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dangers from Saul. During his whole reign he was engaged in almost one continual scene of warfare : and in his old age, his own son Absalom conspired against him, and sought his life. It was on this last occasion that he penned this psalm; and gave it to the Church, as a memorial of God's unbounded mercy and faithfulness towards him.
The spirit which he breathes in the words before us shews, I. What should be the subjects of our daily contem
plationWe, like David, have numberless mercies to acknowledge at God's hands. Could we but see one half of the deliverances we have received, we should be perfectly overwhelmed with wonder and astonishment. From our youth up, even to the present moment, his care of us has been unintermitted, and his interpositions truly wonderful. But still greater has been his care for our souls. Behold the “salvation” he has revealed to us: truly, we “cannot know the numbers thereof.” Behold, I say, 1. How inestimable are its blessings !
[Who can ever declare the value of pardon or peace, or holiness or glory? Go down to the dread abodes of hell, and see the misery of unpardoned sin: or go up to the regions of bliss in heaven, and see the joys that are at God's right hand for evermore: or take the state of God's people here on earth; and contrast the liberty enjoyed by his children with the bondage endured by the slaves of Satan; and you will see what unspeakable obligations we owe to God for his converting and saving grace.] 2. How incalculable the price paid for them!
[Truly, “it is not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, that we have been redeemed, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot a.” In comparison of this, ten thousand worlds would have been a worthless sacrifice. How inconceivable the cost! Truly, “ We know not the numbers thereof;" nor could all the angels in heaven count the mighty sum.]
3. How unsearchable the grace displayed in them!
a 1 Pet. i. 19.
[All of them are the fruits of sovereign grace; and all are bestowed on the very chief of sinners ; yea, and bestowed, not only unmerited by us, but unsought and unsolicited. In the first instance, they were given to man when he was risen up in rebellion against his Maker: and even still are they conferred on men, “not according to their works, but according to God's purpose and grace, which he purposed from all eternity in Christ Jesus” our Lord'.]
Let us, then, consider, II. What should be the frame of our minds in relation
to them ? Our determination should resemble that of David : “ Our mouth should shew forth this salvation from day to day”1. In grateful acknowledgments to God
[It seems really wonderful, that men so indebted to their God should be able to find time for any thing but praise. David in his Psalms, sets us a good example: "I will extol thee, my God, O King; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever°." Let us only learn to appreciate aright the mercies we have received, and there will be no bounds to our gratitude, no end to our praise.] 2. In affectionate commendations to men
[David desired to make known to others the goodness of his God. In the psalm just cited, hear how he dilates upon this subject: “ I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works : and men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; and I will declare thy greatness
They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of thy kingdom d.” And what other subject of conversation can we ever find so interesting, so useful, so worthy of a rational being, and, above all, so suitable to a redeemed soul ?] BEHOLD, then,
1. What glorious subjects have ministers to proclaim!
[The Apostles “ preached to men the unsearchable riches of Christe.” “And so filled with this subject was the Apostle Paul, that “he determined to know nothing among his people but Jesus Christ, and him crucified"." This is a subject utterly
b 2 Tim. i. 9. C ver. 8. with Ps. cxlv. 1, 2. d
ver. 24. with Ps. cxlv. 5, 6, 11, 12. See also Ps. xl. 9, 10. Eph. iii. 8. f 1 Cor. ii. 2.
inexhaustible: in it “ are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledgek." O, that every minister would bring it forth to his people! Surely his hearers should soon be enriched; for it cannot be that the Saviour should ever exhibited in vain, and his salvation be offered unto men in vain. But,] 2. How unlike to David are the generality of men!
[David would think and speak of nothing else but God's righteousness and salvation; but the generality of men scarcely ever speak or think of it at all. Indeed, this is the one subject which, beyond all others, is, as it were, by universal consent, proscribed : so that we may mix in company for years and scores of years, and never once hear it brought forward in the way that David and the Apostles spake of it. And even good men are too little impressed with it, either in their conversations with men, or in their secret addresses at the Throne of Grace. Mark the frame of your minds, Brethren, from day to day, and see whether you have not reason to blush and be ashamed for the little impression which this subject makes upon your minds. But as for the world at large, if any thing under heaven can shew them how far they are from God, methinks they must see it by comparing their experience with that of David in our text.]
3. What a resemblance to heaven is the saint's life on earth!
(Let us suppose a saint resembling David, and uttering from his inmost soul the expressions in my text; and you will immediately be reminded of the heavenly host, who “rest not day and night," ascribing, without a moment's intermission, and with all the powers they possess, “ salvation to God and to the Lamb." Take this view, then, of real piety, and seek, my Brethren, to begin your heaven upon earth.]
g Col. ii. 3.
the mown grass; as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents ; the kings of Sheba and Seba had not announced it to us. And this is the very view in which David himself speaks of it in another psalm : “Blessed be the Lord, my strength, my goodness, and my fortress ; my high tower and deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him; or the son of man, that thou makest account of him o? ”]
2. The comfort which man derives from this view of the Deity
[Every one, the meanest as well as the greatest of men, knows what is comprehended in the idea of a “habitation.' It requires no stretch of thought to grasp it: the image is familiar to every mind; and presents itself in all its bearings to every one that has felt the blessings of civilized society. But if we suppose a person to be under the pressure of heavy affliction, whether from the persecutions of men or the assaults of devils, what a comfort must it be to him to contemplate the wisdom, the power, the goodness, the mercy, the love, the faithfulness of Almighty God; and to hear him saying, “Come, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut the doors about thee, and hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast d !” how joyfully will he “ hide himself in the secret of this tabernacle ;” and, like the manslayer that has got within the city of his refuge, lift up his soul in adoring gratitude to God, and look with exultation on his disappointed foe!
The more we contemplate the sentiment that is here propounded, the more we shall see occasion to admire the condescension of our God, and to congratulate man upon the high privilege which is thus accorded to him.]
But it is not as an abstract sentiment that this truth is declared : it is embodied in a petition that is presented to God himself : and therefore, to view it aright, we must contemplate, II. The petition urged
That it is such a petition as every one will do well to offer, will appear, if we mark, 1. The wisdom of it
[Every man has enemies to encounter; nor can any one encounter them in his own strength. But we have a vantage ground to which we may repair, a fortress that is absolutely impregnable. In our God we have not only a wall, but "a wall of fire;" which, whilst it protects his people, will devour their assailants. With such a habitation open to us, would c Ps. cxliv. 1-3.
d Isai. xxvi. 20.
it not be madness to neglect it? Should we not rather “resort to it continually,” yea, and abide in it, that we may enjoy the safety which is thus provided for us? If, indeed, there were any other means of safety, an option would be left us : but not all the powers of heaven and earth can save us, if we turn our back on God, to rely upon an arm of flesh. God has said, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm: but blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is e." To every one, therefore, I would say, Flee to your mountain, that the flames overtake you not; and “look not back in all the plain, lest ye be consumed "."] 2. The piety of it
[David renounced every other hope but that which he had in God. Nor, indeed, did he wish for any other; because he saw that God was all-sufficient for him. He saw in God a sufficiency of grace to receive him, of power to protect him, of love to supply his every need; and hence it was that he was emboldened to offer the petition which we are now contemplating. In truth, without such views of God, no one would ever think of addressing him in such terms as these. There must be a just knowledge of God's character, with suitable affections towards him, else we could never entertain such a desire as is here expressed: it is this apprehension of his excellency that could alone inspire a wish to make him, even his very bosom, our continual resort. But all who have these views of him will unite in that grateful acknowledgment, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations &."] ADDRESS
1. Those who have never yet had these views of God
[Truly, you are greatly to be pitied. For who amongst you can hope to escape all trouble, when it is said that “we are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward?” And whither will you go, when enemies assail you? where will you flee for refuge? or in whom will you find the aid which you will stand in need of? Alas! your state, whatever it may now be, will be terrible beyond expression. You will resemble the host of Pharaoh, who found at last that the God with whom they had presumed to contend was mightier than they. On the other hand, “ acquaint yourselves with God, and you shall be at peace,” both now and in the eternal world.)
2. Those who have resorted to him under this character
[Hear what the Psalmist says concerning you: “Because thou hast made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most
e Jer. xvii. 5–8. f Gen. xix. 17. 8 Ps. xc. 1.