Psalm 24
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
The Unemployed

Psalm 24:1

The fundamental law of a well-ordered State is the right of all citizens to earn a living, and unless that right is secured no rights are really valid, because there is some fundamental wrong at the bottom of the social system.

I. What can be done by statute? How can we profess to make the Bible our Book of religion and i e blind to one of its most obvious teachings? This Book contains in its opening parts a land system. It gives the idea of what the law of the country should be, and what its relation should be to the people in a Theocracy, where God is ruling. The teaching of this Book is most remarkable. The point of it is that each man has his property, his piece of land, and that the land is inalienable. Every person has the right to the use of enough land to raise subsistence for himself and his family. That is a fundamental right of human beings, sanctioned by the Bible and obviously the result of common sense. Any arrangement, however legal it may be, which deprives a man of this right is not just, it demands revision.

II. Let us take the right which we concede to landlords in England. We give them the right to determine whether the people shall live on their land or not. We give them the light even to refuse the dwellings which the people need, born on the spot. We give them the right, therefore, to dismiss the people from the land to the city or to anywhere. The property belongs to the owner—yes, but before that it belongs to the country. The population must live upon this land, and when property is allowed it should be determined that the property is only owned subject to certain implicit conditions, and the chief condition is that every human being in this island retains a latent right to use enough land to earn his living, to earn his bread on; and when that latent principle is forgotten we produce the monstrous injustice of what are called the Land Laws in England, an injustice so incredible that we can only explain it by looking back into history and understanding how it came to be.

III. Now, in this difficulty of modern industry, there is only one thoroughly satisfactory way of dealing with the problem. It must be laid down as a fundamental principle of all our administrations of Poor Law or industrial law, of Land Law, that when people cannot get employment the means should be given them to earn their living on the land. We need the land to give the man his opportunity of work, to enable him to extract his living out of the soil in the periods of trade depression.

—R. F. Horton.

References.—XXIV. 1.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xiv. p. 84. XXIV. 1, 2.—R. Flint, Sermons and Addresses, p. 56. XXIV. 3.—H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, The Master's Message, p. 104. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (6th Series), p. 233. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vii. No. 396. XXIV. 3, 4.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes (3rd Series), p. 100. H. Thompson, Concionalia: Outlines for Parochial Use (2nd Series), p. 242. XXIV. 3-6.—A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, 11 December, 1884. XXIV. 4.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 187. XXIV. 6.—Expositor (3rd Series), vol. v. p. 310. XXIV. 7.—A. Watson, Sermons for Sundays, etc. (2nd Series), vol. ii. p. 255. XXIV. 7, 8.—R. Hiley, A Year's Sermons, vol. i. p. 265. E. M. Goulburn, Sermons Preached in the Parish Church of Holywell, p. 353. XXIV. 7-10.—A. Maclaren, Christian Commonwealth, 18 December, 1884. J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes (4th Series), p. 50. XXIV. 8.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 340. XXIV. 9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii. No. 750. XXIV.—International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 212.

Psalms 24

The father of the celebrated Principal Carstares, the restorer of the Scottish Church at the Revolution, was a man of warm devotional character, and suffered severely in the time of the twenty-eight years' persecution. Woodrow (Analecta) tells of him: 'He was doing duty at the Sacrament for a brother minister at Calder. Upon the Sabbath he was wonderfully assisted in his first prayer, and had a strange gale through all the sermon, and there was a remarkable emotion among the hearers. He gave out for singing part of the 24th Psalm:

He from th' Eternal shall receive

The blessing him upon,

And righteousness, ev'n from the God

Of His salvation.

This is the generation

That after him enquire,

O Jacob, who do seek thy face,

With their whole heart's desire.'

While singing these and the following verses, the narrator says 'he came to the communion tables, and all in the assembly were marvellously affected, glory seeming to fill that house. He served the first table in a kind of rapture, and he called some ministers there to the next, but he was in such a frame that none of them ventured to come and take the work off his hands. He continued at the work with the greatest enlargement and melting, upon himself and all present, that could be, and served fourteen or sixteen tables. A Christian that had been at the table and obliged to come out of the church, pressing to be in again, stood without the door, and said he was rapt in the thought of the glory that was in that house for near half-an-hour, and got leave scarce to think upon any other thing.'

—John Ker.

References.—XXV. 4,5.—H. Woodcock, Sermon Outlines, p. 12. XXV. 5.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 191. XXV. 6-11.—F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. ii. p. 53. XXV. 6, 7.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 243.

Psalms 24

These were the last words written by Columba after he had spent a long life of incessant Christian labour. He died in Iona on 9 June, a.d. 597.

The narrative Adamnan gives of his closing hours, of his farewell words with his sorrow-stricken disciples, of his parting with his faithful old horse, which put its head on its master's breast as if aware of the event, reveals the deep tenderness and humanity of his nature.

When the biographer has lingered lovingly on the little incidents that preceded the death, he continues: 'After these words he descended the hill, and, having returned to the monastery, sat in his hut transcribing the Psalter; and coming to that verse of the 34th Psalm, where it is written, "They that seek the Lord shall want no manner of thing that is good," "Here," said he, "at the end of the page I must stop, and what follows let Baithen write". The last verse he had written was very applicable to the saint who was about to depart, and to whom eternal good shall never be wanting; while the one that followeth is equally applicable to the father who succeeded him, the instructor of his spiritual children, "Come, ye children, and hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord".'

—John Ker.

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
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