JESUS THE EXAMPLE OF HOLY PRAISE.
"I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will
I praise thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify
him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.”— Psalm xxii. 22, 23.
WE greatly esteem the dying words of good men, but what must be the value of their departing thoughts! If we could pass beyond the gate of speech, and see the secret things which are transacted in the silent chambers of their souls in the moment of departure, we might greatly value the revelation, for there are thoughts which the tongue could not and must not utter, and there are deep searchings of heart which are not to be expressed by syllables and sentences. If, by some means, we could read the inmost death-thoughts of holy men, we might be privileged indeed. Now, in the Psalm before us, and in the words of our text, we have the last thoughts of our Lord and Master, and they beautifully illustrate the fact that he was governed by one ruling passion: that ruling passion most strong in death, was the glory of God. When but a child, he said, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Throughout his work-life he could say, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;” “It is my meat and my drink to do the will of him that sent me;” and now, at last, as he expires, with his hands and his feet nailed, and his body and soul in extreme anguish, the one thought is, that God may be glorified. In that last happy interval, before he actually gave up his soul into his Father’s hands, his thoughts rushed forward and found a blessed place of rest in the prospect that, as the result of his death, all the kindreds of the nations would worship before the Lord, and that by a chosen seed the Most High should be honoured. O for the same concentration of all our powers upon one thing, and that one thing, the glory of God! Would God that we could say with one of old, “This one thing I do,” and that this one thing might be the chief end of our being, the glorifying of our Creator, our Redeemer, the liege Lord of our hearts.
My object, this morning, is to excite in you the spirit of adoring gratitude. I thought that as last Sabbath we spoke of Christ as the example of protracted prayer, it might seem seasonable at the end of a month of so much mercy to exhibit him to you as the example of grateful praise, and to ask you as a great congregation to follow him as your leader in the delightful exercise of magnifying the name of Jehovah.
“Far away be gloom and sadness;
Spirits with seraphic fire,
Tongues with hymns, and hearts with gladness,
Higher sound the chords and higher.”
I shall ask your attention, in considering these verses, first, to our Lord's example: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee and, secondly, I shall invite you to observe our Lord’ s exhortation; “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.”
I. We begin with OUR LORD S EXAMPLE.
The praise which our Jesus as our exemplar renders unto the eternal Father is twofold. First, the praise of declaration, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren;” and, secondly, the more direct and immediate thanksgiving, “In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”
1. The first form of the praise which our blessed Mediator renders unto the eternal Father, is that of declaring Gods name. This, my dear friends, you know he did in his teaching. Something of God had been revealed to men aforetime; God had spoken to Noah and Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and especially to his servant Moses; he had been pleased to discover himself in divers types and ceremonies and ordinances. He was known as Elohim, Shaddai, and Jehovah, but never until Christ came did men begin to say, “Our Father which art in heaven.” This was the loving word by which the Wellbeloved declared his Father’s name unto his brethren. The sterner attributes of God had been discovered amidst the thunders of Sinai, the waves of the Red Sea, the smoke of Sodom, and the fury of the deluge; the sublimities of the Most High had been seen, and wondered at by the prophets who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; but the full radiance of a Father’s love was never seen till it was beheld beaming through the Saviour’s face. “He that hath seen me,” said Christ, “hath seen the Father;” but until they had seen him they had not seen God as the Father. “No man can come unto the Father,” saith Jesus, “except by me;” and as no man can come affectionately in the outgoings of his heart, or fiducially in the motions of his faith, so neither can any man come to God in the enlightenment of understanding except by Christ the Son. He who understands Christianity has a far better idea of God than he who only comprehends Judaism. Read the Old Testament through, and you shall value every sentence, and prize it above fine gold, but still you shall feel unrest and dissatisfaction, for the vision is veiled, and the light is dim; turn then to the New Testament, and you discern that in Jesus of Nazareth dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and the noontide of knowledge is around you, the vision is open and distinct. Jesus is the express image of his Father’s person, and seeing him you have seen God manifest in the flesh. This sight of God you will assuredly obtain if you are one of the brethren to whom, through the Spirit, Jesus Christ in his teaching declares the name of the Father.
Our Lord, however, declared the Father more perhaps by his acts than by his words, for the life of Christ is a discovery of all the attributes of God in action. If you want to know the gentleness of God, you perceive Jesus receiving sinners and eating with them. If you would know his condescension, behold the loving Redeemer taking little children into his arms and blessing them. If you would know whether God is just, hear the words of a Saviour as he denounces sin, and observe his own life, for he is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Would you know the mercy of God as well as his justice? Then see it manifested in the ten thousand miracles of the Saviour’s hands, and in the constant sympathy of the Redeemer’s heart. I cannot stay to bring out all the incidents in the Redeemer’s life, nor even to give you a brief sketch of it, but suffice it to say, that the life of Christ is a perpetual unrolling of the great mystery of the divine attributes, and you may rest assured that what Jesus is, that the Father is. You need not start back from the Father, as though he were something strange and unrevealed, for you have seen the Father if you have seen Christ; and if you have studied well and drunk deep into the spirit of the history of the Man of sorrows, you understand, as well as you need to do, the character of God over all, blessed for ever.
Our Lord made the grandest declaration of the Godhead in his death.
"Here his whole name appears complete,
Nor wit can guess, nor reason trace,
Which of the letters best is writ—
The power, the wisdom, or the grace.”
There at Calvary, where he suffered the just for the unjust to bring us to God, we see the Godhead resplendent in noonday majesty, albeit that to the natural eye it seems to be eclipsed in midnight gloom. Would you see stern justice such as the Judge of all the earth perpetually exhibits (for shall not he do right)? Would you see the justice that will not spare the guilty, which smites at sin with determined enmity and will not endure it? Then behold the hands and feet, and side of the Redeemer, welling up with crimson blood! Behold his heart broken as with an iron rod, dashed to shivers as though it were a potter’s vessel! Hearken to his cries; mark the lines of grief that mar his face; behold the turmoil, the confusion, the whirlwinds of anguish which seethe like a boiling caldron within the soul of the Redeemer! Here is the vengeance of God revealed to men, so that they may see it and not die, may behold it and weep, but not with the tears of despair. At the same time, if you would see the grace of God, where shall you discover it as you will in the death of Jesus? God’s bounty gleams in the light, flashes in the rain and sparkles in the dew; it blossoms in the flowers that bestud the meadows, and it ripens in the golden sheaves of autumn. All God’s works are full of goodness and truth; even on the sea itself are the steps of the beneficent Creator; but all this does not meet the case of guilty, condemned man, and, therefore, to the eye of him who has learned to weep for sin, nature does not reveal the goodness of God in any such a light as that which gleams from the cross. Best of all is God seen as he that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” “For God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’' Your thoughtful minds will readily discover every one of the great qualities of Deity in our dying Lord. You have only to linger long enough amidst the wondrous scenes of Gethsemane, and Gabbatha, and Golgotha, to observe how power and wisdom, grace and vengeance, strangely join—
“Piercing his Son with sharpest smart,
To make the purchased blessing mine.”
Beloved, in the midst of the brethren, a dying Saviour declares the name of the Lord, and thus magnifies the Lord as no other can. None of the harps of angels, nor the fiery, flaming, sonnets of cherubs can glorify God as did the wounds and pangs of the great Substitute when he died to make his Father’s grace and justice known.
Our Lord continued to declare God’s name among his brethren when he rose from the dead. He did so literally. Amongst the very first words he said were, “Go to my brethren;” and his message was, “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” His life on earth after his resurrection was but brief, but it was very rich and instructive, and in itself a showing forth of divine faithfulness. He further revealed the faithfulness and glory of God, when he ascended on high, leading captivity captive. It must have been an august day when the Son of God actually passed the pearly gates to remain within the walls of heaven enthroned until his second advent! How must the spirits of just men made perfect have risen from their seats of bliss to gaze on him! They had not seen a risen one before. Two had passed into heaven without death, but none had entered into glory as risen from the dead. He was the first instance of immortal resurrection, “the first-fruits of them that slept.” How angels adored him! How holy beings wondered at him while
“The God shone gracious through the man,
And shed sweet glories on them all!”
Celestial spirits saw the Lord that day as they had never seen before! They had worshipped God, but the excessive splendour of absolute Deity had forbidden the sacred familiarity with which they hailed the Lord in flesh arrayed. They were never so near Jehovah before, for in Christ the Godhead veiled its killing splendours, and wore the aspect of a fatherhood and brotherhood most near and dear. Enough was seen of glory, as much as finite beings could bear, but still the whole was so sweetly shrouded in humanity, that God was declared in a new and more delightful manner, such as made heaven ring with newborn joy.
What if I say that methinks a part of the occupation of Christ in heaven is to declare to perfect spirits what he suffered, how God sustained him, to reveal to them the covenant, and all its solemn bonds, how the Lord ordained it, how he made it firm by suretyships, and based it upon eternal settlements, so that everlasting mercy might flow from it. What if it be not true that there is no preaching in heaven! What if Christ be the preacher there, speaking as never man spake, and for ever instructing his saints that they may make known unto principalities and powers yet more fully the manifold wisdom of God as revealed both in him and in them— in them the members, and in him the Head! Methinks, if it be so, it is a sweet fulfilment of this dying vow of our blessed Master, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.”
But, brethren, it is certain that at this hour our Lord Jesus Christ continues to fulfil the vow by the spreading of his gospel on earth. Do not tell me that the gospel does declare God, but that Jesus does not so. I would remind you that the gospel does not declare God apart from the presence of Jesus Christ with the gospel. “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world,” is the gospel’s true life and power. Take Christ’s presence away, and all the doctrines, and the precepts, and the invitations of the gospel would not declare God to this blindeyed generation, this hard-hearted multitude, but where Jesus is by his Spirit, there by the word the Father is declared. And, my brethren, this great process will go on. All through the present dispensation, Christ will declare God to the sons of men, especially to the elect sons of men, to his own brethren. Then shall come the latter days of which we know so little, but of which we hope so much. Then, in that august period there will be a declaration, no doubt, of God in noonday light, for it shall be said, “The tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell among them.” Of that age of light Jesus shall be the sun. The great revealer of Deity shall still be the Son of Mary, the Man of Nazareth, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; we shall each one of us tell abroad the savour of Life name till he shall come, and then we shall have no need to say one to another, “ Know the Lord,” for all shall know him, from the least to the greatest; and know the Lord for this reason, because they know Christ, and have seen Jehovah in the person of Jesus Christ his Son.
I cannot leave this passage without bidding you treasure up that precious word of our Master, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.”
“Our next of kin, our brother now,
Is he to whom the angels bow;
They join with us to praise his name,
But we the nearest interest claim.”
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” The Saviour’s brethren are to know God in Christ; you who are one with Jesus, you who have been adopted into the same family, have been regenerated and quickened with his life, you who are joined together by an indissoluble union, you are to see the Lord. I said an indissoluble union, for a wife may be divorced, but there is no divorce of brethren. I never heard of any law, human or divine, that could ever unbrother a man; that cannot be done; if a man be my brother, he is and shall be my brother when heaven and earth shall pass away. Am I Jesus' brother? Then I am joint heir with him; I share in all he has, and all that God bestows upon him; his Father is my Father; his God is my God. Feast, my brethren, on this dainty meat, and go your way in the strength of it to bear the trials of earth with more than patience.
The example of our Lord, under this first head, I must hint at and leave. It is this: if the Lord Jesus Christ declares God, especially to his own brethren, be it your business and mine, in order to praise Jehovah, to tell out what we know of the excellence and surpassing glories of our God; and especially let us do it to our kinsfolk, our household, our neighbours, and, since all men are in a sense our brethren, let us speak of Jesus wherever our lot is cast. My brethren and sisters, I wish we talked more of our God.
“But ah! how faint our praises’ rise!
Sure ’tis the wonder of the skies,
That we, who share his richest love,
So cold and unconcern’d should prove.”
How many times this week have you praised the dear Redeemer to your friends? Have you done it once? I do it often officially; but I wish I did it more often, spontaneously and personally, to those with whom I may commune by the way. You have doubtless murmured this week, or spoken against your neighbours, or spread abroad some small amount of scandal, or, it may be, you have talked frothily and with levity. It is even possible that impurity has been in your speech; even a Christian’s language is not always so pure as it should be. Oh, if we saved our breath to praise God with, how much wiser! If our mouth were filled with the Lord’s praise and with his honour all the day, how much holier! If we would but speak of what Jesus has done for us, what good we might accomplish! Why, every man speaks of what he loves! Men can hardly hold their tongues about their inventions and their delights. Speak well, O ye faithful, of the Lord’s name. I pray you, be not dumb concerning one who deserves so well of you; but make this the resolve of this Sabbath morning, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren.”
2. Our Master’s second form of praise in the text is of a more direct kind— “In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Is it a piece of imagination, or does the text really mean this, that the Lord Jesus Christ, as man, adores and worships the eternal God in heaven, and is, in fact, the great Leader of the demotions of the skies? Shall I err if I say that they all bow when he as Priest adores the Lord, and all lift up the voice at the lifting up of his sacred psalmody? Is he the chief Musician of the sky, the Master of the sacred choir? Does he beat time for all the hallelujahs of the universe? I think so. I think he means that in these words: “In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” As God, he is praised for ever: far above all worshipping, he is himself for ever worshipped; but as Man, the Head of redeemed humanity, the everliving Priest of the Most High God, I believe that he praises Jehovah in heaven. Surely it is the office of the Head to speak and to represent the holy joys and devout aspirations of the whole body which he represents.
In the midst of the congregations of earth, too, is not Jesus Christ the sweetest of all singers? I like to think that when we pray on earth our prayers are not alone, but our great High Priest is there to offer our petitions with his own. When we sing on earth it is the same. Is not Jesus Christ in the midst of the congregation, gathering up all the notes which come from sincere lips, to put them into the golden censer, and to make them rise as precious incense before the throne of the infinite majesty? So that he is the great singer, rather than we. He is the chief player on our stringed instruments, the great master of true music. The worship of earth comes up to God through him, and he, he is the accepted channel of all the praise of all the redeemed universe.
I am anticipating the day— I hope we are all longing for it— when the dead shall rise and the sea and land shall give up the treasured bodies of the saints, and glorified spirits shall descend to enliven their renovated frames, and we who are alive and remain shall be changed and made immortal, and the King himself shall be revealed. Then shall be trodden under our feet all the ashes of our enemies; Satan, bound, shall be held beneath the foot of Michael, the great archangel, and victory shall be on the side of truth and righteousness. What a “Hallelujah” that will be which shall peal from land and sea and from islands of the far-off main— “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!” Who will lead that song? Who shall be the first to praise God in that day of triumph? Who first shall wave the palm of victory? Who but he who was first in the fight and first in the victory, he who trod the wine-press alone and stained his garments with the blood of his enemies, he that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah— surely he it is who in the midst of the exulting host, once militant and then triumphant, shall magnify and adore Jehovah’s name for ever and for ever. Hath he not himself said it, “My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation”?
What means that expression so hard to be understood, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father”? What means that dark saying, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all”? Whatever it may mean, it seems to teach us the mediatorial crown and government are temporary, and intended only to last until all rule, and all authority and power, are put down by Jesus, and the rule of God shall be universally acknowledged. Jesus cannot renounce his Godhead, but his mediatorial sovereignty will be yielded up to him from whom it came, and that last solemn act, in which he shall hand back to his Father the all-subduing sceptre, will be a praising of God to a most wonderful extent beyond human conception. We wait and watch for it, and we shall behold it in the time appointed.
Beloved friends, we have in this second part also an example: let us endeavour to praise our God in a direct manner. We ought to spend at least a little time every day in adoring contemplation. Our private devotions are scarcely complete if they consist altogether of prayer. Should there not be praise? If possible, during each day, sing a hymn. Perhaps you are not in a position to sing it aloud, very loud, at any rate, but I would hum it over, if I were you. Many of you working men find time enough to sing a silly song, why cannot you find space for the praise of God? Every day let us praise him, when the eyelids of the morning first are opened, and when the curtains of the night are drawn, ay, and at midnight, if we wake at that solemn hour, let the heart put fire to the sacred incense and present it unto the Lord that liveth for ever and ever. In the midst of the congregation also, whenever we come up to God’s house, let us take care that our praise is not merely lip language, but that of the heart. Let us all sing, and so sing that God himself shall hear. We need more than the sweet sounds which die upon mortal ears, we want the deep melodies which spring from the heart, and which enter into the ears of the immortal God. Imitate Jesus, then, in this twofold praise, the declaring of God, and the giving of direct praise to him.
II. My time almost fails me, while I have need of much of it, for now I come to the second head, OUR LORD S EXHORTATION.
Follow me earnestly, my dear brethren and sisters, and then follow me practically also. The exhortations of the second verse are given to those who fear God, who have respect to him, who tremble to offend him, who carry with them the consciousness of his presence into their daily life, who act towards him as obedient children towards a father The exhortation is further addressed to the seed of Jacob, to those in covenant with God, to those who have despised the pottage and chosen the birthright, to those who, if they have had to sleep with a stone for their pillow, have, nevertheless, seen heaven opened, and enjoyed a revelation of God, to those who know what prevalence in prayer means, to those who, in all their trouble, have yet found that all these things are not against them, but work their everlasting good, for Jesus is yet alive, and they shall see him ere they die. It is, moreover, directed to the seed of Israel, to those who once were in Egypt, in spiritual bondage, who have been brought out of slavery, who are being guided through the wilderness, fed with heaven’s manna, and made to drink of the living Rock, to those who worship the one God and him only, and put away their idols and desire to be found always obedient to the Master’s will. Now, to them it is said, first, “Praise him.” Praise him vocally. I wish that in every congregation every child of God would take pains to praise God with his mouth as well as with his heart. Do you know, I have noticed one thing— I have jotted this down in the diary of my recollection— that you always sing best when you are most spiritual. Last Monday night the singing was very much better than it was on Sabbath evening. You kept better time and better tune, not because the tune was any easier, but because you had come up to worship God with more solemnity than usual, and therefore there was no slovenly singing such as pains my ear and heart sometimes. Why, some of you care so little to give the Lord your best music, that you fall half a note behind the rest, others of you are singing quite a false note, and a few make no sound of any kind. I hate to enter a place of worship where half-a-dozen sing to the praise and glory of themselves, and the rest stand and listen. I like that good old plan of everybody singing, singing his best, singing carefully and heartily. If you cannot sing artistically, never mind, you will be right enough if you sing from the heart, and pay attention to it, and do not drawl out like a musical machine that has been set agoing, and therefore runs on mechanically. With a little care the heart brings the art, and the heart desiring to praise will by and-by train the voice to time and tune. I would have our service of song to be of the best. I care not for the fineries of music, and the prettinesses of chants and anthems. As for instrumental music, I fear that it often destroys the singing of the congregation, and detracts from the spirituality and simplicity of worship. If I could crowd a house twenty times as big as this by the fine music which some churches delight in, God forbid I should touch it; but let us have the best and most orderly harmony we can make — let the saints come with their hearts in the best humour, and their voices in the best tune, and let them take care that there be no slovenliness and discord in the public worship of the Most High.
Take care to praise God also mentally. The grandest praise that floats up to the throne is that which arises from silent contemplation and reverent thought. Sit down and think of the greatness of God, his love, his power, his faithfulness, his sovereignty, and as your mind bows prostrate before his majesty, you will have praised him, though not a sound shall have come from you.
Praise God also by your actions, your sacrifice to him of your property, your offering to him week by week of your substance. This is true praise, and far less likely to be hypocritical than the mere thanksgiving of words, “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him.”
The texts adds, “Glorify him, ye seed of Jacob”— another form of the same thing. Glorify God, that is, let others know of his glory. Let them know of it from what you say, but specially let them know of it from what you are. Glorify God in your business, in your recreations, in your shops and in your households. In whatsoever ye eat and drink, glorify the Lord. In the commonest actions of life wear the vestments of your sacred calling, and act as a royal priesthood serving the Most High. Glorify your Creator and Redeemer. Glorify him by endeavouring to spread abroad the gospel which glorifies him. Magnify Christ by explaining to men how by believing they shall find peace in him. Glorify God by yourself boldly relying on his word, in the teeth of afflicting providence, and over the head of all suspicions and mistrust. Nothing can glorify God more than an Abrahamic faith which staggers not at the promise through unbelief. O ye wrestling seed of Jacob, see to it that ye fall not off in the matter of glorifying your God.
Lastly, the text says, “Fear him” as if this were one of the highest methods of praise. Walk in his sight; constantly keep the Lord before you; let him be at your right hand. Sin not, for in so doing you dishonour him. Suffer rather than sin. Choose the burning fiery furnace rather than bow down before the golden image. Be willing to be yourself despised, sooner than God should be despised. Be content to bear the cross, rather than Jesus should be crucified afresh. Be put to shame, sooner than Jesus should be put to shame. Thus you will truly praise and magnify the name of the Most High.
I must close by a few remarks which are meant to assist you to carry out the spirit and teaching of this sermon. Beloved brethren and sisters, this morning I felt, before I came to this place, very much in the spirit of adoring gratitude. I cannot communicate that to you, but the Spirit of God can; and the thoughts that helped me to praise God were something like these— let me give them to you as applied to yourselves— glorify and praise God, for he has saved you, has saved you, saved you from hell, saved you for heaven. Oh, how much is comprehended in the fact that you are saved! Think of the election which ordained you to salvation, the covenant which secured salvation to you; think of the incarnation by which God came to you, and the precious blood by which you now have been made nigh to God. Hurry not over those thoughts though I must shorten my words. Linger at each one of these sacred fountains and drink, and when you have seen what salvation involves in. the past, think of what it means in the future. You shall be preserved to the end; you shall be educated in the school of grace; you shall be admitted into the home of the blessed in the land of the hereafter. You shall have a resurrection most glorious, and an immortality most illustrious. When days and years are passed, a crown shall adorn your brow, a harp of joy shall fill your hand. All this is yours, believer; and will you not praise him? Make any one of them stand right out, as real to you personally, and methinks you will say, “Should I refuse to sing, sure the very stones would speak.” Your God has done more than this for you. You are not barely saved, like a drowning man just dragged to the bank; you have had more given you than you ever lost. You have been a gainer by Adam’s fall. You might almost say, as one of the fathers did, O beata culpa, “O happy fault,” which put me into the position to be so richly endowed as now I am! Had you stood in Adam, you had never been able to call Jesus “Brother,” for there had been no need for him to become incarnate; you had never been washed in the precious blood, for then it had no need to be shed. Jesus has restored that to you which he took not away. He has not merely lifted you from the dunghill to set you among men, but to set you among princes, even the princes of his people. Think of the bright roll of promises, of the rich treasure of covenant provision, of all that you have already had and all that Christ has guaranteed to you of honour, and glory, and immortality, and will you not in the midst of the congregation praise the Lord? Brethren and sisters, some of us have had especial cause for praising God, in the fact that we have seen many saved during the last three weeks, and amongst them those dear to us. Mothers, can you hear the fact without joy? your children saved! Brothers, your sisters saved! Fathers, your sons and daughters saved! How many has God brought in during the last few weeks? And you Sunday-school teachers, who have been the instruments of this, you conductors of our classes, who have been honoured of God to be spiritual parents, you elders and deacons, who have helped us so nobly, and who have now to share the joy of the pastor’s heart in these conversions, will you not bless God? “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be praise.” But oh! we cannot be silent; not one tongue shall silent be; we will all magnify and bless the Most High. Brethren and sisters, if these do not suffice to make us praise him, I would say, think of God’s own glorious self! Think of Father, Son, and Spirit, and what the triune Jehovah is in his own person and attributes, and if you do not praise him, oh, how far must you have backslidden! Remember the host who now adore him. When we bless him, we stand not alone: angels and archangels are at our right hand, cherubim and seraphim are in the selfsame choir. The notes of redeemed men go not up alone, they are united to, and swollen by, the unceasing flood of praise which flows from the hierarchy of angels. Think, beloved, of how you will praise him soon! how, ere many days and weeks are passed, many of us will be with the glorious throng! This last week three of our number have been translated to the skies: more links to heaven, fewer bonds to earth. They have gone before us, we had almost said, “Would God it were our lot instead of theirs;” they have seen now what eye hath not seen, and heard what ear hath
never heard, and their spirits have drunk in what they could not else
have conceived. We shall soon be there! Meanwhile, let each one of
“I would begin the music here,
And so my soul should rise:
Oh! for some heavenly notes to bear
My passions to the skies!
There ye that love my Saviour sit,
There I would fain have place
Among your thrones, or at your feet,
So I might see his face.”