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believe in Him, and the tongue confess Him. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Thanksgiving cannot be sincere and hearty, unless a man bear impressed upon his mind, at the time, a quick sense of “benefits” received ; and “ benefits” we are most of us apt to “ forget; those, especially, which are conferred upon us by God. Therefore David repeateth his self-awakening call, and summoneth all his powers of recollection, that none of the Divine favours might continue unnoticed and unacknowledged. A catalogue of such particular mercies, temporal and spiritual, as each individual hath experienced through life, might be of service, to refresh the memory, upon this important head.
3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities : who healeth all thine infirmities. At the head of God's mercies must for ever
remission of sin," or that full and free pardon purchased for us by Jesus Christ, whereby, if we truly repent and believe in Him, our transgressions, though ever so many, and ever so great, are done away, and become as if they had never been ; from a state of guilt we pass into one of justification, from a state of enmity into one of reconciliation, from a state of servitude into one of liberty and sonship. Next to the pardon of sin, considered as a crime, we are to commemorate the cure of it, considered as a disease, or indeed as a complication of diseases — “Who healeth all thine infirmities."
The body experienceth the melancholy consequences of Adam's offence, and is subject to many “infirmities;" but the soul is subject to as many. What is pride,
but lunacy; what is anger, but a fever; what is avarice, but a dropsy ; what is lust, but a leprosy ; what is sloth, but a dead palsy? Perhaps there are spiritual maladies similar to all corporeal ones. When Jesus Christ was upon earth, He proved Himself the Physician of men's souls, by the cures which He wrought upon their bodies. It is He alone who “forgiveth all our iniquities ;" it is He alone who “healeth all our infirmities. And the person who findeth his sin “cured,” hath a wellgrounded assurance that it is “forgiven."
4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction ; who crowneth, or, encircleth, thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.
Man hath two “lives ;" he is, therefore, subject to a double “destruction;" and, consequently, capable of a twofold “redemption.” He who is recovered from sickness, and thereby redeemed from that destruction which natural death bringeth upon the body, will undoubtedly sing this strain in transports of gratitude; and he ought so to do. But what will be the sensations of him who celebrates, in the same words, the spiritual redemption of his soul from death and destruction everlasting ? How is he “crowned" with the “loving kindness of Jehovah ! how is he “encircled” by the arms of "mercy!" Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour:” ncver ending “length of days ;" true “riches,” that abide for ever; and the honour which cometh from God only."
5. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things ; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
It is God who giveth us the “good things” of this world, and who giveth us likewise an appetite and a taste to enjoy them. It is God who restoreth a body emaciated by sickness, to bloom, vigour, and agility. And He doth greater things than these. He satisfieth "all the desires of the soul with a banquet of spiritual dainties, and bestoweth on her a relish for the same. By the renovating power of his Spirit, He restoreth her from decrepitude to the health and strength of a young“ eagle"," so that she can ascend up on high, and contemplate the splendour of the Sun of Righteousness. Thus, at the day of the resurrection, clothed anew with salvation and glory, the body likewise shall arise from earth, and fly away as an eagle toward heaven, to begin an immortal life, and be for ever young.
6. The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
From a consideration of his own particular case, the Psalmist maketh a general reflection on that attribute of God, which inclineth Him to deliver his people, and to punish their oppressors, of what kind soever they be. And here that grand display of the “
" and "works” of Jehovah, the redemption of " Israel” by the hand of “Moses," immediately occurs, and is celebrated. Thus each private mercy, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature, should remind us of that public and universal blessing of redemption by Jesus Christ, from which every other blessing floweth, as a stream from its fountain, and for which God ought, therefore, upon all occasions, to be praised and glorified.
? Of all birds it is known, that they have yearly their moulting times, when they shed their old, and are afresh furnished with a new stock of feathers. This is most observable of hawks and vultures, and especially of “eagles," which, when they are near an hundred years old, cast their feathers, and become bald and like young ones, and then new feathers sprout forth. Thus St. Ambrose, “Aquila longam ætatem ducit, dum vetustis plumis fatiscentibus, nova pennarum successione juvenescit." - Dr. HAMMOND.
8. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
When Moses desired Jehovah to show him his "way” and his “glory,” Exod. xxxiii. 13. 18, Jehovah passed by, and proclaimed Himself, as here, “Jehovah, merciful, and gracious, &c. Exod. xxxiv. 6. How full of consolation to the penitent soul are all the words of this verse ! "The LORD is merciful,” Din, the bowels of his tender compassion yearn over us, as those of a mother yearn over the child of her womb; "yea, a woman may forget her sucking child, yet can he not forget us :" Ísa. xlix. 15. He is “
He is "gracious,' 1137, ready to give us freely all things that are needful for our salvation. He is “slow to anger, bearing with the frowardness of his children, with their provocations and relapses, for forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years together, before he strikes the blow; giving them, by this his long suffering, time for repentance. And He is “plenteous in mercy,” 700 27, “great, mighty in mercy,” placing his chief glory in this attribute, and hereby teaching us how to estimate true greatness.
9. He will not always chide : neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10. He hath not dealt with us after our sins ; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
God's chastisements are some of the most eminent proofs of his mercy. They are sent to reclaim us, and to save us from eternal punishment. They continue not always, but are removed when they have done their work ; and while they last, are as nothing in comparison of those heavy stripes which our sins have deserved.
11. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy towards them that fear him. 12. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
We are here presented with three of the most beautiful, apposite, and comforting similitudes in the world. When we lift up our eyes, and behold around us the lofty and stupendous vault of heaven, encircling, protecting, enlightening, refreshing, and cherishing the earth, and all things that are therein, we are bidden to contemplate in this glass the immeasurable height, the boundless extent, and the salutary influences of that mercy which, as it were, embraceth the creation, and is over all the works of God. Often as we view the sun arising in the east, and darkness flying away from before his face towards the opposite quarter of the heavens, we may see an image of that goodness of Jehovah, whereby we are placed in the regions of illumination, and our sins are removed and put far away out of his sight. And that our hearts may, at all times, have confidence towards God, He is represented as bearing towards us the fond and tender affection of "a father," ever ready to defend, to nourish, and to provide for us, to bear with us, to forgive us, and to receive us in the parental arms of everlasting love.
14. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15. As for man, his days are as grass ; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
The consideration of man's frail and perishable estate weighs with the Almighty, and prevails