Psalm 84:11
What God is to his people, and what he does for them, may be put into two figures, and expressed in two plain statements. But what he is to them, and what he does for them, depend on what they are in themselves, and what they are toward him. This the sincerely good man is always willing to recognize.

I. THE DIVINE BESTOWMENTS.

1. Suggested by two figures.

(1) "The Lord God is a Sun. This figure for God is only used in this place. The sun in nature is the source of light, life, warmth, beauty, fruitfulness. The psalmist seems, even in this figure, to have God's defendings chiefly in mind. God is Light against darkness, which Easterns so greatly fear.

(2) The Lord God is a Shield." See this figure treated in the homily on ver. 9. We may add the picture of the tents of the army ranged in circles round the king's tent, and forming an almost impregnable shield; so "the Lord is round about his people." Some have suggested making one figure of the two, and reading it, "The Lord God is a bright and shining Shield." They think reference may be to the brazen shields, which were kept polished, so that, catching the sun's rays, they might dazzle the enemy.

2. Suggested by two statements.

(1) "The Lord will give grace and glory." We may think of Divine bestowment exactly according with human necessities. Grace fits into all present needs; glory fits into all future needs. But the psalmist probably used the terms as figures for the two things he needed - help and success.

(2) "No good thing will he withhold." A carefully qualified promise. It does not say, "Nothing will he withhold." It is "no good thing;" and no one can decide what is good for us as he can who has the infinite knowledge, and is the infinite Wisdom and Love.

II. THE DIVINE CONDITIONS. "From them that walk uprightly." That being regarded as the sure sign that the heart is right with God. A man may walk uprightly before his fellows who is not heart right with God. But this is quite certain - if a man does not walk uprightly, he cannot be right with God. God is an unstinted Giver; we put the limitations by the failure of our faith, love, submission, and obedience. God would have his bestowmeuts to be the best possible blessing to us; and therefore they are withheld until it is quite plain that we are prepared to make the best of them. - R.T.







For the Lord God is a sun and shield.
This is a startling conjunction of emblems. A "sun": the centre of a system of worlds — the very synonym .for splendour — so glorious, that it has been worshipped by multitudes as Divine. A "shield": an implement in human war, at first simple and rude, made of twigs, or skins, or metal — a piece of merely human handicraft. What could the sons of Korah have meant when they sang that God was sun and shield? God is sun and shield —

I. IN HIS DISTANCE AND IN HIS NEARNESS. The fiery globe ninety-one millions of miles distant, and the shield worn on man's left arm in battle, close to his very heart, are both emblems of Him of whom men often cry, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" and to bring whom near men sometimes use their telescope of logic; but who is moreover so near, that in Him we live, and move, and have our being.

II. IN HIS GREATNESS AND IN HIS GENTLENESS. The sun so great, that if all the planets were fused into one, six hundred would not give the bulk of the sun; — and that shield that shelters the bleeding brow or wounded limb, are both alike true figures of God.

III. IN HIS HOLINESS AND IN HIS BENEVOLENCE. God is light, dazzling, unapproachable. God is love, etc. In Him mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The God I sometimes dread is the God to whom to cling.

(U. R. Thomas.)

I. BLESSINGS IN THEIR FULNESS. "The Lord God is a sun."

1. Then, if God is mine, I have not only light, but I have the source of light.

2. God is a sun: that is infinity of blessing. There is no measuring it.

3. It is an immutability of blessedness (James 1:17).

4. There must be added concerning God as a sun — that He is for ever communicating His light and heat and excellence to all who are about Him. I cannot conceive the sun shut up within himself. An unshining sun is a sun unsunned; and a God that is not good and pouring forth His goodness has laid aside His deity. It is contrary to the very notion and idea of an infinitely good God for Him to restrain His goodness, and keep it back from His people.

II. BLESSINGS IN THEIR COUNTERPOISE. One blessing alone might scarcely be a blessing; for in being too great a blessing it might crush us. We may have too much of a good thing. We want some other boon to balance the single benediction. So notice here, "The Lord God is a sun and shield." "Sun and shield" hang before my eyes like two golden scales. Each one adds value to the other. When God is a sun to His people it may be He warms them into temporal prosperity with His bright beams, so that their goods increase, their body is in health, their trade succeeds, and their children are spared to them: they are grateful to God, and joyful because of the blessings which He has bestowed upon them. When everything is bright with us the Lord knows how to sober His children's spirits so that they use, but do not abuse, the things of this life. Even when they most abound with worldly joys He makes His people feel that these are not their heart joy. He shades us from the noxious effects of wealth and content. He suffers not the sun to smite us by day. Is not this a gracious style of counterpoise? It is also a great mercy that when God gives His people great spiritual joys He usually gives them a humbling sense of themselves at the same time. Its gives them grace so that they can be full of assurance, and yet full of holy fear; always rejoicing and yet never presuming; lifted up, and yet lying low before the Lord.

III. BLESSINGS IN THEIR ORDER. The Lord is to us first a sun and then a shield. Remember how David puts it elsewhere: — "The Lord is my light and my salvation." Light first, salvation next. He does not save us in the dark, neither does He shield us in the dark. He gives enough sunlight to let us see the danger that we may appreciate the defence. We are not to shut our eyes and so find safety, but we are to see the evil and hide ourselves. Ought we not to be very grateful to God that He so orders our affairs? Ours is not a blind faith, receiving an unknown salvation from evils which are unperceived; this would be a poor form of life at best. No, the favour received is valued because its necessity is perceived. The heavenly sun lights up our souls and makes us see our ruin, and lie down in the dust of self-despair; and then it is that grace brings forth the shield which covers us, so that we are no more afraid, but rejoice in the glorious Lord as the God of our salvation. Then notice the order of the next two things — grace and glory: not glory first: that could not be. We are not fit for it. Grace must first blot out. sin and change the nature. We could not enter glory or enjoy it by any possibility while we are sinful at heart. Grace must renew us or glory cannot receive us.

IV. BLESSINGS IN PREPARATION AND BLESSINGS IN MATURITY. "The Lord will give grace and glory." Grace is glory in the bud; you shall see the rod of Aaron full of blooming graces; but this is not all — glory is grace in ripe fruit: the rod shall bear ripe almonds. The Lord will give you both the dawn and the noon, the Alpha and the Omega, grace and glory. What is glory? He that has been in heaven five minutes can tell you better than the sagest divine that lives; and yet he could not tell you. Nay, the angels could not tell you, you could not understand them. What is glory? You must enjoy it to know it. Glory is not merely rest, happiness, wealth, safety; it is honour, victory, immortality, triumph.

V. BLESSINGS IN THEIR UNIVERSALITY. "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Is there some good thing which does not come to us by the Lord's being our sun? We shall not lose on that account. Is there another good thing which cannot be included in God's being our shield? We shall not be deprived of that. Is there some good thing that cannot be comprehended in grace? I cannot imagine what it can be, but if there be such a thing we shall not miss even that. Is there some good thing that is not comprehended even in glory? Well, it does not matter, we shall have it; for here stands the boundless promise — "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WHAT GOD IS.

1. A "sun." His people are not strangers to happiness, and they derive it all from Him.

2. A "shield" — always at hand, impenetrable by any weapons, capacious, encompassing, adequate.

II. WHAT GOD GIVES.

1. Grace — Divine assistance and influence, springing from the free favour of God. It is often expressed plurally: we hear of the graces of the Holy Spirit. When it regards truth, we call it faith; — a future good, hope;-trouble, patience.

2. Glory. This denotes splendour, fame, excellency displayed; and the sacred writers apply it by way of distinction to the transcendent dignity and sublime happiness reserved in heaven for the righteous.

III. And what does He WITHHOLD? "NO GOOD THING." — O how full and comprehensive is the language of promise!

1. Behold in it the grandeur of His possessions. He who engages to withhold no good thing must have all good things at His disposal.

2. Behold in this promise the wonders of His liberality. All earthly benefactors shrink from a comparison with Him. He acts by no ordinary rule of bounty, by no human standard of beneficence. "As the heavens are higher than the earth," etc.

3. Behold in this promise the wisdom of His dispensations. He has qualified His engagement, and regulated our hope, by the goodness of the things insured. Let us then drop not only our murmuring, but our anxiety.

IV. WHOM DOES GOD REGARD in all these exceeding great and precious promises? — "Them that walk uprightly "in reference to self, others, God.

(W. Jay.)

I. WHAT THE LORD GOD IS TO His PEOPLE.

1. A "sun."

(1)Enlightening the dark mind.

(2)Fertilizing the barren mind.

(3)Consoling the cheerless mind.

2. A "shield"; protecting His people from the sword of Divine wrath, and from their spiritual adversaries.

II. WHAT GOD WILL DO FOR HIS PEOPLE. He will give —

1. Grace.

(1)He gives the principle of grace.

(2)He encourages the growth of grace.

(3)He will reward the combat of grace.

2. Glory.

(1)The glory for which grace prepares.

(2)The glory which the saints in heaven now enjoy.

(3)The glory which He has promised

(4)The glory that exceeds all conceptions.

III. WHAT GOD WILL NOT WITHHOLD.

1. Any necessary instruction.

2. Any needful correction.

3. Any requisite support.

(T. Dunn.)

I. THE NATURE OF GOD IN GENERAL.

1. A "sun."

(1)Illumination.

(2)Calefaction.

(3)Fructification.

(4)All-sufficiency.What is it that makes the day? Is it not the sun? And so what is it that makes the happiness of the Christian but even God Himself? Seeing the Lord God is a sun, we should then hence learn to rejoice in that light and comfort which He does impart, and which we receive from Him. We should still desire that the light of His countenance may shine upon us more and more, and nothing should be more grievous to us than the withdrawing of this from us.

2. A "shield."

(1)A large and broad shield, which is able fully to cover us, protect and keep us safe.

(2)A strong and impenetrable shield.

(3)A present shield.God is not a shield at large to all sorts of persons whatsoever, but He is a shield and buckler to His children, and to such persons as by faith cleave unto Him. To these He is a shield indeed, and it is that which is matter of great peace and encouragement to them, especially in times of danger and uncertainty. And accordingly, further, we should learn from hence to improve Him, and make use of Him upon all occasions: we should betake ourselves to Him for protection, who has expressed Himself ready hereunto, and drawn out that virtue which is in Him to this purpose. There are two attributes in God especially which redder Him to us as considerable in this respect — His truth, and His power. The truth of God, He is a shield in regard of that (Psalm 111:4). All those gracious promises which God has made for the protection of His people, they are so many shields unto them, under which they may cover themselves. And then His power, that is another of His attributes which is useful in this regard: forasmuch as He is stronger than any evil which can happen unto them.

II. THE PARTICULAR EXPRESSIONS OF GOD'S NATURE TO US.

1. Affirmative. "The Lord will give grace and glory." He might have said, has given for the time past, or does give it for the time present, but He chooses rather to set it in the future — will give for time to come, hereby to signify His constancy and unweariedness in this respect, and the continuation of His blessings to us. The gifts themselves here mentioned are of two forms: grace and glory, the one pertaining to this life present, the other to that which is in heaven.

2. The negative. "No good thing," etc.(1) In regard of that right and interest and propriety which a true believer has in all good things. There is no good thing whatsoever but a child of God has right to as his own, and as belonging unto him (Revelation 21:7; 1 Corinthians 3:21).(2) All true believers as they have interest in all good things themselves from their relation to the Lord Jesus Christ, so they have likewise interest in that affection which might incline the heart of Him that has these things in His own disposing to bestow these good things upon them whatsoever they be (Romans 8:32).(3) There is no good thing whatsoever which the children of God can desire which God is not able to bestow upon them in regard of Himself.(4) As to the matter of actual performance. God does withhold no good thing from those that fear Him, in the event itself, but does indeed bestow it upon them, and does here by this passage in the text engage Himself to as much for them. This must again be taken with these explications. First, there is no good thing which God does withhold from all His children, take it absolutely and specificatively in regard of the things themselves. There are some of the children of God which do partake of every good thing in kind, in one rank or degree or other, as some of them have riches; and some of them have none, and some health, etc. Secondly, there is no good thing whatsoever which God does withhold from any of His children either in the formality or equivalency of it. Let it be truly good, and He does not withhold it, or if He does withhold it in the kind, yet He does not withhold it in the analogy and proportion and equalness of it. He gives them the sweetness and comfort of all these things in the denial of themselves; this we may see in that expression in Mark 10:29, 30.

(T. Horton, D. D.)

Let us consider the several characters here given of God, and the several blessings which, in one way or another, these several characters ensure to the righteous.

1. It is the combination of characters which we regard as most deserving of attention: "The Lord God is a sun and shield." If we consider God as a "sun," there is much of grand and gorgeous imagery which comes sweeping before us. God is emphatically our "sun," our source of light, as showing us ourselves. Conscience is the candle of Deity; and it will burn long and brightly in the natural man, though he thicken the atmosphere with the impure vapours of passion and lust; but it is not the candle of Deity which can search the dark corners of the heart — it must be Deity itself. "O Lord," says the psalmist, "Thou hast searched me and known me"; and again he prays, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts." God, as a sun, saith, Let there be light, and there is light., and as it was in the first creation, this light discloses an unshapen chaos; and man looks into Himself thus suddenly and supernaturally illuminated; and everywhere may he discover nothing but moral confusion. Even the light itself is the only beautiful and glowing thing — all on which it rests is deformity, wildness, and corruption; and ever after God is a sun to the man, by enabling him to carry on that very process of research and discovery which is indispensable to all progress in righteousness. According to the expression of St. Paul — "He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts." And just as it is when the sunbeam finds its way into a darkened room, you see a thousand floating moats which would otherwise have escaped observation; so the piercing rays of Deity, entering the solitudes of the soul, will cause the chambers which had passed for cleansed and garnished, to appear full of the atoms of a widely diffused sinfulness. The light is carried into the corners which had been hitherto overlook

1. The sun shows him the hopelessness of the task in which he is engaged, and finds him fresh work to do, leaving him as far off as ever from completion. But now turn your thoughts on the combination of characters — "The Lord God is a sun and shield." As a sun He shows me more and more my sinfulness; but then as a shield He gives me power to oppose it, and an assurance that I shall conquer. As a sun He discloses so much of the enormity of guilt that I am forced to exclaim — "Mine iniquities are like a sore burden, too heavy for me to bear!" But then, as a shield, He shows me how He has laid the load on a Surety who can bear it away into a land of forgetfulness. As a sun He makes me daily more and more sensible of the utter impossibility of my working out a righteousness of my own; but then, as a shield, He fastens my thoughts on that righteousness of His Son which is mysteriously conveyed to all who believe on His name. As a sun, in short, He brings facts to my knowledge, inasmuch as He brings myself and mine enemies to my knowledge, which would make the matter of deliverance seem out of reach and hopeless, if He were not at the same time a shield; but, seeing that He is a shield as well as a sun, the disclosures which He makes as a sun only prepare me for the blessings which He imparts as a shield; making me desirous, and fitting me to receive them. Who, then, shall wonder that under the combination of the characters of God the psalmist should break into expressions of confidence and assurance? Take the catalogue of things which inasmuch as we are fallen creatures, God as our sun instructs us to fear, and you find that, inasmuch as we are redeemed creatures, God as our shield enables us to defy. Who, then, shall doubt that there results from the combination of characters exactly that system of counterpoise which is generally to be traced in the dealings of the Almighty? Who can feel, if indeed he have been disciplined by that twofold tuition which informs man first that "he hath destroyed himself," and then that "God hath laid help on One who is mighty," the former conciliating, the latter encouraging — the one making way for the other, so that the sinner is emptied of every false confidence, that he may be tempted to courage — who, we say, can fail to draw from the combination of the Divine characters the inference drawn by the psalmist — to exclaim, that is, after recording that "the Lord God is a sun and shield, He will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."

2. Let us now examine more attentively the psalmist's expression of confidence, that "He will give grace and glory." Did David mean that God will "give grace here," and "glory hereafter"? No doubt the words are susceptible of this interpretation; and a very noble meaning it is — referring everything to the free gift of God, the power through which we become meet for heaven, and the heaven itself into which the righteous shall enter. And yet it would appear as though the psalmist were referring specially to what takes place upon earth. He applies the "shield "and the "sun" in his description of Deity, though it is only at present that God is as a shield to His people; in the higher state of being there will be no enemy, no difficulty, and, withal, no need of a shield. And if the "sun" and the "shield" may both be most properly referred to the Divine character, as a present display of grace, the "glory" may be presumed to belong to the Divine dealings, as at present experienced. In other words, "grace and glory" are represented as in some sense one and the same, as though grace were glory, and glory were grace. The truth contained in the clause is, then, that which may be derived from the saying of St. Peter, when he bids us "be sober, and hope to the end; for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ." "The revelation of Jesus Christ" is to be at the consummation of all things, when everlasting happiness shall be entered on by the faithful; and nevertheless it is grace, not glory, which, according to the apostle, is then to be brought to the Church — an intimation which is only to be explained by identifying grace with glory — by supposing, that is, that glory differs from grace in measure, rather than in kind. And this is what we consider is taught by David in our text: he speaks of what God now communicates to the believer; but he speaks both of grace and glory. He represents, that is, grace as glory commenced, and glory as grace consummated. We do not wish to confound the engine with the work, or to make out that the process is the result. Of course, in strictness of speech, grace is the instrument, glory the produce. But if the glory lie in the being freed from sin, and if it be grace which is gradually setting us free, the hope of grace is the true "hope of glory." Nor is it only freedom from sin which grace effects. It effects also consecration to the service of God. There are none but true Christians who really fulfil the great end of their being — that of promoting the glory of their Maker; and it is not through the working of any mere human principle that they propose to themselves so sublime an object. There must have been a change in the affections, a withdrawment of the heart from temporary interests, a vivid recognition of the position which we occupy through creation and redemption, ere the end at which our actions aim can in any degree be for the honour of God. it is therefore to grace, as a principle implanted by God, that we ascribe every effort to advance God's glory. If it be the direct result of the workings of grace that we are led to consecrate ourselves to the service of the Most High, let grace have unrestrained sway, and dust and ashes though we be, should we not become ineffably glorious? It will not be the robe of light that shall make us glorious, though brighter threads than sunbeams shall be woven into its texture; it will not be the palm and the harp that shall make us glorious, though the one shall have grown on the trees of paradise, and the other have been strung with the Mediator's hands. We shall be glorious, as ministering to God's glory — glorious as devoted to the service of the Almighty — glorious as employed on the business, and delighting in the commands of our Maker — glorious with a more than angel's glory, because entrusted with more than an angel's freedom. And if this be our glory, yea, then, poetry may give her music to what she counts more beautiful, and painting its tints to more sparkling things; but Christianity, the scheme of human restoration, recognizes no glory but the living to God's glory! If this be our glory, where is the word which describes glory so emphatically as "grace"? Grace is that which produces consecration to God's service, and therefore is grace nothing less than glory begun.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The psalmist here embraces both nature and art in his illustration, setting forth what God is to His people. What the sun is to nature, what the shield is to the soldier, God is to His people: He also gives grace and glory.

1. God's blessing to His people set forth under the figure of the sun.(1) The sun is the centre of all beauty and glory. At first darkness was upon the face of the deep, but God gathered up the light and concentrated it in the sun, so that all the glory of the heavens and the beauty of the earth are but a reflection of the sun. So with the Sun of Righteousness (Colossians 1:19). All the beauty and glory of the Church triumphant and militant, collectively and individually, is a reflection of the Sun of Righteousness.(2) The sun reveals and illuminates. We may pass along a highway surrounded with beauty on the one hand and dangers on the other, but all ignorant of it until it is revealed by the sun; so the plan of redemption by the light of the Sun of Righteousness reveals to us beauties that were hidden to the men of the world (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).(3) The sun is the concentration of all power. Without Christ ye can do nothing, but with Christ all things are possible.(4) The sun is discovered by its own light. The same sun that looked down on the dial of Ahaz and painted the rose of Sharon in the days of Solomon, illuminates and beautifies the earth to-day, and is the only source of light, so the same Holy Spirit that inspired Samuel to teach and David to strike his lyre is the only source of instruction in the Church of God to-day.

2. The Lord is also a shield. This emphasizes the heroic side of the Christian's character. It means war, and protection in that war. God stands between His people and their enemies.

3. God will give grace. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." But we cannot work a thing out until it is first placed within, God gives us grace in the germ. Like the eagle that is in the egg, like the forest in the acorn, it takes time to develop.

4. God will give glory. The glory of creation is man. The glory of man is his soul. The glory of the soul is the grace of God within it. The kings of earth cause Daniel and Joseph to be clothed with royal robes, but God will clothe us with His own hands, with heaven's best wardrobe out of the ivory palace.

(W. N. Richie, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS GOD?

1. A "sun." The source of —

(1)Light.

(2)Prosperity.

(3)Pleasure.

2. A "shield."

(1)To your persons.

(2)To your graces.

(3)To your property.

II. WHAT DOES GOD DO? He gives —

1. Grace.

(1)The goodwill of God towards us.

(2)The good work of God in us.

2. Glory — the completion of grace.

3. All good things — everything necessary for life.

III. WHO ARE THE CHARACTERS LIKELY TO SHARE THIS FELICITY? "Them that walk uprightly."

(M. Wilks.)

Perhaps no other object in nature has so many attributes that fit it to represent a supreme and invisible Source of power, and life, and government, as the sun. It has peculiar aptness in representing a pure and spiritual God. These silent, mysterious, rejoicing influences of sunlight, that give to the heavens and the earth a charm that no tongue or pen has yet expressed, symbol to us the universal influence of the Divine mind that pervades creation with silent, invisible, life-giving power. What other symbol could give such a conception of purity, vitality, diffusiveness, continuance, and life-imparting power?

I. OBSERVE ITS UNIVERSALITY, AS A FIT EMBLEM OF THE UNIVERSAL POWER OF GOD. It is, in its centre and power, definitely located, as it were; and yet it reaches itself out, and fills immensity, and is as much in the east as in the west, in the north as in the south; and it pervades with endlessness, and, at the same time, every part of the vast physical domain of God. As much at night as by day is the stream falling down and beating upon this globe; and all the forces of light, its life-giving power, are borne, in this immeasurable flood, through infinite space. And is it difficult to rise from this glory of fulness to some faint conception of a mind that issues and impels streams of influence that go forth and fill the vast domain of existence? Is it impossible, when matter so nearly takes the proportion of universality or omnipresence, that mind, more ineffable and subtle and mobile than matter, should be able to bear itself abroad into the infinite realm?

II. CONSIDER, ALSO, THAT THIS FORTH-STREAMING OF LIGHT AND POWER FROM THE SUN HAS BEEN GOING ON THROUGH INCOMPUTABLE PERIODS OF TIME. The historic period of this earth — that, in other words, which records the appearance of the race of man upon it — is relatively short, being but five or six thousand years; while the scientific periods — namely, those which are known only by the interpretation of physical facts — are inconceivably greater. And through the one and the other, doubtless for millions of years, the sun has poured its vast stream of influence, undiminished. Nor is the source apparently wasted. For all purposes of illustration, it may be said that the sun gives without wasting, and is infinitely abundant, after measureless periods and spaces have been filled, in its luminous supply. Thus we rise to the conception of a mind that shoots forth creative and nourishing energy, and that pours it unwasted down through the ages of time, boundless, fathomless, undiminishing.

III. CONSIDER ALSO WHAT AN IMAGE OF ABUNDANCE THE SUN AFFORDS. The leaves of the trees, the blades of grass, all the parts of the growing vegetable kingdom, and the infinite swarms of minor insect life — all of them go to illustrate the thought of abundance, of multitudinousness. But what shall equal in these things the abundance of that solar flood that fills the heaven and the earth, that penetrates the soil, that saturates with heat rocks and stones, and that moves on for ever and for ever with illimitable processions, and everywhere both carries life and finds it? And where else shall there be anything that at all, for an illustration, equals the conception which we strive to form of the creative abundance of God, whose thoughts are for ever brooding, and yet whose life for ever is developed, and who is perpetually changing chaos into organization, and making organization progress through endless cycles of evolution, and through an inconceivable multiplicity of details?

IV. CONSIDER ITS STIMULATING AND DEVELOPING POWER. All things presuppose the sun. It seems to us unthinking, as though everything had been created with its life within itself; as though animals had their life within themselves; as though vegetation had its life in itself. Nothing has. That sun which the beast does not recognize, that sun which the insect does not know, is, after all, its father and its mother. I ask the daisy, "Who is your father?" and it speaks to me of the seed and the root; while I know that the unplanted sun is the father of the daisy. I ask the pastures, "Who has created you?" and they speak of the showers; no blade of grass speaks of the sun; but I know that the unbaptized sun has, by its light of fire, baptized these its children, and that there is nothing that grows in Nature, of animals, or birds, or insects, or plants, that is not the immediate result of that unconscious sun that works everywhere. And when men say to me, "Show me the presence of your God; show me some sign that He is in human affairs, guiding them: you talk of the Holy Ghost, of the Spirit of God, of the Divine inspiration, and of the soul of man as being born thereby; now, give me some token that it is so" — when men say this to me, I point them to all the world, and say, "By the same signs and tokens by which you recognize that the life of the globe is in the sun, that is a myriad of leagues distant; the sun, that sounds no trumpet and waves no banner; the sun, that steals silently through the air, and that works, though you see not the working, but only the fruit of working — by these same signs and tokens you may recognize that the life of the soul is in God."

V. THE SUN IS THE CENTRE OF ATTRACTION, THE HOLDING-FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE. Its invisible power harnesses all planets and stars. It guides the earth in all its courses. It is a government, in short. It not only gives vitality to all things of the earth, but it surrounds the earth, rendered vital, with guiding power, and holds it in its movements. So God is the centre of power, and the centre of government. By maintaining those eternal laws by which the human soul acts, He sits central. As the sun sits central in the solar system to hold the planets that roam only by its permission, so God sits central in the universe, holding this globe not only, but all its habiliments; and all its habiliments not only, but the soul of every man; and the soul of every man not only, but all that is in the human soul.

VI. CONSIDER THAT GENEROSITY AND IMPARTIALITY WHICH THE SUN EXERCISES. It makes no discriminations and distinctions. I have growing in my garden the portulaca in beds, for the sake of its glowing colour. You know that it is first cousin to purslane — a weed that everybody who undertakes to keep a garden hates. I have hoed it, and pulled it up, and denounced it, and spurned it, and given it to the fire and to the pigs with maledictions. But I cannot find out that the sun exercises any discrimination between the purslane growing in my garden and the portulaca, r call one flower and the other weed; but God's sun calls them both flowers. In this it is the emblem of God, who "maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good," etc.

VII. PROLIFIC AND INTIMATE IN BENEFIT AS THE SUN IS, IT IS OBSERVABLE THAT ONLY A PART OF ITS BENEFIT IS THRUST UPON MAN, AND THAT THAT PART IS MAINLY THAT WHICH CONCERNS HIS LOWER NECESSITIES. If we would go further, and use the sun as artists use it, and draw out its subtler elements of beauty, we must study its laws in that direction, and obey them. If we would derive from the employment of the sun its more perfect fruits and harvests, we must take the steps necessary to this end. Not upon every one does it thrust these bounties. They must be inquired for. So it is with the Sun of Righteousness. He sheds a providential watchfulness and protection upon all men, without regard to character; but if men would go higher, and perfect the understanding, refine the moral sentiments, purify the heart, and come to be God-like, developing the God that is in them, for this there is special labour required.

(H. W. Beecher.)

What the natural sun is to material nature, God is to this world and its tenants, especially to those who fear His name. Of all the figures employed indicating some features of resemblance to God, there is none more beautiful and appropriate than the sun. "It is a pleasant thing for the eye to behold the sun," i.e. to enjoy the effect of his diffused and reflected radiance. Earth and its countless inhabitants are deeply indebted to his vivifying rays. He is the source of all that quickens and beautifies nature, and thus has become the emblem of many blessings.

1. In all probability he was the first natural object which had the religious homage of man, and this may suggest the thought that the human mind delights in mysteries — in the insolvable more than the apparent and simple — as man could not easily prostrate himself before any object more mysterious in its nature. There is no searching of the sun; our eyes are too weak to stand the ceaseless ocean of light that emanates from him. How much less can we search the sun's Creator. Contrasted with Him, myriads of suns are like so many dark bodies. His revelation of Himself in His works, and in His Word, in His Son, and in our souls, is more than sufficient for the comprehension of any finite mind and beyond the ken of the most philosophic eye.

2. The sun is ever the same. Ever since the Creator said on the fourth day, "Let there be light," he has faithfully performed his function. Generations live and die; empires wax and wane; but he is the same from age to age, and gives his light to the father and the son; and shines upon the babe in his cradle as well as years after upon his grave, when numbered with the tenants of mortality. Thus the psalmist, in speaking of the kingdom of Christ, says, "His name shall endure for ever: His name shall be continued as long as the sun." God is unchangeable. He is "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." His being fills every point of duration, "the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." His thoughts and purposes are immutable. "The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever; the thoughts of His heart to all generations."

3. The sun is larger than all the other planets. — It is difficult go conceive an adequate idea of his magnitude. If all the planets from Mercury, that receives a continual stream of light from him, to Neptune — that is three thousand and six hundred millions of miles distant from him, somewhere on the confines of creation — were made into one world, it is said that it would require six hundred such worlds to constitute one that would approach the sun in its dimensions. Infinitely greater than this is the disparity which exists between God and the highest, the mightiest, and holiest of His creatures.

4. Of all the works of God the sun is the most conspicuous. He occupies the most prominent position among the planets of heaven. Take him from the constellations of heaven, and all is darkness and confusion. What would this world be apart from God? Confusion, darkness, and unmitigated misery. Blessed be His name, He is here, as the cause of all causes, the force of all forces, the agent of all agencies, the breath of all life, and the source of all good.

5. The sun is most generous. He gives his all freely and impartially; he shineth on the just and unjust; his rays fall upon the sower of iniquity as well as the Christian in devout prayer and meditation. It is generally accepted now as being true that there are in the sunbeam three different principles, viz. the chemical, luminiferous, and calorific, and that each has a function to discharge in relation to the fruits of the earth. The chemical has to do with germinating the plant, the luminous assists in secreting from the air the carbon essential to its growth, while the calorie, or heating rays, are required to nurture the seed, and form the reproductive elements. What wisdom displayed in the fact, that the first of these is more powerful in the spring than in the summer, while the second becomes more powerful in the summer, and that in the autumn both are lessened, while the third increases in force; i.e. each principle becomes potent at the time when most required. How eminently adapted to our wants as well as those of Nature.

6. The sun is a fountain from whence flows a perpetual stream of goodness, and is an invaluable blessing to our world. God is an inexhaustible source of all good. He is the primal fount of all mercies. He is not only the Quickener of life, but the Giver and the Sustainer of it. Divine supplies and human wants are balanced. How loving the hand that adapts the blessings to our wants. How numerous they are. Can you reckon them? Life, health, food, raiment, peace, homes, relatives, friends, money, honour, and seasons of innocent pleasure; verily, our life is an endless history of Divine bounties. God gives these blessings to all without distinction. How loudly this calls for our gratitude. But He gives infinitely more to those that love Him, delight in His statutes, and frequent His sanctuary to adore and praise Him. To them He is a sun and shield. As the sun is everything to the earth, so God is to His people — He is their All.

(J. Stevenson.)

We are all lovers of the sun, and give it unwitting homage in a thousand ways. We seek it as if we were new-born flowers asking for a baptism of beauty and fragrance, and, like the birds, we pipe our merriest notes when it has dismissed the chilling clouds. Nor are bees and butterflies more content than are we when it favours us with its encouraging smiles and stimulating caresses. Distant yet near, hidden yet revealed, majestic yet lowly, mighty yet merciful, terrible enough to consume worlds and yet tender enough to open a blossom, vast enough to appal us, and yet beneficent enough to attract us — there can be little wonder that men of reverent temper have found in it touching suggestions of Him who giveth grace and glory. "The Lord is a sun."

I. THEN MY LIFE MAY BE ILLUMINED. No nook or corner of our being need go unirradiated. Open the life to God as you open the eye to the sun, and you will no longer be a child of the darkness. We need not dwell in the shadow of sin, in the cave of doubt, in the pit of melancholy, in the cavern of unbelief, in the neighbourhood of gloom: we are called to the sunshine; we can walk in the light as He is in the light, we can tread on bright-topped hills, we can hear the message, "Let there be light."

II. THEN MY LIFE MAY BE CHEERED. He, whose shining sun brightens every earth-spot, making the flowers start up in rare brilliancy, causing the birds to sing their sweetest sonnets, putting a beauteous bloom upon the fruits of the orchard, and dressing Nature in a glorious dress, says to us, "What that sun is to the physical world, I am to the spiritual. I can work a mighty transformation in your lives, can put an end to your soul's winter, and can confer on you an endless summer. I can warm you through and through with My fires, and in the light of My face you can live perpetually, despite life's changefulness, and the hard, trying, and perplexing things which come to you — for I am God, your Exceeding Joy, the Fount of Life, the very God of Peace."

III. THEN MY LIFE MAY BE ENRICHED. It is God who quickens me from the death of sin, who renews my life from day to day, who gives it its finest expression, who stores it with heavenly treasures, who generates within me the holiest desires, and fosters a thrice-blessed bliss-inspiring hope. Who can tell how rich I may yet become? When I see the gorgeous garniture of the universe, I know that God does not want me to be clad in less than a royal dress. When I see the opulence of Nature on all hands, L am sure He does not want me to fare meagrely. When I observe the superb dome of many-coloured glass above us, the vast panorama of earth and sea full of pictures, poems, and symphonies, I am sure that He intends me to rise to full and rich perfection.

IV. THEN MY LIFE MAY BE BEAUTIFUL. Standing in the stream of the Divine Brightness, there is no knowing to what splendour we shall come. Drenched with the glory of His face, we shall have a sweetness far surpassing that of sun-kissed flowers, a ripeness which the fairest fruit will only faintly image, a beauty superior to anything earth has known.

(J. Pearce.)

The
I. Viewing the promise as ON THE SIDE OF GOD, and of His condescension to us His guilty creatures, we may trace it in its source, and in the manner of its fulfilment.

1. Absolutely, grace and glory are the Lord's; being of the essence of His nature; his property and possession.

2. Relatively to us, grace and glory are the Lord's to give; He has them so that He may give them.

3. Grace and glory are given from the Father through the Son.

4. Grace and glory are given from the Father through the Son by the Spirit.

II. Consider it now ON THE SIDE OF MAN, and his need of God.

1. What are the aspects of our condition that make the assurance peculiarly suitable to our case?(1) We find no favour, no grace, in the eyes of God. On the contrary, we are the objects of His just displeasure; guilty; condemned.(2) In this condition, we have no fitness or qualification for being advanced by God to any post of honour, or distinguished by any special marks of His confidence and approval; no capacity of being glorified.(3) In this predicament of estrangement and dishonour we are helpless; without any means of extricating or raising ourselves.

2. What more suitable, — what more necessary, — than this promise — "The Lord will give grace and glory"? A right princely and royal gift! And a right princely and royal act to make it absolutely a free gift! It is a procedure worthy of God. And it is the only procedure that could really meet our case. Of His own free will begat He us by the Word. Of His own free will He called us in His Gospel. Of His own free will He puts His Holy Spirit within us, and works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN GRACE AND GLORY, and the dependence of the one upon the other.

1. Grace comes before glory; and only through grace can glory be reached. Grace first, and then glory. It must be so. Vain will you seek to commend yourselves to God, and win a character and name before Him, if you are not first found willing to be debtors to His mercy and sovereign grace, His full and free mercy.

2. Glory comes after grace; and grace is in order to glory. Why would you have the Lord to give you grace? Is it that you may hopefully press on to glory? Grace is the means to glory. Do you so regard it? Are you anxious, not merely about your personal rest, and ease, and comfort, but about your being put in a position and receiving power to serve the Lord freely, and to enjoy Him fully?

3. Grace implies glory (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29, 80). What gracious soul is in heaviness through manifold affliction? Let him not faint. Let him seek grace to hold on, in the confident belief that the Lord, giving the grace he seeks, will give the glory for which he is content to wait.

4. Grace prepares for glory; and the proportion of grace determines the proportion of glory; or, to put it in a pointed form, the more grace the more glory.

5. The seals of grace are the pledges of glory. This is doubly true. It is true of the inward seal of grace, which is the Holy Ghost in the heart, and of the outward seals of grace, which are the holy sacraments in the Church.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

The Lord gives; there is nothing freer than a gift, and there can be nothing freer than that greatest of all the gifts of God, eternal life. That expression, "eternal life," sums up these two things, grace and glory. "The Lord will give grace and glory." It is His glory to give His grace; and because of His graciousness, He gives glory. Glory never comes without grace coming first, but grace never comes without glory coming last; the two are bound together, and "what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

I. THE FIRST GIFT: "The Lord will give grace."

1. The Lord will give grace to all those who feel that they need it, and confess their need. Claim anything as of right, and God will only give you what you have a right to claim, and that will be everlasting destruction from His presence and from the glory of His power. But confess that you are guilty, and stand ready for the death-sentence to be executed, and appeal to the unmerited mercy of God, and you shall have it freely given to you.

2. He will give grace to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Nay, He has given grace to them already. It has pleased the Father that in Christ should all fulness dwell, and therefore fulness of grace abides in Christ.

3. He will give more grace to those to whom He has given some grace. If you have had the first droppings of grace, keep on looking to Him who gave you those first drops, for there is a shower on the way.

4. He will give grace in the form in which it is needed.

5. He will give grace when it is needed. Grace is a thing which has to be used, and the Lord who gives it means us to use it. Whenever God sharpens my scythe, I know that there is some grass for me to cut. If ever He hands me down a sword, He seems by that very action to say to me, "Go and fight," and He does not give it to me that I may have it dangling between my legs to show what a man of war I am. When you need grace, you shall have grace.

6. He will give us grace to a much larger degree when we are prepared to receive it.

7. He will give grace till it melts into glory.

II. THE LAST GIFT. When our entire manhood, spirit, soul, and body shall be in heaven, then will this promise be fulfilled, "The Lord will give glory."

1. "Glory" means, first, recognition. When Christ shall declare that He knows us, and shall say to each one of us, "Well done, good and faithful servant"; when He shall confess us before men when He comes in the glory of His Father; O sirs, when Christ shall call out His poor persecuted followers, and amidst such a scene as never was beheld before, when angels shall lean from the battlements of heaven, and a cloud of witnesses shall gather round about assembled men, when Christ shall say, "You were with Me in My humiliation, and I own you as My chosen, My beloved, My brethren," that will be glory.

2. The next meaning of the word "glory" is vision. "Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty." With Job, each believer can say, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," etc.

3. The third meaning of the word "glory" is fruition. What the fruition will be I will tell you when I have been there. Long ago, we learned that "man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever." Brothers and sisters, we have enjoyed His Word; we have enjoyed His day; we have enjoyed His covenant; we have enjoyed His love; but what will it be to enjoy God Himself, and to enjoy Him for ever?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Mountains have been exhausted of their gold, mines of their diamonds, and the depths of ocean of their pearly gems. The demand has emptied the supply. Over once busy scenes silence and solitude now reign; the caverns ring no longer to the miner's hammer, nor is the song of the pearl-fisher heard upon the deep. But the riches of grace are inexhaustible. All that have gone before us have not made them less to those who follow us. When they have supplied the wants of unborn millions, the last of Adam's race, that lonely man, over whose head the sun is dying, beneath whose feet the earth is reeling, shall stand by as full a fountain as this day invites you to drink and live, to wash and be clean.

( T. Guthrie.)

No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly
It all depends on what you mean by a good thing. It does not follow, for instance, that a thing is good simply because it has a good name. Mankind is governed very much by names, and some very bad and hurtful things go by a good name in the world. The old name for the Cape of Good Hope was the Cape of Storms, but everybody would prefer the later name, though it does not lessen by an inch the height of the stormy waves. The Irish speak of the fairies as "the good people"; not that they have much confidence in their goodness, but because they think it judicious to speak of them in that way. Now, God's good things are very varied in their names. Some have the best and most beautiful of names. Others again, nominally, are not so attractive. What a lovely name was that which Jesus gave His disciples when He said, "Henceforth I call you not servants, but I have called you friends!" They were raised to a higher level, and not merely got orders as servants, but confidences as friends. Who would presume, however, to call Himself by that name? But I find that Jesus speaks, in another place, of a yoke. That is not such an attractive name. There is no doubt, however, about its being a good thing, if it be Christ's yoke. It is through the taking of that yoke upon us that we shall find rest unto our souls. I suppose, if we were asked as to the characteristics of a good thing, most of us would say that a very important one must be that it lasts. Well, that is true, above all, of God's good things. They last. Time has been called "the prince of honest fellows," for he brings out the real value of things in the long run; and time has proved the value of the Gospel, and the blessings that come to us through it. "Why do I not like that story so well to-day as yesterday?" said a little girl, when her mother told her the same story a second time. It is mostly the way, however. The interest fades with repetition. But the old, old story of Jesus and His love gets more precious and fascinating the longer we live, and the more we think about it. Sometimes we wonder what will be the good things of the next world, the good things that God has in store; for, you see, they have to last such a long time there, they have to last and satisfy us to all eternity. But that is a secret that will be kept till the time comes. Let us only be sure of this, the Lord can provide, and the Lord will provide. And to whom is the promise of the text made? To "them that walk uprightly." What could be simpler than these words, and yet what could better describe our spiritual requirements? There is something noble in the erect posture. Only man can stand erect. The body does get bent as age creeps on, but the power of Christ can still make straight and keep straight the soul. No debility of age need set in there.

(J. S. Mayer, M. A.)

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