Psalm 17:15
As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.
Beholding God's FaceWilliam Jay.Psalm 17:15
Happiness of Saints in HeavenN. Emmons, D. D.Psalm 17:15
Human Capacity for GodR. Wright Hay.Psalm 17:15
SatisfactionThornley Smith.Psalm 17:15
SatisfactionC. M. Jones.Psalm 17:15
SatisfactionWilliam Jay.Psalm 17:15
SatisfiedA. Smellie, M. A.Psalm 17:15
The Awakening of ManWilliam Jay.Psalm 17:15
The Believer's Present Standing and Assured AnticipationJoseph Irons.Psalm 17:15
The Believer's VisionW. Howels.Psalm 17:15
The Christian's AwakeningJ. N. Pearson, M. A.Psalm 17:15
The Christian's Completed LifeG. M. Mathews.Psalm 17:15
The Christian's Future Likeness to ChristG. Deans, M. A.Psalm 17:15
The Christian's ProspectEbenezer Temple.Psalm 17:15
The Destiny of the GoodHomilistPsalm 17:15
The Dream and its AwakeningJ. Jackson Goadby.Psalm 17:15
The Dream, the Awakening, and the TransformationHomilistPsalm 17:15
The Final Awakening of the SaintT. De Witt Talmage.Psalm 17:15
The Future of the BelieverA. Jack, D. D.Psalm 17:15
The Great AwakeningF. J. Austin.Psalm 17:15
The Hope of Future BlissPsalm 17:15
The Hope of Future BlissCharles Haddon Spurgeon Psalm 17:15
The Likeness of GodW. J. Armstrong, D. D.Psalm 17:15
The Likeness PerfectedPsalm 17:15
The Man of the BibleThomas Binney.Psalm 17:15
The Revelation of God in ManCharles Voysey.Psalm 17:15
The Sailor's SatisfactionD. Wilcox.Psalm 17:15
The Satisfaction of the FutureHomilistPsalm 17:15
The Satisfaction of the Righteous ManE. A. Park, D. D.Psalm 17:15
The Three-Fold Hope of the ChristianJohn Bradford.Psalm 17:15
The Time for SatisfactionJoseph Parker, D. D.Psalm 17:15
The Two AwakeningsA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 17:15
The Two AwakingsAlexander MaclarenPsalm 17:15
The Vision of the FaceJohn Howe.Psalm 17:15
The Vision of the FaceJ. Halsey.Psalm 17:15
The Vision of VisionsJ. A. Macdonald.Psalm 17:15
Three AwakingsW. Forsyth Psalm 17:15
Who has the Best of ItAnon.Psalm 17:15
The Righteousness of God's DealingW. Forsyth Psalm 17:1-15
The Saint's Appeal from the Wrongs of Earth to the Righteous One on the ThroneC. Clemance Psalm 17:1-15
Confidence in GodC. Short Psalm 17:6-15
Men of the WorldD. Wilcox.Psalm 17:14-15
Men Who Flourish on CarrionAndrew Griffen.Psalm 17:14-15
Men Who have Their Portion in This LifeT. G. Selby.Psalm 17:14-15
The City YouthJ. Thain Davidson, D. D.Psalm 17:14-15
The Disappointment of Men Who Seek Satisfaction in Earthly TreasurePsalm 17:14-15
The Uncertainty of Worldly ProsperityAlfred Barry, D. D.Psalm 17:14-15
The Worldly Man's PortionJ. Burns, D. D.Psalm 17:14-15

The Bible is a book of contrasts. Here we have a contrast between the man of God and "the men of the world." We may bring out something of its force and significance by considering the three awakings here suggested.

I. THE AWAKING FROM SLEEP. The psalmist says (ver. 3), "Thou hast visited me in the night." The sense of God's presence abides. When he awakes, it is not, like the worldling, to a life of selfish pleasure, but to a life of holy service. His first thought is not of self, but of God. His highest joy is in fellowship with God and in doing his work. His prayer is -

"Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with thyself my spirit fill."

II. THE AWAKING FROM THE NIGHT OF TROUBLE. Darkness is the image of gloom; light, of joy. "The men of the world" have few troubles, but they have fewer comforts. Their hope is in the things that perish. The godly man may be sorely tried (vers. 7-9), but he has "strong consolation." And even if gloom settles down upon him, it is but for a little, and when he awakes, thoughts that troubled him pass away as the visions of the night, and he rejoices in God's favour as in the light. Joy comes with the morning.

III. THE AWAKING FROM THE SLEEP OF DEATH. "Here we see right into the heart of the Old Testament faith." In life and death, God is all. Thus the soul rises to the hope of immortality. "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

1. This awaking holds good of the whole being. The spirit is first, but the body next.

2. This awaking opens up a glorious vision. There will be many and wondrous sights, but the first and chief of all will be God. "Thy face." So Moses (Numbers 12:8); so believers (2 Corinthians 3:18). But here in a far higher way.

3. This awaking will bring complete satisfaction. Here we are never satisfied. This awaking into glory will first of all, and in the fullest sense of the word, bring satisfaction. "Thy likeness." Nothing less will satisfy. This is the hope of all our hoping. The joy of joys. "The rest that remaineth for the people of God." How grand must that possession be that will satisfy the soul, awakened to the highest life and the noblest aspirings! Not only will the redeemed be satisfied, but the Redeemer also. "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied." Study the awful contrast (Daniel 12:2; Luke 16:25; John 5:28, 29). - W.F.

I will behold Thy face in righteousness.

1. The object of this vision: "Thy face."(1) A sensible glory: such a glory was seen by Moses at Sinai, afterwards in the tabernacle, and at the transfiguration.(2) An intellectual glory: glory is resplendent excellency, real worth made conspicuous. This glory is the conspicuous lustre of Divine perfections.

2. The act of beholding: glory has a peculiar respect to the power of seeing. Sight is the most perfect sense: noble, comprehensive, quick and sprightly. The act of the mind is called seeing. The blessed shall have the glory of God so presented as "to know as they are known."

II. THE SOUL'S PARTICIPATION OF HIS LIKENESS. How strange an errand hath the Gospel in the world, to transform men and make them like God.

1. There is a sense in which we cannot be like God. God will endure no such imitation of Him as to be rivalled in the point of His Godhead (Ezekiel 28:6-10).

2. There is a just and laudable imitation of God: we are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1).

3. Man has already a likeness to God: the material world represents Him, as a house the builder; spiritual beings, as a child the father: others carry His footsteps, these His image.

4. There is a natural image of God in the soul of man, inseparable from it, its spiritual immortal nature, its intellectual and elective powers are the image of the same powers in God. There is also a moral likeness, wisdom, mercy, truth, righteousness, holiness.

5. Assimilation to God in moral perfections conduces to the soul's satisfaction and blessedness: "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." How great a hope is this! Were the dust of the earth turned into stars in the firmament, what could equal the greatness and wonder of this mighty change.

III. THE RESULTING SATISFACTION: the soul's rest in God, its perfect enjoyment of the most perfect good, the perfecting of its desires in delight or joy. Desire is love in motion, delight love in rest. It is a rational, voluntary, pleasant, active rest: action about the end shall be perpetuated, though action towards it ceases. It is the rest of hope perfected in fruition.

(John Howe.)

? — This Psalm is called a prayer, and how appropriately. It is such as comes only out of a sufferer's heart. We owe our whole salvation to Christ, but, secondarily, we recoil much through the sufferings of men. The world will never know, till its whole history is reviewed and all its mysteries explained, how much instruction, comfort, incitement have flowed from the trials and sufferings of this one man. In this respect David and Paul have done more for the race than perhaps any two men who ever lived. Their great souls were often and heavily pressed by adversities and afflictions, in order that sweet wine of comfort and strength to others might flow from them.

I. THIS VERSE IS THE MOUNT OF VICTORY. The dust of the battle plain is passed over, the perplexities of life left, and here we have a clear prevision of a perfect solution, and some realisation of it also. The verse does not refer exclusively to the awaking from the sleep of death at the resurrection; nor to the perfect moral likeness of God and the beatific vision which we shall then enjoy. This is not the first interpretation that suggests itself, and ought not, however true, to be taken as its exclusive meaning.

II. WHAT, THEN, IS THE CASE? The nature of it is sounded out in the very first words of the Psalm. "Hear the right, O Lord!" It is a ease of conflict as between him and other men. It is the great struggle of this life in which many are engaged; in which, if we judge simply by outward appearances, some gain a very considerable and striking advantage over others. They seem to have the best of it. To David the conflict at this time was hot and searching, with a great deal of personality in it. He speaks of "the wicked that oppress", of "deadly enemies compassing him about"; of men who "spoke proudly with their mouth"; of men "enclosed in their own fat" — so well fed, so prosperous, so like prize men were they; — of others "lurking like the young lion in secret places, greedy for the prey" — ready to grasp advantage ready to spring on him with their teeth. Then he describes their character generally, in the fourteenth verse, in language which applies to one age almost as much as to another. He calls them "men of the world, which have their portion in this life: whose belly is filled with hid treasure" — with the things they gather, and hoard, and store away. Men, too, who keep and bequeath to their children what they have gathered. These were the men against whom David felt himself striving; he felt that if they were right and happy, he must be wrong and miserable, and vice versa. But he was quite sure that he was right and not they, and that their misery was coming. Hence he says, "As for me, I shall be satisfied," etc. He would awake day by day, when the present sorrow had passed, as he knew it would, to see God's beautiful likeness and to have it in a measure in himself. With this he would be satisfied. This would be victory even now. To be made and kept righteous, to see God in my life, His face in my prayers, and to watch His image forming in my soul: this is to win the battle. I will complain no more! I am satisfied! Now, this is just —

III. THE JUDGMENT WE OUGHT TO FORM IN OUR OWN CASE. It is a question always on trial, and always coming to some settlement — How is the best of life to be found? How shall we taste the sweetness, and gather the flower, and wear the crown, and say with joy, self-respect, and full conviction, "This it is to be a man"? Here, on the one hand, are "the men of the world." David tells us, and we know, what they are in their aims, motives, and ways, and in their successes. They get wealth, position, name, influence, and some of them a considerable measure of low happiness and contentment. See, this is the man, coming out of his chamber in the morning after sound sleep, radiant and healthy. And these are his children, to not one of whom he has ever named seriously the name of God, but to each of whom he will probably leave a good deal of money. And these are his gardens and parks, fair to the eye, and fruitful in their season. And this is his chariot, with the swift horses to bear him to the city. And in the city, when he comes, see how he is received, and what a power he is! How with his pen he can remove ships to the far ocean, and open railways on the land! And he can speak, and "make the worse appear the better reason"; and, as with magician's wand, raise success out of failure itself. Now take a simple Christian man, who just has enough and little over, who has no name in the public, who is known but to a small circle, who can cheer a fellow pilgrim here and there, and offer a prayer at a sick bed. How small he seems in the common estimation beside this great "man of the world." "The simple man is very well in his own place and way, and it is a good thing for him that he has the consolations of religion and the hopes of the future life to cheer him amid the struggles and hardships of his lot. But it cannot he said that his lot, even with these consolations, is at all to be compared with that of the other man in this life. After this life is over his lot will be better, but here it is worse." "No," says the text; "it is better now, and here. He is the great man who is good. He is the happy man who sees the face of God. He is the noble man who strives after righteousness, and who satisfies himself with the Divine likeness in his soul."

IV. IT CONCERNS US MUCH TO GET AND KEEP THIS JUDGMENT OF THINGS. It needs an effort. It is an advanced lesson in Christian living. People stop short of it, and many miss it habitually. As when they conjecture that worldly men have a great deal of inward misery which they never tell — fear, guilt, and apprehension of danger haunting them like ghosts. Now, this may be true of some, but certainly not of all, nor most. They are well satisfied, and have no misgivings. But what then? Are they who are thus satisfied better off than the devout, struggling, praying servant of God? How mean of us to think so. In reality there is no comparison between the two. The tried Christian in full view of the prosperous and happy man of the world can say, "As for me, I behold Thy thee in righteousness I am satisfied with Thy likeness." Then, again, we say that "compensation is coming — that the next life will rectify all." That also is true. But that is not "the present truth." The present truth is, that we have the advantage now; that we do not need to wait for the compensation; that godliness is better than ungodliness all the world over; that the face of God shining down upon a man is the supreme felicity and the last ideal; and that to awake morning by morning and realise the growing likeness of God in our spirits is joy like that of heaven. But if a man send his heart hankering after the joys of a life to come because he thinks he has not his due here, and that then and there it will be made up to him, what is this but worldliness after all? But if, on the other hand, any man loves the light of God's face more than every visible creature and thing, and strives after His righteousness by the aids of His grace, and puts on His likeness as dress and beauty, and "awakes in it now and again to his thankful joy and satisfaction, saying, "This it is to live! let this blessed experience grow in me until it blooms and brightens into heaven" — then he may take a text like tiffs and follow its most spiritual suggestions, and lift it to its last and highest applications, make it speak the resurrection from the dead, the appearance in heaven, the immortal life.


The mind of man is invisible, yet its workings are often evident in the changes of the countenance. Thus the playful smile indicates pleasure; the clouded brow, wrath. In like manner, though the mind of God is invisible, yet are His attributes variously manifested.


1. The Shekinah, therefore, is styled His face.(1) Thus Moses is said to have entreated the face of Jehovah when he interceded for Israel amid the storm and flame in which God descended upon Sinai (Exodus 32:11, marg; see also Exodus 33:11).(2) So Aaron, after gazing upon those awful involutions of the glory between the cherubim, came forth and blessed the people, invoking for them the spiritual reality of what he had seen in symbol (Numbers 6:24-26).(3) The invocations, "Lift up Thy countenance," "Cause Thy face to shine," and such like, of frequent occurrence, allude to the cloud of glory.

2. Christ is preeminently the face of Jehovah.(1) Within the cloud there was a radiant human form which is distinguished as the "Similitude of the Lord" (Numbers 12:8; Ezekiel 1:26). This adumbrated the taking up of the manhood into the Godhead in the Incarnation.(2) Christ is anticipated in prophecy as the "Glory of the Lord to be revealed," and in the fulfilment He is described as the "Face of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:1-3; Luke 1:76).(3) Christ is preeminently the face or expression of the character of God as His most perfect Revealer (John 14:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).


1. God requires in us this qualification. No wonder, seeing the mire of worldliness clings to us, that we fail to experience as we might the spiritual manifestations of the Son of God (John 14:21; Ephesians 1:17, 18). Divine manifestations are terrible to the unrighteous. When God "looked out" from the cloud upon the Egyptians, that was the signal for their destruction. "The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment" (Psalm 1:4-6; Revelation 6:16, 17).

2. Righteousness is attainable through faith.(1) Of this we have a notable illustration in the history of the first filmily. Cain laments his excommunication from the place of the Presence — "From Thy face shall I be hid" (Genesis 3:24; Genesis 4:3-14).(2) The history of Jacob wrestling is an example no less appropriate (Genesis 32:24-30). He called the place of his triumph Peniel, or the Face of God.


1. The soul cannot be satisfied on earth.

2. Satisfaction is promised in the resurrection.

(J. A. Macdonald.)

The opening phrase of this verse is expressive of a noble singularity. "As for me." It is the utterance of moral manhood. The Psalmist has been speaking of those who have their portion in this life, and he says, "Be the animals that you are! As for me, I will seek higher things. As a being made in the image of God, I will find my satisfactions in contemplation of and assimilation to that image." "As for me" is the language of true soul nobility. And there are times when we too must dare to utter it, if we would be true to our higher nature and count for anything in the world. The men of the period when this Psalm was written had very dim and vague notions of immortality. With them a life beyond the grave was but a fitful hope or a sublime peradventure, and expressions such as this are to be interpreted of the present life and experience, and not of the heavenly state. The vision of the Divine face here anticipated is not the beatific vision after death, or that only ill a very secondary and shadowy sense, but the daily experience of the earthly life. The Psalm is poetry, couched in poetical imagery. Life to the Psalmist would be worth living just in the proportion ill which he could have the sight of God. What, then, did he mean by the Divine face? The more enlightened prophets and lawgivers of old had a profound sense of the danger of thinking of God otherwise than in His spiritual relations to men. Hence the prohibition to make any pictorial image or statuesque representation of Deity. Yet there is a very real meaning in this expression, "the face of God," and it may be a very real vision to us all. In the face, character is preeminently revealed. The face is the man. Look into the face and you read the soul. The play of all the affections is there. There are faces that are the rendezvous of all the virtues. The face of God then stands for the nature of God; and the Psalmist's anticipation of beholding that face meant the prospect of his happy realisation of the Divine gentleness, strength, and righteousness. It is men's faces that are the face of God. As His spiritual qualities are bodied forth in men's lives, so may we see Divine lineaments in the features of men. We are taught to behold "the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." The true glory of God is in His moral attributes, and Christ incarnated those Divine qualities in His nature. Whoso looked up into His face saw there the glory and the beauty of the Ineffable; and so many a human countenance, if not the face, is a face of God: for the radiance of a Divine love, the lustre of a Divine purity, the patience of a Divine charity, the tenderness of a Divine sympathy is there. Each of these is a lineament of Deity. The dying Bunsen, as he looked up into the eyes of his wife bending over him, said, "In thy face have I seen the Eternal." Few artists have dared to essay the Divine form and features. But I once saw in the gallery at Florence a picture which very much struck me, and the memory of it has been with me ever since. It was by Carlo Dolci, and entitled "L'Eterno Padre," — the Eternal Father. It was a bold and unconventional conception. There was no attempt to deify the figure. It was just a man's form and face, and not only that, but the face was full of human grief and misery. An aspect of ineffable sadness was in the eyes, and the whole countenance wore an expression of infinite sorrow and solicitude. And surely there must be an unutterable sorrow at the heart of the world! This vision of the face, then — when are we to see it? Tomorrow. "I shall be satisfied when I awake" — that is, tomorrow morning, every morning, this morning. Include in the Psalmist's expression the conception of the Divine nearness. To see a face, you must be near the person. Near, to faith's apprehension, is the Divine presence. Something more than vicinity is meant. Intimacy of fellowship is implied. Familiar interchange of thought and affection. There is another thought hinted by the figure of the face, namely, propitiousness. When he speaks of beholding the face of God, it is in the confidence that God is his friend and not his enemy. Oriental monarchs only showed the face to those to whom they intended to be element and gracious. The Psalmist was happy in the conviction that, humbly endeavouring to walk in the ways of righteousness, he could look even God in the face, and that His face would not be turned away....There are two elements in this satisfaction.

1. The perception of the Divine image.

2. The assimilation to that image. In contemplating that likeness we grow into it.

(J. Halsey.)

"A Christian is the highest style of man," and the noblest work of God. The text tells of his high and exalted state of happiness which he shall obtain in the heavenly world. It consists in —


1. The grandeur of the vision.

2. The manner of it. "In righteousness," that is, the righteousness of Christ.

3. The certainty of it. Scripture and experience assure us of it.


1. The glorious expectation — to be like our Saviour and our God.

2. The period of accomplishment. "When I awake," that is, on the resurrection morn.

3. The satisfaction obtained.Conclusion: See

1. The value of the soul.

2. The vanity of the world.

3. The excellence of religion.

(Ebenezer Temple.)

This is the language —

1. Of a man whose mind is made up, who has decided for himself. "As for me" — let others do as they will.

2. Of a man rising in life, and with great prospects before him. He had looked beyond this world, though he was to rise therein.

3. Of a Jew. For in Judah was God known; His name was great in Israel. And though their knowledge was dim, it was real; and here is an onlook to the blessed future life.

I. THE BEHOLDING OF GOD'S FACE MEANT THE ENJOYMENT OF HIS FAVOUR. This its constant meaning. And in heaven "They shall see His face." All that means we cannot know now, but this one thing we know —

II. HOW IT WILL BE REALISED. It will be in and through righteousness. For merit and meetness this is needed. Our title to behold God's face must be righteousness, and that we have in Christ. Our meetness and preparedness for it is righteousness, and this the Holy Spirit will work in us. No one longs for the Christian heaven but the Christian soul.

(William Jay.)

I. WHAT THE PSALMIST MEANS BY "IN RIGHTEOUSNESS." Speak of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. It involves everything in it necessary to deliver and to save man forever and ever. The passive obedience closed the gates of hell; his active obedience opened those of heaven. Connected with this righteousness there must necessarily be another. Rectitude of principle. If ever we behold the face of God, either here or hereafter, in triumph, we must behold it in the image as well as in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

II. THE BELIEVER'S VISION OF DEITY. God intended we should, even in this life, have very glorious views of His perfections. The face is frequently an index to the bosom. By the face is sometimes meant the loving kindness of the Lord.

III. THE BELIEVER'S PROSPECTIVE VIEW. He is now fully satisfied with his God, but dissatisfied with his little knowledge of Him and his little love to Him. The discipline of life is to end in fixing the full face of His child on Himself. Application:

1. We must have righteousness in principle as well as the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

2. Are there any who are satisfied with the creature?

3. Are there any who would make the creature their portion forever?

4. Address those who have God for their portion.

(W. Howels.)

It would be difficult to say to which the Gospel owes most, to its friends or to its enemies. For when they have persecuted Christ's servants they have scattered them abroad, so that they have gone everywhere preaching the Word. Jesus Christ would never have preached many of His discourses had not His foes compelled Him to answer them. So with the Book of Psalms. Had not David been sorely tried, we should have missed very many of these holy songs. This Psalm is one of those which had never been written but for his great trouble. Our text tells of his consolation in the hope of future bliss. We note —

I. THE SPIRIT OF THE TEXT. It breathes the spirit of one who is —

1. Entirely free from envy. The wicked may do as they will, but I envy them not. "As for me, I," etc.

2. Looking into the future. "I shall be satisfied." It has nothing to do with the present. He looks beyond the grave to another world. He who lives in the present is a fool; but wise men are content to look after future things. When Milton wrote his Paradise Lost he might know, perhaps, that he should have little fame in his lifetime; but he said, "I shall be honoured when my head shall sleep in the grave." There are many things that we never hope to be rewarded for here, but we shall be by and by. Christian, live in the future.

3. Full of faith. There is no "perhaps" about his words. "I will behold"; "I shall be satisfied." And there are many of God's people who can say the like. But such must expect to have trouble, for God never gives strong faith without fiery trial. He will not make you a mighty warrior if He does not intend to try your skill in battle. God's swords must be used. The old Toledo blades of heaven must be smitten against the armour of the evil one, and yet they shall not break.


1. David expected to behold God's face. We have seen His hand in both awful and gentle forms. And we have heard God's voice; but the vision of God, what must that be? It is said of the temple of Diana, that it was so splendidly decorated with gold, and so bright and shining, that a porter at the door always said to everyone that entered, "Take heed to your eyes; you will be struck with blindness unless you take heed to your eyes" But oh! that view of glory. Who can know what it is to see God's face?

2. There was a peculiar sweetness mixed with this joy. For he should behold God's face "in righteousness." How our sins have dimmed our sight, that we could not get a clear prospect of Jesus. But yonder we shall, see Him as He is.

3. And there will be satisfaction. "I shall be satisfied." Imagination, intellect, memory, hope — all will be satisfied.

4. But when shall this satisfaction be? "When I awake in Thy likeness." Not till then. On the resurrection morn, when complete in soul and body, they will awake. Their bodies till then are in their graves. But then they shall be restored. When a Roman conqueror had been at war, and won great victories, he would very likely come back with his soldiers, enter into his house and enjoy himself till the next day, when he would go out of the city and then come in again in triumph. Now the saints, as it were, steal into heaven without their bodies; but on the last day, when their bodies wake up, they will enter in their triumphal chariots; and the body is to be in the likeness of Christ. The spirit already is.

III. HERE IS A VERY SAD CONTRAST IMPLIED. We are all together now, undivided; but the great dividing day will come when Christ, the Judge, shall welcome His own people, but with lifted sword shall sweep the wicked into the bottomless pit. But now, whosoever will may be saved.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I shall be satisfied.

1. This fact explains the anomaly of the Christian's earthly experience. The Christian experience is not to be ascertained by outward circumstances and conditions.

2. This fact reveals the secret of the Christian's strength.


1. The original type of the soul is to be found in God. Had we retained our pristine glory we should not have had to mourn the misery and emptiness of earth. It is the loss of purity that has reduced us so low, and made us so degraded. The soul can never be satisfied but in the complete restoration of the Divine likeness. The true Christian's most exalted desire is, to resemble Christ in moral character here, and to be like Him in heaven.

III. THE DIVINE LIKENESS IS COMMUNICATED TO THE SOUL THROUGH THE VISION OF CHRIST. By contemplating the glory of Christ's character we become changed rote His image.

1. The Divine vision assimilates to the Divine likeness.

2. When the Divine vision is perfect the Christian's happiness will be complete.


This Psalm is called simply a prayer, which is the oldest and most comprehensive name of the Psalms. But it is the prayer of one who is in trouble. Men never pray so frequently and so fervently as then. Doubtless it is David who thus prays, and the Psalm agrees, almost line for line, with the circumstances in which he was placed when pursued by Saul in the wilderness of Maon (1 Samuel 23:25).

I. THAT THERE IS NO SATISFACTION IN THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD. Men there were who had their portion in this life; but David did not covet their portion, for he knew that they were not really satisfied. There are such men still, but that they are not satisfied is certain.

1. From the nature of the world itself. For what is it apart from God? It is a vain delusion, an empty show, a shadow that passes quickly away (Ecclesiastes 6). Momentary pleasure it gives, but not satisfaction, not contentment, not repose. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing, and hence men flit about from one object to another, never resting anywhere long, and always desiring something which they do not possess. Bitter disappointment is the lot of all who seek satisfaction in merely temporal things.

2. From the nature of the human mind. God has made us for Himself. Our capacities are large almost to infinity. We aspire after the highest good. How, then, can we be satisfied with things temporal and vain?


1. Religion satisfies the intellect. Man is a creature of mind. He can think, reflect, and reason; and in the exercise of his mental powers he finds some of his richest pleasures. But where will he find subjects for thought so noble and so elevating as in the mysteries of revelation? Nature, science, philosophy will no doubt furnish him with many such subjects; but unless his mind is a strong and vigorous one they will often prove too difficult for him to understand. In Divine revelation, on the other hand, there are shallows in which a child may wade, whilst there are depths in which a philosopher may swim.

2. Religion satisfies the conscience. Man is a moral and responsible being; but he shows that he is a guilty one, and the monitor within condemns him for his violations of the law of God. What can calm it? what can satisfy it? Here the world is utterly powerless.

3. Religion satisfies the heart. Man is an emotional being. He is not a statue, or an automaton, or a curious piece of mechanism. He is not a cold intellectual being incapable of feeling, incapable of love. He is possessed of affections of the noblest kind, and he can only be happy where they are in active play. But on what object can he place them? He may love and ought to love his friends, his kindred, and his fellow me: but any one of these may be torn from his embrace, and then how lonely does his heart become. Divine revelation points to another object of affection — to Christ Jesus our Lord, and when the heart reposes in Him it is satisfied indeed (Song of Solomon 1:14-16; Ephesians 3:17-19).

III. But our text goes further, and we observe that FULL SATISFACTION WILL BE REALISED WHEN WE AWAKE WITH GOD'S LIKENESS! The eye will be satisfied with seeing, for it will see the King in His glory (Isaiah 33:17; 1 John 2:2). The ear will be satisfied with hearing, for it will hear the music of the heavenly choir (Revelation 5:11-14; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 15:2, 3). The intellect will be satisfied in knowing, for it will comprehend the grandest mysteries of nature, providence, and grace. The soul — the whole being — will be satisfied with what it feels and loves It will love throughout eternity the Triune God.

(Thornley Smith.)

Two kinds of satisfaction are brought to view in this verse.

I. THE NATURAL SATISFACTION. The aim, the current of desires is limited to things of this life. There is danger of mistaking dissatisfaction with our earthly lot for genuine repentance. Looking for a good time in heaven, one may overlook the indispensable preparation.

II. THE SPIRITUAL SATISFACTION. Dr. Bushnell says, "If your feeling reaches after heaven, and your longings are thitherward; if you love and long for it, because chiefly of its purity; loosened from this world, not by your weariness and disgusts, which all men suffer, but by the positive affinities of your heart for what is best and purest above this also is a powerful token of growing purification." Compare the two satisfactions; how do they look. Compare Byron's "canker and the grief" with Paul's "I have fought a good fight...henceforth," etc. This deep satisfaction made it possible for the once timid Peter to take the lead in the warfare in behalf of this spiritual kingdom that now extends to the ends of the earth. It gave him, and all martyrs since, that sublime patience whose persistence no dungeon walls, nor rack, nor faggot could subdue. It is a peace the world cannot give nor take away.

(C. M. Jones.)

Men often speak and live better than they know. The text is prophetic and far-reaching in significance. It suggests —

I. THE POWER AND NATURE OF CHRISTIAN CONTENTMENT. Soul rest comes from God alone. Nothing can afford the soul repose save its union with Christ in God. In vain do we look to the world for satisfaction. How transitory and unsatisfying are all worldly pleasures and pursuits. Whoever depends upon them for real happiness will be bitterly disappointed. Enjoy God rather than His creatures.

II. THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD NOT EXPECT PERFECT SATISFACTION IN THIS LIFE. Not that the Christian religion does not do all that it promises to do in this world. The work of this life is only preparatory, and therefore incomplete. Imperfection is the just characterisation of this world. The Christian constantly finds himself enveloped in mystery and darkness. Anti his surroundings are unfavourable. Sin is in this world. Here he is contented, though not fully satisfied.


1. The Christian will be satisfied with heaven as a place.

2. The Christian will be satisfied with the society of heaven.

3. We shall be satisfied with our own condition.We shall carry our intellect and our memories with us. Think of the joy that shall fill our souls when we arrive at the eternal home, enter our Father's house, and behold His face in righteousness, and by the power of His infinite tenderness and love be drawn into such Dearness with Him as to repose on His bosom with infinite satisfaction and delight.

(G. M. Mathews.)

The Lord's people are not strangers to satisfaction now. They are satisfied early with His favour, with His goodness, with the fatness of His house. They have found the supreme good But they desire more of it. Hence David speaks of his satisfaction as future. "I shall be satisfied when," etc. So, then, see here —

I. THE INSATIABLE AMBITION RELIGION INSPIRES. We have witnessed this grandeur and elevation of soul even in the humblest walks of pious life. How poor the aims of the worldly hero compared With this.

II. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE SOUL. It is the prerogative of many only to be capable of such sublime satisfaction. Other creatures have a food suited to their nature, partake of it and are satisfied. But man is not, cannot be, with aught he finds here.

III. WHAT A BLESSEDNESS THAT MUST BE THAT CAN AND WILL SATISFY EVERY LONGING OF THE SOUL. Yes, though it be the soul of a Newton or Bacon. Then make this prospect sure; keep it clear; bring it near. Use it daily, in religion, in trials, when you come to die The old and fictitious idea, that if a man travelled with a myrtle wand in his hand he would feel no fainting or weariness, is realised here in this blessed hope.

(William Jay.)

We may here observe —

I. THE GENUINE TEMPER OF A GRACIOUS SOUL AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE WORLD — to be taken up with God as his chief good. And this is so with him.

1. From a settled conviction of emptiness and insufficiency of any created good to be to them instead of God.

2. There is everything in God that may commend and endear Him to His people.

3. 'Tis the property of grace to carry His people to Him as their chief good.

4. Gracious souls have all found that rest, and some of them that joy in God, that nothing in the world besides can give, and which they would not exchange for anything it can offer. But —

II. WHAT IT IS, WITH REFERENCE TO GOD, THAT SUMS UP HIS PEOPLE'S HAPPINESS. It is the beholding His lace, and the satisfaction that results. More especially the likeness of God in Jesus Christ. Or the likeness may mean that which is impressed upon the soul, a resemblance of the Divine glory. Oh, happy they who, from seeing God's back parts, are thus gone to see Him face to face.


1. Righteousness imputed. Jesus said, "I am the way."

2. Righteousness inherent. And this is necessary from the nature of the thing (2 Corinthians 6:14). What would sinners do in the presence of God?


1. God's people do have much of happiness or heaven, begun through God graciously showing Himself unto them.

2. But much more of heaven is yet reserved. And this is in order to wean them from the present world, and that they may have the quicker relish of their final blessedness. And,

3. This is what they are aspiring to, and shall at length obtain.


1. The soul awakes when it is set free from the body. It does not descend into the grave with the body, but ascends to behold God's face. How calmly, then, should we contemplate death.

2. Both soul and body awake at the resurrection. The body is sown in corruption, but it shall be raised in incorruption.

(D. Wilcox.)

What a contrast do these words felon with what goes before. The men of the world and Himself; their satisfaction and His. This Psalm not to be applied exclusively to Christ. Much tells of Him, but much also of ourselves today. Note —

I. THE HIGH ATTAINMENT OF THE REAL CHILD OF GOD. He gets it now; now he beholds God's face in righteousness. Christ's righteousness, not his own, even the best of it. And we behold God's face thus when we appropriate for ourselves what Christ has done. If we have done this we shall live holily, because under the influence of Christ.

II. THE INTERESTING EXPECTATION. "I shall be satisfied." How much of that likeness have I now? Ask yourselves that. The awaking, it includes both transformation and translation. Holiness and eternal life at the Resurrection.

III. THE SOLEMN ASSURANCE. "I will behold" — very bold: "I shall be satisfied." "I hope and trust" — seems kicked out of doors. "I will," and "I shall." Now, intimacy with God, personal intimacy with God, is the only thing that can warrant such an assurance. Whatever you may know of doctrine, and whatever your walk may be with regard to morality (the more of it the better), I tell you, in the name of the living God, that you cannot — must not — dare not — claim this "will" and "shall" unless you know something about intimacy with God. Believe me, beloved, in that which I have often stated to you — this is the vitality of religion.

(Joseph Irons.)

Every man is conscious of desires that find here no befitting object. Nothing here comes up to the full aspirations of the soul. It is, and has been, the design of providence to teach men by example that a finite world is incompetent to fill out the demands of an immortal mind. I can never expect to be satisfied on this earth. Here the stupor of sleep is upon me. But not always shall I sleep. I shall awake. I shall behold the face of God in righteousness. In the future there are two periods when the righteous will have two reasons for exulting in their Maker. The Christian looks forward with the brightest hope to one or other of these two periods. So soon as his soul is released from the body it will rise as on the wings of an eagle to new knowledge and new bliss. Then is the eye of the intellect opened. Then the mental ear is made sensitive to every word of God as no uncertain sound. At death we pass into intimate contact with Him who keepeth all created minds vigilant in their measure like Himself. When the Christian repeats the words of the text he often alludes to the breaking up of his spiritual slumber, and says that the present world is a dream, and the bright world to which he goes is one of wakeful joy. But he often alludes to a richer scene than this. In some aspects he looks to the end of life as the end of trouble, and looks at death as a state of rest, of sleep in Jesus. A devout heart is a prophecy of ultimate enjoyment. We are sure of a holly peace if we have a holy appetence for it.

1. The righteous man will be satisfied with the Divine intellect. It is in compliance with the imperfect language of men that we speak of their Maker's intellect. This is His power to perceive all truth — all facts and all possibilities, Heaven is the abode of minds bearing His intellectual image.

2. The righteous man will be satisfied with the Divine sensibilities. He will be satisfied with God as the Spirit all whose involuntary emotions are exactly appropriate to their objects.

3. The righteous man will be satisfied with the holiness of God. He glorifies his intellect and sensibility with perfect benevolence. Moral rectitude is benevolence. Moral rectitude is moral beauty. The Christian also hopes to be satisfied in having a form like that which he adores: in possessing, so far as a creature is able to possess, the likeness of the Creator. It is said, "I shall be satisfied." He is to awake suddenly. As the commencement of this joy is sudden, so the date of it is uncertain. And if we are to be in this image, then we must cheerfully submit to all the influences needed for our transformation.

(E. A. Park, D. D.)

I. FOR THE RIGHTEOUS THERE IS A GLORIOUS HOPE. This creed concerning the future has three clauses: "I shall awake; I shall be like Christ, when I awake; when I awake like Christ, I shall be satisfied." Simple and deep, as the very purposes of God!

1. "I shall awake." Tired eyes fall asleep, tired feet rest; but after God's beautiful ordinance of sleep is fulfilled we shall awake rested, refreshed, re-invigorated. What was it that David believed would wake up? What was it that David believed went to sleep? There is more than a little obscurity on this point. More than one modern writer speaks as if the soul were asleep. That we cannot think. We must apply sleeping and waking to that part of us to which it belongs. We put the body to sleep; we lay it in its narrow grave. We do not know what the Divine alchemy may do for these bodies of ours.

2. I shall be like Christ when I awake. Our bodies will be like Christ's body. The bodies of the saints will be glorified bodies, like the body of the Son of Man. And I feel glad that He lived a little while after the resurrection.

3. I shall be satisfied.

(1)We shall be satisfied with ourselves.

(2)We shall be satisfied with our homes.

(3)We shall be satisfied with Christ.

II. THE GLORIOUS HOPE BELONGS ONLY TO THE RIGHTEOUS. The first clause indicates those who will certainly enjoy this blessed hope. Those who can say, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness." You cannot see His face at all, if you do not see it that way. Righteousness as a state we call holiness. He who by faith in Jesus has righteousness as a standing will, also by faith, receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, which shall save him from sin and all uncleanness. We shall never be able to say, with any firmness of tone, "I shall be satisfied," until we can also add, "Not m my own righteousness, but in the righteousness which is of God in Christ." But that will lead to the other inevitably.

(John Bradford.)

We have in Scripture a revelation of God, but we have also a revelation of man. This revelation of man, this that we call the human element mingling with the Divine in the Bible, is what makes it come home to our feelings, our conscience, our bosom, in a way that a simple revelation of the Divine thought by itself could never have done. We have much to be thankful for that God has given us the revelation of Himself through men. In this Book of Psalms it is men that speak to us under the influence of the Spirit. Look at this Psalm as representing to us the man of the Bible.

1. This man has a consciousness of a religious, Divine life in Him. It is a humble, thankful, moral, spiritual consciousness that this man, believing in God, loves Him, has communion with Him, and, under the influence of that Divine faith, keeps himself from the path of the destroyer, from the works and the society of the wicked.

2. This Divine faith, this religious consciousness in the man, develops and expands until it culminates in the persuasion of a future life, and an expectation of being with God and beholding Him. Men say there is nothing in the books of the law about a future life. But the Hebrews had a religion before they had the law. There was the patriarchal faith, the faith of Abraham and Jacob, and there was hope of the future in it.

3. This man anticipates a waking up, — that there will be something like an abruptness, something like suddenness in the crisis; that all at once be will come face to face with God, into a fulness of the revelation of the Divine countenance, and a conformity to His image. His words may have been uttered by David without his understanding distinctly what was in them but feeling that there was some great idea suggested to him by that condition of his Divine life under which the Spirit was then influencing him. The idea of a future life among the Hebrew people gradually expanded until it took the form of a resurrection. Our Lord did not bring life and immortality to light as a new thing; He took it as a thing existing in the Hebrew mind, existing imperfectly and indistinctly, and He threw light upon it, brought it out in "all fulness and completeness and perfection.

4. This man will be perfectly satisfied. If God has created a species of beings with spiritual and religious faculty; then the infusion into the spirit a participation in the Divine blessedness must be satisfaction; all the faculties regaled, every want met.

5. The man expects all this through righteousness — "in righteousness" — that is, as the outcome and end of a righteous life, heroic in its contest with evil, grand in its development of obedience and duty. That is the doctrine of the Bible from beginning to end. That is, then, the idea of the man of the Bible; believing in God, he lives near Him and with Him, and has a consciousness of a spiritual and religious life, that expands into the anticipation of a future life; that takes the particular form of rising from the lowest at one step to the highest, face to face with God, with something of suddenness. And with that he expects an ultimate and perfect satisfaction, and he expects it in the way of righteousness. Now, what do you think of that man? We are quite capable of forming a moral judgment.Take this man, then, weigh him, measure him, judge him, what sort of man is he?

1. The foundation thought of this man must be approved and justified. If there be a God, can anything be more right or justifiable than that an individual with the capacity of religion, the power of faith, should pray to, worship, and trust God, believe in his Fatherhood, and seek to have spiritual, religious communion with Him?

2. Then take the next idea — that this religious faith expands into the anticipation of a future life. There are grounds and reasons on which common sense would say, "The man is right, the man is reasonable." He belongs to a system in which what we call nature wastes nothing. Nature is the most thrifty thing you can imagine. There is not a single atom of matter annihilated. It changes its form, it takes another position, but it is there. Are all minds to be wasted? Is she to be extravagant just here? Nature never deceives. All the instincts, all the faculties, which are in any of its creatures, there is always something to meet them. Is nature to play loose with the moral aspirations of man, the spiritual instincts, the irrepressible anticipations of which he is capable?

3. Take the other idea. He anticipates a kind of abrupt, sudden rise. You will say, How can that be justified? Would not gradual successive steps be more reasonable? But the religion of the Bible gives us the idea of a terrible catastrophe that happened to humanity. Humanity is in an unnatural condition, and therefore there comes down the supernatural. There is the supernatural revelation of a Mediator and redemption, therefore the process is altogether changed. It seems to be more consistent under the new circumstances that a man should awake and suddenly find himself at home with God. And there will be a likeness, an awaking in His image. This man anticipates it, and he will be satisfied with it.

(Thomas Binney.)

The Psalmist has a morning in his view unspeakably desirable and glorious. How are we to understand his words of mystic devotion, and ecstasy, and hope? Not, surely, of the following, morning in the. Psalmist's life. The singer does not merely look forward to a deliverance from his present sorrows and sufferings. That is John Calvin's interpretation. It is, however, difficult to find a worthy meaning, unless we think of the sleep of death and the radiant morning of eternity which is to follow. It may seem strange to listen to so definite a statement of the everlasting future at so early a stage in the revelation. But a devout man who is in communion with God, and who knows the delights of that matchless friendship, will reach up now and then to the conclusion that the communion and friendship are destined to survive the present world. Let us single out some of the elements of this blessedness, this satisfaction.

I. THERE IS THE BEATITUDE OF THE SENSES. We may believe that there is aggrandisement, expansion, growth in store for our senses. Have we not hints of it already? In the Christian life on earth these bodily faculties are sometimes marvellously quickened and sharpened.

II. THERE IS THE BEATITUDE OF THE MIND. We think; we study; we seek after truth, and find it. It is one of the highest glories of our manhood that it is so governed by the passion for knowledge, and so resolved to grow in wisdom. Our minds, once we have learned to sit at the feet of Jesus, are admitted to new marvels and delights. We are scholars in the most blessed school. We grow not only in knowledge, but in holiness and trust and love. But much continues to be veiled and covered even from the sanctified intellect. In the hereafter we shall understand. What an awakening it will be for our intellect!

III. THERE IS THE BEATITUDE OF THE MEMORY. Such a weird and tremendous power is our memory. It retains our past, storing up our experience, letting nothing slip out of its tenacious grasp. And it reproduces our past, summoning it all back again when it chooses, to scourge as it did Manasseh, to solace and strengthen us as it did St. Paul. Memory can never be the bringer only of good tidings to God's people in this life. Memory is too precious a chamber of the soul to be scattered and destroyed. What will make its words only good and comfortable in heaven is, that it will live there in the perpetual presence of Christ.

IV. THERE IS THE BEATITUDE OF THE CONSCIENCE. We carry about with us a faculty which is at once a mirror of right and wrong, and a law enacting royally the path in which we ought to go, and a tribunal condemning us sternly and terribly for our wandering from the straight road, and a voice of God Himself within our breast. A priceless and momentous possession indeed, but an exceedingly troublesome one to many of us.

V. THERE IS THE BEATITUDE OF THE HEART. It is the heart which loves. But what heart has gained its end and arrived at its goal? There is no satisfied heart. In the city of God all hearts are satisfied. Heaven is the heart's harbour made after the weary and stormy sea.

(A. Smellie, M. A.)

David and Paul and John looked for the same blessed consummation of their happiness for eternity, in being like their Lord.

I. THE ASSURED HOPE OF SATISFACTION AT A FUTURE TIME. The cause of his satisfaction is the likeness of God. We to whom the New Testament is given know what that likeness is, for to that end is the history of Jesus Christ given us. David could only have had a vague and indistinct idea; but still it had a practical hold on his mind, and influenced his character. David's was a personal God, a living person, to whom like a child to its parent he could run and take refuge. And therefore, as his hope here was clear and well defined, so was his hope hereafter. They always go together in this.

II. THE SUBJECT MATTER OF HIS SATISFACTION. Satisfied expresses more than joy. It is the fulness of joy. The idea is purposely contrasted with the state of things around him, in which, at the best of times, there was always something wanting. He will be satisfied. There will be nothing left to wish and long for, and it will be all comprised and contained in that one absorbing brilliance of his hope, the likeness of his Lord. Break this up into some of its particulars.

1. There are the real pleasures of life, such as do contribute to man's happiness, and to the well-being of the world. And life has such pleasures, and many of them. But there are cares. There is no satisfying portion in our pleasures. There is, and ever will be, much that is hollow. Not so when we wake up after the Saviour's likeness. We shall have attained to the Saviour's likeness, and that admits of nothing higher that we can attain.

2. Look for a moment at the body. The body is a wonderful instrument. The body is not a thing to be cried down and despised, as we shall know full well when we have it in the Saviour's likeness.

3. It is the same with the mind or intelligence. The mind presents the same absence of a satisfying fulness, that its lower companion, the body, does.

4. Paul hints that it is thus with what even now is really good.

5. Look at that which is beyond yourself. It is the same with the society you must mingle with.

III. THE TIME SPECIFIED. "When I awake." On the morning of the resurrection. David, under all the cares of government, in all the discomforts and troubles of his family and his position, turned for consolation to that bright hope which gilds the horizon of the waiting Christian.

(G. Deans, M. A.)

When I awake.
How does our life show itself, to the devout and reflective mind, as little better than a vision of the night! Think what dreams are in themselves, taking them generally, and then think what any devout man's life, or any man's life, appears when he comes to look back upon it from old age, and you will have no great difficulty in answering this question. There is an absence of method in dreams. They are incongruous, incoherent, disconnected, confused. Our dreams come like shadows, and so depart. In all this the devout mind finds resemblance to its own history. Many thoughts and feelings of a better kind have been stirring within us. But there is no order, no properly connecting link. Perhaps we should find it difficult to put anything like order into our present spiritual state and feeling, to say nothing about the past. There is a lack of any right measurement of time in dreams. In a single moment of sleep we may seem to live through weeks, and even months and years. There is no real time in sleep. All is illusive. We are equally at fault in our attempts to estimate our life. Bliss lessens it, sorrow lengthens it out. The past takes its tinge from our present condition. Surprises are rare in dreams. We may meet our own funeral procession, but we feel no surprise. Here the likeness holds good of other things. There is enough of the wonderful in our lives, and in the lives of those around us, if only we could see it, if only we were awake. There is in dreams an indistinctness and liability to fade. We see, and yet we do not see. There is a blurred image of something. We are like men attempting to catch a shadow. An old feeling is one of the most difficult things to recall, because it was dependent upon much that was temporary; and some thoughts are like feelings. But this fleetingness and indistinctness in our life is brought more vividly before us as all other impressions fade. The memory decays, or seems to decay. We find it hard to recall names. Perhaps also our perception appears to decline, through the failing of the body. Life. is slipping away; and life seems then little better than a dream. Now look at the other side. If life is as a dream, death is the awakening from it. Some refer the Psalm to awakening from simple sleep. We regard them as distinctly referring to the resurrection. There is a certainty about this awakening. The evidence of the resurrection is strong and manifold. See that supplied by Christian literature; by religious observances; by Christian character and life. As death is certain, so is the awakening after death. If our life be as a dream, our death will be as the light of morning awakening us from a sleep. Consider the attractions of this awakening. There is the Divine resemblance which will be enjoyed by us in it. Death does not possess any regenerative power; but there is nevertheless the promise of completeness to the believer in the world beyond the grave. There is full contentment in that other world. We never get this out of anything here. However we plan and fore arrange, we are always stumbling upon something which brings disappointment. But there, no bitter disappointment ever comes. In that fair clime there is no tempter, no doubt, no sin. Should not the thought of this better life also check undue expectations as to the present?

(J. Jackson Goadby.)

I. THE STATE TO WHICH BY IMPLICATION DAVID INTIMATES THAT HE SHOULD BE REDUCED. "When I awake." From what? Sleep; but not nightly sleep, rather the sleep of death. In assimilating death to sleep David gives utterance to no fiction. In many respects they differ; yet sleep is an impressive picture of death. David does not mean to assert, that when the body sleeps in death the soul sleeps also. The soul is not inactive in ordinary bodily sleep. The death of the body is no more the death than it is the sleep of the soul, but simply a giving up the ghost, — a passing of the soul from a relationship that is seen to a relationship that is unseen. The analogy of death and sleep holds equally in the ease of good and of bad men.

II. THE CHANGE WHICH DAVID AFFIRMS THAT HE SHOULD UNDERGO. He says that from the sleep of death he should awake. When, he did not know, but of the certainty of his awaking, of the nature of his appearance, and of the recognisableness of his personality when awakened he does speak. In the creed of David the awakening of his body from the sleep of death — its living reunion with his soul, was a fact — not a matter of doubt, but a matter of certainty. To this doctrine many cannot subscribe. But because it is beyond the reach of the power that is finite, does this prove that it is beyond the reach of that power that is infinite? Consider the nature of his appearance when awakened. "With Thy likeness." The likeness of Christ's resurrection body.

III. THE FELICITY OF WHICH DAVID DECLARES THAT HE SHOULD PARTICIPATE. "I shall be satisfied." It was not with David a problematical thing, but a thing of which he was sure. The felicity of the glorified consists in their seeing and resembling Him in whose likeness they shall awake.

(A. Jack, D. D.)

In the words of the text is an implied contrast between the present and the future condition of God's people, in three particulars.

1. The present state is figuratively exhibited as one of sleep. He that wakes must have been asleep. David regarded this life as little better than an unquiet sleep. At times we are ready to doubt whether anything about us is real, and to suspect that we are the dupes all along of deceitful impressions. Moreover, the Christian wayfarer is painfully conscious of deficiency in that lively wakefulness which is most important to his spiritual progress. How, then, can he fail to desire earnestly the time of awaking?

2. The unsatisfactory nature of all things here below was another fact that pressed on David's mind. In saying "I shall be satisfied," he as good as says "I am not satisfied." What meagre fare to a spiritual man must that be which even a natural man finds deficient.

3. Here, again, the Psalmist encounters one of those great evils, perfect deliverance from which is reserved to another state of being. That evil is the loss of God's image. That loss is only partially repaired in any renewed soul. It is the heartfelt complaint of every pious person, that his resemblance to God is so faint and obscure. What is the. aim, or substance, of religion? It is to know, to love, to imitate God, as He is revealed to us in the face of Immanuel. We are religiously happy, just in proportion as the moral character of God is transfused into our souls. This, then, is the fulness of joy to an immortal and sanctified being — we shall "be like Him."

(J. N. Pearson, M. A.)

A good man's consolation in a time of severe distress. He contrasts his enemies' condition and his own. They had their portion in this life. He looked for his in the life to come.

I. THE AWAKENING. According to the ideas commonly entertained with regard to our state now and hereafter, we are awake in this life, and we sleep at death. The text suggests another thought, namely, that in this life we are asleep, and at death we wake out of sleep. Before conversion men may certainly be said to be asleep. Sin acts as a sedative. But that is not the thought here. The Psalmist was a godly man, and yet, comparing his present condition with the future, he regarded himself as asleep. We, too, have felt at tunes that the best known and most active of our powers are comparatively dormant. And it is reasonable to suppose that there are other faculties and powers within us at present slumbering, of whose existence we have no consciousness, and for which we have no name.

II. THE SIGHT WHICH HE WOULD WITNESS. "I shall behold Thy face in righteousness." The face of a familiar friend is welcome. The very sight of him sometimes does good. God's face is invisible at present. "Now we see through a glass darkly." How dim is the outline of His character! Many call God their Father who would be ashamed to exhibit the qualities which they attribute to Him. Sometimes God's face does seem averted or disguised. "Clouds and darkness are round about Him." The sight of God's face will not afford delight to everyone. In some it will awaken terror; in others shame.

III. THE SATISFACTION WHICH THE SIGHT WILL AFFORD. "I shall be satisfied." The worldling is not satisfied, and cannot be. The Christian cannot find satisfaction in anything that the world offers.

(F. J. Austin.)

I. MAN'S LIFE IS A DREAM. In what respect is it like a dream?

1. It is unreal. A dream is a mere phantom of the brain, an airy fiction; what the mind sees and hears is mere semblance, not substance. So is life. Every man walketh in a vain show. We live amongst shadows, not substances.

2. It is disorderly. Dreams seem to have no method, no law of succession; they are a jumble of incoherences and incongruities. How disorderly is our life, our plans and theories are conflicting and shifting.

3. It is fleeting. We can dream a poem, a history in a minute or two; dreams take no note of time. So with life: how fleet and fluctuating. It is forgettable. How soon is a dream forgotten! The grandest vision of the night often dissolves into forgetfulness at the break of day. What a tendency in this life there is to forget our best impressions and holiest resolves. Truly, life is a dream. We are often but the creatures of imagination, uncontrolled either by judgment or conscience.

II. MAN'S DEATH IS AN AWAKENING. In that dread moment when the soul quits the body it wakes up to the realities of existence. The markets, governments, trades, professions, pleasures, and pursuits of the world fade as a baseless vision of the night the moment the soul opens its eye in eternity. The man is brought, not only into a life of realities, but into conscious contact with these realities — Law, Spirit, God. Death, instead of being the extinction of being, is the awakening of it out of sleep.

III. MAN'S SATISFACTION IS GOD'S LIKENESS. "Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness." In what respect? Not in the respect of might, or wisdom, or ubiquity. But in the sense of moral character, and the essence of that character is love. "God is love." Man's satisfaction is where? In love. "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God." "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the image of God, are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of Christ.


I. THE DEATH OF THE GOOD IS AN AWAKING FROM SLEEP. The best of men are scarcely awake here. The apostle felt this when he said, "It is high time to awake out of sleep." He was speaking to Christians.

1. There is much spiritual torpor even in the best. Where is that earnest activity which we. feel is the right thing for us? — the activity which Christ had when He said, "I must work," etc. What Paul had, who said, "I count not my life dear," etc. "I press towards the mark," etc.

2. There is much spiritual dreaming in the best. Our views of Divine things are often only as the incoherent visions of a dream. At death the soul wakes up. It is a morning to it, — a bright, joyous, stirring morning. Do not be afraid of death, then.

II. IN THIS AWAKING AT DEATH THERE WILL BE THE COMPLETE ASSIMILATION OF THE SOUL TO GOD. "When I awake, with Thy likeness." What is this likeness? Not a resemblance to His wisdom, power, or sovereignty, but a resemblance to His governing disposition: — LOVE. Moral likeness to a being consists in a likeness to His ruling disposition. Variety in material objects and mental characteristics is the glory of the creation. But similarity in moral disposition is what heaven demands as the essence of virtue and the condition of bliss. All can love, and to love is to be like God. At death this in the good becomes perfect. Our sympathies will then flow entirely with His; our wills will then go entirely within the circle of His.

III. IN THIS ASSIMILATION WILL CONSIST THE EVERLASTING SATISFACTION OF OUR NATURE, "I shall be satisfied." There is no satisfaction without this.

1. The spiritual powers will not work harmoniously under the dominion of any other disposition.

2. The conscience will frown upon any other state of mind.

3. The Great One will not bless with His friendship any other state of mind in His creatures.


David therefore expected to live after death, — he should awake, and awake in God's likeness.

I. AT DEATH THE SOUL OF THE BELIEVER THUS AWAKES. The remains of sin are done away, and nothing left but the image of God.

II. OUR PRESENT STATE IS A KIND OF NIGHT SCENE. As dreams, and like the vagaries of sleep. Only that is solid and valuable which has been connected with God. How short are waking intervals. Natural men are entirely asleep, but Christians cannot sleep, "as do others." Yet they are often drowsy and insensible. Hence Paul says, "It is high time to wake out of sleep." And at death they will wake out of sleep.

III. THE BODY LIKEWISE SHALL AWAKE. For the body is an essential part of human nature. But it is lying under the incapacities and dishonours of mortality. Therefore the intermediate state is necessarily an imperfect one. But the purchase of the Saviour will be reclaimed. "We wait for the Saviour, who shall change our vile body that," etc.

(William Jay.)

Among the beautiful epitaphs, of which the world is full, the following may be mentioned: Near Marshfield, the famous country home of Daniel Webster, is a lonely little graveyard where the great statesman lies buried. Beside him is the grave of his wife, and traced on the tombstone is this exquisite inscription, "Let me go, the day is breaking."

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Who has not misread this verse, by not perceiving the punctuation? How often has the comma after "awake" been struck out, and thus the whole sense of the passage lost! It has been read, "When I awake with Thy likeness"; being so read it has been violated. Observe the punctuation, and further comment is needless. We might turn it round thus, "I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake." The man does not awake with the likeness; he is satisfied with the likeness when he awakes.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

(with Psalm 73:20): — Both these Psalms are occupied with that standing puzzle to Old Testament worthies — the good fortune of bad men, and the bad fortune of good ones. The former tells of the calamities of David; the latter, of the perplexity of Asaph "when he saw the prosperity of the wicked." And as the problem is the same, so is the solution. David and Asaph both point on to a period when such perplexities shall not be. David thinks of it in regard to himself; Asaph, in regard to the wicked. And both describe that future period as an awakening: David as his own; Asaph, as that of God. What they meant is not absolutely clear. Some would bring the words well within the limits of the present life; others see in them what tells of the future life that stretches beyond the grave. But inasmuch as David contrasts his awaking with the death of "the men of this world," it would seem that he points on, however dimly, to that which is "within the veil." And as for Asaph, the awaking he tells of may refer to some act of judgment in this life. But the strong words in which the context describes this awaking as the "destruction" and "the end" of the godless tell rather of life's final close. The doctrine of the future life was never clear to Israel as to us. Hence there are great tracts of the Old Testament where it never appears at all. This very difficulty about "the prosperity of the wicked" would not have arisen had they known what we do. But in these Psalms We see men being taught of God the clearer hope which alone could sustain them. Regarding, then, the end of life as told of in both these Psalms, we note —

I. THAT TO ALL MEN THE END OF LIFE IS AN AWAKENING. We call death, sleep, but we use the word as a euphemism to veil the form and deformity of the ugly thing, death. But this name we give to death tells of our weariness of life, and how blessed we think it will be to be still at last with folded hands and shut eyes. But the emblem is but half the truth. For, "what dreams may come!" And we shall wake too. The spirit shall spring into greater intensity of action. To our true selves and to God we shall awake. Here we are like men asleep in some chamber that looks towards the eastern sky. Morning by morning comes sunrise, with the tender glory of its rosy light and blushing heavens, and the heavy eyes are closed to it all. Here and there some light sleeper, with thinner eyelids or face turned to the sun, is half-conscious of a vague brightness, and feels the light, though he sees not the colour of the sky nor the forms of the filmy clouds. Such souls are our saints and prophets, but most of us sleep on unconscious. But to us all the moment of awaking will come. What shall it be to us?

II. DEATH IS TO SOME MEN THE AWAKING OF GOD. "When Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image." The metaphor is a common one. God awakes when He arises to judge a nation. But the word here points on to the future. The present life is the time of God's forbearance, the field for the manifestation of patient love, not willing that any should perish. Here and now His judgment, for the most part, slumbers. But He will awake. "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night," and the wicked will have to confront "the terror of the Lord." For sixty times sixty slow, throbbing seconds, the silent hand creeps unnoticed round the dial, and then, with whirr and clang, the bell rings out, and another hour of the world's secular day is gone. All present judgments — epochs of convulsion and ruin — are but precursors of the day when God awakes.

III. DEATH IS THE ANNIHILATION OF THE VAIN SHOW OF WORLDLY LIFE. Things here are non-substantial — shadows — and non-permanent.

IV. DEATH IS TO SOME MEN SUCH ANNIHILATION IN ORDER TO REVEAL THE GREAT REALITY. "Thy likeness." "Form," the word really means. Hence the "likeness" means, not conformity to the Divine character, but the beholding of His self-manifestation. Seeing God we shall be satisfied.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

With Thy likeness.
I. THERE IS SUCH A PLACE AS HEAVEN. Some imagine that heaven is a state rather than a place; but it is not easy to conceive of this distinction. The idea of locality attends all our ideas of created objects, whether spiritual or corporeal. The idea of place accompanies our idea of angels. Whatever changes pass upon glorified bodies, they must still be material, and have a local existence.

II. GOD MANIFESTS HIS PECULIAR PRESENCE IN HEAVEN. David expected to behold the face of God in some peculiar manner when he should awake in the world of light. In some unusual manner God manifests His presence in heaven.

III. WHEN THE SAINTS ARRIVE IN HEAVEN THEY WILL BE COMPLETELY SATISFIED AND HAPPY THERE. They will enjoy all that felicity which David anticipated. If there be perfect happiness anywhere in the universe it is to he expected in heaven, where God is, and Christ is, and where all the holy beings are collected, and united in their views and affections. Consider the various species of happiness in heaven —

1. They will enjoy all the happiness which can flow from the free and full exercise of all their intellectual powers and faculties.

2. They will enjoy the pleasures of the heart, as well as those of the understanding. These are the most refined pleasures of the soul.

3. They shall enjoy the pleasures of the heart in the richest variety.

4. They will enjoy the pleasures of society, as well as of devotion.

5. They will have ineffable pleasure from the expressions of the peculiar love and approbation of God.

6. That which will carry celestial blessedness to the highest degree of perfection is the pleasure of anticipation — the prospect of appearing before God, and beholding His face in righteousness. All the redeemed will joyfully anticipate their perpetual felicity, and rising glory to all eternity.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

Dr. Lyman Abbott says, "The artist stands at his easel painting the portrait of one before him; and I go and look at it, and scowl and shrug my shoulders, and say, 'It is not like him; I can see the ghost of an appearance looking out through the lustreless eyes and the untrue features, but it is not my friend.' And the artist says, 'Wait! when I have finished the picture, and put the purpose — the soul — into it, then judge, not before.' So Christ sits for His portrait, and God takes me as a canvas, and paints, and ever and anon I grow foolish enough to look at myself, and shake my head in despair, amid say, 'That will never he a portrait.' Then I come back to His promise: 'You shall be satisfied when you awake in His likeness,' and I am satisfied beforehand in this hope that He gives me."

I was very much impressed some time ago by hearing one of our missionaries from Ceylon tell of the death of a poor Cingalese woman, a convert to Christ, who exclaimed with her last breath, "Oh, how beautiful God is!" You will remember that those were among the last words of a very different person, the sweet-souled, highly cultured Charles Kingsley, and you will see, I doubt not, in the coincidence of thought at the supreme moment of life between that poor Cingalese woman, who had long looked for God by the dim light of her pagan faith, and that cultured Englishman, who had walked in the broad noonday of truth with all the windows of his being open to the sun, a parable of how God, the great Father of spirits, can bring from very different points, and by very diverse paths, the alien, hungering heart of man to the enjoyment of Himself. In Charles Kingsley and in his Cingalese sister there was the capacity for the same thing, the enjoyment of God; and I believe, and you believe, that wherever a human heart beats under God's great sky that capacity exists. Christianity does not necessarily create it; Christ finds it, and fathoms it and fills it.

(R. Wright Hay.)

I. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THIS LIKENESS TO GOD? It is a spiritual likeness, an enstamping the Divine image upon the soul a moulding the soul rote the Divine similitude. The likeness of which the Psalmist speaks is a conformity of soul to God. In order to this we must undergo a great change. That likeness to God of which the righteous shall partake will consist in a similarity between the qualities of their souls and the attributes of the Divine nature. But some of the Divine attributes are incommunicable. The likeness will consist —

1. In knowledge. Our knowledge must ever be derived and dependent. The righteous may resemble God in the certainty of their knowledge, and in its clearness and distinctness. The knowledge of glorified saints, compared with what they flow possess, may very properly be said to resemble the Divine knowledge in extent. Doubtless the powers of the soul will greatly expand.

2. The future likeness of the saints to God will consist in holiness. The moral image of God is defaced and destroyed in apostate man. But in Christ Jesus the glory of our nature is restored. The restoration is only partial in this present life. But the whole body of believers shall, ere long, be made perfect in holiness. In the immediate presence of the blessed God, faith and hope shall attain perfection.

3. The righteous shall be like God in blessedness. This necessarily results from the two last. And the blessedness will be, like God's, eternal.

II. THE FEELINGS OF THE BLESSED, WHEN THEY ENTER UPON THIS PORTION. They will feel that all their most enlarged desires have been fulfilled. It will satisfy the pious soul by filling up its capacities and wishes. Let afflicted Christians learn patience and find consolation.

(W. J. Armstrong, D. D.)

Man is capable of discovering, and has actually discovered, some true knowledge of God. The best answer we can make to the unbeliever in an objective revelation will be to say —

1. The religion which you accept on an external authority had for its origin nothing else in the world than the human consciousness which you now despise. Place all the religions of the world in their chronological order, and yon will find that each one is the revolt of independent thought against the authority of the religion which preceded it.

2. At all events, we cannot any longer abide by your revelation, for we have discovered error in it. To our minds it represents God in an unworthy and even in a degraded aspect.

3. We will tell you how our conceptions of God are determined in the first instance, how they are sustained, and how they can be corrected and improved. We look at man, we examine ourselves. In relation to puzzling problems and analogies in the outer world we feel the necessity for faith and patience towards God, such as our children have to exercise towards, the most. loving, parents. The reverence, for goodness as goodness is universal m man, differing only in degree in proportion as different men have higher or lower conceptions of What goodness is. The verdict of humanity has long been passed, that morality, justice, love, righteousness, goodness, call it what you will is the best and highest in man, and the most righteous man, or most loving man is the noblest. From this we rise by one step into a conception of God's moral attributes. God must be, at least, as good as the noblest of men. We cannot accept as a God one whose moral principles are below those of his own finite creatures. Mankind itself is the ever-expanding bible in which the Divine revelation is being written. Every religion in the days of its youth was the immediate result of some previous progress in human morality. If you want proof that the real origin of religions belief is the reverence of human goodness, take not the mere creed of Christendom, but the cherished belief of its heart. Why do Christians worship Christ as God? Certainly not because it was said that He was God, but because they believed Him to be a perfect man. They first admired and loved Him for His goodness, and then they made Him Divine, and robed Him in all the splendours of heavenly royalty out of gratitude for His human love. To those, then, who are really Christians, and really religious, we come on their own ground, and say, If it is human goodness you really worship, we can show you plenty of that, equal to Christ's, and even better still. We can show you at least the same thing free from some of His personal errors. In almost every particular the conceptions which we have of God are more exalted and pure than any which have gone before it. They are attained, as all other conceptions are, namely, by the gradual advance in the moral and intellectual nature of man. Our faith is nobler than yours, because we have allowed ourselves to be taught by the moral progress of our own times, and by the highest instincts of our souls. To our moral instincts and our attainment of the knowledge of goodness we must add our own deep and earnest aspirations, as witnesses of what God really is. No words so well express the possession of soul by the Divine presence and its loftiest aspirations as those of the text, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; and I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."

(Charles Voysey.).

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