He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
I. THE INANIMATE PART OF GOD'S CREATION.
1. The light. How kind in the Creator to make it pleasant. Dwellers in polar regions, as their six months' night draws to an end, often put on their richest apparel and climb to the highest mountains, and salute with acclamations of joy the first rays of returning day. Let us be thankful for the sweet light.
2. The atmosphere which envelops us. How wise and how good that it should surround us on all sides, and yet not obstruct our sight; that it should press upon us with a weight of fifteen pounds to the square inch, and yet we be not crushed or burdened by it; that though softer than the finest down, it should yet waft the fleets of nations; that it both warms and cools the earth; that it both draws up the vapours and throws them down; that it breathes both in the north wind's blasts and in the gales of the sunny south; and that it" both receives the noxious exhalations everywhere emitted, and yet affords for our lungs the pure air which vivifies and warms our frames. Let us be thankful for this daily benefit.
3. Water. In the form of the ocean, it is at once the proud highway of nations, and the play-ground of leviathan: the storehouse of man's nourishment, and the great cooler and purifier of the dusty earth. And how good in God that He hath set its bounds so that it cannot pass. In the form of clouds it tempers the force of the fiery sun, and fills the reservoirs of the skies, and drapes the heavens with curtains of gorgeous hues. And how good in God to let it down gently, as from a watering-pot, instead of pouring it down all at once, to overwhelm and destroy.
4. Flowers. A little child, bounding forth one early spring morning, from a country cottage, cried out, "Look, pa, God has sent us three dandelions!" Was not that a beautiful and becoming thought?
5. The grasses of the hills and meadows. How different if the ground were everywhere dark and naked! The spires of grass are little things, and yet but for them we had not the blessed fields, with their walks in silent, scented paths, and the joy of herds and flocks, and the downy banks and knolls, and the emerald slopes that fringe the lakes and rivers, and the peaceful lawns where fall the sounds of loving voices.
6. The changes of the seasons. How monotonous if we had the same climate the year round! What diversity comes from these changes! Each season is lovely, and illustrative of the beneficence of the Preserver of man.
7. The succession of day and night. Each day we behold the rising of the sun. Aurora has never once failed, during so many ages, to announce his approach; and he knoweth his going down. Thus does he enlighten both sides of the globe, and shed his rays on all. Thus have we the day for toil — long enough to exhaust the physical energies, and call for repose; and then night comes, of sufficient length H recruit those energies. George Herbert sings of "dear night" as "the stop to busy fools," and as "care's check and curb." Think of the accelerating swiftness of care, and pleasure, and wickedness, going on without interruption. What would the mad and anxious world come to, if night did not put on the brake, and fetch things to a standstill?
8. The endless forms of beauty which we meet. It is said of Linnaeus, the great Swedish botanist, that on first seeing a certain plant, he fell on his knees and thanked God for thus beautifying the earth. How much beauty do we see around us every day, and yet for this how seldom are our hearts lifted in gratitude to Him who hath made all things lovely to behold.
II. THE ANIMATE BUT UNINTELLIGENT PART OF CREATION. What object could God have had in creating these innumerable ranks of sensitive existence, except that they might taste His bounty, and enjoy a happiness peculiar to their state? Because dead matter was incapable of delight, and because the eternal Sovereign would exercise His superabundant goodness, therefore hath lie stocked the world, and worlds upon worlds, with ten thousand times ten thousands of living creatures, that His table might be filled with millions of guests, whose mouths and whose hearts He might every hour and every moment fill with food and gladness. Moreover, how kind in God to care for every one of the millions upon millions of this great needy family of His; expending upon each one an equal care, so that the least insect, living but one brief hour, does not fail of his portion. And how kind to provide for all without their labour — for it is a just remark of Pierre, that there exists not a single animal but what is lodged, clothed, and fed by the hand of Providence — without care, and almost without labour. And yet, again, how kind and wise to cause each one to subserve some useful purpose to man; making even the little flies and all the winged insects to act as scavengers, by taking up and carrying off the surplus effete matter in the vegetable creation; and all the little ground-mice and earth-worms to act as Nature's ploughmen, or as sappers and miners boring in all directions into the stubborn soil, thus rendering it pervious to air and rain and the roots of plants!
III. THE INTELLIGENT WORLD — OURSELVES.
1. Our outfit, our endowments. A body, fearfully and wonderfully made; heart, muscles, ears, etc. The mind, with its subtle powers of consciousness, and reflection, and reasoning; and memory, and imagination — each faculty displaying the Divine goodness. And the same of the several senses — of sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. And what an endowment is the gift of speech, by which we may reciprocate thought and feeling, and become acquainted one with another!
2. How every thing is contrived and adjusted to secure our comfort and good. What a mercy that many functions of the body, such as breathing, digestion, the circulation of the blood, etc., are performed involuntarily; so that they go forward without our bidding or attention! And how merciful the provisions for gratifying the senses — eye, ear, etc. Another merciful provision is the social relations.
3. Think also of God's hourly deliverances. A man, riding down a steep hill, and reaching the bottom, said to one whom he met there, "I have had a wonderful deliverance." "What is it?" he asked. "Why, my horse stumbled on that hill, and I was thrown over his head and not harmed." "Indeed," said the man, "I have had many a greater deliverance on that hill than that." "And how? .... Why, I have ridden down that hill hundreds of times, and my horse has never so much as stumbled one!" The moral is plain — but how do we forget it!
(H. C. Fish, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.