Immagini della pagina

Gen. xxix. 20. Jesus served thirty-two years from love to your soul; and as if that were a small thing, He died from love to you; and now He has risen from the tomb, and asks you if there was ever love like unto His love? or any one, therefore, to be preferred before Him? Oh, what an ada. mantine heart must beat within us, if it respond not to such a love as this—if we “ yield not ourselves unto God, as those that are alive with Him from the dead;” our members as the subjects of His “righteousness,” our hearts as the subjects of His “peace,” our spirits as the subjects of His “joy.” Thus will His kingdom of grace be established in our souls; and with all loyalty and love we shall be brought to say, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of Thee.” How blessed is the reign of love, when Jesus sits enthroned on the affections of the heart. Christ bears rule, and all is peace and harmony. Hardship seems nothing for the love we bear to Him. A whole lifetime spent in His service appears “but as a few days.” Religion is no longer a task, a monotony, a dulness. It becomes a liberty and a delight. We hail the Sabbath-day with welcome. We joy when it is said to us, Let us go into the house of the Lord. The chapter that we read is not now selected for its brevity; and the prayers we offer are no longer mere formal repetitions. At one time we may have been accustomed to say, “I must read a chapter. I must say my prayers. I must go to church. I must try to be good.” Now, under the reign of grace, the spontaneous utterance of the heart is

this: “I will continually try to please my God in all things. I will diligently read His word, that I may learn His will regarding me. I will earnestly and thankfully present my petitions in the closet and in the sanctuary.” And then the commandments are regarded as royal commands, as gracious invitations, as welcome messages; as courtiers regard theirs from their beloved Sovereign, and count themselves honored to receive them ; so in regard to the Ten Commandments, the imperative becomes the optative mood, by this logic of loyalty and affection; and when the King of heaven says “THou SHALT,” the believer joyfully replies, “I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength ;” and as Jesus said, so we in measure are enabled to say, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God, yea, thy law is within my heart.” With David we are enabled by grace to rejoice and thank our God unfeignedly, that His kingdom ruleth over all. With gladness and with gratitude we place ourselves under His rule. In fervency of desire we say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come and reign in my heart. Let me be wholly Thine. Let no other Lord have dominion over me. Reign over me in body, soul, and spirit, in time, and throughout eternity. Regulate my motives and desires. Rule over my judgment, my imagination, and my affections. Set up Thy prepared throne upon the province of my will. Yea, over my soul and all that is within me, extend Thy sceptre; and come, the Lord of all, and take possession of this world, that Thy dominion may be from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth (Psa. lxxii. 8); then will my soul bless Thee, O Lord, and all that is within me will magnify Thy holy name, because Thy kingdom ruleth over all.”

[ocr errors]

Rless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word. — Verse 20. HAVING summoned all his faculties, enumerated all God’s benefits, and soared in gratitude to the highest point, the Psalmist finds, by the Spirit, that all he had desired is not half accomplished. He finds his faculties inadequate, his enumeration incomplete, and his gratitude imperfect. His intention in composing this Psalm, had been to “BLESS the Lord.” He had proposed to himself, herein, the noblest object that can occupy the mind; and, to aid him to attain it, he had collected the most ample materials that could possibly be reached. All he knew, and all that he could think of, in the past and in the present, were adduced to help. The Spirit had led him from thought to thought, from mercy to mercy. His soul becomes enlarged with most exalted conceptions of Divine goodness. And the Spirit vividly im. presses these two truths upon his mind, that God is worthy of infinite blessing, and that all blessing is unworthy of His infinite excellence—“His praise is above heaven and of the Lord stand before and around him as mighty mountains that cannot be covered by the highest tide of praise. The abounding goodness, the pardoning mercy, and the everlasting love of his Redeemer can never be sufficiently extolled. The longer he meditates on His mercies, the more wonderful, and undeserved, and innumerable, and inestimable do they appear. He longs for some one to aid him in his praises. All earthly gratitude seems too gross, too selfish, too cold, too transient. His own gratitude appears to be scarcely worthy of the name; and yet poor and feeble as it is, he feels that it cannot be repressed. Bless God I must. Bless God I will. Everything within me shall praise His name. All the members of my body shall subserve His glory. For ever will I bless the Bestower of my benefits, the Pardoner of my sins. His goodness is inexhaustible; His love is ineffable; His benefits are immeasurable; His mercy is everlasting; His kingdom ruleth over all. Angels are my fellow-subjects. Every created thing is indebted to my King. Raise then your songs all ye in heaven and earth. Join me in this glorious work of praising God. “Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word.” “Bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion : bless the Lord, O my soul.” How natural is this address of the Psalmist. When the heart is full, either of joy, or of sorrow, we long for sympathy, for fellow-feeling, for enlarged, and prolonged, and united utterances. The believer cannot be satisfied to praise God alone. He longs that every creature should do Him homage. He knows that God is worthy to be praised—so worthy that if every man, and angel, and intelligent being that ever existed, should speak His praise, His praise could not sufficiently be spoken. The believer knows that it is the duty of every created being to glorify the Lord. He feels it also to be his own bounden duty—his one grand duty upon earth. He feels it not only to be his duty, but also, by grace, to be his supreme delight. Not by nature, but by the visitations of God's Spirit, the love within his heart becomes at times so fervent, and his gratitude so strong, that he knows not how to give it utterance. His thoughts are too feeble, his voice too weak, his words too poor. If he had a hundred tongues he could more than occupy them all in this glorious theme. And so enlarged does his heart become with thankfulness and joy, that he exclaims “I will extol Thee my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless Thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” Psa. cxlv. 1. And oh! when this pent-up heart, this faltering tongue, these sinful lips, this languid body, shall be transformed on the resurrection morning, then will the full burst of joy and gratitude be heard; and then will the poor be liever love without wavering, and rejoice without mourning, praise without sinning, and bless without ceasing; then will the voice of each ransomed sinner help to swell the tide of thanksgiving, as it flows toward the Triune Jehovah from the whole multitude of the redeemed, never again to chb; and

earth.” Psa. cxlviii. 12. Cranmer's version. The benefits

« IndietroContinua »