By terrible things in righteousness will you answer us, O God of our salvation; who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth…
the ends of
the earth. —
I. RECOGNIZE THE BEING AND ACTIVITY OF GOD. This is a necessary call; for it is questionable how far in the average we have assimilated first principles, and in the rush of life we often slight the essentials that lie behind the activities of faith. We have yet to recognize how fully Christ's life, and teaching, and mission concentre in God, how natural was His own attitude of complete submission to God, how persistently He directed men through Himself to God, and the significance of these facts. Rather than weakening it, the revelation of Christ ought to intensify our sense of God; for He lived to give man the highest conception of God it was possible for him to receive, and to safeguard his thought from the many errors to which it had always been exposed. Christ conserves in its integrity the idea of a personal God and of a paternal God; of One who feels, and thinks, and wills; who is distinct from all the world as we are distinct from each other; and yet who is as essentially akin to us as we are to each other.
II. RECOGNIZE THAT THE WORLD IS GOD'S WORLD AND MAN GOD'S CARE. This also is a necessary call. There are dark facts in nature and in life that seem to belie the "loving wisdom" of the Creator, and that have made men doubt the gracious providence of the Father. They press themselves in upon us with a pertinacity that wearies us and often forms a severe trial to our faith. Even Wordsworth finds that the "aching joys" and "dizzy raptures" that came to him from his delight in woods and hills, and all beautiful sights, pass, are left behind as the hours of thoughtless youth; and in their place the sounds of nature sob with a human cry; he is chastened and subdued because he hears in them the still, "sad music of humanity." Thomas Hardy finds a verdict of pessimism in nature confirming his verdict of pessimism on life. R.H. Hutton in an essay on Cardinal Newman, writes: "Now, the more earnestly Newman embraced the doctrine that the universe is full of the types and instrumentality of spiritual things unseen, the more perplexing the external realities of human history and human conduct, barbarous or civilized, mediaeval or modern, seemed to him. His faith in the sacramental principle taught; him to look for a created universe from which the Creator should be reflected back at every point." But Newman kept his faith in God and its corollary, faith in redemption. The light within him was not turned into darkness, and he saw that his faith in God demanded faith in redemption also. The human race was implicated in a "great aboriginal calamity," and that calamity he saw could only be rectified by "some equally great supernatural interference." We believe this; it is our only way; it is the faith of the psalmist, and it is the faith that has been at the root of all human progress. The outgoings of morning and evening, the surety of seed-time and harvest, are our pledges of Divine faithfulness. God is not defeated, nor has He forsaken either His creation or His children. He is the God of our salvation; His tokens are in the uttermost parts; and in Him is the confidence of all the ends of the earth.
(J. J. Leedal.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: