Psalm 139:18


I fall asleep, exhausted with the effort of counting thy thoughts or desires; and when I awake I find myself still engaged in the same spiritual arithmetic, which is my dearest delight.

I. IT IS THE SUGGESTION OF DELIGHTFUL THOUGHTS. The psalmist exclaims, "How precious are thy thoughts unto me!" This may mean, "my cherished thoughts of thee," or, "thy loving thoughts of me, of which I have the most comfortable assurance." Probably the psalmist meant the former. "Thy presence wakens in me such loving, tender, trustful thoughts concerning thee." "We cannot conceive how many of God's kind counsels have been concerning us, how many good turns he has done us, and what variety of mercies we have received from him." The sense of God's presence excites meditation; and what is lacking in modern Christian life is that which meditation can supply.

II. IT IS THE ASSURANCE OF DIVINE SECURITY. Compare the absolute confidence of the psalmist when he sings his refrain, "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge." Compare apostolic assurances: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" "For he hath said, I will not leave thee, nor forsake thee." If God is with us, we can always have this confidence - whosoever would deal adversely with us must take account of God, and deal with him; and

"He is safe, and must succeed,
For whom the Lord vouchsafes to plead."

III. IT IS THE INSPIRATION OF NOBLE ENDEAVOR. It is not just a cold doing of actual duty, "as ever in the great Taskmaster's eye." The loving child-soul never talks about the "great Taskmaster." It is a parental presence that wakens everything noble and beautiful in the child. And God's presence is peculiar in this, that it brings to us the sense of power. It makes us feel that we can do whatever he inspires us to do. "I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me."

IV. IT IS THE COMFORT OF EVERY TROUBLE. The hardest thing in trouble is to have to bear it alone. It is eased if another sympathetically shares it with us. We are never alone in trouble-bearing if we cherish the sense of God's presence. - R.T.









When I awake, I am still with Thee.
: —

I. HIS DISPOSITION.

1. It is the care and endeavour of a good man when he awakes to be still with God.(1) The time.(a) When not asleep, and so hindered by the necessities of nature. A godly man is careful to be with God in every performance and in every condition, both in regard to —(i.) Habitual inclination. He is always with God in disposition and affection; and —(ii.) Actual application. He is careful still to repair to God, and to draw near to Him, whensoever he can.(b) As soon as I awake.

2. In what respects a Christian, when he is awake, may be said to be with God.(1) By meditation.(a) Our thoughts are precious things, being the immediate issue of our souls, and are not to be lightly bestowed by us, especially our first, thoughts. And on whom can we better bestow them than on Him that helps us to them, and without whom we are not sufficient of ourselves so much as to think (2 Corinthians 3:5)?(b) This is to be understood especially of such thoughts as are settled and deliberate and composed — such thoughts as a man sets himself to with intention, and suffers to abide in him; these are for the most part suitable and agreeable to the frame of his heart. Now, because a godly man has his heart full of heaven, and God, and goodness, and the graces of the Spirit, therefore are such things as these very often and early in his thoughts.(2) By communion. Look at friends when they meet in a morning, they have their mutual greeting between them — a loving and friendly salute one of another: even so is it with its due proportions betwixt God and the soul, the soul speaking to Him, and He returning upon it by way of reciprocation.

(a)Confession of sin.

(b)Petition and supplication.

(c)Praise and acknowledgment.(3) By action and the businesses which are done by us; when we "awake to righteousness and sin net."

3. The ground and equity of it.(1) Our waking thoughts are our first thoughts, and the first of everything is of right God's.(2) Our waking thoughts are freshest thoughts; that is, the nimblest and quickest, and most active, and fullest of life. As God deserves the first, so He deserves the best.(3) Our waking thoughts are our quietest, and freest from commotion: that is the fittest time and season for converse with God, wherein we have least distraction and perplexities and troubles from the world.(4) Our waking thoughts are our purest and freest from pollution: these things are the fittest for God, which are most like to Himself.

II. HIS PRIVILEGE.

1. It secures from dangers (Psalm 26:1; Psalm 3:5; Psalm 4:8; Psalm 91:5; Psalm 23:4).

2. It quickens to duty; keeps the heart in a holy frame and temper all the day after.

3. It prevents from sin and temptation — at least the prevalencies of it.

III. HOW WE MAY ATTAIN TO THIS BLESSED CONDITION.

1. Walk with God in the day. The duties of religion are linked together, and come off more easily in the conjunctive performance of each other. Thus reading and hearing, and meditation and communion of saints, conscionably and religiously performed, do so much the better dispose to more immediate communion with God; and the actions of the day have their impressions and reflections upon the night.

2. Lie down with God in the evening. That which we think of last we shall be ready to think of first; and as we conclude the foregoing day, so we are likely to begin the following. Therefore it should be our care, as much as may be, to have God and the things of God in our thoughts when we set ourselves to rest. This is the happiness of a Christian that is careful to lie down with God, that he finds his work still as he left it, and is in the same disposition when he rises as he was at night when he laid to rest. As a man that winds up his watch over night, he finds it going the next morning; so is it also as I may say with a Christian that winds up his heart. This is a good observation to be remembered, especially in the evening before the Sabbath.

3. Observe God in the morning. A man that would be with God when he wakes must observe how God is with him. We shall find sometimes that God Himself doth awaken us, and does desire communion with us (Isaiah 50:4).

(T. Horton, D. D.)

: — To an earnestly devout mind there is no hour in She day to compare with the morning hour. "Evening calms the mind" when the heat and the tumult of the day are past. Not without good reason did that ancient figure meditate "in the fields at eventide." But the morning hour largely determines what he shall meditate upon as he walks those grassy slopes. Let me show you how, by a godly man, that morning hour may be used to do at least something towards flinging into the day a light sweeter and pleasanter than its own.

I. IT MAY BE SO USED AS TO IMPART, IN SOME SORT AT LEAST, A SPIRITUAL TONE TO THE ENTIRE DAY. Busy men are wont to complain, "In crowded street and busy mart the mind cannot get itself fixed on higher things." Much, however, can be done, and in this way. When that light — so sweet, so pleasant for the eyes to behold — looks in upon us, and the tasks and duties of the day begin to marshal themselves before us, let the mind be imbued with the Christian temper — let it be pitched, so to speak, in a Christian key; and though God through the day may not be "in all our thoughts," He will not be far from every one of them.

II. A DAY BEGUN IN THIS FASHION ACQUIRES A CERTAIN PRACTICAL STEADINESS. You have noticed, I am sure, how a day entered upon without thought, without prayer, has invariably turned out a very confused and unsatisfactory thing. There are more battles to fight than those which are won and lost on fields of blood; and the bravest, steadiest soldiers are not the men who have leaped from their beds and rushed into action. They are the men whose heads have been cleared and cooled, and whose mental and spiritual nerves have been braced by meditation and prayer.

III. THIS KIND OF PRAYERFUL FORETHOUGHT GIVES A CERTAIN DESIRABLE SPECIALITY TO THE DAY. We cannot, it is true, make every day a feast-day, but we can redeem our days from a spiritless sameness. Is my work monotonous? (and whose work is always teeming with freshness of interest?) let me redeem it from being anything like drudgery by baking it up every day as a new trust. Is it uncongenial? (and whose work is always to his taste?) let me place it day by day on the highest grounds. Oh, how often would many of us turn from the incumbent disagreeable, if we did not carry it to a loftier tribunal than any our personal feelings can furnish.

(J. Thew.)

: — Accustom yourself to a serious meditation every morning. Fresh airing our souls in heaven will engender in us a purer spirit and nobler thoughts. A morning seasoning will secure us for all the day. Though other necessary thoughts about our calling will and must come in, yet, when we have despatched them, let us attend to our morning theme as our chief companion. As a man that is going with another about some considerable business, — suppose go Westminster, — though he meets with several friends on the way, and salutes some, and with others with whom he has some affairs he spends some little time, yet he quickly returns to his companion, and both together go to their intended stage. Do thus in the present case. Our minds are active and will be doing something, though to little purpose; and if they be not fixed upon some noble object, they will, like madmen and fools, be mightily pleased in playing with straws. The thoughts of God were the first visitors David had in the morning. God and his heart met together as soon as he was awake, and kept company all the day after.

(S. Charnock.)

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