the occupationof the solitary colporteur-it was the general chit-chatting with everybody at the blacksmith fire, in the farmyard, on theExchange! Curiosity was excited, enquiry was prompted, the popular conversation was inoculated! The fever of that healthfulsickness-repentance toward God-was spread abroad and communicated from one to another! "Have you heard the news? Have youheard that Luther has proclaimed that men are justified by faith and not by works?" It was this that shook Rome! It is thiswhich will shake her yet again. The waking up of Christian life throughout the entire body of the Church of God-and the enlistingof the entire life of the Christian Church in the cause of Christ is an enterprise to be consummated by the individual agencyof each-and the general action of all who seek the Glory of God and the welfare of man! Talk you, therefore, of all His wondrousworks!
Oh, that there should be any here who never thought of God, much less talked of His wondrous works! Wondrous, indeed, is God'spatience that has kept you alive! Marvelous His long-suffering that, after having neglected Him all these years, He has notcut you down! The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master's crib, but you have not known God! You would not keep a dogthat would not follow you. You would soon dispose of an ox that was of no service to you. Oh, why has God kept you? It isa wonder! Here is another wonder-He bids us entreat you, allure you, encourage you with a saving promise, "He that believesand is baptized shall be saved." Take heed of this Gospel! May the Holy Spirit make you yield to it. Trust Christ! Obey Himby avowing your faith in Him, and you shall be saved!
The Lord grant it, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PSALM 142; 143.
"MaschilofDavid."An instructive Psalm of David, for we speak to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and theyare a means of instruction as well as a means of utterance of praise. "A prayer when he was in the cave" and, therefore, likelyto suit any of you who are in trouble-a prayer when he hid away from Saul and was hunted like a partridge upon the mountains-"Aprayer when he was in the cave."
Verse 1. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. Of course, the essenceof his prayer was in his heart, but it often helps the heart to use the voice! It is much better to pray in silence if youwill be heard by others, for we are not to pray to be heard of men, but if you have opportunity to pray aloud, I am sure youwill feel it very helpful to devotion to do so. "I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I makemy supplication."
2. I poured out my complaint before Him. As if it were in a vessel and he turned the vessel upside down and poured it allout. That is true prayer-it is the pouring out of what is really in-not an utterance of words which may, perhaps, go no fartherthan the mere lips. But the pouring out of whatever is within, whether it is praise or complaint."I poured out my complaintbefore Him"-realized His Presence and then told Him my complaint.
2. I showed my trouble before Him. We must believe that God is, and that He is the hearer of prayer. We must be consciousthat we are not only using proper words and feeling proper thoughts, but that we are doing it before Him. "I showed my troublebefore Him."
3. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path I did not know it. I was so puzzled-so in a maze, likea man at his wits' end. My spirit seemed turned bottom upward, like a thing that is overwhelmed.
3. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I could not find out where the snare was, but "You knewmy path." I knew the trap was cunningly laid, but I could not see it. "You knew my path." We are not ignorant of Satan's devices,but sometimes we are completely ignorant as to what devices he is using just now, but "then You knew my path."
4. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.Itis always a bad time when friendship seems to have died out when those who we rely upon turn their backs upon us and refuseto sympathize with us in any degree. It is a sad case to be in. "No man cared for my soul."
5. I cried unto You, O LORD.Ah, that is the thing to do! When no man will know you, God will know you! When no man cares foryou, God will care for you! Prayer is an unfailing resort! "I cried unto You, O Lord."
5. I said, You are my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. See how he clings to his God? We never cling to Godas well as when everything else fails us! To a greater or less extent, all those who yield us comfort do, in some little measure,take our heart off our God. But when it comes to being lonely, friendless, helpless, forgotten, despised, rejected and outcast,oh, then it is a blessed thing, with a two-handed faith, to lay hold on God and say, "You are my refuge and my portion inthe land of the living."
6. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low. What a blessed argument! Nothing can move God's pity like it! "I am broughtvery low." It is not your height that God will respect-it is your lowliness. O Soul, it is not your excellence that God regards-itis your need! Not your goodness, but your lack of His goodness that He looks at! Not your fullness, but your emptiness-notyour strength, but your weakness! Nothing that you have-it is your lack of everything that moves His heart! "Attend unto mycry, for I am brought very low."
6, 7. Deliver me from my persecutors: for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name.Heasks for deliverance so that he may praise God in it! So ought we always to desire mercies with this in view-that we may praiseGod the better for them!
7. The righteous shall compass me about; for You shall deal bountifully with me. Lord, if You are kind to me, all Your peoplewill hear of it. When I get out of prison, they will say, one to another, "Such-and-such a Brother has been cheered and comforted.His face has changed. He is no more sad." And they will come round me. They will begin to ask me how it came about. Thus Ishall tell out Your praises-encourage others and get to You a great and glorious name, if You shall deal bountifully withme. Now, the next Psalm, much after the same fashion.
"A Psalm of David."
Verse 1. Hear myprayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in Your faithfulness answer me, andin Yourrigh-teousness.Itis a theory held by some persons of skeptical minds that the only benefit of prayer is the good it does to us. That was notDavid's theory. Here, three times he begs to be heard and to be answered! Oh, do they think us such idiots that we would goon speaking in a keyhole with nobody to hear us? Do they think us brought so low-so destitute of wit-that we think it worthour while to speak out what is in our heart if God does not hear and does not answer? I reckon prayer to be the most idioticof all occupations unless there is really a God to hear and a God to answer! And the benefit of prayer is not in itself somuch as in the full confidence that it is a real thing-and an effective thing-that God does hear and does interpose on ourbehalf!
2. And enter not into judgment with Your servant "I am Your servant. I am not one of the ungodly whom You will judge and castaway, but still, even though I am Your servant, enter not into judgment with me. I know You will not judge me now as a rebeland condemn me, for You have put away my sin, but even as Your servant I fear Your chastising rod if You enter into judgmentwith me."
2. For in Your sight shall no man living be justified. I have heard some living that think they would! They have said thatthe very root and branch of sin have been cut up in them and that they walk in the fear of God perfectly well! Ah, but I thinkthey have not, but that these are mistaken, for still it is very true concerning the very best of men that they have needto pray, "Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight shall no man living be justified."
3, 4 For the enemy has persecuted my soul: he has smitten my life down to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, asthose that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is deso-late.Children ofGod, do not expect to be always happy, or else you will be disappointed! You will have more troubles, if nobody else does.Depend upon it, that adversity is one of the Covenant promises-"In the world you shall have tribulation," is your Master'sown words to you, and you must not expect to find it untrue. You will find it true to the letter! And sometimes the troublesof life will penetrate even to your heart and make you feel desolate. When you are so, think it not strange concerning thefiery trial as though yours were a new path in which nobody ever walked before you. Ah, no! David was there! Many others havebeen there!
5, 6. I remember the days of old. I meditate on all Your works. I muse on the work of Your hands. I stretch forth my handsunto You: my soul thirsts after You, as a thirsty land. Selah. As a child puts out its hand to its mother, so did he stretchout his hands to his God. As a thirsty land chaps-becomes dry-turns to dust in its longing after rain, so did his whole beingthirst for his God!
7. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit fails: hide not Your face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into a pit"Lest I swoon away-lest I die-lest my hope should utterly expire! Come, Lord! Come, Lord and rescue me!"
8. Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning; for in You do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I shouldwalk; for I lift up my soul unto You. Very heavy, but I lift it up. With all my might, as though it were a dead lift, I seekto raise it out of its doubt, and out of its sorrow.
9. 10. Deliver me, O Lord from my enemies: I flee unto You to hide me. Teach me to do Your will; for You are my God: YourSpirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Or, "lead me in a straight path." So it is rendered by the best scholars.
11. Quicken me, O LORD, for Your name's sake. He felt as if he would die and, therefore, he says, "Quicken me: put new lifeinto me." To whom should we go for life, but to the living God? And who can communicate with us but the same God who firstmade us live in His name?
11, 12. For Your righteousness 'sake bring my soul out oftrouble. And of Your mercy cut offmy enemies and destroy all themthat afflict my soul, for I am Your servant.