Psalm 1:3
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither, and who prospers in all he does.
Sermons
A Believer Like a TreePsalm 1:3
A Sermon on TreesF. H. Palmer.Psalm 1:3
A Tree by the RiverSarah Smiley.Psalm 1:3
A Tree Sermon to ChildrenFrank S. Rowland.Psalm 1:3
Amongst the Trees of the WoodMark Guy Pearse.Psalm 1:3
Aspects of a Godly LifeM. R. Vincent, D. D.Psalm 1:3
Christian DevelopmentCanon Liddon, D. D.Psalm 1:3
Constancy in ReligionR. Venting.Psalm 1:3
Fruit in His SeasonJosiah Viney.Psalm 1:3
The Fruit Tree and the ChaffH. Macmillan, D. D.Psalm 1:3
The Influence of Religion Upon ProsperityHugh Blair, D. D.Psalm 1:3
The OleanderA. P. Stanley, D. D.Psalm 1:3
The Song of the Prosperous LifeWayland Hoyt, D. D.Psalm 1:3
The Supremely Happy ManAdam Scott.Psalm 1:3
The Timeliness of FruitageJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 1:3
The Tree SimilitudeDavid Caldwell, A. M.Psalm 1:3
True BlessednessC. Short Psalm 1:1-3
A Certain Prescription for HappinessL. A. Banks, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
A ContrastC. Short Psalm 1:1-6
A Happy RetrospectQuiver.Psalm 1:1-6
Association with SinnersJ. Logan.Psalm 1:1-6
Avoiding Evil DoersE. N. Packard.Psalm 1:1-6
BlessednessW. Forsyth Psalm 1:1-6
CharacterW. Forsyth Psalm 1:1-6
CompanionsArthur Mursell.Psalm 1:1-6
Counsels to the YoungJ. Witherspoon, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
Getting Used to an Ungodly AtmospherePsalm 1:1-6
Greatness, Happiness, ProsperityW. Forsyth Psalm 1:1-6
Stages in SinSir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
The 1St Psalm, IntroductoryJ. J. Stewart Perowne, B. D.Psalm 1:1-6
The Blessed ManW. Jay.Psalm 1:1-6
The Blessed ManJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
The Blessed Man's LikenessJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
The Blessedness of the TrueW. Forsyth Psalm 1:1-6
The Character of the Pious and ProfaneExpository OutlinesPsalm 1:1-6
The Counsel of Ungodly MenSir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
The Fear of RidiculeQuiver.Psalm 1:1-6
The Felicity of the Godly Man, and Infelicity of the WickThomas Wilcocks.Psalm 1:1-6
The Godly Man HappySir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
The Happy ManD. J. Burrell, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
The Happy ManW. Forsyth Psalm 1:1-6
The Refusals of GodlinessSir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
The Title: the Book of Psalms: the Psalms - Their Variety and ValueC. Clemance Psalm 1:1-6
The Triads of TransgressionHomiletic ReviewPsalm 1:1-6
The True ChristianJ. O. Keen, D. D.Psalm 1:1-6
The Way of Sin DangerousSir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
The Way of the RighteousMonday Club SermonsPsalm 1:1-6
Things Marred by UngodlinessSir Richard Baker.Psalm 1:1-6
True and False FriendshipR. Venting.Psalm 1:1-6
In the Book of Psalms, or, strictly speaking, in the five Books of Psalms, we have illustrations of most of the varied kinds of documents of which the entire Bible is made up. In their entirety the collection forms the Hebrews' 'Book of Praise,' or, as Professor Cheyne puts it, 'The Praises of Israel.' It is probable, however, that very few, in their private devotions, read all the Psalms with equal frequency or delight. There are some "favourites," such as Psalm 23., 46., 145., etc. The fact is that spiritual instincts are often far in advance of technical definitions, and the heart finds out that which is of permanent value over and above its historic interest, far more quickly than the intellect defines the reason thereof. Ere we pursue the study of the Psalms one by one, it may be helpful to note the main classes into which they may be grouped, as such classification will enable us the better to set in order the relation which each one bears to "the whole counsel of God." In the last of the Homiletics on Deuteronomy by the present writer, there is a threefold result indicated of communion between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man. When such fellowship is in the devotional sphere, it subserves the life of religion; when the Spirit of God impels to the going forth on a mission or the writing of a record, that is inspiration; when the Spirit of God discloses new truth or forecasts the future, that is revelation. These three divisions indicate three main groups under which the Psalms may be classified. For the most part, each one speaks for itself, and with sufficient clearness indicates to which of the three groups it belongs; and according to the group in which it is found will be the value and bearing of the psalm on the believer's experience, faith, and life.

I. MANY OF THE PSALMS ARE THE OUTCOME OF PRIVATE OR PUBLIC DEVOTION. It is in these that we get a priceless glimpse into the heartwork of Old Testament saints, and see how constant was their habit of pouring out their souls to God. Psalm 3., 4., 5., 7., 8., 10., 13., et alii, are illustrations of this. Whether the soul was elated by joy or oppressed with care, whether bowed down with fear or rejoicing over a great deliverance, whether the presence of God was enjoyed or whether his face was hidden, whether the spirit was soaring in rapture or sinking in dismay, - amid all changes, from the overhanging of the blackest thundercloud to the beaming of the brightest sunshine, all is told to God in song, or plea, or moan, or plaint, or wail, as if the ancient believers had such confidence in God that riley could tell him anything! . Many of these private prayers bear marks of limited knowledge and imperfect conception, and are by no means to be taken as models for us. But no saint ever did or could in prayer rise above the level of his own knowledge. Still, they knew that God heard and answered, not according to their thoughts, but according to his loving-kindness; hence they poured out their whole souls to God, whether in gladness or sadness. And so may we; and God will do exceeding abundantly for us above all that we ask or think.

II. ANOTHER GROUP OF PSALMS CONSISTS OF THOSE WHICH ARE THE PRODUCTS OF ANOTHER FORM OF DIVINE INSPIRATION. These are not necessarily addresses to God; they are, for the most part, an inspired and inspiriting rehearsal of the mighty acts of the Lord, and a call to the people of God to join in the song of praise. Psalm 33., 46., 48., 78., 81., 89., and many others, are illustrations of this. At the back of them all there is a revelation of God known, accepted, and enjoyed. And according to this great and glorious redemption are the people exhorted to join in songs of praise. There is, moreover, this distinction, for the most part, between the first group and the second - the first group reflects the passing moods of man; the second reflects the revealed character and ways of God. The first group is mostly for private use, as the moods of the soul may respond thereto; the. second group is also for sanctuary song, and indicates the permanent theme of the believer's faith and hope, even "the salvation of God." With regard to the first group we may say, "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." As to the second, the motto might be, "The Lord hath made known his salvation: therefore with our songs we will praise him." Under this head may also be set those calmly and sweetly meditative psalms, such as Psalm 23., 32., in which God's revelation of his works and ways gives its own hue to the musings of the saint. These are now the delight of believers, in public and in private worship, as the expression of an experience which is renewed in regenerate hearts age after age. None of them could possibly be accounted for by the psychology of the natural man; they accord only with the pneumatology of the spiritual man.

III. THE THIRD GROUP OF PSALMS CONSISTS OF THOSE IN WHICH THERE IS A DIRECT OR INDIRECT MESSIANIC REFERENCE AND FORECAST. Of these there are three kinds.

1. There are those directly and exclusively Messianic, such as Psalm 2., 45., 47., 72., 110. Of all these, the second psalm is, perhaps, throughout, as much as any of the psalms, clearly and distinctly applicable to the Coming One, and to him only. For the purpose of seeing and showing this, it may well be carefully studied. Every verse, every phrase, every word, tells; in fact, even the glorious fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is scarcely more clearly Messianic than the second psalm. Even Professor Cheyne is compelled to admit its Messianic reference, and he tells us that Ibn Ezra does so likewise. And that some of the psalms apply to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord himself assures us (Luke 24:44). And in an age like this, when destructive criticism is so popular, it is needful for the believing student to be the more accurate, clear, and firm.

2. Some psalms point to the era rather than to the Person of the Messiah. Such are the fiftieth and the eighty-seventh psalms. They are prophetic expositions of truths which pertain to the Messianic times, and receive their full elucidation from the developed expositions of the apostles and prophets of the New Testament; they cover the ground of the Messianic age.

3. Other psalms refer immediately to the writer himself, and have come to be regarded as Messianic because some of the words therein were quoted the Lord Jesus Christ and adopted as his own. Such a one is the twenty-second psalm, in which the writer bemoans his own sufferings and (according to the LXX.)his own transgressions. But it is not possible to apply every verse of this psalm to the Lord Jesus. He, however, being in all things made like unto his brethren, was "in all points tempted like as we are;" hence the very groans of his brethren fitted his own lips. He came to have fellowship with us in our sufferings that we might have fellowship with him in his! Thus there is established a marvellously close sympathy between Jesus and his saints, since his temptations, sorrows, and groans resembled theirs, To this discriminating and believing study of the first fifty psalms, the writer ventures to invite the Christian student and expositor. We must avoid the extreme of those who, with Home, would reheard most, if not all, the psalms as Messianic; and also the extreme of those who would regard none as such. Because our Lord said that all things must be fulfilled that were written in the Psalms concerning him, we may not infer that words which were written concerning him filled up all the Psalms; nor, with the unbeliever, may we regard the claim of prophecy as invalid through any repugnance to the supernatural. Intelligent discernment and loving faith are twin sisters; may they both be our attendants during our survey of these priceless productions of Hebrew pens! And may the Spirit of God be himself our Light and our Guide! - C.







He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters.
A beautiful illustration of the perpetual verdure and fruitfulness of the piety deriving its origin and sustenance from the Word of God. It is compared to a tree whose roots are refreshed by never-failing streams of living water, and whose every part is instinct with the life flowing from its roots. It is the same with the piety nourished by the Word of God. As the sap of the tree imparts life not only to its roots, and trunk, and larger branches, but also to the remotest twig and leaf, and to the very down upon the leaf, so the truly godly man's piety pervades his whole life, imparting its spirit and character and beauty to everything he does. he is not a religious man in one or two departments of life, but he is a religious man everywhere. His religion is a mental habit — a habit of thought, of feeling, of purpose, of action, of which he never for a moment divests himself. He aims that not so much as a leaf on his tree of righteous living shall show signs of decay. The same spirit that actuates him in the largest, actuates him also in the least transaction of his life. His religion is not a thing that is put on, — it is the man himself — the man in the man. Consequently the storm that bows mock trees of righteousness to the earth, leaves him still standing; the drought that dries up their streams of life, leaves his still full, fresh, and flowing. Vigour, verdure, and fruitfulness are his evermore. His source of strength can never fail. It is the river of life flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, reaching his soul through the law of the Lord, wherein is his delight and unceasing meditation.

(David Caldwell, A. M.)

The blessed man is like a tree planted by the rivers of waters.

1. Its blessedness does not depend upon its kind. It is not the cedar of Lebanon of which David is thinking, but any tree. It is not the tree, but the planting and the place, that constitute the blessedness. We need not think that we are the wrong sort. Two kinds of religious people in the world. There are those who always want to be somebody else: and there are those who want everybody else to be exactly what they themselves are. Now the woods need all the kinds of trees that God has made; and the world wants all the kinds of people that God has sent into it. Some people are perhaps very different from what God made them, but He wants us to be everyone after his kind.

2. We can none of us afford to make much of ourselves, but we can all of us afford to be ourselves. I am not much at the best; but I am best when I am myself. Now, timid soul, the heavenly Father has room for you.

3. Notice that the tree is planted. It did not plant itself. It surrendered itself wholly and utterly to the husbandman. He took it in hand and dealt with it, and that was the beginning of its prosperity. This utter and whole-hearted surrender of ourselves to the Lord is the first sign of the blessed life. The husbandman must have possession before he can do any planting. Planted, the tree begins to put forth at the one end the roots that go out and clasp the rocks, and at the other end the branches spread and leaves unfold, and it drinks in the rain and sunshine of heaven. It is the fair emblem of the man of God, rooted in obedience, rising to communion. There is the man of God; the law of his God is an authority supreme, that knows no argument, no exception, no choice. I must and I will grip the law of God. Here is stability, You know where to have that man. Right is might with him. But a tree is not all root. Here, laughing in the sunshine, sporting in the breeze, dripping with the shower, is the branch that pushes out over earth and up into heaven. The emblem of freedom. But the branch is always in proportion to the root. The obedience and the communion keep pace.

4. It is a tree planted by the rivers of water. There is not only a rock to hold on to, but there is the river to refresh it. Rock and river, river and rock, this is what the law of God becomes. They who do not know think of the law of God as the hard stern voice of thunder, with its "Thou shalt." But they who do know cry, "Great peace have they that keep Thy law." It is rivers of waters, sweet, refreshing, quickening. So, rooted in obedience and stretching up into communion, the blessed man comes to be like a tree; there is stability, and steadfastness. He knows whom he has believed, and is persuaded that that will hold though winds may blow and rains may heat. He bringeth forth his fruit in his season. He hath the real spirit for the hour; the very occasion seems to bring the grace he needs.

(Mark Guy Pearse.)

We are here introduced to one who is said to be very happy. "Oh, the happinesses of the man" would be a literal translation of the Psalmist's words; and the expression is one indicating fulness of happiness — more than ordinary joy. It is also to be noted that the happiness of the man is the first thing to which the inspired writer refers, and that circumstance is indicative of the truth stated, that man's happiness is so great and so excellent that it must have the first place. The springs of joy from which he drinks are sweeter far than the sweetest of those from which others drink. The flowers in his garden have a loveliness and fragrance the flowers in other gardens never have. The paths of other men may seem brighter and smoother, but this is only in appearance. Every difficulty overcome is a victory won, and adds to his happiness. In what does this man's happiness consist? To know the various elements of his blessedness we must study the picture — carefully note its several distinctive points.

I. OUR ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO THE FACT THAT THE TREE IS ONE CAREFULLY "PLANTED." The word used by the Psalmist is not the ordinary term meaning to sow or plant, but the poetical and much rarer word. The same is found in Psalm 92:13 — "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God." The trees planted within the temple enclosures would be planted with skill and care. This tree also is planted in a choice spot, and would therefore be planted well. It has sprung from no stray seed which the wind may have wafted hither, or some bird carried and dropped where grows the tree. And such is true of the man who is really happy and most happy. He is a tree "of the Lord's right hand planting." He is the offspring of wisdom that is perfect and care that is infinite. And this fact constitutes part of his joy.

II. THE SITUATION OF THE TREE MUST HAVE OUR ATTENTION. The tree grows not on some barren waste, but "upon the rivers of water." By these rivers I understand the multitudinous and various overflowings of the Divine grace — the rivers of pardon, peace, comfort, teaching, sanctification, etc.

1. The plural term indicates also fulness as well as variety of blessing in constant circulation round about the roots of the Christian's life.

2. There is also in it the promise of continuance. If one stream dries up there are other streams to draw from.

3. Another thought is expressed, namely, freshness. "The rivers" are running streams. Here there is another element of the good man's happiness. He is felicitously situated.

III. THE FRUITFULNESS OF THE TREE MUST NEXT BE CONSIDERED. As might be expected, the tree bears fruit. By this we are to understand the man's habit of doing good. The pronouns are to be noted.

1. It is not said he brings forth fruit, but "his fruit." Christian activity takes many forms, and a man will do most good and do it best who is no servile imitator of another, but who works in his own groove, and in the way most natural to himself. And there is a beauty and gracefulness about work done after this manner that always adds to its value. The tree brings forth his own fruit, and the happy Christian does his own work. The Master gives to everyone his work.

2. Again, the tree brings forth his fruit in his season. Seasonableness is itself a virtue. Work done opportunely is the only work done rightly. Here we touch a leading difficulty in some earnest lives. The question as to when this should be done, and when that, is the perplexing point. He is therefore a man led of God's Spirit, and this leading saves him from the painful perplexity of not knowing what he should first do and what next. By this means his work is simplified. His duties come to him in natural order — one at a time. God shows him not only what he must do, but how, and when. Here is another clement of happiness. A fruitful life is a happy one.

IV. FROM LOOKING AT THE FRUIT OF THE TREE WE TURN TO ITS FOLIAGE. This is beautiful, and always so. "His leaf also shall not wither." Now if by the fruit we understand a man's works, by the "leaf" it will be natural to regard his words. What a man does and says constitutes his character. Works have a great importance, but so also have words. "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." "His leaf shall not wither" — his words shall not die. "He being dead, yet speaketh." Another element of happiness in the good man. The words of his mouth shall be established, and their influence shall be felt forever. The tongue is a little member, but how great is the happiness it may secure for the good man who uses it aright. And in making others happy one makes himself most happy. "And all that he does shall prosper." Here the works and words are interwoven. It is when the two do interweave and harmonise that there is prosperity. Note, it is not all he attempts or carries forward so far and there stops that shall prosper, but "all that he doeth." And this is happiness supreme — doing good — by work or word — crowned with prosperity.

(Adam Scott.)

Three aspects of godly character.

I. ITS VARIETY. The figure leaves room for the development of varieties of goodness. True godliness does not reduce men to a dead level. The variety which God stamps upon nature He means to have reproduced in character. It is often supposed that, by becoming a servant of God, a man loses all his distinctiveness, sacrifices many of his peculiar modes of power, and shuts himself up to a comparatively narrow range of activity; whereas the truth is, that no man ever finds out the variety of uses to which the human talent and power can be put until he begins to work under God's direction.

II. ITS DIVINE CULTURE. The godly man is not like a tree that grows wild. He is like a tree planted, and that in a place which will best promote its growth. Godly character is developed under God's special supervision, and with God's own appliances. Has God no other means of revealing His will but through a burning bush or a stunning shock? His modes of revelation are as many as the characters and circumstances of men, and as varied; and He does not mean that His lowliest servant shall work under the shadow of a doubt, whether he is in his place or not. He may make circumstances, or conscientious judgment, or special dispensations His messengers, but whatever be the messenger, the message shall be clear to the open eye and the obedient spirit — "I have planted you." And if a man is working and growing where God sets him, he is always within reach of the means necessary for his growth and fruitfulness. He is always planted by rivers of water. Men find these channels in the most unlikely places, in the most unpromising parts of God's garden. In their very work they find something to engage their energy, quicken their enthusiasm, and develop their power. This is a mystery to men of the world. They look at the places in which some of God's servants are planted, and say it is Impossible they should bear fruit there. Circumstances are all against them. There are no capabilities in the place. And yet, amid sickness, bereavement, scant opportunities, hatred, scorn, they not only live, but grow, and have something to spare for other lives; yea, minister to them most richly and effectively. What is more, they themselves are cheerful and strong, and grow in sweetness no less than in power.

III. ITS FRUITFULNESS. God's tree by God's river must be a fruitful tree. Note

1. It is "His fruit," not any other tree's fruit. God gives the tree its nature, and plants it where it can best develop its nature, and looks for fruit according to its nature and place. You are not to waste time in admiring or envying other men's modes of power, but to give your whole energy to the development of your own mode of power. And if your best is only a single fruit you can say, God planted me that I might do that one thing.

2. The words "in his season." The seasons are different for different fruits. Some are early, some are late. Moral growths do not all fructify at the same time or rate. The latest fruit is usually the best. But, early or late, the fruit of godly character is seasonable. It will be found that God nourishes His men as He does the fruits of the earth, to meet the demands of special seasons; and that in each individual character Divine graces fructify as the occasion demands: courage for seasons of danger, patience for seasons of suffering, strength for seasons of trial, wisdom for seasons of difficulty; ill short, the beautiful fitness of godliness is no less remarkable than its fruitfulness. "Shall prosper." This suggests the standard of prosperity. It must be measured by God's rule, not man's. I stood last summer in a magnificent hothouse, where the luscious clusters of grapes were all around and above, and the owner said, "When my new gardener came he said he would have nothing to do with these vines unless he could cut them clear down to the stock; and he did, and we had no grapes for two years: but this is the result." It did not look much like fruit when the stock stood bare, and the floor was heaped with cuttings; but the gardener looked over the two years, and saw what we were seeing and tasting.

(M. R. Vincent, D. D.)

Six characteristics of trees.

1. Contentment. I never heard of a tree complaining. They are perfectly contented with their lot. Did you ever hear of a maple wishing it were an oak? They have not so much to make them contented as we have. The Christ-Spirit in us will make us happy and contented.

2. Health. How many of you have seen an unhealthy tree? The perfect boy or girl is the one who, like the tree, is healthy. We should attend to these bodies of ours. We should be careful to eat and drink those things which will give us sound bodies. We need to keep our minds, bodies, and souls healthy.

3. Roots. A great part of a tree is underground. Two reasons for this — to hold the tree in its place, and to nourish the tree. A perfect man, a perfect woman, boy, or girl is one who is well-rooted. Among the roots which hold us stable and keep us from falling are —

(1)Good habits formed early in life;

(2)good companions;

(3)good books.

4. Importance. Trees are used in building, furniture, ships, and as medicine. Their fruit is important. The perfect man is important to society, to home, to national life. What should we do without the ideal man and woman?

5. Symmetry. The word means "perfectly balanced in all its parts." Some trees have perfect proportions. There are men who have only attended to physical development; others only to intellectual development. The symmetrical man is one who has attended to the development of the mind, body, and spirit.

6. Trial. A mighty oak is perfect, because it has been tried. Tempests have swept over it, but still it stands. The perfect man, woman, boy, or girl is the one who, when tempted and tried, comes off the victor. Tried, weighed, and not found wanting, Tried and found to be sound.

(Frank S. Rowland.)

(to children): —

1. One of the most wonderful things about the trees is the way in which they breathe. Does it make you smile to think of a tree breathing? Do you say, "Well, I never thought of that before! I didn't know a tree could breathe." But they do, if it does surprise you, and they could no more live without breathing than could you or

I. If it was not for the trees and other plants breathing the air would soon become filled with poisonous gas which would make everyone sick, and soon cause us all to die. On the under side of every leaf of every tree, or shrub, or other plant there are thousands of little breathing holes or mouths. There are some also on the upper surface of the leaf. These are small openings through the outer skin of the leaf into the air chambers within, making a direct communication between the whole interior of the leaf and the air outside. You cannot see. these little mouths with the naked eye. You have to use a microscope or magnifying glass, and then you can see them. The famous botanist, Professor Asa Gray, tells us that in the white lily, when they are unusually large, there are about sixty thousand of them to the square inch on the lower surface of the leaf, and about three thousand in the same space of the upper surface; and that in the apple tree, where they are under the average as to number, there are about twenty-four thousand to the square inch of the lower surface; so that each leaf has not far from one hundred thousand of these mouths. The trees are made by God to take out of the air a gas which would kill us all in a very little while if it u ere allowed to remain; and having taken it into their trunks they split it up into two parts, oxygen and carbon, and give us back the former that we may breathe it and live; while the latter they make into charcoal, which is used in a thousand ways for our comfort, convenience, and health. So kind is God in making all things work together for good unto us whom He so dearly loves.

2. Another great use of the trees is, as we all know, to furnish food for man. Just think of all the things we get from them, and from other plants! Not only delicious oranges, and apples, and pears, and peaches, and all other nice fruits; but also starch, sugar, spices, oil, tea., coffee, flour, and grain. All these things are prepared by the plants out of the elements which they take in from the earth and air. They have been so made by God that they have the power to produce subtle chemical changes in these unpalatable materials, which they thus transform into delicious food for man. Says the same botanist above quoted, "Animals depend absolutely upon vegetables for their being." The great object for which the all-wise Creator established the vegetable kingdom evidently is, that the plant might stand on the surface of the earth, between the animal and mineral creations, and organise portions of the former for the sustenance of the latter. We must indeed see the goodness and the love of God in the goodly fruits of the trees.

3. Another very interesting branch of our subject is in regard to the habits or instincts of the trees. Wherever a tree may be growing, if there is a stream or pool of water anywhere near it, or a damp piece of ground, it will always push its roots eagerly toward that. It wants the hydrogen and oxygen which the water can furnish, and it will have them if it can possibly get them. In other words, it is thirsty, just as we are thirsty, and it eagerly seeks for water to drink. For example, I have read. (Horace Bushnell's lecture on Life) of a man named Madison, who had an aqueduct — that is, a sort of trough made of logs — which in reaching his house passed by a tree which was especially fond of water, at a considerable distance from it. Opposite to where the tree stood there was an auger hole in the log that had been filled with a plug of soft wood. Exactly to that spot the tree sent off a long stretch of roots, which forced their way through this soft wood plug, choking up the passage; "and there," says the account, "they were found drinking, like so many thirsty animals." The same writer who tells this incident, says "that a strawberry planted in sand, with good earth a little way off, will turn its runners all toward that. But if the good earth is too far away to be reached, it will make no effort on that side more than on the others." You can try this experiment if you want to, and see if it is not so.

4. Then it is wonderful to see a tree exerting its mighty strength. For in every tree in your garden at home, and in everyone that you can see from these windows, and in all the trees of the forests and on the hills, there is a life principle, the strength of which is as great as, or greater than, that of the largest steam engine you ever saw. Why, in the commonest garden vegetable there is a force capable of lifting an enormous weight. And if you go down here on the road a little way, some time, you can see a huge rock that has been broken right in two by the strength of a little tree not much larger round than my arm. Some time, years ago, a little cone lodged in the crevice of that rock, and pretty soon the rains and the warm sun caused one of the little seeds in the cone to germinate and grow. A little root ran out and down into the crevice, and began growing. Soon it had got as large as the crevice, and touched the hard rock on each side. And no doubt the grim old rock would have laughed, if rocks could laugh, and would have said to the tiny little pine tree, "You insignificant little sprout, you can't grow here, for I won't let you, so you may as well not try." But the little tree kept growing, and pretty soon began to press hard on the sides of the crevice; harder" and harder it pushed, and twisted round to get a good hold, filling up the whole space with its insinuating roots. And the rock hung together, and braced itself, and tried its best not to give way. But at last one dark night CRACK it went, and broke in two right in the middle. And all because of the little tree, which it had thought so weak and small. A tree has in it this wonderful power of growth and enlargement. It is always growing, running up taller and taller, and getting larger and larger every year. And if it is broken by storms or felled to the ground it often reconstructs its building, and rears itself again with all its wonderful ducts, and tissues, and breathing pores, like to the pattern which it bore before. And all the trees, so many kinds of which we can see around us in the forests, though they have different forms and characteristics, and are put to different uses, still contribute, each its share, to fulfilling the plans and perfecting the work which God gave them to do upon the earth. There is no confusion. Each has its law within itself, and fills the sphere which God intended it to fill.

(F. H. Palmer.)

The 1st Psalm strikes the keynote of those statutes of God which are the songs of His people in their pilgrimage. Like an illuminated initial letter, it presents a graphic picture of the contrast between the blessedness of the righteous and the misery of the wicked under the emblems of a fruit tree flourishing beside a river and of a handful of chaff winnowed by the wind. Let us look at the picture presented.

I. THE FRUIT TREE. This suggests —

1. Stability. It is firmly rooted in the soil. Thus it tells of the stability of the righteous.

2. Access to a perennial mine of nourishment and refreshment: "by the rivers of waters." A river in the East is an artery of life. A tree, therefore, with its head in the torrid sunshine, and its feet laved by a perpetual stream flowing down from some far-up snowy mountain, is one of the most beautiful images of a righteous man.

3. It yields its fruit in its season. Fruit is that part of the tree which belongs not to the individual, but to the race. In the fruit the tree sacrifices its own life for the life that is to spring from it; converts branch and foliage that would have remained and ministered to its own beauty, into blossom and fruit that fall off and minister to the good of others. In no case does the fruit benefit the tree, but, on the contrary, burdens and exhausts it, as is clearly proved by the shorter lives of fruit than of other trees. So the distinguishing peculiarity of the righteous is self-sacrifice. They have truly learned that first lesson of the Cross of Christ. They, as He, come not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give their life for others.

4. Its leaf shall not wither. This is a remarkable feature. It is the old idea of the bush burning and not consumed. In nature it is only through the fading of the leaf that the fruit ripens. The yellowing autumnal foliage accompanies the development of the fruit. By the leaf the tree breathes and forms its wood from air and sunshine. It is its strength, yea is itself; for the whole tree is simply a modification and development of the leaf, as it is most certainly the creation of the leaf. The leaf, therefore, represents the righteous man's life. Not only does he do good to others, but he gets good to himself. Godliness is to a man's nature what sunlight is to a plant. It imparts living greenness and fadeless vigour.

II. THE CHAFF. This is a complete contrast.

1. Chaff is a dead leaf that was once green and flourishing and full of sap and life. It once performed an important part in the growth of the plant. But now it is effete and has no vital connection with the plant. How worthless does a human being become who has lost his true life by sin.

2. It is driven away. It has fallen from the higher powers of the organic world and it comes under the power of the inorganic. And so with the ungodly man. That which separated him from the mass of creation — the Divine image — he has lost. But losing this he becomes a mere part of the creation, instead of having personal relations with the personal God. The ungodly have no individuality; they live, move, and act in the mass. The statistics of wrong-doing illustrate this. You can calculate the average of crimes; the number of paupers, suicides, and criminals there will be. The evil passions of men may be known as we know the coming of an eclipse. And thus the awful lesson is read to us that individuals when they have sold themselves to sin and so lose the spiritual life that bound them to God come to be controlled, notwithstanding all their waywardness, by laws which apply to mere things in which there is no power to resist. They pass beyond the sphere of the grace of God into the passive realms of matter.

3. All things become hostile to it. What ministers life to the living tree ministers more rapid decay to the chaff. Which are we?

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

It is deeply interesting, in counting the circles of a section of some old tree, to note the variations, some circles being almost imperceptible for narrowness, and some so broad that you fear almost to have counted two as one. As you count the outer circles, your memory, reaching back to those years, can show a cause for this difference. The years of drought are the years of little growth. For the tree, as for our spirits, it holds true that a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. There are surely seasons when one can make little increase save under exceptional circumstances, such as those of a tree by the river side, which shows little variation. It drew supplies from an abiding source. Precisely this sweet secret it is that finds expression in the 1st Psalm, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." They who live near the Lord, who delight themselves in His law and meditate on it day and night, are ever growing and fruitful.

(Sarah Smiley.)

There is one tree, only to be found in the valley of the Jordan, but too beautiful to be entirely passed over; the oleander, with its bright blossoms and dark green leaves, giving the aspect of a rich garden to any spot where it grows. It is rarely, if ever, alluded to in the Scriptures. But it may be the tree planted by the streams of water which bringeth forth his fruit in due season, and "whose leaf shall not wither."

(A. P. Stanley, D. D.)

Dr. John Paton, speaking of Namakei, his first convert on the island of Aniwa, says, "He went in and out the meeting with intense joy. When he heard of the prosperity of the Lord's work, and how island after island was learning to sing the praise of Jesus, his heart glowed, and he said, 'Missi, I am lifting up my head like a tree; I am growing tall with joy.'"

I have read of a waterfall in a nobleman's garden, beautiful in its construction, but the water was never turned on unless his lordship was there. That is like much of the religion existing in the present age. It is only turned on when there is someone to see and applaud. Our service must not be kept for mere effect and display.

(R. Venting.)

That bringeth forth his fruit in his season.
This reference to the tree as the image of the good man's life, this garden which is thus summoned up before our minds, harmonises with almost all the early, and certainly with the closing, scenes in our Bibles. It is significant that the image which is chosen is not a tree of the forest, but a tree specifically planted by the water side. The image of the tree of nature — of the tree in its wild untended state — has been freely used by a school of thinkers as against any doctrine of human education whatever. But vegetable life may, under certain circumstances, gain very considerably by cultivation. Cultivation develops latent properties, latent powers. It prevents a waste of life, it economises time in growth. Man is not a tree, but he is like a tree. He has qualities and characteristics peculiar to himself. He has intelligence, and no doctrine of human improvement would be complete which did not provide for the development of his understanding. He is morally free, he is social; in these things there must be development. He is depraved, and if a man is left to himself he will grow in his depravity. Therefore man must be checked, reproved, chastised. There are points of similarity between human nature and vegetable growth.

I. EACH IS GRADUAL The growth of the spiritual life is in the nature of the case slow, because it consists chiefly in the formation of habits of faith, hope, love, prayer, inward conformity of the soul to the will of Almighty God.

II. EACH IS MYSTERIOUS. We cannot understand the mysterious processes which pass within the soul; we can only see the outer life, the words and the actions, which are the products of the feelings engendered by grace. As a tree requires soil, sunlight, moisture, and space for its proper growth, so the human soul requires certain ascertainable conditions, without which growth and development are impossible. I will mention three.

1. The life of the soul should be based upon principles. They are the soil of the soul. Sentiments, opinions, and views belong to quite a different strata of mental life from the possession of principles. Principles — what are they? They are the basis of truth on which the understanding must lean if man is to rise to the destined tether of his greatness. The understanding is the basis faculty of the character, but the understanding itself must rest on something. And what is it to rest on if not on sound principles? This is true in science, in art, in speculation, and in religion. Some principles are natural. Seeing the difference between right and wrong; recognising the eternal law of justice and righteousness, these are natural principles. Some belong to grace, they are revealed, such as that Jesus is God equal to the Father, and that Jesus is our Judge. Sooner or later a principle brings forth its fruit in due season. But you may have long to wait for it.

III. CHRISTIANITY MUST EXPAND. It must expand by love. The heart is the centre of life. The heart may be corrupted through being fixed on false objects, or it may be closeted up. Either of them is a misfortune so great that we can scarcely think less of it than that it is very ruining to character. Ascertain the object on which the heart is fixed and you have ascertained the direction in which moral and spiritual life is moving. One condition of the development of the soul is the discipline of the will. The will is the summit of the character, just as the heart is at its centre, just as the understanding is at its base.

(Canon Liddon, D. D.)

Solomon uttered an axiom when he said, "To everything there is a season." The truth is applicable to all God does. As in creation its mode and time were not anyhow but appointed. And what is true on the larger scale is also true on the smaller. And to every individual. Your birth and death are appointed by God. To you there is a season.

I. THERE IS FRUIT APPROPRIATE TO EACH SEASON. This not only in the physical world but in the moral.

1. Childhood has its fruits. Like the holy child Jesus you are to bear fruit by loving, trusting, and imitating Him. In your baptism you have been given to Christ and are His. He expects you to bear fruit.

2. Youth has its fruit. St. John speaks of "little children, young men, fathers." You occupy the middle position. "I have written to you," says the apostle. Young men and maidens, be sober minded and strong minded too.

3. Old age has its fruits. When the spring is gone, the summer vanished, how varied and multiplied the fruit of autumn. And there are fruits not only of season, but

4. Of time. Our Sabbaths, for example, and working days and days of relaxation also should have their fruit. And there are —

5. Moral seasons. Conviction — how important this is. It is a solemn season when God comes near the soul. And the time of spiritual quickening when the soul longs for more of God. Seasons of sorrow, of joy, and of temptation, these all have their appropriate fruit.

II. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT THAT THE FRUIT APPROPRIATE SHOULD BE BORNE IN ITS SEASON. For then it is best.

1. Your lifetime — if it bear not its fruit it will never bear it at all. How are you spending it?

2. Religious impression — if that pass away, "a more convenient season" you will never have.

III. FOR THIS SUITABLE MEANS MUST BE EMPLOYED. It is the result of previously fulfilled conditions.

1. Separation from the ungodly is one of them.

2. Meditation on God's Word.

3. Hidden supplies of God's grace, like the water at the roots of the tree. They flow along the channels of Divine ordinances, prayers, worship, sacraments. So will you bear fruit.

(Josiah Viney.)

A very practical lesson arises from these words. We are not to look even in Christian life for what is ordinarily understood by "fruit" all the year round. Upon this point many Christians disquiet themselves unnecessarily. There is a time for rest, for recruital, and time spent in legitimate sleep is time made for larger and harder work. Let the tree be the symbol and image of our life. It has its season of fruitfulness, but not of fruitlessness in any blameworthy sense. The tree is part of the great course of things — a speck in an infinite system, and it keeps all the time and law of the stupendous universe. So it is with the Christian heart. There are times of abundant labour, of almost excessive joy, of hope above the brightness of the sun, and of realisations which transform the earth into heaven. There are times when our energy seems to be more than equal to all the exigencies of life; we can work without weariness, we can suffer without complaining; we are quite sure that the morning draweth nigh, and that in the end the victory will he with God. At other times there are seasons of depression, almost intolerable weariness, somewhat indeed of sickness of heart, as if a great pain had fixed itself within us; at other times we know that we are not bringing forth fruit to the glory of God or for the use of man, and in such times we call ourselves cumberers of the ground, and urge our idleness against ourselves with all the force of a criminal accusation. The Christian should deal with himself reasonably in all these things. The year is not one season, nor is human life one monotonous experience. We are not to be judged by this or that one day or season, but by the whole scope and circumference of life.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1. Piety and gratitude to God contribute in a high degree to enliven prosperity. Gratitude is a pleasing emotion. The sense of being distinguished by the kindness of another gladdens the heart, warms it with reciprocal affection, and gives to any possession, which is agreeable in itself, a double relish, from its being the gift of a friend. Not only gratitude for the past, but a cheering sense of God's favour at the present, enter into the pious emotion.

2. Religion affords to good men peculiar security in the enjoyment of their prosperity. By worldly assistance it is vain to think of providing any effectual defence, seeing the world's mutability is the very cause of our terror.

3. Religion forms good men to the most proper ,temper for the enjoyment of prosperity. A little reflection may satisfy us that mere possession, even granting it to be secure, does not constitute enjoyment. We all know the effects which any indisposition of the body, even though slight, produces on external prosperity. The corrupted temper and the guilty passions of the bad frustrate the effect of every advantage which the world confers on them. None but the temperate, the regular, and the virtuous know how to enjoy prosperity. Prosperity is redoubled to a good man by his generous use of it. It is reflected back upon him from everyone whom he makes happy.

4. Religion heightens the prosperity of good men by the prospect which it affords them of greater happiness to come in another world. What is present is never sufficient to give us full satisfaction. To the present we must always join some agreeable anticipations of futurity in order to complete our pleasure. Let this be our conclusion, that, both in prosperity and in adversity, religion is the safest guide of human life. Conducted by its light, we real) the pleasures and, at the same time, escape the dangers of a prosperous state.

(Hugh Blair, D. D.)

I. THE PROSPEROUS LIFE IS A LIFE MADE PROSPEROUS BY REFUSAL.

1. The man will refuse to think wrongly. Counsel — that is, the thought or creed of the ungodly. Non-use of thought in certain directions results in inability of thought toward those directions. Mr. Darwin confessed himself "atrophied" toward music, painting, poetry, etc., through the so constant using of himself in ways simply scientific. this atrophy of thought is just as possible in religious directions. A man who "will not" take counsel toward God "cannot" at last. The man of the really prosperous life will not walk in such counsel of the ungodly; he will think toward God.

2. He will. refuse to practise wrongly, "way of sinners." At the battle of Ahna, in the Crimean War, one of the ensigns stood his ground when the regiment retreated. The captain shouted to him to bring back the colours; but the ensign replied, "Bring the men up to the colours." So this man of the prosperous life will maintain high and brave practice of the right, whoever may retreat from it.

3. Will refuse to speak wrongly, "seat of the scornful." Into their sort of speech he will not enter.

II. BY RECEPTION.

1. He will receive all ennobling and uplifting objects of affection; but his delight is in the "law of the Lord." The controlling thing in a man is his topmost love.

2. This man loves to think of what he loves. "Meditate day and night." "Hang this upon the wall of your room," said a wise picture dealer to an Oxford undergraduate, as he handed him the engraving of a Madonna of Raphael, "and then all the pictures of jockeys and ballet girls will disappear."

III. RESULTS. Noble growth. Propitious placing. Sustenance. Fruitfulness. Beauty of character. Real prosperity.

(Wayland Hoyt, D. D.)

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