Holy Resolutions —Ps ci ,


, I I W1ll sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.

2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto

I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:

I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

4 A froward heart shall depart from me; I will not know a wicked person.

5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off;
Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land,
That they may dwell with me:

He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.

7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.

8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land;

That I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord.—Psalm C1.

Such a hymn of praise as the grand doxology of Ps. xcix. could not die away without an echo. Accordingly, Ps. c. may be regarded as forming the chorus of the Church, and this as taking up and applying that part of the doxology which celebrated the present manifestation of the 'King in His beauty.' More especially does it convert into appropriate praise the precious experience of Ps. xcix. 4: 'The King's


strength also loveth judgment: Thou dost establish equity, Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.' For what He loveth we celebrate and we long for; what He establisheth we seek to obtain ; what He executeth, we endeavour, through grace, to see accomplished. Thus is ' the same mind' in us also which was in Him; we follow in His footsteps, and become 'fellow-workers' with Him. In this manner pray we: 'Thy kingdom come,' that, while well assured that only the promise of the King Himself will restore order and peace, yet we immediately add, in word and deed and endeavour: 'Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.' Ours it is not only to hope, but to believe; and because we believe, to speak and to act. And how much influence for good the prayers, the example, and the efforts of even the humblest Christian can exercise, the history of the Church has amply proved. Every one occupies not the position of a David, but every one may have a kingly heart; and so far as in him lies, if under the influence of grace, may carry out the holy resolutions of vers. 2-8.

Thus, as one has observed, more clearly than anything else, this short hymn discloses to us the spiritual elevation of David's soul, and the full light which shone in upon his heart. For the Psalm reads like a short and involuntary outburst of feelings long cherished, without any attempt at completely exhausting the subject. And as the heart of David was completely filled with this one grand experience, as this one object wholly engrossed him, and here expressed itself in one special manner, so this hymn forms also an unbroken whole, without division into stanzas. Yet, as indicating the harmony of his soul, it is remarkable that this most experimental is also one of the most musical and rhythmical of the Psalms, as may even be gathered from this specimen :—

'Mercy and judgment will I sing—to thee, Jehovah, psalmody;
Wisely behave in a perfect way—when wilt thou come to me?
I will walk with a perfect heart—in the midst of my house.
I will not set before mine eyes—a thing of Belial.'

In the opening words of this hymn its keynote is struck: 'I will sing of mercy and judgment' Here we perceive the twofold manifestation of God's character, the twofold meaning of the past, and the twofold bearing of the future. 'Mercy,' or grace, flows from the infinite love of the Father in Christ Jesus our Saviour. 'Judgment' is equity, truth, holiness, and righteousness in their application. Upon these two primary facts in the Divine character and administration the believer fixes his eye; these he exalts in his song of praise. From them also spring alike his hope for the present and the future of himself and of the Church, and the motives of his conduct. Because he thus keeps his mind and heart fixed upon the revelation of God, he understands the past, and he can regulate and dispose his own future. Thy mercy is my hope; Thy righteousness my guide. Influenced by a constraining sense of Thy mercy, I purify myself, I determine my bearing towards others, I form holy resolutions, and separate myself, in conduct, in speech, and in undertakings, from the world, joining myself to Thee and Thy people, and looking forward ' unto the perfect day.'

It is indeed pleasant and profitable to review the history of the past, if by grace we can sum it up into devout acknowledgment of God, and spiritual resolutions for the future. How much of' mercy and judgment' marks our past course! A brutish man knoweth not, a fool understandeth not. This inability to discern the controlling and guiding element of sovereign love, on the one hand, and of holiness, on the other, explains the practical atheism and the misery of the men of this world. The absence of the living God, like that of the sun in the material world, must result in gloom and death. The recognition by faith of His mercy and of His judgments, sheds light and joy across our path. We walk at large, and praise the Lord. Then, even though there be judgments, we can 'sing' of them—both so far as we and others are concerned—for all things must work together for good to them that love Him (ver. 1). The tendency of all His dealings is to make us walk 'wisely in a perfect way.' But for this purpose we require the quickening influence of His felt presence. We cannot walk in a perfect way, except in company with Jesus. If we live in the Spirit, we shall also walk in the Spirit (ver. 2). But ah! how difficult to separate ourselves wholly, in heart, speech, and behaviour, from the world (vers. 3, 4, 5). It is strange—this is the only word which truly expresses the feeling evoked—as well as most humbling to notice, how, even after years of teaching and following the Lord, the heart seems still to cling to vanity and sin. What a hold has besetting sin upon the imagination! To 'set the thing of Belial before mine eyes' (ver. 3), is the bitter root of most evil. Yet though in His holiness the Lord sometimes allows the lust conceived in the heart to bring forth sin, as even in the case of Abraham (Gen. xii. 12, 13), yet it is most comforting to observe how frequently and marvellously His providence co-operates with His grace in keeping His people from transgressing. Thus we have an almost hourly answer to the prayer, ' Lead us not into temptation.' Let us well mark, however, the resolution of the renewed soul through grace; the inward separation (ver. 3), the outward separation from all wicked doers (ver. 4), and especially its horror of those plague-spots of the Church and of society—a slanderous tongue, an high look, and a proud heart (ver. 5). Most clear and distinct also is the longing of the spiritual mind after fellowship with believers; the choice of godly counsels, in opposition to carnal desires, being laid down as a first principle of conduct (vers. 6, 7). Nor let us forget that the holy vow ' to destroy all the wicked of the land,' and to 'cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord,' must begin at our own hearts as His sanctuary, the temple of the Holy Ghost.

1. What is my record of God's dealings? Is it careful and mindful? do I note His leadings and mark His interposition, specially with the view of beholding His glory, the manifestation of His love and His holiness, and of throwing light on His covenant? Providence exhibits grace, and grace illustrates providence; both are the working of our covenant God in and through Christ. Again, is my record of His dealings in the voice of song; is it gladsome, filial, and trustful? Is it so in regard to the past, and in prospect of to-day's duties and trials?

2. How may I walk more wisely in a perfect way? What may I do to-day in following the Lord and seeking to serve Him by doing or suffering? God's way is to-day for me a perfect way, however otherwise it may appear to blind unbelief. If I am straitened, it is not in Him. Let me then cast myself unreservedly upon Him, and by faith seek to pierce the gloom; let me entreat His direction, and with simplicity and earnestness of heart concern myself with this one thing—to cling unto Christ with soul and life.

3. Let me now bring all my sins, but especially my besetting sin, to Christ; to wash away its guilt, and to find grace to help. This day let me pray and watch, and beware of mine eyes, my tongue, and my heart.

4. Let me be jealous of my feelings towards His saints; let me ever view them as His children. Do I really regard them as brethren; do I love the brethren—all the brethren? Am I concerned for Christ's Church, without respect of sect or party--the body of Christ; and wherein do I seek to promote its increase and wellbeing? Let me now seek to realize the spiritual character of the Church, and my own living connexion with it, and with Him who is its exalted Head. 'Out of His fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.'

Holy Sp1r1t, come, we pray,
Come from heaven and shed the ray
Of Thy light Divine.

What is arid, fresh bedew;
What is sordid, cleanse anew;

Balm on the wounded pour.

What is rigid, gently bend;
On what is cold, Thy fervour send;
What has stray'd, restore.

K1ng Robert II. Of France.

{The Voice of Christian Lije in Song.)