I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
I. IN HIS WORKS IN THE NATURAL WORLD.
1. How beautiful they are! They clearly show the Divine love of beauty. The vision of beauty delights us; and the lavish bestowment of it shows that it delights God.
2. How innumerable! All powers of computation utterly break down when we try to enumerate the works of God. The psalm tells of many, but how far many more are left unnamed? God cannot turn his gaze in any direction but he will behold the works of his hand.
3. And how varied! "Lord, how manifold are thy works!" not many only.
4. And how successful! "In wisdom hast thou made them all." What joy a human inventor has, when, after long study and toil, he at length has discovered how to secure the successful working of that which he has made! The old story of the ancient philosopher rushing from his bath, and crying "Eureka!" because he had hit upon the solution of some knotty problem which had long perplexed him, is an illustration of the inventor's joy. And the observation of the smooth, successful working of his Divine plans cannot but be a further element of joy, even to him.
5. Yet more because so beneficent. His creatures are "filled with good" by what he has done. While they delight us they also delight him.
II. IN PROVIDENCE.
1. Here, perhaps, we pause. We think of the darker side of life - of the unspeakable suffering, of the bitter sorrows, of the dread problem of evil. And of not a little of this we are compelled to say, "It is the Lord's doing." The beautiful other side of life - happy homes, successful work, health, love, strength, and all the rest; we can see how fruitful of joy to both giver and receiver it must be; but this dark side, what of that? How can the Lord rejoice in that?
2. Well, remember, God sees the whole of life; we only a mere fragment of it. The shipbuilder enters his yard. Dust, din, clatter, intolerable noise, and dirt and disorder meet him on every hand. The gaunt ribs of some ship on the stocks are the occasion of all this. But the shipbuilder looks quite pleased. Why is this? Because he has in his mind the vision of the completed ship, when fair, graceful, strong, she spreads her sails, and, laden with rich cargo, she sails the ocean like a thing of life. He sees her in all her future glory, to which all that now is leads the way. The application is easy. We believe, with the poet -
"That nothing walks with aimless feet; III. IN HIS SPIRITUAL WORKS. Forgiveness, peace, purity, power, eternal life. Do we cooperate with him in these? - S.C.
III. IN HIS SPIRITUAL WORKS. Forgiveness, peace, purity, power, eternal life. Do we cooperate with him in these? - S.C.
1. Singing is the music of nature. The Scriptures tell us "the mountains sing," "the valleys sing," "the trees of the wood sing before the Lord." The air of summer is filled with melody of birds.
I. THE PSALMIST'S DETERMINATION.
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live.
1. That he will sing. He felt that God had given him a voice capable of singing as well as of speaking; that the power to utter sweet sounds in song, and the ear to delight in sweet sounds in song, was a noble faculty of his nature, and that this faculty was to be used in the Divine service.
2. That he will sing to the Lord — not for his own gratification and pleasure merely, nor to amuse his friends. He believed God heard his voice in song as much as He heard his voice in prayer.
3. That he will sing to the Lord as long as he lives.
II. It is instructive to observe HOW OFTEN, AND IN HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYS SINGING IS MENTIONED AND ENJOINED IN THE SCRIPTURES.
1. It is enjoined by Scripture command and precept. Moses and Miriam, David and Asaph, all unite in similar precepts, — "Sing unto the Lord all the earth, sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him," is the burden of their frequent utterance. Gospel precept accords with Old Testament command. The apostles are careful to exhort to the practice (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).
2. Singing is enforced by Scripture argument. We always find this duty of singing to the Lord linked to and connected with other moral duties. The psalmist unites singing and prayer together. In the same psalm we read, "O come, let us sing unto the Lord," "O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." Here singing and prayer are conjoined (James 5:13).
3. Singing is enjoined by Scripture example. Moses both pens a psalm, viz. the 90th, and sings a holy song. Miriam led a number of Israelitish women in a joyful song of triumph to the Lord. David earned for himself the title of the Sweet Psalmist of Israel, alike for the psalms he composed and sung. Asaph and Heman, Jeduthun and Ethan, were eminent for the service they rendered to the psalmody of the Temple-worship. Turning to the New Testament, we find the singing of sacred hymns enjoined by the highest example of all (Matthew 26:30). The apostles were addicted to the same practice (Acts 16:25).
2. Singing is the music of the Ancient Church. Pliny makes mention in a letter he wrote to the Emperor Trajan, that the Christians of those times being gathered together before day, sang hymns and praises to Christ as God. Paulinus testifies that this practice overspread every province of the Western Church. tells us that in his time they sang and sent up prayers to God. Beza confesses that at his first entrance into the congregation, hearing them sing the 91st Psalm, he felt himself exceedingly comforted, and did retain the sound of it afterwards upon his heart. St. reports of himself, that when he came to Milan and heard the people sing, it was the occasion of his conversion. His words in his Confessions are, "When I remember my tears at my conversion under the melody of Thy Church."
3. Coming to more modern times, we find the same practice not only in vogue, but also of greater practical advantage. The reformation in Germany, under Martin Luther, was greatly promoted by singing. Luther taught the children to sing hymns, expressing the great truths of the Gospel. The children went about the streets singing these Gospel hymns, and thus conveying the truth on every hand. The Romanists said "Luther has done us more harm by his songs than by his sermons." The followers of Wickliffe and Huss were named psalm-singers. In later times the great religious movements and revivals, which have greatly aided the spread of religion, have been more or less connected with singing to the Lord.
4. Singing is the music of heaven. The glorious saints and angels express their praises in this way, and make one harmony in their state of blessedness. This is set forth in many passages of the Book of Revelation.
(J. Shillito. .)
( T. Manton.)
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