Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

is pride, but lunacy; what is anger, but a fever; what is avarice, but a dropsy; what is lust, but a leprosy; what is sloth, but a dead palsy? Perhaps there are spiritual maladies similar to all corporeal ones. When Jesus Christ was upon earth; he proved himself the physician of men's souls, by the cures which he wrought upon their bodies. It is he alone who forgiveth all our iniquities; it is he alone who healeth all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven.

4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth, or, encircleth, thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.

Man hath two lives; he is, therefore, subject to a double destruction; and, consequently, capable of a twofold redemption. He who is recovered from sickness, and thereby redeemed from that destruction which natural death brings upon the body, will undoubtedly sing this strain in transports of gratitude; and he ought so to do. But what will be the sensations of him who celebrates, in the same words, the spiritual redemption of his soul from death and destruction everlasting? How is he crowned with the loving kindness of Jehovah; how is he encircled by the arms of mercy! “Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour;” never ending length of days; true riches, that abide for ever; and “the honour which cometh from God only."

5. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

It is God who gives us the good things of this world, and who gives us likewise an appetite and a taste to enjoy them. It is God who restores a body, emaciated by sickness, to bloom, vigour, and agility. And he does greater things than these. He satisfies all the desires of the soul with a banquet of spiritual dainties, and bestows on her a relish for the same. By the renovating power of his spirit, he restores her from decrepitude, to the health and strength of a young eagle, so that she can ascend up on high, and contemplate the splendour of the Sun of Righteousness. Thus, at the day of the resurrection, clothed anew with salvation and glory, the body likewise shall rise from earth, and fly away as an eagle toward heaven, to begin an immortal life, and be for ever young.

6. The LORD executed righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

From a consideration of his own particular case, the Psalmist makes a general reflection on that attribute of God, which inclines him to deliver his people, and to punish their oppressors, of what kind soever they be. And here that grand display of the ways and works of Jehovah, the redemption of Israel by the hand of Moses, immediately occurs, and is celebrated Thus each private mercy, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature, should remind us of that public and universal blessing of redemption by Jesus Christ, from which every other blessing flows, as a stream from its foun

[ocr errors]

tain, and for which God ought, therefore, upon all oc'casions, to be praised and glorified.

8. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. When Moses desired Jehovah to show him his

way and his glory, Jehovah passed by, and proclaimed himself, as here, “ Jehovah, merciful and gracious," &c. How full of consolation to the penitent soul are all the words of this verse! The Lord is merciful, the bowels of his tender compassion yearn over us, as those of a mother yearn over the child of her womb; yea, a woman may forget her sucking child, yet can he not forget us:" He is gracious, ready to give us freely all things that are needful for our salvation. He is slow to anger, bearing with the frowardness of his children, with their provocations and relapses for 40, 50, 60, 70 years together, before he strikes the blow; giving them, by this his long suffering, time for re-pentance. And he is plenteous in mercy, great, mighty in mercy, placing his chief glory in this attribute, and hereby teaching us how to estimate true greatness.

9. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10. He hath not dealt with us after our sins ; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

God's chastisements are some of the most eminent proofs of his mercy. They are sent to reclaim us, and to save us from eternal punishment. They continue not always, but are removed when they have done their work; and, while they last, are as nothing in

comparison of those heavy stripes which our sins have deserved.

il. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him. 12. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

We are here presented with three of the most beautiful, apposite, and comforting similitudes in the world. When we lift up our eyes, and behold around us the lofty and stupendous vault of heaven, encircling, protecting, enlightening, refreshing, and cherishing the earth, and all things that are therein, we are biuden to contemplate in this glass, the immeasurable height, the boundless extent, and the salutary influences of that mercy, which, as it were, embraces the creation, and is over all the works of God. Often as we view the sun arising in the east, and darkness flying away from before his face towards the opposite quarter of the heavens, we may see an image of that goodness of Jehovah, whereby we are placed in the regions of illumination, and our sins are removed and put far

away out of his sight. And that our hearts may, at all times, have confidence towards God, he is represented as bearing towards us the fond and tender affection of a father, ever ready to defend, to nourish, and to provide for us, to bear with us, to forgive us, and to receive us in the parental arms of everlasting love.

14. For he knoweth cur frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15. As for man, his days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16. For the moind passeth over it, and it is gone ; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

The consideration of man's frail and perishable estate weighs with the Almighty, and prevails upon him to spare his creature. And doth not the tear of compassion start in the eye of him, who reads the description which David has given of it in these verses ? Man, fallen, mortal man his days are as grass; like that he comes out of the earth, and continues but a short time upon it; as a flower of the field, fair but transient, so he unfolds his beauty in youth, and flourishes awhile in the vigour of manhood; but, lo, in a moment, the breath of Heaven's displeasure, as a blighting wind, passeth over him, and he is gone ; he bows his drooping head, and mingles again with his native dust; his friends and his companions look for him at the accustomed spot, which he once adorned-but in vain—the earth has opened her mouth to receive him, and “ his place shall know him no more."

17. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him; and his righteousness unto children's children: 18. To such as keef his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

Let not man presume, who withers like the green herb; but then, let not man despair, whose nature, with all its infirmities, the Son of God hath taken upon him. The flower which faded in Adam blooms anew in Christ, never to fade again. The mercy of

« ForrigeFortsæt »