Lamentations 3:23


Human life abounds in novelties. It is made up of experiences which combine novelty and repetition. But the mercies of the Eternal are ever new; no day breaks which does not open up some new prospect of Divine faithfulness and loving kindness towards the children of men.

I. THE SAME MERCIES ARE REPEATED AFRESH. Because a gift of God resembles a previous gift, it does not, therefore, fail in being a new proof of Divine beneficence and favour. The most necessary blessings are those which are most frequently bestowed, and are those which we are most likely to receive without attention and to undervalue.

II. NEW MERCIES ARE CONSTANTLY BESTOWED. The successive stages of our earthly pilgrimage reveal fresh wants, call for fresh supplies from the bounty and benevolence of our God anal Father. With new needs come new favours. Varying duties, fresh relationships, and changing circumstances are the occasion of ever renewed manifestations Of Divine goodness. And our repeated errors and infirmities are the occasion of new manifestations of Divine forbearance and forgiveness.

III. NEW CLAIMS ARE THUS ESTABLISHED UPON HUMAN CONSECRATION AND OBEDIENCE. If a human benefactor who has upon some one important occasion come to our assistance deserves lifelong gratitude, how can the claims of God be justly conceived and practically acknowledged, seeing that the hours of every day are laden with his favours? If a motive is needed to a new life, a life of devotion and holy service, where can a more powerful motive be found than here? Often as we have partaken of Divine goodness, often as we have enjoyed the assurance of Divine forgiveness, we are called upon by the favours which are new every morning to renewed devotion of ourselves to the God of all grace and forgiveness.

IV. NEW OCCASIONS ARE THUS AFFORDED FOR RENEWED PRAISES AND THANKSGIVINGS. With every new morning nature offers a new tribute of praise to Heaven. Shall man alone be silent and ungrateful? Shall the Christian, who is the chosen recipient of Divine favours, be slow to acknowledge their heavenly source, to praise the heavenly Giver?

"New mercies each returning day" etc. - T.









They are new every morning.
It is almost startling to find this tender and inspiriting utterance embedded in the very heart of a book of lamentations. It is not what we expect. The hurricane that has been haunting all hearts with the frenzy of its unceasing roar lulls itself for a moment to listen to the low-ringing, fearless prattle of a child. The wreaths of smoke that rise from sacked and smouldering homes and from crackling cities part as some passing breeze stirs the air, and the calm, lustrous azure of the firmament peeps out again. The shrieks that break from a thousand homes of death, and rend the awful midnight, grow shrill for a while; and in the mysterious pause a nightingale begins to pour out its stream of dainty melody.

I. THE INEXHAUSTIBLE WEALTH OF GOD'S FORGIVENESS. But for the daily renewal of God's mercy to His people, they would have been utterly cut off.

1. Alas! with many of us every day has its acts of shortcoming, if not of conscious transgression, and God's pardoning love must needs go before us in new forms of manifestation. I once visited the ruins of a noble city that had been built on a desert oasis. Mighty columns of roofless temples still stood in unbroken file. Halls in which kings and satraps had feasted two thousand years ago were represented by solitary walls. Gateways of richly careen stone led to a paradise of bats and owls. All was ruin. But past the dismantled city, brooks, which had once flowed through gorgeous flower gardens and at the foot of marble halls, still swept on in undying music and unwasted freshness. The waters were just as sweet as when queens quaffed them two thousand years ago. A few hours before, they had been melted from the snows of the distant mountains. And so God's forgiving love flows in ever-renewed form through the wreck of the past.

2. And when there is no fresh wandering to be forgiven, God's new mercy awaits us at the dawn to refresh our joy and invigorate our strength, and to give to us the power of a new and sinless consecration. Close by one of the great cities of the East, there is a large stretch of grass that is always green. Sometimes the showers are rare and scanty, and the thermometer mounts to an appalling height, and one wonders to see the grass green and lush as though it were growing in some English meadow. It is kept so by a heavy dew that never fails to fall in the nighttime. And so with our life of consecration. There is no dawn without the dew of abounding love and compassion descending to keep it green.

II. THE RESOURCEFULNESS OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. The mercy that is ever fresh to pardon is ever fresh to guide and shape the circumstances in the midst of which the pardoned life is spent. "Weeping may endure for the night," but God's gracious hand never forgets to make ready its surprise of joy for the morning. The setting sun sees God's people beleaguered by hostile legions, and with hearts sinking beneath the weight of perplexity and despair; but the path of providential leading has turned a sharp corner in the night, and the morrow's sun has risen upon a traversed sea, and the dreaded foe strewn like helpless wreck drift along the shore. And even when there are no special difficulties awaiting the solution of God's providence, and our life is uneventful in its outward complexion, providence is always versatile in its unseen methods and processes. We may sometimes seem to be left at the mercy of unalterable forces; no interposition; old natural laws that shaped the destiny of Adam shaping ours without any break, old events repeating themselves, all mechanism. Yet as bridges built in the time of the Conquest carry over their lines day by day new men with new thoughts to be accomplished in the world, these ever-repeating events are working by the line of an old order to new providential issues. Astronomers at one time puzzled themselves over a problem in solar physics. How was the heat of the sun maintained? It seemed a natural inference that as it was always giving off heat in stupendous volumes, ultimate exhaustion must one day come. Within recent times the suggestion has found wide acceptance, that the sun is constantly drawing meteors and asteroids and comets to itself, and that the heat is maintained by the impact of these bodies, as they fall into the sun. Things come to us from time to time that seem out of all accord with the harmonies around us. Strange difficulties, stumbling blocks, tribulations start up in the path of our daily life. These things are drawn into the circle of God's control and government for their solution, and it is in this way that the very glory of God's providence is maintained.

III. THE UNFAILING TRUTH AND FAITHFULNESS OF GOD in His relation to His people. God's renewed mercies are linked with the morning, because the return of the day is one of the most perfect and intelligible symbols of constancy to be found in the economy of nature. How unlike human love in many of its forms, which, once embittered by disappointment, changes into gall, cynicism, misanthropy! There are not a few hearts from whose affection all elasticity has forever gone. The affection is like a spring that has been rendered limp and useless through overstrain. A shrewd observer of human nature has stud, "For a woman there is no second love. Her nature is too delicate to withstand a second time that most terrible shock and convulsion of soul. Think of Juliet. Could she have sustained a second time that overpowering bliss and horror?" Well, that statement is true, within certain limits of both man and woman alike. The human love that is centred on human objects cannot renew itself forever. It may be so crushed, that no dew or sunshine can lift it up again. Old people do not care to form new friendships. How transcendent the Divine love! It has been grieved and crossed and contemned by our weaknesses, insincerities, rebellions, a thousand times; and yet it renews itself unceasingly with every day dawn.

IV. THE UNFAILING PROMPTNESS OF GOD'S MINISTRATIONS. "His mercies are new every morning"; that is, just as soon as, or even before, we begin to need them. We receive our salvation and guidance and defence, not of our own work, but of His free love. If it were of our own work, we must needs wait for the nightfall before we could receive any recompense. Wages are paid at sunset. But it is all His gift. So the mercy in which we rejoice comes to us with the dawn, before we have done a solitary stroke of work. The regulations of the court at Pekin are so framed as to give to the Chinese Empire an example of promptness and despatch. The emperor always receives his cabinet ministers and councillors at three or four o'clock in the morning, long before day dawn. And so God awaits His servants with new pardons, new counsels, new honours in His kingdom, long before the day dawn. God's mercies are new for you at the outset of every morning. There are some flowers that do not open till noon, and others that pour out the stores of rare spices hidden in their hearts at sunset only. God's mercy begins to shine before the sun, and diffuses its incense about our path through every succeeding hour of the day. An ingenious botanist, by watching the hours at which certain flowers opened, hit upon the pretty conceit of constructing what he called a flower clock. God's matchless mercies, like circles of thickset bloom that break into splendour with a rhythm that never halts, are measuring out the successive hours of our life. No winter comes to blast the flowers, and the clock is never behind time. His opening compassions anticipate the light. "They are new every morning."

V. THE PERPETUAL FRESHNESS OF THE DIVINE NATURE. God's compassions are unceasingly new, because they well, pure and fair, out of the sacred and stainless and infinite depths of His Fatherhood. They have the ever-renewed and living sweetness of His own spring-like nature in them. A smile never grows old, because it is kindness turned into the grace of outward line, and the charm of kindness is undying. Art may pall upon the taste, and music jar to torture over-wrought nerves. But not so the smile of sincere and unaffected human kindness. A smile with the love of a finite nature behind it is always new. How much more is that true of a smile with the infinite kindness behind it! God's daily mercies come to us clothed with the enkindled grace of His own matchless smile, and full of the light of an immortal May time. He cannot give or do without putting the buoyancy of His own untiring and eternal youth into each boon and act. Charles Lamb, in a few wise and beautiful sentences, dedicates one of his books to his afflicted sister Mary, with whom he had been living for years in tender and unselfish affection. He says that "when people are living together day by day, they are too apt to take for granted the affection they bear each other, and to forget those special expressions of affection that are the gauge of its true and constant depth." He would therefore make the publication of his book the occasion for that special expression of love he might have forgotten to render amidst the bustle and routine and commonplace of daily life. God is always with us, but He never suffers us to take His tender affection for granted. Each of His daily mercies comes to us with a new dedication upon it. It is a legible evangel, witnessing to the exceeding love of our Father on high. How sweet and lightsome life would be to us, if we could only enter into the prophet's view of the ever-renewed mercy with which it is filled! Solomon had jaded his nature with false luxury and mock grandeur, and voluptuous habits that would have better suited a pagan, when he moaned out his epitaph upon human life, "There is nothing new under the sun." Some one has said he counted the sun itself "a piece of warmed up pleasantry only." A Frenchman would have put an end to himself when he had reached that point. Solomon was kept from that madness by his reserve of religions principle, and made to warn all the ages against the vanity of a life spent away from God. He would have tuned his harp to a better key than that, if, like his father, he had bathed his spirit day by day in the fountain of God's perpetual goodness. He could not see the goodness and mercy that were ever following him. Is life wearisome and insipid? It is because we are blind to God's ever-renewed mercies. I read the other day of a man who had lest his sense of taste through the shock of a railway collision. And some of us are like that. Our faith has had its shocks, and our hopes its disappointments, and our life plan its abrupt and disastrous interruptions, and we sometimes find it an empty counsel to "taste and see that the Lord is good." We fail to appreciate the newness of His daily mercy. It is fitting that new mercies should be greeted with new songs. The heart alive to the freshness of God's mercy will find new language in which to express itself. Whilst passing in early manhood through a stage of deep dejection, John Stuart Mill found occasional comfort in music. One day he was thrown into a state of profound gloom by the thought that musical combinations were exhaustible. The octave was only composed of five tones and two semi-tones. Not all the combinations of these notes were harmonious, so there must be a limit somewhere to the possibilities of melody. No such possibility can limit the range of "the new song," for it shall be pitched to the key of God's ever-renewed mercies.

(T. G. Selby.)

There is, I am persuaded, no greater evil committed by any of us than a practical forgetfulness of the common mercies of life, mercies which, because of their commonness, cease to be regarded as mercies. The Psalmist, you will remember, calls upon us to "forget not all God's benefits," and he thus indicates our perpetual danger, a danger which he himself felt and against which he had to guard his own soul. There are two great causes which may be said to account for our forgetfulness of the mercies of God which are new every morning.

I. THE HAND OF THE GIVER IS INVISIBLE. He is a Spirit, and He can only manifest Himself to the senses of His creatures by such physical operations as appeal to their senses. To ask that we may see God, and see Him with our eyes, is to ask that He may cease to he what He is, namely, an infinite Spirit; or else it is to ask that we should cease to be what we are. We forget, when we wish to see God who giveth us all things richly to enjoy, that we do not even see each other. My friend may give me presents, but I do not see that in my friend which these presents express and reveal. I can only infer that he loves me because of what he has given me, and of he should send me gifts every day and every moment, I should still only infer the same. And if he were some unknown friend — that is, a person whose face I had never seen at all, but who for some reason or other should supply me with all the necessaries of life every day — the fact that I had never seen him would not impair the value of his gifts, nor would it diminish the gratitude which I should feel towards him. It may be, too, that the gifts of a friend might come to me through a chain of a thousand hands, some of which I might see, and some of which I might not see; but no matter how long the chain of intermediate agents through whom the blessings come, they would still he the gifts of a friend. Nay, if the chain were long, so far from our forgetting the friend, or being ungrateful for his gifts, we should see in every separate link of the chain a fresh proof of his regard, and should say, how much he must love me when he takes so much pains that his gifts shall not miscarry, but provides agents at every step to hand on the gifts until they reach me in safety. This is what God does. He is this friend, except that though unseen He is not unknown. He is our Father in heaven Who loves us and cares for us.

II. Another cause of our forgetfulness of our mercies as gifts of God is THEIR CONSTANCY, OR REGULARITY. This is strange, and sad as well as strange, that the very faithfulness and constancy with which God's blessings come down to us should create forgetfulness, and should lead us to undervalue them. He has made them constant that we may never lack, has remembered us always that we might always remember Him, has given, us perpetual mercies that we might give Him perpetual praise; and we forget Him, forget Him because His mercies are new every morning. What if they were not? What if they were intermittent? Let us look at a few.

1. Take as the first illustration, sleep. I venture to say that there are thousands who never kneel down and thank God for sleep. While it visits us unwooed, unsolicited, even unsought, and sometimes even unwelcomely, it takes its place without any distinct recognition among the regular facts in the order of nature. "We sleep"; of course we sleep; we sleep as we stand, or walk, or eat, or think, so much, is it a matter of course! Happy they who can speak thus; happier still if they Knew the priceless value of this boon, and happier still if, with the breaking day, they have a heart to bless that God from whom sleep cometh. It is a mercy which no money can buy, which no rank can command. I call you, then, today to thank God for the common blessing of sleep, which is new "every night."

2. Look at another of these common mercies which are too often forgotten. I mean our reason. The value of this gift is practically disesteemed from the very fact of its commonness. We need at times to see men and women bereft of their reason, that we may see by comparison with these sad foils how much we need to bless God that our intellects are preserved. To see a man once sound in brain and rich in faculty, with high powers of reasoning and of speech, wild and wandering, the victim of strange and delirious fantasies, turning his heart away from those he has most deeply loved, and sometimes blaspheming the very God whom it has been his joy to worship and to serve; this is a spectacle to fill one with grief and horror. But should it not also awaken in us a perpetual wonder that we have been preserved from such a calamity; and should it not stir us up to daily thanksgiving to Him whose mercies are new to us every morning?

3. Look at another common mercy — the power of motion and action and speech, or, in other words, that general energy of body which constitutes the great part of our daily outward life. Have you ever thought of this? Has not its very commonness hidden its value and meaning from you?

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

I. NATURE PRESENTS A CERTAIN UNIFORMITY, BUT IN THAT UNIFORMITY WE FIND INFINITE VARIETY. It is commonplace to say, "No two blades of grass are alike." The ancients believed that a new sun rose every day — a technical error, but a positive truth. We never look twice at the same sun; we never twice see the same river. The water flows along and next moment is a new river. This is true of the whole universe about us. Landscapes, mountains, forests, oceans, skies, all change while we gaze. So with man. All life is newness.

II. THE ORIGINALITY OF HUMAN LIFE PRESENTS AN UNCEASING DISCOVERY OF DIVINE MERCIFULNESS. "His mercies are new every morning." The text contains two grand ideas: —

1. The inexhaustibility of the Divine mind. In this way we consider His works from the intellectual standpoint.

2. The inexhaustibility of the Divine heart. Not only do God's thoughts fail not, but His compassions fail not. His love is as great as His power.

III. THIS RENEWAL OF MERCIES SHOULD MATERIALLY AFFECT OUR DAILY LIFE.

1. "New every morning." Then how blind we are! There is a huge gloomy crowd to whom life lacks variety, freshness, gladness. The carnally-minded, whose heart is gross, etc., cannot see the glory of life, the grandeur of events, the power and prophecy of all things. It is far otherwise with the man whose spiritual nature has made them full of life. So with the Bible. It is a field of treasure. But how many scan its pages, yet miss its precious thoughts!

2. "New every morning." Then how thankless we often are! Judging from our spirit and speech, it would hardly seem as if we had any mercies at all. As a great rose grower was walking with a lady in his grounds, she expressed the desire to possess one of the most beautiful blossoms. He plucked the coveted flower and gave it to his friend, only to find, shortly after, that in a fit of unconsciousness she was plucking the leaves and dropping them to the ground. Is not this a picture of ourselves? We covet certain things — health, wealth, knowledge, friendship. Yet, having obtained these and other mercies, how coldly and carelessly we receive and use them. The rose grower was so deeply offended that he gave away no more prize flowers This was like man, but not like God. He still gives, although the dying leaves of many wasted mercies are ever lying at our feet. Heaven drops fresh blossoms into our hands, only to be ignored and wasted in their turn.

3. "New every morning." Then how foolish we often are! Every mercy has a mission, and designs the enrichment of our life and character. How much, then, do we lose by our carelessness and ingratitude! There is a fairy tale, in which a boatman in the evening time ferried across a river a strange being, who gave him as a reward what seemed to be only shavings and stones, which he threw over in disgust. But next morning, when the sun arose, he discovered that a few fragments of the gift had escaped destruction, and the light showed him that it consisted, not of shavings and dirt, but of gold and precious atones, and, too late, he cursed his hateful folly. So through life we go casting aside from us our daily benefits as if they were poor and meaningless, and appropriating to ourselves but a fraction of that which is more precious than rubies.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

There are a great many mercies that are "new every morning." One of them is the benefit of yesterday's experience. This life is a training school; each day teaches its needed lessons. Experience is a pretty rough instructor, but, next to the Holy Spirit, none is more valuable. If yesterday led us astray, then we are worse than fools if we take the same track again. The mischief with bad habits is that we thoughtlessly put them on again as we put on our clothes. If they are ever to be broken off, they must be taken by the throat; and the beginning of a new day is a good time to begin. A distinguished minister once said to me, "I found that hard smoking wee killing me, and one morning I stopped square off, and it has saved my life." It is doubtful if he had squelched that enemy as successfully later in the day. How can we ever hope to grow in grace, and make real progress in the Divine life, if we are satisfied to start every day on the same old beaten tracks, and repeat the old blunders; and let the same besetting sins get firmer hold on us?

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

Mr. Gladstone, speaking at the National Workmen's Exhibition, said he remembered how, in the old coaching days, the dead level of nearly thirty miles on the Slough road killed more horses than any other road, because the same muscles were constantly in action, whereas there would have been a change in going up or down hill. Nature has no dead levels. Ruskin says that, with one or two exceptions, there are no lines nor surfaces of Nature without curvature. God's gifts to us are never "staled by frequence." They are "new every morning." He ordains constant changes in our life and its sceneries, "lest we be wearied, and faint in our minds."

(Quiver.)

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