Imatges de pÓgina
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surrender all private feelings, and make them subservient to the love of our Saviour. We cannot as David teaches us, for surely we may thus interpret his words against his enemies, displace from our hearts all personal enmity, and hate only that which is at enmity with God; abhorring both in ourselves and others that which is evil, and also cleaving in both to that which is good. See Rom. 12. 9. We find it hard to say in this sense," Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping." We are more apt to take pleasure in the company of many who notoriously transgress, than to tell them plainly that we are friends of God, deeply obliged to Him for mercies infinite, sensible of the obligations we lie under to Him, and resolved to prove our sense of them, by not associating more than we can help with those, who in the obvious tenour of their lives avow themselves his enemies.

Whilst however we thus apply the words of David to ourselves, we must observe that in all probability they were meant to apply to the sufferings and triumph of our Lord. Certainly He has Himself applied them to Himself in part. For He has said, that the very words which He will hereafter say unto his enemies, are these which David here says to his: "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity" Luke 13. 27. Christ's sorrows then they are which are here set before us. The burden of our sins, which He bare in our behalf, is the grief to which these groans and tears refer. And the enemies here spoken of are they who will not have Christ reign over them, because they prefer to walk in their own evil ways. And that David spake these things by the authority of the Lord, that he was inspired in that which he spake when giving utterance to his psalms, we have his own express testimony, and it is to be found amongst his dying words: "David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." 2 Sam. 23. 1, 2. Let the workers of iniquity then beware. Let the enemies of the Lord, and they especially who prove their enmity to Him, by hating, persecuting, reviling, or ridiculing them that are his, let all such take warning from these inspired words; and know that it will soon be their turn to be ashamed and sore vexed, to be arrested in their career of transitory triumph, turned back, and put suddenly to endless shame.

Grant, Lord, if it be possible, that these thy foes may now, whilst it is time, turn and live. Now bring them to the shame and confusion of face of feeling and confessing their sinfulness. Be Thou glorified, if it may be, in their conviction and conversion. Or else, if they will persist in rebelling against Thee, be Thou glorified, if it must be, in their condemnation.

David protesteth against a false accusation.

Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.

1 O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;

4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) 5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. 7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes, therefore, return thou on high.

8 The Lord shall judge the people judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity

that is in me.

9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.

11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.

13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.

14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.

15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.

16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down. upon his own pate.

17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

LECTURE 837.

Our duty, when we labour under false charges.

We read in the book of Genesis, that after the fall of man, the Lord God said unto the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." Gen. 3. 15. We find in the Psalms abundant evidence of this enmity. We not only find Satan at enmity with Christ, but also the children of Satan at enmity with those that are Christ's. And we are led to understand the case of David, at once as a type of what our Saviour endured in the way of persecution, and as an instance of what all faithful servants of God must expect to have to suffer.

To be falsely accused, is the trouble and annoyance particularly adverted to in this psalm. David probably alluded to the false charges which Saul had brought or harboured against him. He was positive that he was guiltless of the iniquity of treason against the life of Saul. So far from it, he had delivered, as he here mentions, him who without any cause was his enemy. This he had done twice; once at the cave of En-gedi, and once in the wilderness of Ziph. See 1 Sam. 24. 7; 26. 9. And therefore he could appeal with confidence to God, to judge him in this matter according to his righteousness.

How much more might the great Son of David, in after times, use language like to this which is now before us! How true was it of Him, that He delivered those who without any cause were his enemies! How true that they, for whose salvation He was content even to die, were found capable of reviling Him as He hung upon the cross; and have been found capable ever since of bringing false accusations against Him! Some lay it to his charge, that He is not the Saviour which He says He is. Others, and they are by far the greater number, accuse Him, that He is a hard Master, and find fault with his commandments as grievous. But the day is coming when all these shall be put to shame before Him. And they who have thought, spoken, or acted, in opposition to his will, and have persisted in so doing unto the end, will find a terrible retribution awaiting them, from that God who "trieth the hearts and reins."

If however such sufferings and contumely have been heaped upon our Lord, we must not be surprised to find, that his faithful disciples suffer in like manner, by unkind and false accusations. We must not be surprised if it happen to ourselves, to have things laid to our charge, of which we know that we are innocent. Let such charges, falsely brought against us, first lead us to a deep searching of our own hearts, that we may confess with contrition before God the many things of which we find that we really are guilty. Next let us be always ready to take pains to undeceive those who think us guilty, to explain the truth as far as lies in our power, and not to let our good be evil spoken of. See Rom. 14. 16. But if after all our pains, we fail in clearing up the matter, let us not fret under the wrong put upon us. Let us be content to suffer with Christ, in the hope that we may be also glorified together. Lastly, the more we suffer unjustly here, let us be the more thereby led to set our affections on things above, and to look forward with faith and hope to that fast approaching day, when the mischief of evil doers will fall upon their own heads, and when God will vindicate the just.

David magnifieth God's power and goodness.

To the chief musician upon Gittith, A psalm of David.

1 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the

avenger.

3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the

seas.

9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! LECTURE 838.

That we are invited to reign with Christ in heaven. Yes, God's name is excellent in all the earth, though millions of mankind are not aware of it. Excellent is his name, and every where present his power, and every where manifest his wisdom and his love. No one thing there is in all the universe, which does not tell of the hand that made it. The greatest and the least are alike the works of God's creation, the objects of his care, and the proofs of his omnipotence. And out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, among the weakest and most helpless of beings, has He ordained strength; children having been found to love God devotedly and to praise Christ heartily; see Matt. 21. 16; and God having oftentimes appointed the weak things of this world to confound the mighty, as his apostle testifies to the Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 1. 27, and as our Lord Himself bears witness, saying, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes!" Luke 10. 21.

But what honour is this to be put upon such as we are, that God should be honoured by man; even though it were only the chiefest of full grown men, and not also babes and sucklings; what honour is this to be put on man, that God should vouchsafe to be honoured by any of us, that He should be mindful of us at all, much more that He should be mindful of every one of us! When we consider that even the heavens are no more than the work of his fingers, when we look above us, and behold the sun in the firmament, and when we find that no sooner has the sun gone down, than moon and stars become apparent, and distant worlds, invisible in the blaze of day, are opened to our view in the darkness of the night, when we think of their great

distance, and compute their size, when we compare their size with that of the earth which we inhabit, when we divide the earth into sea and land, and distribute the land into its quarters, and think of the small space which our own country occupies in the least quarter of the four, and then reflect what mere specks of space we occupy ourselves, on a very small portion of our country, truly we are lost in endeavouring to follow out the marvellous thought, that God, who made the universe, is mindful of every single human being, knowing all our thoughts, and providing for all our wants.

But not only is He mindful of us, He also visits us. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" He visits us. He holds communion with our spirits by his Spirit. He has visited us in the person of his Son. The Son of God has been made flesh and dwelt among us. He has brought life and immortality to light for us. He has given us superiority over all the other living creatures with which we are surrounded, not only in this, that they are subject to our strength and skill, but in this also, that when they perish, we endure. Many as are their present uses to us, and great as is God's goodness in making them subservient to our use, and largely as they shew forth the providential care, whereby He fills all things living with plenteousness, how much does it add to the devout thankfulness, which these his wondrous works excite in us, when we reflect, that He who made these things for our use in time, has made us for his service throughout all eternity!

But chiefly has God honoured man by the giving his own Son to be our Saviour. Chiefly for this ought God's name to be honoured, and God himself devoutly adored, throughout all the earth, for this, that these words before us were fulfilled, as we learn from the New Testament, in the person of Him" by whom also he made the worlds." Heb. 1. 2. "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour." Heb. 2. 9. We find these words of the psalmist quoted at length in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as a proof that our blessed Lord was from the first higher than the angels; that He humbled Himself, and was made a little lower than them, in order to save us by his death; and that the Almighty Father had thereupon decreed to put all things in subjection under his feet. Let us then with joy and thankfulness reflect, that we are invited to be one with Him, one in exaltation, as well as in humiliation. If here we are bound to share his sufferings, we may expect to partake of his glory hereafter. And unworthy as we seem to ourselves of the notice of One so great as God, we have this sure word of promise from his Son," To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Rev. 3. 21.

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