Psalm 51:1

Psalm 51:1-19
Psalm 51:1-19. This might be called

The minister's psalm. We may imagine the servant of the Lord engaged in devout meditation. He looks before and after. He communes with himself as to his life and work. The deepest thoughts of his heart are revealed.

I. EVER-GROWING SENSE OF THE EVIL OF SIN. Sin is thought of in the abstract, and its badness is seen. It is looked at in the world, in society, in the Church, and more and more its evils are discerned. But worst of all, it is felt to belong to one's self "My sin."

II. DEEPER SYMPATHY WITH ALL TRUE SEEKERS AFTER TRUTH AND HOLINESS. The task is noble, but difficult. Only these who have tried know how difficult. There are not only obstacles without, but there is the fearful obstacle within of a sinful heart.

III. TRUER REALIZATION OF THE GREATNESS OF THE WORK OF RESTORATION. Experience is the best teacher. It is better to judge from fact than from theory. Such as have themselves been "restored" are the fittest to speak of restoration. They know that the work is possible, though hard, for they themselves have experienced it. Like John Newton, the minister may take heart in time of despondency: "God has converted me, therefore I can never doubt of his power to convert the greatest sinner." This was Paul's argument (1 Timothy 1:15, 16).

IV. THE NECESSITY OF NEW AND THOROUGH CONSECRATION. Looking to the past, there is much to humble us. Looking to God, there is everything to encourage us. We need to give ourselves anew to Christ. Opportunities are precious. To save ourselves from "bloodguiltiness," we must pray more and watch more. The nearer we live to God, the more interested we shall be in God's work.

V. INCREASED DELIGHT IN CARRYING THE MESSAGE OF PEACE TO SINNERS. What we prize ourselves we commend to others. The peace we enjoy we would have others enjoy also. The freedom and the bright hopes that cheer our path we would gladly impart to others. When pressed with the burden of our own sins, we are under restraint; but when freed from guilt and fear, we can plead for God with boldness.

VI. CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S LOVE AND POWER AS A SAVIOUR. Our highest ambition is to "convert' sinners, not to a Creed, or a party, or a Church, but to God. "To thee." But this is God's work. He only is able to make the Word effectual unto salvation. Having the witness in our own hearts of his saving might, we speak with all boldness. "The love of Christ constraineth us."

VII. BRIGHTER HOPES OF THE FUTURE. There is a good time coming. The hope of this springs immortal in the hearts of the redeemed. When we are low, we take low views of things. If it be a dark time with ourselves, we are apt to despond as to the work of God in others. But when we are lifted up, all things seem possible. The future grows bright and yet brighter before us, and our hearts are thrilled with a foretaste of celestial joys. "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb!" - W.F.

I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings.
"I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices;" i.e. for thy neglect of them, but for thy resting in them, sticking in the bark, bringing Me the bare shell without the kernel, not referring to the right end and use, but satisfying thyself in the work done.

(John Trapp.)

Go out into the woods, where the white oak is, and where the beech is. Their leaves died last November, but they all hang on the trees yet. The trees have not strength to slough them. They always make me think of a great many people. Sap does not run in them any more, but their duties hang on them like dead leaves all over. They would not like to drop their duties: they are not quite in that state yet; but those duties are dry, sapless and enforced.

(E. P. Thwing.)

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