Psalm 119:174
The metaphor in the Hebrew is "pour forth a stream of praise." "You have stood at the fountain-bead of a stream of water, and admired while it bubbled up and ran down in a cleat' little rivulet, tilt at length it swelled into the mighty river. Such is the allusion here. The heart taught of God cannot contain itself, but breaks out in praise and singing. This would be the effect of Divine illumination, and this would be felt to be a privilege, yea, a high duty" (John Stephen).

I. JOY FINDS EXPRESSION IS PRAISE. "IS any merry, let him sing psalms." There are natural expressions, by the body and the bodily faculties, of all the various emotions. Let a man be unsophisticated, and free from external restraints, and his body will respond to his moods. He will tear things if he is vexed. He will drop his head if he is convicted of doing wrong. He will flush if lie is taken by surprise; and so on. If a man is glad, he wants to sing. Send a party of young people out for a day of pleasure, and they must sing. The genuine religious man, who finds joy in God anti in God's Word, must praise; he cannot help it. He must become ungenuine in order to keep praise in. Our public services have so much of the element of praise, because it is expected that God's people will ever be full of the "joy of the Lord."

II. PRAISE FINDS RENEWAL FOR THE JOY. Many things live and grow through expression, and soul-joy in God is one of them. Silence joy, and it will fade and die down. Let it speak, let it sing, and it will ever grow louder, stronger, worthier. We shall love to sing, delight in singing, and so the joy of our hearts will grow stronger and stronger. Praise has its aspect as a duty we owe to God. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me." But we need not miss seeing how much it does for us, in the renewing of our soul's joy in God. - R.T.







I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord; and Thy law is my delight.
I. THE STATE OF MIND OF WHICH HE WAS THE SUBJECT. This phraseology implies, that of all other benefits, none are of such great value as the salvation of the soul; also that we cannot save ourselves, neither is salvation to be hoped for from the hills or the mountains, or from the creature in any form which it can wear. It is "the grace of God" alone that "brings salvation." Then in what does this salvation consist? It consists in emancipation from the curse of the law, deliverance from the anger of God. It is a salvation with the possession of the blessings of forgiveness, of renewal, of progressive sanctification, of preparation for the joys in the immediate presence of God and of the Lamb.

II. THE GRAND TEST BY WHICH WE MAY JUDGE OF THE INTEGRITY OF THIS ARDENT DESIRE WHICH IS HERE EXPRESSED, "Thy law is my delight." The law of God presents us with the first and most beautiful exhibition of God's moral character and His attributes. The law of God, by its types and shadows, directs us to the grand remedial means — the great propitiation which was to take away the sin of the world. The law of God, considering it as embracing the whole lively oracles, points us to the Saviour, Christ the Lord. The law of the Lord says, that those who come to Him He will in no wise cast out. There is everything, therefore, in the Word of God, and in the Gospel of our salvation, to awaken our reverence, our admiration, and our most affectionate desire.

(J. Clayton, M. A.)

I. HIS LONGING. By salvation is meant here no other thing but that which in the Scripture is sometimes called "life eternal," sometimes "the kingdom of heaven," sometimes "the glory which shall be showed" hereafter, sometimes "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living," sometimes "the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," sometimes "an inheritance, immortal and undefiled, which fadeth not"; in a word, those unspeakable, and not to be conceived, blessings, "which God hath prepared for those that love Him." This was the object, the mark of David's longing. This salvation he calleth the Lord's (Thy salvation); because, as for us, it is neither an inheritance which we are born unto, nor a purchase which by any desert we can compass, so it is the Lord's every way: it is He which hath first prepared it: it is He which hath freely disposed it according to the good pleasure of His own will: it is He which reserveth it in heaven for those who are reserved unto Jesus Christ. There are three things required of a Christian: first, by a feeling of sin to seek Christ. Secondly, by a holy faith to find Christ. Thirdly, by newness of life to dwell with Christ. The first of these three is the same longing for salvation which I entreat of; and therefore, as in a ladder there is no coming to the upper step but by the nethermost, so there is no dwelling with Christ, which is the height of happiness in this life, but by finding Him; found He cannot be but by seeking; to seek Him and to long for Him are all one; no man seeks Him but he which longs for Him, and no man longs for Him but he will care to seek Him.

II. HIS LOVE. "Thy law is my delight." It is not enough for a man to say he longs and desires to be saved, unless he make conscience to use the appointed means to bring him thereunto. It had been but hypocrisy in David to say he longed for salvation, if his conscience had not been able to witness with him, that the law was his delight. It is mere mockery for a man to say he longeth for bread, and prayeth to God every day to give hint his daily bread, if he either yet walk in no calling, or else seek to get by fraud and rapine, not staying himself at all upon God's providence. Who will imagine that a man wishes for health, who either despiseth or neglecteth the means of his recovery? God hath in His wisdom appointed a lawful means for every lawful thing: this means being obediently used, the comfortable obtaining of the end may be boldly looked for; the means being not observed, to think to attain to the end is mere presumption. There is nobody almost, but if he be asked, for shame he will say he loveth God's Word, and that he were a very wretch if he should not. But come to the undeceivable marks and unseparable signs of this love, it will then appear that God's Word hath but a very few friends. The very sign of love to the Word of God is love to the public ministry thereof in God's Church: the reason is plain. He which loveth the Word unfeignedly, must needs love the means by which the Word shall become most profitable unto him. The next sign of love to the Word is the private use of it. If a man should be stinted to one meal a week, he would have a pined body at the week's end; what shall then become of our souls if we think it enough that they once a week be fed with the Word of God, and do not give them some other private refreshing. The third sign of love to the Word is love to the obedience of the Word. If ye love me (saith Christ), keep My commandments: so, if we love the Word, we cannot but make conscience to do that which is commanded by the Word. The reason is this: he which truly loveth the Word must needs tender the credit of it, and labour by all means to maintain it. Now, it is the greatest honour to the Word of God that may be, when men which possess it are ruled by it, and walk according to it. The fourth sign of love to the Word is hatred of all false religion which is contrary to the Word. I hate vain inventions (saith David), and again, I esteem all Thy precepts most just, and hate all false ways. The last sign of our love to the Word is to love it when the profession of it is most despised. This is noted as a special fruit of David's love. Examine but this one psalm (vers. 23, 51, 61, 69, 110, 141).

(S. Hieron.)

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