Psalm 143:5
The hunger and thirst after righteousness is ultimately a thirst for God. "Observe how he binds himself to God alone, cuts off every other hope from his soul, and, in short, makes his very need a chariot wherewith to mount up to God." "I remember the days of old;" "I spread forth my hands unto thee."

I. GOD ALWAYS HAS BEEN OUR HOPE. A good man is here speaking in the name of good men. They can never look back over life, and estimate its scenes of trial and strain, without clearly seeing that their hope was in God, and that God had ever met and satisfied their hope. One thing man has to learn over and over again in the experience of life. It is the untrustworthiness of things and people, and the safe foundation of hope that a man has in God. It is not usually long after a man enters on what may be called a personal experience that he discovers there is no hope to be placed in man. One of the most humiliating and depressing experiences of life is finding our most trusted friend fail us in the hour of need. Then we learn that God is our first and only Hope. Then God does not fail. We may trust him. We find him the "Strength of our heart and our Portion for ever." That experience is repeated again and again as life unfolds.

II. GOD ALWAYS WILL BE OUR HOPE. Estimate aright the painful experiences through which we may now be passing; times when our life-erections seem to lie in ruins about us; times when trusted friends fail us; times when the outlook before us is dark; times when the sense of loneliness oppresses us, we look to the right hand and to the left, but there is no helper; - they are all times in which we are recovering and re-establishing our hope in God. It is well to remember that we always have that. The soul's deep rest is in him who is "the same yesterday, and today, and for ever;" always the "Friend of the friendless and the faint." Life rightly viewed is a liberating us from every bond that would keep us from restful, strengthening hope in God. - R.T.







I remember the days of old.
Homilist.
: —

I. AS A NECESSITY OF HUMAN NATURE.

1. By the laws of proximity, likeness, contrast, we are every day thrown back on the past, made in some measure to relive the hours that are gone.

2. This necessary action of memory shows —(1) The conscious unity of human life. However long we have to live, though for ever, from the beginning our life is one.(2) The wondrous frugality of life. Our spiritual life throws nothing away. Memory manages all with the most sparing economy. It gathers up every fragment, so that nothing is lost.(3) The growing importance of life. What a world lies behind the old man — nay, within him.(4) The inevitable retributiveness of life.

II. AS A MORAL OBLIGATION OF HUMAN NATURE. "I remember the days of old." Every man should voluntarily and religiously do this with the past of his life. He should not allow the past to come up to him merely involuntarily, and thus become its victim. He should deal with it so as to make it serve the true interests of his spiritual being. He should make the past —

1. Promote evangelical sorrow within him. The memory of the past must sadden all souls.

2. Promote thanksgiving to God within him. What impressions will the past give man of God's forbearance — God's guidance — God's guardianship — God's ever-flowing goodness!

3. Promote an invincible purpose to improve. The memory of past disappointments should warn us against extravagant hopes. The memory of abused mercies should lead us to a greater appreciation of our present blessings. The memory of lost years should lead us to turn every hour of the present to a right spiritual account.

(Homilist.)

: —

I. THE PAST ENABLES US TO KNOW OURSELVES.

1. We have embodied our character.

2. We have reacted on and moulded them.

3. Hence the past shows what we are.

II. THE PAST IS FITTED TO SUGGEST RULES FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE FUTURE CONDUCT.

1. It has brought to light our tendencies.

2. It has shown what is dangerous in our circumstances.

3. It has revealed the temptations before which we are in danger of falling.

III. A CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL PREPARE US FOR THE EXERCISE OF CONFESSION, AND WILL SHUT US UP TO CHRIST.

1. Confession should be minute — history portrayed.

2. This requires a knowledge of the past.

3. A sight of our sin drives to Christ.

4. For this sight we must turn to the past.

IV. THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL DISPOSE US TO THANKSGIVING, AND WILL FURNISH US WITH MATERIALS FOR PRAISE.

1. Thanksgiving is difficult, and is neglected.

2. It should be minute, ranging from, etc.

3. It should involve lively and strong feeling.

4. The knowledge and the deep feeling are dependent on, etc. — Individuals.

V. THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL STIMULATE US TO REDEEM THE TIME.

1. The whole life of man is short.

2. How much shorter has it become to us!

3. Had it been spent aright, its increased shortness would not be a matter of regret.

4. But only look back!

VI. THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL PRODUCE DEEP AND SOLEMN IMPRESSIONS OF THE FRAILTY OF MAN.

1. Look back to your childhood.

2. Where are the companions of your youth? Stages marked by grave-stones — mourner — stranger on earth.

VII. THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL SHOW THE UTTER FOLLY OF DEPENDING ON THE THINGS OF THE WORLD FOR SUPPORT AND ENJOYMENT.

1. Ungodliness is an attempt to dispense with God and still be happy.

2. Each man makes the experiment.

3. You have made it.

4. What is the result? A failure!

VIII. A CONSIDERATION OF THE PAST WILL CONFIRM THE BELIEVER IN THE CHOICE HE HAS MADE.

1. The most important part of a believer's life is that which follows his conversion.

2. In reviewing it —

(1)You see the temporal consequences of your act.

(2)You see the spiritual consequences.

IX. THE PAST WILL SHOW TO THE UNGODLY HIS ETERNITY.

1. Alas! the sinner is not qualified to see his eternity in his time.

X. THE PAST SHOWS TO THE BELIEVER THE COMPARATIVE MEASURE IN WHICH HE SHALL REAP HEREAFTER. Between the believer's present conduct and future glory —

1. There is no connection of merit.

2. But there is a connection of congruity or fitness.

(Jas. Stewart.)

: —

1. Reflection signifies to think again on what we have already thought, already conceived, to think on it more circumstantially, more steadily, more expressly, and to do this on set purpose and with consciousness in the design of dwelling longer on these thoughts, in order to dissect and analyze them, to obtain a clearer conception of the matter to which they relate, to study them in their several parts, in their principles and consequences, to compare them with others, to observe their analogies to us and to other objects, and thence to draw conclusions in regard to our conduct or to our happiness.

2. It also signifies, by the repeated representation and consideration of what we have already conceived and know, to endeavour to discover or to understand other things which we either do not yet know, or whereof we have only a dark and confused idea, or in regard to which we are still uncertain, whether they be true or false, thus or otherwise constituted.

3. Reflection has commonly in view the examination of some or all of the following questions: What is the object and the nature of it? What results from thence? Is it true and certain, and why is it so? What relations does it bear to me and my happiness? How should I act towards it? In other words, by reflection and consideration we endeavour to render our conceptions and ideas of objects more clear, more complete, more certain, more interesting and useful to us.

4. The reflecting man endeavours to render the objects, the doctrines whereon he reflects more profitable to him by applying them to his conduct, by deducing from them such principles and rules as may regulate him for the rest of his life. Thus he learns real, practical wisdom, and without that all human reflection is of no great value.

(G. J. Zollikofer, D. D.)

I muse on the work of Thy hands.
: — I heard of a good man who went down the Rhine, but took care to read a book all the way, for fear he should have his mind taken off from heavenly topics by the beauties of Nature. I confess I do not understand such a spirit — I do not want to do so. If I go into an artist's house I do that artist a displeasure if I take no notice of his works under the pretext that I am quite absorbed in himself. Why not enjoy the objects in which our heavenly Father has set forth His wisdom and power? Delight yourself in all your heavenly Father's handiwork, and make it to be a ladder by which you climb to Himself.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

: — The same thing will appeal differently to different people according to capacity, sensibility, experience. One may look on a flower with the eye of a florist, another of a market gardener, another of a botanist, another of an artist. William Blake saw angels amid the swaying corn or nestling in a tree. A scene which is dull and uninteresting to the listless eye may be transformed by a touch of creative and interpretative imagination; as James Swetham says, "Gerhard Dew threw a glory over our very pickled cabbage." Culture and restraint.

(Hugh Black.)

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