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within himself, as it were, "a well of water springing up unto everlasting lifey." Such perfect satisfaction both to soul and body will these waters give, that all who drink of them will have a foretaste of heaven itself: “ they draw water out of this fountain with inexpressible joyz:" "and they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of God's house; and he makes them drink of the river of his pleasures"." It is doubtless a strong expression to say that this is a foretaste of heaven: but look into heaven, and you will find the very same river running there, and the blest inhabitants partaking of it: for “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne is feeding them, and leads them to living fountains of water; and God wipes away all tears from their eyes b."] Let me on this sublime subject found an ADDRESS,
1. To those who are in circumstances of difficulty or danger
[It was after a deliverance from some impending calamity that this psalm was written: and from that deliverance the Psalmist inferred, that they who trust in God have nothing to fear. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea : though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." To every inhabitant of Zion this sweet assurance belongs: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early." Know then your privilege, Brethren: and amidst all the storms and dangers to which you are exposed, see your God as an impassable river around you; or, varying the metaphor, as “a wall of fire round about you, and the glory in the midst of you.". With such a protector, “can any weapon that is formed against you prosper?” You may bid defiance to every enemy; and say, with confidence, " If God be for me, who can be against me?"]
2. To those who are seeking their happiness in the things of time and sense
[Infatuated people, who are “forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out cisterns for yourselves, broken cisterns that can hold no watere!” when will you see your folly? when will you suffer your continued disappointments to instruct you? If you will not believe the word of God, methinks you might learn from your own experience. Did you, from such services, ever receive one single draught that y John iv. 13, 14. and vii. 37, 38.
z Isai. xii. 3. a Ps, xxxvi. 8. b Rev. vii. 17.
ver. 145, d Zech. ii. 5.
e Jer. ii. 13.
satisfied you? Have you not, even in the moments of your highest enjoyment, found that you were “labouring for that which could not profit," and that " in the midst of laughter your heart was in heaviness ?” Listen, then, to the invitation of the prophet: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price! Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good; and let your soul delight itself in fatness ?." Verily, if ye will come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and “receive out of his fulness" the blessings he has purchased for you, you shall "see the good of his chosen, and rejoice in the gladness of his nation, and shall glory with his inheritance 8."] f Isai. lv. 1, 2.
8 Ps. vi. 4, 5.
THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST AN OCCASION FOR JOY.
Ps. xlvii. 5—7. God is gone up with a shout, the Lord witli
the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises : sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth : sing ye praises with understanding.
IF we read the Psalms of David without any reference to Christ, we shall have a very imperfect view of their import : but if we consider them as containing many prophetical declarations, we shall find in them a rich mine of evangelical knowledge. The psalm before us is supposed to have been written by David, when he carried up the ark from the house of Obed-edom to Mount Zion“; and to represent, by that typical event, the ascension of Christ to heaven: and, as that event was celebrated with all possible demonstrations of joy, so we are here exhorted to burst forth in joyful acclamations on account of the exaltation of Christ to his throne in glory.
We shall consider,
1. In what exalted terms our blessed Lord is here spoken of [Thrice is he called “God:” the incommunicable name “ Jehovah" is also assigned to him and he is declared to be the “King” of Zion, and “the King of the whole earth.” Now these are the titles given to him throughout the inspired writings." Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever b." name whereby he is to be called by all his believing people is, “ Jehovah, our Righteousness.” The prophet Isaiah also says, “Thy Maker is thine Husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name ; and thy Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called d.” In the New Testament he is also designated by the same august titles, as “God manifest in the fleshe,” even “God over all blessed for ever?." And it is no little satisfaction to us to see, that the doctrine so essential to our happiness, the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, pervades the whole Scriptures, and bears that prominence in them which might reasonably be expected.]
a 2 Sam. vi. 15.
2. How exactly the representation here given of him in a figure, corresponds with the reality
[David had triumphed over all his enemies: and now, in order to honour God who had given him the victory, and that he might have the readier access to God on all occasions, he brought the ark, the symbol of the Divine presence, up to Mount Zion, that there in future it might have a fixed abode. But in this he shadowed forth the true ark, the Lord Jesus Christ, “ in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Deity," as ceasing from his labours, and ascending to his throne in glory, there to complete the victories which he had begun on earth. “On his very cross he spoiled all the principalities and powers of darkness, triumphing over them openly in it8;" and in his ascension he “ led them all captiveh," and left his people to contend only with a vanquished enemy. He being now upon his throne, we can have access to him at all times, and may obtain from him all the succour that we stand in need of.]
But this leads me to notice, in reference to this event, II. The interest we have in it
If we considered it in no other view than as a recompence to Christ, we should contemplate it with joy. But it is a source of the richest possible blessings to us.
[This ascension is a proof and evidence to us that he has triumphed over all his enemies. He unites these two together, the one as the effect and consequence of the other; " Î overb Ps. xlv. 6. with Heb. i. 8.
c Jer. xxiii. 6. d Isai. liv. 5.
€ 1 Tim. iii. 16. f Rom. ix. 5. & Col. ii. 14, 15. h Eph. iv. 8.
i John xvi. 11.
came, and am set down with my Father upon his thronek." But farther, it is a pledge that he will give us the victory also over all our enemies; He is constituted Head over all things to the Church for this very end and purpose, even “ that he might fill all things,” and perfect for his believing people all which their infinitely diversified circumstances can requirem. His being “ King over all the earth” abundantly shews us, that he is able to protect us from every adversary, and to supply our every want, and to make us more than conquerors” over all the enemies of our salvation.]
Hence it is that the Psalmist so urgently renews his exhortation to us to "sing praise” unto him
[In another psalm he says, “ Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.' The enemies of Christ have rather reason to tremble: for he will surely" break them all in pieces like a potter's vesselo.” But his people have reason to rejoice, as Solomon plainly intimates; “ Arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in thy goodness." In a word, "God has raised up his Son and given him glory, on purpose that our faith and hope may be in him;"9 and therefore we shall be inexcusable if we make not this improvement of the subject that is now brought before us.]
Mark then with all due attention,
Five times does David in this short passage repeat his exhortation to us to sing praises to our ascended Lord. This therefore we should do,
1. With all possible ardour
[This is not a duty to be performed in a cold and formal manner; but with all the powers and faculties of our souls. David's frame of mind should be ours: “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name'." again, “I will extol thee, O God, my 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 evers.” And again, “ Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises unto my God, while I have my being t.” To this effect St. Paul exhorts us also; “ Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoiceu.” Rejoice evermore; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning yout.” To comply fully with the exhortation of the text, praise should be our one employment from day to day, and the very element in which we live. So far as our imperfect state will admit of it, the dispositions and habits of the heavenly hosts should be in such constant exercise with us, that earth should be the very foretaste of heaven itself.] 2. With all due intelligence
k Rev. iii. 21. | Eph. iv. 10. m Eph. iv. 11–13. n Ps. cxlix. 2. o Ps. ii. 9.
p 2 Chron. vi. 41. 9 1 Pet. i. 21. r Ps. ciïi. 1.
s Ps. cxlv. 1, 2. Ps. cxlvi. 1, 2. u Phil. iv. 4.
x 1 Thess. v. 16, 18. 2 Mal. i. 8.
[Every duty should be performed in a wise and intelligent manner. "Whether we pray or sing, it should be with the spirit and with the understanding alsoy." Without fervour, our sacrifice would be lame; and without understanding, blind: and God could never be pleased with such offerings as these?. The heart and mind must go together, to make our offering a reasonable service. In singing praises therefore to our ascended Saviour, we should distinctly view him, not as a private person, but in his public capacity as our Head and Representative. We should have respect to him also as our Advocate and Intercessor, who is “ living on purpose to make intercession for us." We should moreover consider him as our forerunner," who is “gone before, to prepare a place for us, and will shortly come again to take us to himself, that where he is we may be also." These are the truths which the occasion suggests, and these the thoughts which should infuse the utmost possible fervour into our devotions. Whilst therefore a fire burns in our bosoms, let us be sure that it be taken from the altar of our God, and that the sacrifice we present to him be that of an intelligent, as well as of a devout, worshipper.] In the review of this subject we cannot but see, 1. The blessedness of real piety,
[I put the question to any living man; Can a person be otherwise than happy, that lives in the state inculcated in my text? -] 2. How little there is of true piety upon earth
[Take this frame of mind as the true test of piety, and you will find as much of piety amongst the very beasts, as amongst the world at large, yea, and more too : for “ the ox does know his owner, and the very ass his master's crib; whilst God's professing people neither know nor consider their heavenly Benefactor.
And how lamentably do even good men live below their privileges ! Let the very best amongst us compare his experience with the frame that is here inculcated, and he must confess he has abundant reason to blush and be ashamed. Dear Brethren, let us awake to our duty, and never rest till we have attained such a measure of habitual and intelligent devotion, as shall be an earnest and foretaste of the felicity of heaven.) y 1 Cor. xiv. 15.