« AnteriorContinua »
this is the homage in which God delights, the true worship of His kingdom.
2. And this shews us further, that as praise is most acceptable to God, so it is most blessed for us. To live in a spirit of praise, is to live a life as near to heaven as earth can be. What can be more blissful than the state of the Psalmist: "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy Name:" that is, my whole living spirit: my heart, with all its trust and all its love, all its gratitude and all its joy; my conscience, with all its witness of righteousness and equity; my will, with all its obedience and all its patience; my understanding, with all its reason and all its light; my whole being, with a full assent and fast adherence to God, my "exceeding great reward." Can the spirit of a man reach nearer to the blessedness of angels; of those pure spirits who dwell in God, and live in Him by knowledge, love, and service? "I will praise Thee with my whole heart; I will shew forth all Thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee." "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him." "I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God: unto Thee will I sing with
1 Ps. ciii. 1.
2 Gen. xv. 1.
the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel." that, too, even in darkness and affliction.
This is a sure test of the purity of our love. We are ready to praise when all shines fair: but when life is overcast; when all things seem to be against us; when we are in fear for some cherished happiness; or in the depths of sorrow; or in the solitude of a life which has no visible support; or in a season of sickness, and with the shadow of death approaching,—then to praise God; then to say, This fear, loneliness, affliction, pain, and trembling awe, are as sure tokens of love, as life, health, joy, and the gifts of home: "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away:" on either side it is He, and all is love alike; "blessed be the Name of the Lord" this is the true sacrifice of praise. What can come amiss to a soul which is so in accord with God? What can make so much as one jarring tone in all its harmony? In all the changes of this fitful life, it ever dwells in praise. “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime"-in all the full activity and bright lights of life," and in the night"-in sorrow, sadness, and chastisement" His song shall be with me."" "O send out Thy light and Thy truth, that they may lead me let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacle. Then will I go unto 1 Ps. ix. 1, 2; xxviii. 7; lxxi. 22.
2 Ps. xlii. 8.
the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God, my
God." What is this bliss? What is this Brightness; this truth, but the eternal Wisdom? What is this holy hill, this sanctuary, and this altar, but the presence of God, already seen by faith the object of all praise, the fountain of all joy? This is heaven itself in the soul of God's servants, who shall one day reign among His saints. Here in this life for awhile prayer is our chief work yet praise is mingled with it, as a promise and an earnest of blessedness to come.
but the spirit of heavenly
light but the uncreated
Our worship, like ourselves, is encompassed with infirmity. And our necessities draw us about Him, as the lame, blind, dumb, and maimed, who came that they might be healed. Blessed are they who rise from the life of prayer into the spirit of praise, and learn that prayer is but the earthliest form of worship. They are passing on into that state where praise begins to fill all spirits with the fruition of endless joy. They who are waiting in the outer courts of the Eternal Presence, while our great High Priest is within the veil, cease not to pray; but their chiefest homage is the sacrifice of praise.
In the perfect bliss of Heaven prayer shall
1 Ps. xliii. 3, 4.
rest for ever. What room shall there be for prayer, when there is no more sin? And what rest from praise, when all eyes shall see "the King in His beauty?" In that Home of Saints, they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. . . . And fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before Him, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."
1 Rev. iv. 8, 10, 11.
THE GREAT CONTROVERSY.
JOB X. 2.
Shew me wherefore Thou contendest with me."
GOD has declared so plainly, that He rebukes and chastens all whom He loves, that we can hardly dare desire to be free from chastisement. Much as we shrink from the thought of God's heavy hand coming down upon our weakness, of the sharpness of bodily pain, and of the anguish of affliction, yet we must still more shrink from such words as, “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" ter any thing than this. God is so divinely gentle in His visitations, that if a light stroke, even the shadow of His hand, will suffice for our sanctification, He will send no more. Happy and blessed are they whose conscience is so sensitive and tender, that a slight sorrow, or a soft smiting of His