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Gracious Remembrance —Ps ix ,

XII.

GRACIOUS REMEMBRANCE.

1 I WIll praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.

2 I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou

Most High.

3 When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy pre

sence.

4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; thou satest in the throne

judging right.

5 Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.

6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end!

And thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

7 But the Lord shall endure for ever; he hath prepared his throne for judg

ment;

8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness,

He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.

9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. 1o And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee:

For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

11 Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people

his doings.

12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.

13 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them

that hate me, Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death;

14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion! I will rejoice in thy salvation.

15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: In the net which they hid is their own foot taken.

16 The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth:

The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.

17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten:

The expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.

19 Arise, O Lord ; let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in thy sight.

20 Put them in fear, O Lord ; that the nations may know themselves to be but

men. Selah.—Psalm 1x.

HOWEVER the Psalms may differ, in this they agree, that every one of them contains utterances of joy, for each anticipates victory and deliverances from the Lord. We may have to descend into the valley of humiliation, but we shall be brought forth with the voice of praise and thanksgiving; for ours is not the sorrow of the world, which worketh death. What a blessed covenant-God is ours! how merciful in all His dealings; how faithful in all His leadings! In all things and at all times we can implicitly trust Him. Hence, if one resolve is more settled than another in the renewed soul, it is to praise Him 'with the whole heart.' Let us remember that all is done and finished for us: nothing, therefore, is left but to 'praise Thee, O Jehovah!' The salvation of our souls— alike the forgiveness of sins, the sanctification of the heart, and final perseverance—are secured by what Christ has already done, and Thou hast already accepted.

Nor can ours be merely the praise of the lips: it is that of the heart, and of the 'whole heart' (ver. 1). 'The love of Christ constraineth us;' 'we love Him because He first loved us.' And such love engrosses the whole heart; it also leads to corresponding action: 'I will show forth all Thy marvellous works.' Henceforth this theme must wholly occupy us, and form the object of our lives (vers. 1, 2). A child of God is of necessity a missionary. If others speak well of what they love, how can we otherwise than 'show forth' all His 'marvellous works?' Besides, our deliverances are not all over and past; they are daily renewed. We breathe an atmosphere of miracles, and move in a path which shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. We believe, not merely because He saw us under the fig-tree—marvel of grace though this was—but because we still ' see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.' Our enemies, which are His also, ' are turned back.' It needs no visible weapons to destroy them. God sends not an army and horsemen to destroy Herod in the hour of his pride. The worms will suffice for it. And this is a marked characteristic of such dispensations, that when He beginneth, He maketh a full end with His enemies. When they ' are turned back, they shall fall and perish at Thy presence.' Observe, in history and in Providence, this distinction—while the heathen are rebuked (whether so far as their persons or the heathen element is concerned), the wicked are destroyed, and their very name, remembrance, achievements, and undertakings, are brought to a perpetual end (vers. 4-7). How calmly and patiently may we look on! (ver. 7.) It is as if we emerged from a stifled atmosphere into sweet, pure summer air; it is as if we escaped from storm and wreck to some quiet, landlocked haven of rest. 'But the Lord shall endure for ever! There is here a very noteworthy inference.

F

From the dealings of Jehovah we rise to a view of His character. History teaches doctrine, and Providence points to grace. These two, indeed, illustrate each other. From His Word I learn to know His working, and from His working I learn to understand His Word. In one sense all history is Christian; for the government is on His shoulder. History either prepares the way for Christ, or the way of Christ. And what a glorious assurance, that amidst all upheavings, 'nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure.' How fully, then, may I trust my cares, wants, and difficulties to Him! That which is awful to the sinner is the ground of my confidence. His faithfulness and truth, His righteousness and strength, are all arrayed on the side of His people (vers. 9, 10). The truths about God, which strike terror into the heart of the world, bring sweetest comfort to the Church. 'And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.'

O my soul, what more than this couldest thou require? It reacheth to the highest height, and descendeth to the lowest depth; it extendeth to heaven, and cometh down to the dust. If we know Thy blessed name, O our Jesus, Thy love and Thy power, we will rest on Thee, both calmly and safely, till these calamities be overpast. And if I am not conscious of trust; if darkness gather around my mind, and sadness sit on my heart—Lord, Thou hast not (Thou never canst and never hast) forsaken them that seek Thee, nor any one of them. If I cannot hold, I am holden; if I have not conscious faith, Thou hast faithfulness. The more I look out of myself and to Him, the more entirely I forget myself and remember Him; the more simple my faith is—not studying its own actings so much as Him and His grace and power— the more peace and cause for praise shall I have (ver. 11). Such experience will find a way outward. There is, so to speak, a propelling character in the experience of grace. 'We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.' Excessive prudence is sometimes excessive coldness, fear of men, and want of realizing faith. 'Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.' Let us also remember that it is the special commission of the Lord, the special mission of the Church, to 'declare among the nations His doings,' or magnalia,' and,' as Calvin has it,' even though this be like preaching to deaf ears.' Answers to prayer may be delayed for a time, at least so far as outward manifestations (not the inward feeling of peace and security) are concerned. They will, however, certainly come, and that, perhaps, in times of judgment to the world (ver. 12). 'He remembereth them,' long after their prayer has ascended ; ' He forgetteth not the cry of the humble,' long after the event which had called it forth has passed away. On these Divine facts the believer rests his petition and his hope. Thus vers. 13, 14 embody the prayer of the undeserving through Christ, his felt need, the plea of experienced salvation (' Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death'), and the grand object of glorifying God and rejoicing in Him (ver. 14). Such expectations cannot be put to shame nor perish (ver. 18). In His long-suffering and patience the Lord waiteth long, and waiteth to be gracious. But how awful will be His manifestation, when He adjusteth the balance of His moral government, and 'is known' in view of all His universe ' by the judgment which He executeth! That sad and strange 'quid pro quo,' as one calls it, which is indicated in the terms of the original, ' let not man prevail,' or be strong—the word for 'man' being derived from the verb 'to be weak'—will cease when the Lord shall come. Then shall we be found safe—safe in the clefts of the Rock, —till the storm that shatters the rocks, and the earthquake which shakes the mountains, and the awful fire that lights up that night, are past. Till the morning breaks, we feed among the lilies!

1. 'Yet a little while/—God's 'little while,' not mine. Then shall all be adjusted, all put to right; order come out of seeming confusion, light out of darkness, and life out of death. May I not be content to wait with the Master in the ship? Only believe: all things are possible to him that believeth. Let me look around. Oh, what change will take place, and what beauty, when the Lord createth all things anew I And of this we have already both the assurance and the first-fruits in the covenant of grace.

2. I have got, so to speak, four handles by which to lay hold on this Psalm ; four steps by which to reach its topmost branches, and shake the olives from its boughs. Thy power and work are my joy (vers. 1, 2); Thyself and Thy name my refuge (vers. 9, 10); Thy mercy my salvation (vers. 13, 14); and Thy faithfulness my hope and confidence (vers. 18, 19).

3. ' None shall pluck them out of My hand ;' and, by grace, none shall pluck this out of my hand. I will make ver. 10 my bed of rest. Truly it is a perfect verse. Often have I, in times past, experienced its sweetness and truth. When driven from one clause, I have fled to the other; and from this last, the seeking of Thee, my God in Christ, none can drive me. Whatever else I am or do, I will seek Thee. 'How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God; therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings.' Though I be the vilest, the weakest, and the lowest of Thy people, Thy love and Thy grace condescend to me; nor can I find 'stronger consolation' than this of verse 10. Amen. Even so let it be with me, both to-day and for ever!

The trials that beset you,

The sorrows ye endure,
The manifold temptations

That Death alone can cure, —

What are they, but His jewels

Of right celestial worth?
What are they but the ladder

Set up to heaven on earth?

O happy band of pilgrims!

Look upward to the skies,
Where such a light affliction

Shall win you such a prize!

S. Joseph Of The Stad1um.

{Hymns of the Eastern Church.)