Sermon 1308. The Recorders
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 25, 1876,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"To record, and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel." 1 Chronicles 16:4.
DAVID took care of every part of Divine worship. He saw to it that nothing was neglected in the service of the God in whomhe delighted. Let this stand as an example to us to be careful about everything which concerns the honor of God. Do not allowany of the duties of your holy faith to be forgotten, but seek to exhibit harmonious and entire obedience to the Divine will.Do not merely attend to what are called religious duties, but with equal religiousness regard your social duties and presentto the Lord, as far as you can, a complete service. Such David desired to do.
You observe that he had those about him who offered burnt offerings unto the Lord continually, morning and evening, as Godhad commanded-these things were not to be left undone. And then he set apart certain others to attend to the service of song.Theirs it was to sound the trumpets and to call the people together-theirs to touch the harmonious strings of harps, or tosound with cymbals of brass, or to lift their voices on high in the sweet praises of Jehovah, for God is to be served withsacrifice and praised with song. Our God accepts us when we labor for Him and when we praise Him-let both be done heartily.It were a pity if we worked so hard that we could not sing! It were equally unhappy if we sang so much that we idled awayour time! There must be a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, music and fruit, service and song.
There was also a third company set apart for a somewhat extraordinary work, namely as our text tells us, to record. They wereto take notes of what God had done and was doing. They were to be the chronicles of the nation and, out of their chronicles,they were to compose the Psalms and songs. Perhaps that is the meaning of the word, "record," here, but the original bearsanother meaning-"to bring to remembrance." If they were not to act as historians to record, they were as minstrels to proclaimwhat had been written in old times and bring it to remembrance. I rather prefer the idea that their duty was to do both-torecord the loving kindness of the Lord and to bring to the remembrance of the people what the Lord's right hand had done informer times.
Now, if you think a minute, this third class of people, who are placed between the Levites before the Ark and the singerswho thanked and praised the Lord, would be useful both to those who went before and to those who followed. Those who had toserve before the Ark of the Lord are mentioned first. Now, what could so cheer them in their service as to read of the goodnessof the Lord? What could so inspire them to attend reverently to the service of the Lord's house as to remember the formerloving kindnesses of the Lord? What arguments could they have for fidelity that would be more powerful than the record ofHis mercy which endures forever?
Those who were to conduct the praising and the thanksgiving are mentioned after these recorders. But what is the raw materialof which praise is made but the record of what God is and of what He has done for His people? I think whenever they wantedto sing, they would turn to these remembrancers and recorders and say to them, "Tell us something of what God has done, forthe simple record of Jehovah's acts is the noblest Psalmody." Do you notice that whenever we praise God best, we simply declarewhat He is, for the bare fact about God is the highest praise-you have only to mention what He does in order to produce themost sublime poetry-the grateful mention of His glorious acts is, in itself, adoration! You cannot adore the Lord better thanby devoutly rehearsing His mighty acts-so good is His name, so blessed are His deeds. "Who can utter the mighty acts of theLord? Who can show forth all His praise?"
Now, from the fact that David set apart certain Levites to record, I gather three or four thoughts of which I am going tospeak tonight. The first is-it is implied that there is a fault in man's memory. It is equally clear, in the second place,that we ought to endeavor to assist memory. Thirdly, it is certain, too, from the appointment of recorders, that there isa good deal worth remembering. And, fourthly, from the connection of these recorders with the singers, we see that, to
right-minded persons memory will always produce praise. When we have recorded the great mercies of the Lord, then we shallbe sure to thank and praise Him.
I. First of all, we may gather, I think, without any straining of the text, that if recorders were appointed, THERE IS SOMEFAULT IN OUR MEMORY TOWARDS THE LORD. What faults there are in our memory touching the work and Word of God! Perhaps someof you have very powerful memories and may be able to treasure up whole volumes as some have done. It might be said of youas it was of Dr. Lawson, that if the whole Bible had been destroyed, he could have reproduced it from memory. This is a greatgift and a worthy use for it, but I fear that few of us have it. It is not likely that men could say of us, as of the famousGrecian, that out of 10,000 soldiers he knew every one of his men by name.
I do not find fault with short memories, but with memories which are treacherous towards Divine things. What I complain ofis that memory may be very strong concerning self-interest, grievances and trials-yet towards God's mercies it may be veryweak. I am not going to speak about memory in general. I speak only of that faculty as it is exercised towards the favorsand loving kindnesses of the Lord-and I am sure there is a fault in it, for, first of all, it has been prejudiced by the Fall.Do you not know that if anything bad ever reaches your ear you cannot forget it? That lewd song which you heard in your youth-inyour unregenerate times. You would give everything to forget it, but it will come up-a snatch of it has, perhaps, been suggestedby a hymn sung in worship, or even by the language used in prayer!
What a grasp memory has for things that never ought to have crossed the mind at all and which, though they have crossed themind, ought to be forgotten! Well said an old Divine, "Man's memory is a pond in which all the fish die and all the frogslive." I am sure it is so. The bad remains, but the good-ah, how you have to charge and constrain yourself to remember a tenthof it! The filth of Sodom is drawn to shore by memory, but the fair products of Jerusalem are permitted to glide down thestream to the ocean of oblivion.
The Fall has given a sad bias to memory-like a strainer, it lets the good liquor run through and only retains the dregs. Again,memory towards God's mercy has been very much impaired by neglect. Any part of the body left unused will lose power-and anyfaculty of the mind which is never exercised will gradually become weak. You may have very powerful memories, as I said before,towards earthly things, but I will venture to say that some of you have never sought to remember the mercies of the Lord.No, you have not seen them to be God's mercies! It has never occurred to you to try and remember what God has done for you.
I would not bring a harsh impeachment, but I suggest the question-Have you not lived as if there were no God? As if the merciesof everyday were, indeed, of your own procuring? As if you had no indebtedness to God and were under no obligation to be gratefulto Him? I do not wonder that your memory towards Divine things is weak, for you have never exercised it-never thought of exercisingit-and consequently, my Friend, if ever you are to learn to praise the Lord, you will have need of great help in the work,for your memory will not furnish you with materials. It has no store of good things with which to feed your devotion! Youhave kept its chambers empty by neglect.
Memory, concerning God's mercy, is often overloaded with other things. Memory can only carry a certain amount, but, oh, whatwagonloads of mischief memory is freighted with! Some of us can remember so little that it is a pity for us to try to rememberanything trifling or of minor importance. It might be well to dedicate that faculty to the weightiest things only-to thingsimperative for this life-to things essential for the life to come. How foolishly some will stuff up their memory with rubbishthat is not worth harboring. There are songs and pieces of "poetry," so called, and scraps taken from novels and I know notwhat besides, with which poor memory is gorged till it is blown out as a balloon with foul gas! It is fed upon mere huskstill it is surfeited, stuffed and crammed and labors under indigestion!
I think Aristotle used to call memory the stomach of the soul in which it retains and digests what it gathers. But men cramit full of everything that it does not need-upon which the soul cannot really feed-and thus they ruin it for remembering thebest things. Some people can hardly carry home the text of the discourse. Is it likely they would? Other thoughts choke upthe memory and put the good thing, the gracious thing, the grateful thing, the right thing, entirely out of the mind! Unloadyour memory tonight, if you can, even of your necessary cares!
It is good when a sermon helps to unload you. You remember the man who said that generally, when he went to Church, he usedto calculate how many looms the building would hold and how many workmen might be employed in it? "But," said he, "when Iheard Mr. Whitefield, I forgot that there was a loom in the whole world." I wish it was always so
in God's House! But there, the good woman remembers her household-she does not know whether she put the guard on the fire-shewonders what may have become of the baby while she is away. Another misses a ring from her finger-did she leave it in thebasin when she washed her hands before she came to worship?
The merchant is worrying about that bill which is coming due tomorrow. He wishes that he could forget it, but the thing willcome in. And this is why you cannot remember God's mercy, because your memory is occupying itself with a host of earthly thingswhich ought not to intrude into God's day and into God's worship. Or if they do, should be treated as Abraham treated thecarnivorous birds when they came down upon his sacrifice. The ravens and the kites came to defile and eat what he had offeredunto God, but we read that, "when the birds came down upon the sacrifice Abraham drove them away." So must you try to do.When the time has come to remember God's mercies and to worship Him, you must keep the birds away, or else they will devourthe ripe fruit of your praise before you can gather it.
Memory has also suffered from another cause, namely, from its connection with the other faculties. Every power of the mindhas been injured by sin. The evil results of the Fall went through the entire system and weakened and perverted our entirenature, so that the whole head is sick. The understanding, among the rest a very noble power, has been very much darkenedand, as every single part of a man operates upon the rest, the darkening of the understanding has caused a grievous weakeningof the memory with regard to Divine things. You will see this in a minute, for what a man does not understand he does notreadily remember.
Many forget God's mercies because they do not appreciate them when they have them. They do not see the mercy of them. Theyhave not the power to see how much love there is in them and how little they deserve them and, therefore, they are not impressedby them so as to make a note of their being received. When daily favors come, such men take them into stock as wholesale dealersreceive parcels of goods and send them out, again, without so much as opening them, or checking their quantity. They scarcelyknow the meaning of the loving kindness of the Lord, for He is not in any of their thoughts!
And, of course, a man does not remember what he does not understand! If you set a boy to learn a passage without any meaningin it, he may be able to repeat it to you the next time he says his lesson, but before long it must glide out of his memorybecause he does not understand it. Becloud the light of the understanding and the image formed upon the memory will be dulland indistinct, and very apt to vanish in time.
Again, the affections have been perverted, as well as the understanding. Man, by nature, does not love God. I tremble whenI think of that sad truth, for it seems to me the most awful thing that can happen to an intelligent being is not to loveGod. That would be my Hell! I count it the Hell of Hell not to love God-to be in such a condition that the infinitely lovableOne-so perfect both in His character and His actions, so fitted to be adored-should not be loved is horrible! It is deathand worse than death! I will not say it is blindness, deafness and the loss of every honorable moral power-it is utter deathnot to love God. It is partly because we do not love Him that we forget His mercies.
Reflect a moment, and you will soon see. Here is a present which has been given you by a complete stranger, and though itmay be of some value, you do not think much of it. But there is a ring that was given you by your mother- your mother nowamong the angels. Ah, you will not forget that gift! Love has registered it among your richest possessions. I have many thingsthat have been given to me by friends and I value them all. I never forget them-I never can because of my esteem and affectionfor those who gave them to me. And so when you view Divine mercy as given you by your dear and ever-blessed Father in Heaven,then you do not forget it! But if it is merely regarded as a passing stranger's gift, you care not for it.
If you think of a blessing as "the gift of fortune," as the world generally does, or look upon it as a windfall from the treeof luck, you will not remember it. See in the bread you eat a Father's hand supplying you. See, even, in the cup of cold waterthe bounty of your God. See in the comforts of home and health and the sparing of your reason, the goodness of Him who lovesyou and whom you love-and memory will put forth her strength! Lack of love breeds lack of recollection in us and so the memorygrows faulty. And, alas, one thing more. Our memory of God's goodness is often crushed down by a sense of present pain. Whenyou suffer from sharp pains and weary aches and a fevered brow, you are prone to forget the days of health and strength-andonly remember the sharp intervals of weakness and sorrow.
When you stand over the grave of one you love, you are apt, in the loss, to forget he was a loan from God. When a dear oneis taken away, the right way to look at it is that a precious loan has been called in by its Owner. We ought to be
very grateful to have been allowed to borrow the comfort so long. We ought not to repine when the Owner takes back what Heso kindly lent. The husband to whom you have been married these 10 years, or the child that has nestled in your bosom twoyears, or the friend that communed with you half a lifetime, or the brother who was such a comfort all his days-when theseare gone, do not look at the going, only, but thank God that you ever had them. Be honest enough to acknowledge the good aswell as to lament the evil. Bless a taking as well as a giving God, for He takes but what He gave.
It is not so with us as a rule. We are living in the present too much. We strike a mark of oblivion across the happy past.We look with dread upon the unknown future and dwell on the troublous present-and so we forget the Lord's mercy to us. Youare getting old, now, and you are feeble, but bless the Lord you had 50 years of manly vigor! You cannot, now, do what youonce did and your mind is enfeebled, but bless God there was a time when you could serve Him with body and soul without fatigue!
Perhaps you are brought low in estate and are afraid of poverty. Be grateful that you have had enough and to spare for manylong years. Perhaps you are now a little sad. Yes, but remember the days when you use to praise the Lord on the high-soundingcymbals and stood upon the high places of the earth! Do not let memory fail you because of the present crushing sorrow, butbless the name of the Lord for what He has done. May the Holy Spirit help your infirmities and bring the loving kindness ofpast years to your remembrance. Memory is defective-this is our first inference-and I think it is clear enough.
II. Now, secondly, as David appointed recorders, this proves, in the second place, that WE OUGHT TO DO ALL THAT WE CAN TOASSIST OUR MEMORIES TOWARDS GOD. We should not allow the mercies of the Lord to lie forgotten in ingratitude and die withoutpraises, if we can help it. How can we strengthen memory? I conceive that sometimes it is a good thing to make an actual recordof God's mercy-literally to write it down in your pocketbook, so as to look at it another day. I am sure it is a proper thingto do and it will often prove to be a very useful memento. I do not believe in keeping diaries and putting down everyday whatyou feel, or what you think you feel but never did feel.
I fear it would become a mere formality, or an exercise of imagination to most of us, for when I read very pious people'sdiaries they always seem to me to have had an eye to the people who would read them and to have put down both more and lessthan the truth. I am a little frightened at the artificial style of experience which it must lead to. The fact is that wehave not a great deal to put down everyday if we lead an ordinary life! But there are days which ought to have a memorial.Days of sore trouble and of great deliverance, days of sharp temptation and of wonderful help-these need to be chronicled.
Some days of brilliant mercy are like seven days in one. There are days which seem like chips of Heaven, fragments of eternity,stray days of delight which have broken loose from the days of Heaven and wandered down to earth. Make a note of the favoreddays. Put the event down in black and white just as it occurred. Never mind if nobody else ever reads it-you will read itone of these days and thank God that it stands recorded for the strengthening of your faith. Therefore make a record. "I cannotexpress myself well in writing," says one. Well, you know, Jacob used to set up a stone and pour oil on the top of it. Thatwas his way, though he knew little or nothing about pen and ink. You can invent some way, surely, by which you can rememberchoice favors!
You can make a notch somewhere, a mark on an old tree, a line on the margin of the Bible over against the text that blessedyou. You can put a scratch somewhere of which you shall say afterwards, "I know what that means. I did not want to forgetthe Divine goodness-and there is the record. Glory be to God, it comes fresh to my soul, again, as I look upon it!" Anotherhelp to memory is to be sure to praise God thoroughly at the time you receive His goodness. You will not forget it if, whenit has come, your mind is in a suitable condition of gratitude and, indeed, if you use the mercy, at once, to God's Glory,you will do better, still! Days that are full of thanksgiving will be remembered and those mercies around which we burnedthe incense of praise will leave their fragrance in the heart's secret chambers.
Take care that if your memory is weak, you praise God while the mercy is newly born in your house. Frequently it will helpmemory much to set apart a little time for meditation. A godly man and his wife were accustomed to take half-an-hour on Saturdayevening to go over the mercies of the week-this is a good example. But, says one, "I could not spare so much time." No, no,I do not suppose you could, but you spare hours to grumble over the miseries of the week! Oh, yes, we talk freely, when weget together, about our pains and our losses and about the bad times. They are very bad now,
are they not? And you have all talked about them seven days a week for many a long week together. You have said 50 times,"I never saw such a season, there is no business, there is nothing stirring-there never was such stagnation."
Now, as we all know all about that and are pretty well agreed that it is true, could we now go on to something else, and couldnot the time which we waste in telling out our troubles be spent in meditating on our mercies? See if you cannot spare half-an-hourwith your wife for such an exercise as I have mentioned, and I believe that you would never spend 30 minutes more happilyand profitably. Say, "Come, Wife, and help me. Help my memory and I will help yours. Let us remember what God has done forus this week." Then go over your own story and listen to her pleasant annotations.
I do not hesitate to say that my life story is as full of mercy as a honeycomb is full of sweetness when it drips with honey.How God has treated you, I do not know, but He has indulged me with such love that if He will only let me get into a cornerin Heaven and praise Him to all eternity, I will scarcely ask Him for anything else but the opportunity to adore Him. I meanto bless Him whatever comes to me-I cannot help it. I have been so favored of Providence and Grace that if I were crushedinto mortar, I think every little bit and fragment of me would bless and praise His holy name, "for He is good and His mercyendures forever." This is my advice, then, and I have not given it without having tried it my-self-often meditate on whatthe Lord has done and that will help your memory.
Then, again, often rehearse His mercy in the ears of others. I like to get with dear Brothers and Sisters who talk about God'sloving kindness-they are good company. I have noticed the difference between two farmers, for instance. One of them neverdid have a good crop, though, to my knowledge, he had a "middling" one, once, and that was at the time that he could hardlygather it, for it was too heavy for the reapers! But then it was a "middling" one. He has never made any money. I know hewas a poor man when he began and I know he has brought up a large family and is rich, now, but he never made any money-never!Nobody ever does by farming, or by any other business, as you all know by common report.
Well, I heard the grumbler's story and I turned to another friend. This farmer says, "Well, it may not have been a very goodyear for wheat, last year, but then there is a capital crop coming on to make up for it." Another year he said, "Well, I donot think the grain will pay, but the sheep are turning out uncommonly well." He has always something to say by way of honoringGod's mercy! And is not that as it ought to be? He says, "Blessed be God, I have always had bread to eat and clothes to puton. I am a great deal better off, now, than I thought I would be, and I have my portion to give to the work of the Lord whohas dealt so well with me." That is the way to talk, for it is truthful and it praises God- and it is the talk that God shouldhear from us! If you tell others of your mercies you will not be so likely to forget them.
Sometimes it will help you to remember your mercies if you use everything about you as a reminder. How can that be? Have yougot a boy? Look at him and think of what mercy is bound up in that child-remember when he was little and sickly-and you prayedthat he might live. Remember when he met with an accident and yet he was not killed, as he might have been. Remember whenhe went out into life and God kept him out of temptation. Remember when you saw the first sign of piety, when you heard hisfirst prayer, when you found that he was trying to be useful.
Remember when you heard his first address as he tried to speak to others about the Lord Jesus. I know the joy of such mercyand I cannot hold my tongue when I think of it, for I am highly favored! And I hope that you either have had the same blessingon your growing lads or will have it. Well, the boy will be a reminder of God's mercy. Look at anybody's child and say, "I,also, was a child once," and then think of the mercies of God to you from childhood to the present time. Go into the streetand meet a beggar. Should not that make you thank God that you are not forced to beg for your bread, and wear rags, but areprovided for?
Turn down by Bethlehem hospital and as you pass that institution, thank God that you have not lost your reason. Look at theBlind School and thank God that you have not lost your eyesight. Pass by the hospital and thank God that you are not stretchedupon a bed of agony, having lost a limb. Go into a churchyard and thank God that you are yet alive. Reflect upon the judgmentto come and thank God that you are not in Hell. Oh, my dear Friends, everything ought to make us praise God! From the littlebirds that wake the morning to the twinkling stars that gladden the night! Every breath of air, drop of rain and gleam ofsunlight ought to refresh our memory and awake us to praise the Lord! That is the second point-we ought to do our best toassist our feeble memories.
III. Thirdly-and here I shall ask you to preach to yourselves-WE HAVE ALL HAD MERCIES TO REMEMBER. I am going to include everybodyin these remarks, first, whether they are converted people or not. We have all had
common mercies. I have already hinted at them in speaking of those who are suffering from their losses. From our childhooduntil now we have had bread to eat and clothes to put on. Some of us have enjoyed an abundance of common mercies. We havenot had to live from hand to mouth, nor labor like slaves. Others, who have had a harder lot, should thank God that therehas always been deliverance in the hour of need-bread has been given and water has been sure. They have not always had whatthey might have liked, but there has been enough to keep them alive, and here they are in good health to prove it!
Oh, to have your reason! To have the use of your limbs! To have your children about you! Even though you are poor, these aregreat blessings! Even these ordinary mercies should awaken your gratitude. Then, in addition to common mercies, we have hadthose of special Providence. Is there one person here who has not been, at times, favored with remarkable interpositions ofGod's Providence? Flavel used to say, "Those who notice Providences will not be long without Providences to notice." I thinkit is so. I could remember scores. If I had time to write them I could mention dozens of remarkable Providences which haveoccurred to myself, some of which would not be believed by anybody else and, therefore, shall not be told, but they are truefor all that. There are matters known only to the Master and His unworthy servant for which I praise His name in my heartof hearts.
Have you not had some such secrets between you and God-remarkable things, special things which, if you could write them, menwould not believe? Well, praise His name for the peculiar favors, but do not forget the more usual ones! Remember what thePuritan said. He and his son had to ride some 20 miles, each, to meet each other. And when his son came in, he said, "Father,I have had a most remarkable Providence. My horse stumbled badly three times and yet he did not fall." "I am grateful," saidthe old gentleman, "but I have had a remarkable Providence, too, for my horse never stumbled all the way." We do not thinkof that. If there is a railway accident and we just escape by the skin of our teeth, we say, "What a wonderful mercy!" Oughtyou not to be quite as grateful when you travel without an accident? Should you not see, as much, the hand of God in yourperfect safety as in your rescue from danger? Remember the hourly Providence of God which watches over you when you observeit not!
I should like to remind every unregenerate man and woman here present of the long-suffering mercy of God. You have not lovedHim, but He has blessed you. You have sometimes spoken very sad things against His Gospel, but He has not resented it. PossiblyI speak to some who have even cursed His name, but He has not cursed you. You have defied Him and oh, it often seems to meto be an amazing thing that a man should lift his hand to Heaven and defy God and that God remains quiet in pitying patience!Do you think that God-the infinite God-is going to be put into a passion by such a puny thing as you are?
No, He has appointed a day in which He will settle these matters with you through His son Jesus Christ who will judge thequick and the dead. He will not stir Himself out of His sublime compassion for you. But what an amazing thing it is that Hedoes not! Why there are thousands of men who, if we had done a hundred thousandth part as much evil towards them as they havedone towards God, they would have fallen upon us with a word and a blow-or rather there would not have been any word-therewould have been two blows! And if it had been in their power to take our lives, they would not have hesitated! Men could nothave borne such provocation as sinners heap upon the Lord1 You have provoked Jehovah to His face and thrust your finger intoHis eye.
"No," you say, "how is that?" Why, when you mock religious people-when you make jests and mirth about those who fear Him,you do this. Remember that text, "He that touches you touches the apple of My eye"? That is an irritating thing enough, isit not? And yet you have touched the apple of Jehovah's eye-and instead of smiting you into nothingness in return, or sendingyou down to Hell, He has still had mercy upon you! Let us gratefully remember this almighty patience and bless His name, whoeverwe may be-
"Lord, and am I yet alive?
Not in torment, not in Hell?
Still does Your good Spirit strive-
With the chief of sinners dwell?
Tell it unto sinners, tell,
I am, I am, out of Hell!"
Furthermore, we should all praise God, or at any rate the most of us, here, that we have enjoyed Gospel privileges. If youhave not believed in Jesus, yet you have heard of Him. If you have rejected His Grace, yet the kingdom of God has
come near unto you. The door has been set open even if you have not entered. And the call of the Gospel has been given thoughyou have not accepted it. You are still on praying ground and pleading terms with God. You are still where you are wooed bya Savior's love. Thank God for this! Thank God that you are not living in the dark ages, or in a far-off heathen land wherethe saving name is not known! Thank God you are where the bronze serpent is lifted high and the message comes to you-"Lookand live!" "To you is the Word of this salvation sent."
Dear Brothers and Sisters, though I have thus spoken to everybody in the place, there is a special class to whom I must addressmyself. You, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ-you have, above all others, ten thousand times ten thousand reasons for rememberingthe past and blessing the name of the Lord! Look back to the hole of the pit from where you were raised! Remember Him whoraised you from there! Look to the blood that bought you! Look to the Holy Spirit who renewed you! Look at the pardon whichabsolved you! Look to the Divine Grace that changed you! Look to the love that saved you! Look to the wisdom that has guidedyou! Look to the power that has upheld you!
The life of a Christian should be unbroken gratitude, for it is a life of unceasing mercy! While others should praise Godas creatures, we must praise him as new creatures. They can praise Him because He made them-we must praise Him because Hehas "begotten us, again, unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." Therefore, lift up your heartsand voices, Beloved, and praise the Lord at the remembrance of His goodness!
IV. The last thing is this-that ALL OUR MEMORIES SHOULD TEND TO MAKE US PRAISE AND BLESS GOD. We can rest but a minute here.Remember mercies. Remember there is not one you have deserved. That bread which does not choke the sinner might justly doso, for he is an unworthy recipient of it. The earth which does not open to swallow you up must often wonder why it is notcommissioned to do so, for you are so rebellious against God. We do not deserve the air we breathe, or the water we drink.Everything we have is sweetened with unspeakable mercy!
All the good that we enjoy comes from God. Remember that! Alas, most men forget it. Rowland Hill used to say that worldlingswere like the hogs under the oak which eat the acorns, but never think of the oak from which they fell, nor lift up theirheads to grunt out a thanksgiving. Yes, so it is. They munch the gift and murmur at the Giver. Would God we did begin to rememberthat every good gift comes to us from the Divine hand and that, therefore, the Lord is to be praised. We have received merciesat times, when, if we had not had them, the absence of them would have ended our lives, or would have involved us in miseryworse than death. Do not, some of you, remember when you said in your soul, "O Lord, if You do but help me this time, I willpraise You as long as I live"? Yet, when you received the benefit you rendered no fit return. You were grateful for a time,after a sort, but, as eaten bread is soon forgotten, so your remembrance of the mercy of God passed away. It ought not tobe so!
I am now going to put a few questions to all present. First, have you ever lived in gratitude? Are you now living to God'spraise? Are you now conscious of your obligations and anxious to show that you feel them? If not-if not, I would like youto feel how evil you are. Does that offend you? I would like you to be offended with yourselves! What do you think of thosewho are ungrateful to you when you have been kind to them? Ah, you look upon them with indignation! Sometimes when I knowthat a man has been ungrateful to a friend of mine, very ungrateful, I cannot help looking upon him with contempt. If youhave lived in this world for 50 years and have never shown any gratitude to God in life, feel evil. Feel what a miserablewretch you are to be living wholly for yourself while the God who has fed you and blessed you all your life has not had theturn of a penny from you in the way of real praise and true gratitude!
I say again, feel evil, and then go to Jesus' feet and tell Him that you feel it, and cry, "God be merciful to me, a sinner!"If you have never been a drunk or a swearer, or unjust, think it bad enough to have been ungrateful. If you have lived withoutserving your God, think it sin, enough, to have made yourself as base as the dirt beneath your feet and, at the thought ofit, humble yourself before your gracious God!
Next if you are able to say, "Through Divine Grace I have praised God and I do desire to live entirely to His Glory," yet,dear Brothers and Sisters, have you or I ever praised Him enough? Have we ever praised Him as we ought? "Oh, no," you say,"and we never shall." And I agree with you-we never shall. The poet stretched the words a little, but his meaning was rightenough, when he said-
"But, oh, eternity's too short, To utter all Your praise."
We must feel, we ought to feel the happy burden of the Lord's praise to be too heavy for us. We confess that we cannot blessthe Lord enough, either as to heartiness, frequency, or service. No human strength can praise God sufficiently, but still,let us be doing something more for God than we have ever done!
We sang just now, and we sang, I think, very fairly. But let us act as well as sing! Let us consecrate ourselves and our substancefar more fully to God. What are you doing for God? What are you doing for my Lord Jesus? Have you a precious alabaster boxat home which you would like to break, that you might pour the ointment on His head? Do it, and do it soon! Some are veryprotective about their alabaster boxes and keep them under lock and key. They take their friends upstairs and show them theirrare treasures. They ask them to visit their houses to see their alabaster boxes and they even talk of what will be done withtheir choice things when their estate shall go through the Probate Court.
That is what they are talking about, but as to actually pouring the costly perfume on the head of the Lord Jesus personally,in their own lifetime, it has not entered into their heads! God lead you to honor your Redeemer at once with the best youhave! Give God your best-your very best! Give God yourself-your all-He is worthy of it. And, oh, count it a high honor ifHe accepts it at your hands through Jesus Christ your Savior!
Lastly, if anybody here says, "I would like to begin to remember the Lord's mercies and to praise His name," then you mustbegin at the Cross! The center of everything that is good is the Cross of Christ! No man begins a life of praise, or a lifeof prayer, or a life of holiness aright unless he begins within sight of the Crucified Savior, led there by the Holy Spirit!Go there with your ingratitude like a burden on your heart-and look to the flowing of the Redeemer's precious blood-and theload of ingratitude will roll into His sepulcher and will never be laid to your charge! And then when you get rid of the guiltyou can begin-yes, you will begin-from that time on, to praise Him and magnify His name!
God give you a memory capable of treasuring up His favors. May He enrich you with the benedictions of His Covenant that youmay have much to treasure up. And may the whole of the sweet canes and precious spices which memory has laid up be used asfuel for the flame of thanksgiving in life, in death and through eternity! Amen. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-1 Chronicles 16:1-36. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-130, 229, 720, AND THE DOXOLOGY.