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ofitis redemptionyou see the on the general p
would produce many great and blessed consequences enabling them to taste and see that the Lord was mer. ciful, and filling their hearts with thanksgiving and praise for all his mercies.
I have now laid before you the general plan of the whole Psalm-you see the great subject here treated of is redemption--and the proper disposition of mind, with which we are to consider it, is a thankful heartand the holy Spirit recorded this sacred hymn to be the means of exciting in us thankfulness. And may his grace and blessing go along with these lectures upon it, and bring them home with such power and evidence to your hearts, that his gracious intentions in recording it may be fully answered. And if it be the sincere desire of your souls, if you indeed wish to find profit from these lectures, then I will only detain you, while I give you two or three short exhortations, relating to the general plan, which I have laid before you.
The first is an exhortation to the reading of the Psalm which I hope you will frequently do in private. It is an abstract of the whole Bible: for the two great subjects of the Old Testament and the New, are man's sin and misery by nature, and his recovery by grace, and these are here clearly, though briefly discussed. You will therefore greatly profit from read. ing it if you remember the four chief parts of what it consists, viz.
First, An exhortation to thanksgiving, in the three first verses, for redemption.
Secondly, The reasons for our thanksgiving from the 4th to the 33d verse, relating to man's misery before redemption. And
Thirdly, Reasons relating to Christ's manner of governing the church, after it is redeemed, from the 87th to the 42d verse. And
Fourthly, The application, exhorting us to study and to understand these mercies of redemption, that our thanksgiving may flow from a grateful heart. The
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more you read the Psalm in this view, the better you will understand it, and the more reason you will find to admire its excellencies. And
Secondly, I would not only exhort you to read it much, but also to pray for that humble, teachable temper, which alone can render the reading of it profitable to your souls. It is the word of God; it is the instruction which the all-wise Spirit has provided in order to inspire you with love and thankfulness to your most adorable Saviour. And when he vouchsafes to instruct you, hear with all humility, and learn of him the words of eternal life. Let his will be yours-his commandments your delight. But
Thirdly, Let it be chiefly remembered from whence the blessing of all is to come: for neither can the humble frame of mind, nor the benefit arising from it, be attained by our own abilities. They must both come from one and the same Spirit. God must first teach us the grace of humility, and then enable us to reap profit from it: for he is the giver of every good and spiritual gift. So that whenever you begin to read this or any other portion of scripture, if you desire it should be profitable to your souls, always look up to the holy Spirit, and desire his gracious assistance. This was the prophet's method, “ Lord open thou mine “ eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy “ law.” And these wondrous things we may also behold, if we read the law of God as he did, with humility and prayer. And if you desire to see the wonderful wisdom of God, in the plan of your redemption, you must use the prophet's words--Lord open thou mine eyes to see it: for you could no more see this wisdom, unless the day star was arisen and shone bright in your hearts, than you could see those outward objects, unless the light of the sun shone in your eyes. And therefore convinced of this, let so many of us as lack wisdom, now ask it of God, and I know of no words more significant and expressive, nor yet more devout and pious, than these of our
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own church, which I shall apply to the present occasion.
O almighty and eternal Spirit, who hast caused this sacred hymn to be written for our learning, send down thy blessing upon our studies in it. And grant that we may in such wise hear it, read it, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we máy embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
PSALM CVII. 1, 2, 3. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good : For his mercy endureth for ever: let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy: and gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
In the last lecture I laid before you the general plàn of this sacred hymn. The great subject of it is thanksgiving. The motives to induce us to be thankful are taken from the mercies of God. We are bound to bless and praise his holy name for every instance of his goodness, but above all for that inestimable instance of his love, in redeeming us from the lowest state of sin and misery, and then freely bestowing upon us pardon and peace in this world, and eternal life and glory in the next. The holy Spirit insists chiefly upon this instarice, trying to awaken in us some sense of gratitude for these blessings of redemption. His arguments are the most likely to work upon our hearts, and therefore I will endeavour to open and explain them, trusting to his guidance, and hoping for his blessing.
And may he now take all our hearts into his protection, and drive away every vain intruding thought, which would either dissipate our attention, or distract our affections; and give us, O holy Spirit, the hearing ear, to know what it is to be thankful, and the understanding heart to be able to practise it, that when we finish our present meditations, we may be the better for them, and may be the more disposed to join in praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ our most adorable God and Saviour.
The holy Spirit has set the blessings of redemption
nd may drive a dissipats, o hokiful, and that whatever for
before us in so clear and striking a light, that they who are not affected with the view of them in this Psalm, must be dead to all sense of gratitude. But I would hope there are not many such among you. Every one of you may not perhaps be actuated by the most lively and warm sentiments of thanks to your blessed Redeemer, but you have no objection against having your hearts more inflamed with his love; rather you wish your hearts were more his, than they are; and that your affections were placed and fixed upon him with more delight. Come then ye who are thus disposed, and hear how many powerful motives the holy Spirit has used to inspire you with sincere gratitude to the God of your salvation. “O give thanks unto the “ Lord—for he is good—for his mercy endureth for “ ever.” Thus he begins the Psalm calling upon you to practise the sweet duty of thanksgiving, which arises from our experience of the Redeemer's mercies, and therefore we cannot but receive great delight, whenever we so remember his mercies as to find still stronger motives to bless and praise him for them. And this is what we are called upon to practise in the first words O give thanks and the duty may be thus defined. Thanksgiving is a grateful expression of praise, arising from an heart sensible of the mercies of redemption. Because I shall always use the word in this sense, I must desire you to remember, that by thanksgiving I mean a grateful expression of praise, &c. It is such a grateful expression of praise, as comes from the heart: for no man will praise God until he has some sense and perception of God's mercy, and praise is not a lip-service, it does not consist in uttering a set of thankful words; it is not the praise of the mouth, but of the heart. Religious praise is the service of the affections, and flows from true and hearty love to that object which we praise : for we are always ready enough to praise the thing that we delight in. Whatever is the dear object of our affections, on it we are lavish enough of our praises. The heart will command all the facul