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seems the fittest for a full communion. We celebrate our Lord's rising again from death: we express our hope of rising ourselves after we have died, by our union with Him — by His life-giving power imparted to us. But what will so help to that union ? what will so surely bind us to Christ, to the Lord of life and death, as the eating the bread, and drinking the cup which He has appointed to be the means, the chief means, of
, conveying to us of His grace; yea, of Himself? For then, in that sacrament, we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. We dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us!
O my brethren, put not from you such a blessing as this! Put from you all prejudice, all excuses, all that have hitherto hindered you from being guests with Christ at His table; and draw near on this happy day to your Lord, as you have been invited, and feed on Him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving !
Ps. cxlvii. 7, 8. (Prayer-Book Version.)
O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving : sing praises upon
the harp unto our God; who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth : and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men.
THESE are the words of David, the sweet and royal Psalmist of Israel. And fully to enter into them we must transport ourselves, in thought, to the land in which David lived—the land of Palestine; a land not blessed as ours is, with abundant rains, but dry and parched, subject to long droughts; a land not generally rich in herbage, with only here and there a tract of pasture, but for the most part made
up of stony hills, with few trees for shelter or for shadow; a land where water is of the greatest value; where the wells are few and far apart— with only a single river running through it which maintains its waters throughout the
Such is and was the land of Israel ; fertile and rich as compared with the desert which bounded it, but as compared with our own land poor indeed, capable at the best of growing but small crops, and rearing a few scant herds of cattle.
Remembering this, we shall better appreciate the language of David in the text-language that we find almost word for word again in the 104th Psalm.
David writes with his heart full of gratitude to God for His gift of rain. O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving: sing praises upon the harp unto God; who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth: and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men !
We might almost assert that this psalm was composed in spring. Spring, as Eastern travellers tell us, comes with a suddenness and beauty in that bare land of Palestine that we can hardly conceive of. All at once the dry stony hills are clad with the tenderest green, the flowers fill the fields, and the heavens drop down dew. The description in the Song of Solomon is the description of an eye-witness, and is confirmed at this present time by visitors to Palestine. Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
But whether composed in spring or not, this 147th Psalm may teach us a great lesson—a lesson of thankfulness; a lesson of acknowledgment to God for His care, for His care for all His creatures, cattle and birds as well as man. And this is the lesson that is forced upon us at this moment. For who can walk abroad now with his eyes open and not feel that he owes God thanks ? Who that sees, as we see at this time, the change from winter to spring; the change, as if by magic, which each day makes in the landscape; the coming out of the leaf; the bursting of the blade from the clod; the growth of grass, and green herb, and all things serviceable to man,—who, I ask, that sees these things, and considers that they are but the pledge and promise of yet greater bounty, but must feel his heart stir with gratitude to God, and a desire to give utterance to it, as best he may, in words? 0 let the earth bless the Lord; yea, let it praise Him, and magnify Him for ever.
O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving ; sing praises upon the harp unto on
God, who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth the rain for the earth; and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men!
I take you with me, brethren, when I say that we feel the call which spring makes upon us for gratitude. There is a voice now which appeals to us at every step, from tree, and field, and flower, with this appeal,- Praise ye the Lord for His goodness; and we do, many of us, respond to that appeal: we say, if not in actual uttered words, yet silently in our hearts within, The Lord be praised !
Yes, the Lord be praised! That we allow to be our duty. But how shall we best fulfil that duty ? Wherewithal shall we come before the Lord ? In what shape shall we offer our praises
-show ourselves thankful ? With our lips; yes, but not with our lips alone,- with our hearts and in our lives as well. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good : and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ?
There, from an inspired prophet we learn the sort of thankfulness that should be ours, the gratitude that is acceptable with God. It is the offering of a just, and merciful, and humble life—an offering that God loves better than any other service,