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why should there be any delay with you? Does the delay rest with you or with God? Oh, think of this! There is indeed no impediment on His part. He is love! The way is open: 'I am the door,' says Jesus: "by me if any man enter in he shall be saved.' 'Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.' He came to save sinners, to save the lost, the guilty; and His own blessed word is—Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. To-day, if ye will hear
' • His voice, harden not your hearts.' Oh, dear boy, that is the secrethardness of heart, unwillingness to yield the heart, the life to Christ; love of sin, love of the world, fear and shame to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and confess Him before men. With God--through Jesus—there is no impediment to your immediate salvation. Christ has died-He has offered up, and now appears before God with His own blood as a complete atonement for our sins. He bore the curse for us. The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all;' there, and there alone, is your complete, everlasting salvation! Look! Believe! and you are svaed! “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Read the 53rd of Isaiah, and the 3rd of John's Gospel. As the bitten Israelite looked at (believing) the brazen serpent, so the lost sinner looks on Jesus and is saved.
66. The Lord teach you.'
“This letter, though so full of the Gospel, only conveyed to my mind more of the theory of the way of salvation, without being the means of bringing one ray of spiritual light.
“The following letter, which I wrote to my father, and for some reason did not send, will be sufficient to describe what the state of my mind was at that time, and what it continued to be, till the light of the Gospel gently beamed into my benighted and sin-weary soul.
"* Ever since I have read Mr. Denham Smith's tract which gave me, I have been endeavouring to act according to its teaching, and I am very much perplexed, and have been on the point of writing to you for advice.
But then I scarcely know on what to ask your advice, because everything is so lucidly explained that it could scarcely be more explicit; and there is an undefinable something about it which I cannot understand, though language could not be more plain. Again, you tell me the self-same things in your letter, lucidly and plainly, and yet all is dark. Then you would say, 'Pray to be enlightened. I have prayed, hours and hours, morning, noon, and night, and I find myself becoming harder and harder. The answer is obvious: I do not ask aright; but I cannot unless it is given me to do so; and thus I remain perplexed and in the dark, and seem to be drifting farther and farther from the light.'
“ About three weeks had passed since my father's memorable visit; and I was still in the same state of mind; expecting my tears and my prayers to conciliate an angry God, and almost despairing because they brought me no peace. At times I had endeavoured to drown my feelings in boisterous merriment. I sang, danced, and laughed, while my soul was as dark, as cold, as death-like as a sepulchre. Meanwhile I had received letters from my father and newly-saved brother and sister, all endeavouring to lead me as a lost sinner to the cross of Jesus, but without success; though indeed they were the means of laying a
foundation of knowledge, of which I only became aware when it was illuminated and fertilized by the Holy Spirit.
“One evening I received a letter from my brother R– I read it hurriedly, and folded it again, to read it more carefully when alone. When I retired to my room I read carefully and thoughtfully; the finished work of Jesus was again unfolded before me, and I was assured that it was all for me, if I took my place as a sinner. One remark especially struck me; he said, 'If I assured you of the truth of a certain statement, and you refused to believe it, or said you could not believe it, you would not wonder at my thinking you unkind._I began now to see that I had been taking a wrong view of the case; Jesus had been commending His blessed Gospel to me, and I had been refusing it, by expecting salvation through my prayers, my tears, my repentance. How unkind to Jesus! I would fall on my knees, and ask to be enabled to believe it all. I was almost in the attitude of prayer, when I checked myself. That was just what I had been doing for three weeks, and I had made no progress.
• No,' I said, 'I must believe it now, and when I fall on my knees, let it be to thank God for salvation, not to ask for it. Looking up to heaven I slowly repeated,
'I do believe, I will believe,
That Jesus died for me;
That I might happy be.'
“And whilst I repeated it, and re-repeated it, the light gently, slowly, sweetly, broke in upon my fainting soul. I heard the voice of Jesus; by grace I believed it, and I passed from death unto life! And though ten thousand have been the snares that Satan has since set for my feet, I can still say, 'I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED. “For we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. To the God of all grace, to the Lamb that was slain, to the Spirit of quickening, one great Jehovah, be all the praise !"
In the following month these two sons and their youngest brother returned home for the Easter holidays. On the Sunday afternoon some time was delightfully spent in singing hymns from the.“ Times of Refreshing.” In the evening my youngest daughter retired to bed, as usual, earlier than the rest of the family. An hour or two afterwards, her sister on entering the bedroom was surprised to find her not, as she expected, in bed, but still sitting up; and in reply to an expression of surprise at this, her sister threw herself into her arms, and sobbing, exclaimed, “Oh, J—, I believe I am saved !” A few minutes after we were startled to see the two sisters return to the drawing-room and announce to us the joyful intelligence that this lamb was gathered into the fold of Christ; and we then united in ascribing “glory, honour, praise and power,” to that blessed Saviour who had graciously revealed himself to her; and in earnest prayer that he would ever his bosom.”
(To be concluded next month.)
carry her in
Expositions of the Psalms.
BY O. H. SPURGEON.
TITLE.—"A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his Son." You will remember the sad story of David's flight from his own palace, when, in the dead of the night, he forded the brook Kedron, and went with a few faithful followers to hide himself for awhile from the fury of his rebellious son. Remember that David in this was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, too, fled; he, too, passed over the brook Kedron when his own people were in rebellion against him, and with a feeble band of followers he went to the garden of Gethsemane. He, too, drank of the brook by the way, and therefore doth he lift up the head. By very many expositors this is entitled THE MORNING Hymn. May we ever wake with holy confidence in our hearts, and a song upon our •lips !
DIVISION.—This Psalm may be divided into four parts of two verses each. Indeed, many of the Psalms cannot be well understood unless we attentively regard the parts into which they should be divided. They are not continuous descriptions of one scene, but a set of pictures of many kindred subjects. As in our modern sermons, we divide our discourse into different heads, 80 is it in these Psalms. There is always unity, but it is the unity of a bundle of arrows, and not of a single solitary shaft. Let us now look at the Psalm before us. In the first two verses you have David making a complaint to God concerning his enemies; he then declares his confidence in the Lord (3, 4), sings of his safety in sleep (5, 6), and strengthens himself for future conflict (7, 8).
they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. The
poor broken-hearted father complains of the multitude of his enemies : and if you turn to 2 Samuel xv. 12, you will find it written that “the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom,” while the troops of David constantly diminished ! Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!" Here is a note of exclamation to express the wonder of woe which amazed and perplexed the fugitive father. Alas! I see no limit to my misery, for my troubles are enlarged! There was enough at first to sink me very low; but lo! my enemies multiply. When Absalom, my darling, is in rebellion against me, it is enough to break my heart; but, lo! Ahithophel hath forsaken me, my faithful councellors have turned their backs on me; lo! my generals and soldiers have deserted my standard. “How are they increased that trouble me!” Troubles always come in flocks. Sorrow hath a numerous family.
Many are they that rise up against me." Their hosts are far superior to mine! Their numbers are too great for my reckoning!
Let us here recall to our memory the innumerable hosts which beset our Divine Redeemer. The legions of our sins, the armies of fiends, the crowd of bodily pains, the host of spiritual sorrows, and all the allies of death and hell, set themselves in battle against the Son of Man. O how precious to know and believe that he has routed their hosts, and trodden them down in his anger ! They who would have troubled us he has removed into captivity, and those who would have risen up against us he has laid low. The dragon lost his sting when he dashed it into the soul of Jesus.
David complains before his loving God of the worst weapon of his enemies' attacks, and the bitterest drop of his distresses. “Oh !" saith David, “ many there be that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God." Some of his dis
trustful friends said this sorrowfully, but his enemies exultingly boasted of it, and longed to see their words proved by his total destruction. This was the unkindest cut of all, when they declared that his God had forsaken him. Yet David knew in his own conscience that he had given them some ground for this exclamation, for he had committed sin against God in the very light of day. Then they flung his crime with Bathsheba into his face, and they said, “Go up, thou bloody man ; God hath forsaken thee and left thee.” Shimei cursed him, and swore at him to his very face, for he was bold because of his backers, since multitudes of the men of Belial thought of David in like fashion. Doubtless, David felt this infernal suggestion to be staggering to his faith. If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be lead to fear that there is no help for us in God. And yet remember our most blessed Saviour had to endure this in the deepest degree when he cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” He knew full well what it was to walk in darkness and to see no light. This was the curse of the curse. This was the wormwood mingled with the gall. To be deserted of his Father was worse than to be the despised of men. Surely we should love him who suffered this bitterest of temptations and trials for our sake. It will be a delightful and instructive exercise for the loving heart to mark the Lord in his agonies as here pourtrayed, for there is here, and in very many other Psalms, far more of David's Lord than of David himself.
“Selah.” This is a musical pause ; the precise meaning of which is not known. Some think it simply a rest, a pause in the music; others say it means, “ Lift up the strain-sing more loudly-pitch the tune upon a higher key--there is nobler matter to come, therefore retune your harps." Harp-strinys soon get out of order and need to be screwed up again to their proper tightness, and certainly our heart-strings are evermore getting out of tune. Let “Selah” teach us to pray
"O may my heart in tune be found
Like David'sharp of solemn sound." At least, we may learn that wherever we see Selah," we should look upon it as a note of observation. Let us read the passage which precedes and succeeds it with greater earnestness, for surely there is always something excellent where we are required to rest and pause and meditate, or when we are required to lift up our hearts in grateful song.
“ SELAH." 3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. Here David avows his confidence in God. Thou, O Lord, art a shield for
0 me.” The word in the original signifies more than a shield; it means a buckler round about, a protection which shall surround a man entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within. Oh! what a shield is God for his people! He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, he speaks peace to the tempest within the breast. Thou art my glory." David knew that though he was driven from his capital in contempt and scorn, he should yet return in triumph, and by faith he looks upon God as honouring and glorifying him. O for grace to see our future glory amid present shame! Indeed, there is a present glory in our afflictions, if we could but discern it; for it is no mean thing to have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. David was honoured when he made the ascent of Olivet, weeping, with his head covered ; for he was in all this made like unto his Lord. May we learn, in this respect, to glory in tribulations also ! “ And the lifter up of mine head”—thou shalt yet exalt me. Though I hang my head in
sorrow, I shall very soon lift it up in joy and thanksgiving. What a divine trio of mercies is contained in this verse !--defence for the defenceless, glory for the despised, and joy for the comfortless. Verily we may well say, “ There is nore like the God of Jeshurun."
“I cried unto the Lord with my voice.” Why doth he say, “ with my voice ?" Surely, silent prayers are heard. Yes, but good men often find that, even in secret, they pray better aloud than they do when they utter no vocal sound. Perhaps, moreover, David would think thus :-“My cruel enemies clamour against me; they lift up their voices, and, behold, I lift up mine, and my cry outsoars them all
. They clamour, but the cry of my voice in great distress pierces the very skies, and is louder and stronger than all their tumult; for there is one in the sanctuary who hearkens to me from the seventh heaven, and he hath 'heard me out of his holy hill.'” Answers to prayers are sweet cordials for the soul. We need not fear a frowning world while we rejoice in a prayer-hearing God.
Here stands another Selah. Rest awhile, 0 tried believer, and change the strain to a softer air.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
David's faith enabled him to lie down; anxiety would certainly have kept him on tiptoe, watching for an enemy, Yea, he was able to sleep, to sleep in the midst of trouble, surrounded by foes. “So he giveth his beloved sleep.' There is a sleep of presumption ; God deliver us from it! There is a sleep of holy confidence; God help us so to close our eyes! But David says he awaked also. Some sleep the sleep of death ; but he, though exposed to many enemies, reclined his head on the bosom of his God, slept happily beneath the wing of Providence in sweet security, and then awoke in safety. “ For the Lord sustained me.” The sweet influence of the Pleiades of promise shone upon the sleeper, and he awoke conscious that the Lord had preserved him. An excellent divine has well remarked—“This quietude of a man's heart by faith in God, is a higher sort of work than the natural resolution of manly courage, for it is the gracious operation of God's Holy Spirit upholding a man above nature, and therefore the Lord must have all the glory of it.”
Buckling on his harness for the day's battle, our hero sings, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” Observe that he does not attempt to under-estimate the number or wisdom of his enemies. He reckons them at tens of thousands, and he views them as cunning huntsmen chasing him with cruel skill. Yet he trembles not, but looking his foeman in the face he is ready for the battle. There may be no way of escape ; they may hem me in as the deer are surrounded by a circle of hunters; they may surround me on every side, but in the name of God I will dash through them; or, if I remain in the midst of them, yet shall they not hurt me ; I shall be free in my very prison.
But David is too wise to venture to the battle without prayer; he therefore betakes himself to his knees, and cries aloud to Jehovah.
7 Arise, O LORD ; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
His only hope is in his God, but that is so strong a confidence, that he feels the Lord hath but to arise and he is saved. It is enough for the Lord to stand up, and all is well. He compares his enemies to wild beasts, and he declares that God hath broken their jaws, so that they could not injure him ; “ Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly." Or else he alludes to the peculiar temptations