Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.
A Restoration to Joy DesiredJ. H. Evans, M. A.Psalm 51:12
Christians have Joy and Sorrow IntermingledA. Symson.Psalm 51:12
David's Repentance and RestorationA. Farinden, B. D.Psalm 51:12
Difficulty of Recovering Joy After SinThomas Horton, D. D.Psalm 51:12
How the Joy of God's Salvation is LostPsalm 51:12
Joy in God's SalvationA. L. R. Foote, D. D.Psalm 51:12
Joy in SalvationJ. Stewart.Psalm 51:12
Pleasure in Sin Taketh Away Our Joy in GodA. Symson.Psalm 51:12
Restoration to Spiritual JoyHomilistPsalm 51:12
SalvationW. Hassall.Psalm 51:12
The Christian's Joys RestoredE. A. Taylor.Psalm 51:12
The Fallen Christian Praying for Spiritual JoyC. Bradley, M. A.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of RestorationThomas Spurgeon.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationE. Owen, M. A.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationR. S. MacArthur, D. D.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationT. Spurgeon.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationR. Davidson.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationLuke Wiseman.Psalm 51:12
The Joy of SalvationC. Short Psalm 51:12
The Joys of SalvationJ. B. Brown, B. A.Psalm 51:12
The Restoration of the FallenA. Warrack, M. A.Psalm 51:12
A Petition and an ArgumentPsalm 51:1-19
Blot Out My TrangressionsAndrew Murray.Psalm 51:1-19
David's RepentanceJ. S. Macintosh, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
God's Former Dealings a Plea for MercyThomas Horton, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
God's LovingkindnessT. Alexander, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
God's MercyA. Symson.Psalm 51:1-19
God's-Tender MerciesT. Alexander, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
LessonsS. Hieron.Psalm 51:1-19
Sin Blotted OutCampbell Morgan, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Exceeding Sinfulness of SinCanon Newbolt.Psalm 51:1-19
The Fifty-First PsalmF. W. Robertson, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
The Greatness of Sin to a True PenitentMonday Club SermonsPsalm 51:1-19
The Minister's PsalmW. Forsyth Psalm 51:1-19
The Moan of a KingJ. Parker, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Penitent SinnerHomilistPsalm 51:1-19
The Prayer for MercyAndrew Murray.Psalm 51:1-19
The Prayer of the PenitentG. F. Pentecost, D. D.Psalm 51:1-19
The Prayer of the PenitentDavid O. Mears.Psalm 51:1-19
The Psalmist's Prayer for MercyT. Biddulph, M. A.Psalm 51:1-19
Renewal and ElevationC. Short Psalm 51:9-12
True PrayerW. Forsyth Psalm 51:10, 17
A Great Evil Deprecated, and a Great Good DesiredW. Forsyth Psalm 51:11, 12

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with a joyful [willing] spirit.

I. THAT THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SALVATION IS ACCOMPANIED WITH A GREATER OR LESS DEGREE OF "JOY." Salvation is a deliverance from the greatest danger the soul can apprehend, and is, therefore, a cause of the most rapturous joy the soul can feel. It is preceded, in the majority of cases, by terror of the Divine anger; by the despair awakened by guilt; by the deep sorrow which distraction brings after it; till the revelation of the Divine mercy through Jesus Christ is embraced, and the way of escape is known, and then the soul is unable to restrain its joy. This is the outward aspect of salvation. Salvation as an inward fact is the enjoyment of a new state of the affections towards Christ, or love to God. And this is a perpetual spring of ever-increasing joy. Joy may become not a momentary rapture merely.

II. THAT BY THE INDULGENCE OF SIN WE FORFEIT THE JOY OF SALVATION. We may not utterly forfeit the hope of salvation; for hope is a thing of degrees: how long a faint hope may linger, and in connection with how much sin, is a practical question difficult of determination! The question of our personal salvation may become even to ourselves a very debatable, doubtful question, a struggle of hope against despair. Here certainly the joy of salvation is forfeited. Then, again, though the hope may not be gone, there may be so much remorse and sorrow in consequence of sin as to destroy all the joy which is connected with an assured state of the heart.


1. That God is the Author of all renewal and salvation in man's soul. This prayer is therefore a prayer for the renewal of the influence and work of the Holy Spirit: "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me." It is called God's salvation for which he prays.

2. This prayer for joy presupposes that which is the condition of all real joy. The previous work of deep, genuine sorrow - repentance and hatred of the sin which has caused the sorrow. This is the unalterable condition on which we obtain any lasting joy.

IV. THAT THE RECOVERY OF THIS JOY IS NECESSARY TO OUR FUTURE CONSTANCY. "Uphold me with a joyful spirit." Doubt, sorrow, remorse, paralyze all the powers of prayer, action, resistance to evil. They are the sickness and disease of the soul. Joy quickens. A joyous, willing mind has strength for the future, because it has conquered in the past; for that is the condition of its joyousness. - S.

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.
He asks that God would clear away his sorrows as well as his sins, make once again a happy man of him; so that he may not only rise up from the ground on which he has fallen and go on his heavenly way, but, like the Ethiopian convert in the desert, go "on his way rejoicing." "Make me to hear joy and gladness," he says in verse 8, and here he prays, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation." "Pardon," we should have said to David at this time, "is all that you must now dare to ask, pardon and renewed sanctification." "No," says David, "there is healing in my God for sinners such as I am, as well as pardon; there is comfort in Him for even men like me. I see them in Him, and I will ask them of Him. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation."

I. THE JOY OF GOD'S SALVATION. "I do not care how I am made happy," a man of the world would say, "so that I am happy." He has no definite idea of happiness. "Who will show me any good?" is his language; "any good" — he cares not what, "But I can be made happy only in one way," the really Christian man says; "I must be happy in my God, and I can be happy in him only as God my Saviour, the God of my salvation." And if anything can make a sinful creature happy, it is this joy of which we speak. It is the "joy unspeakable and full of glory," the only joy that can be truly called Christian joy, or that can meet the desires of the regenerated soul.

II. THE POSSESSION OR EXPERIENCE OF THIS JOY. Though now without it, David once partook of it. "Do all the people of God, then," you may ask, "experience this joy?" You might as well inquire whether all who dwell on the face of the earth behold the sun's light. That sun always exists and is always pouring forth its beams, but men may be shut up within walls, or be turned on the revolving earth away from the sun, or have their organs of vision impaired or closed, and thus have the sun as to them shining in vain. So with the salvation or gospel of God — joy and gladness it is ever capable of giving, and is ever actually giving to multitudes of happy souls who understand and believe it, but not at all times to all who understand and believe it, for the spiritual perceptions of some of them are weak. But let this pass. The point I am now aiming to establish is this — that as there is a spiritual sorrow in the Christian's inward experience, begotten in him by the Gospel of God, so there is commonly a joy in his experience, begotten in him also by the salvation of God.

III. THE LOSS OF THIS JOY. This is a mournful loss. There are varied causes for the instability and changeableness of our minds, but the grand destroyer of our spiritual happiness, the one great extinguisher and demolisher of our joy, is sin — sin indulged; not sin struggled with and kept at bay, but sin yielded to, mentally if not practically committed; sin let into our imaginations and hearts, if not into our houses and lives, and fostered and cherished and fed on there. In David's case it was heinous, enormous, complicated sin which laid his joy low; but common, decent sins will do the work as effectually though not as suddenly.

IV. THE RESTORATION OF SPIRITUAL JOY, its recovery when lost. This the text describes as both desirable and attainable.

1. Desirable it was to David's soul, or he would not have repeatedly and so earnestly prayed for it. And of this we may be sure, that a man who has once tasted of this joy, who has really felt within his own soul its power and sweetness, will never be content to live long without it.

2. But is this desirable thing attainable? We may safely infer from this text that it is. David is not praying here for an impossibility. He is evidently praying under the Spirit's teaching. Such a recovery, however, is not in any case, to say nothing of a case like David's, that easy thing which some of us think it. We imagine that when our souls, through some long-continued worldly-mindedness or some sinful indulgence, are comfortless, it is only to hear some cheering sermon, or turn again to God a little more earnestly than usual, and our former peace will revive; but not so. It is not easy to get indulged worldly-mindedness or indulged sin of any kind subdued in the soul and cast out of it; it is still less easy to get rid of the withering and depressing effects of worldliness and sin. The Lord does not hastily heal the wounds that sin makes in the souls of His people, for He wishes them for their good to feel the smart of those wounds; but He has in His covenant health and a cure for them. But the Lord works by means. There is no restoration of joy through those things which the Lord has ordained shall precede joy and, by His Spirit, produce it. And these things are deep humiliation and sorrow on account of sin, and a turning again to God through Christ precisely as we came to Him years ago, to he washed, cleansed, comforted, saved entirely by Him, by His Spirit, righteousness and blood. I know of no other way to the recovery of spiritual peace than this, nor do you. If sin has overtaken and ensnared you, and is at this moment holding you captive, robbing you of every spiritual consolation you once enjoyed, and filling your souls with gloom and wretchedness, be thankful for that gloom and wretchedness while it lasts. God works it in you or causes sin to work it in you, to lead you to a real repentance and so to a real salvation.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Those which have ventured upon presumptuous courses, as they do not easily procure sin to be pardoned and forgiven unto them, nor they do not easily procure sin to be mortified and subdued in them, so they do not easily neither recover their former joy. Nay, this latter is more difficult than all the rest; sin may sometimes be pardoned, and also in some manner subdued, when yet the joy which has been driven away by it is not so easily restored again, at least to that degree and measure which it was in before sin was committed and ventured upon by them. These sins of David cost him very dear. But yet we still add that there is a possibility of restoring it, at least in some competent measure, that Satan may not herein prevail against God's servants by temptations to despair from trusting in God. Well, but how may it be so? and what is the readiest way hereunto? First, this course which David here takes by solemn and serious humiliation of the soul before God; that's the way to get into favour again. Godly sorrow is the only way to spiritual joy. When we bewail our sins before God, and acknowledge both the foulness of our iniquities and the justice and equity of our corrections, this procures both pardon and assurance. Secondly, lying at God's foot, and acknowledging His free grace in Christ; as Christ must procure us our pardon, so also our joy. God is always well pleased with Him, and so consequently with all His members in Him and for Him; the more, then, we cleave to Christ, and hang upon God's goodness in Him, the better it will be for us; urge God that it was His free grace that gave thee joy at first, and let the same free grace move him still. Thirdly, do thy first works; spiritual joy is recovered in the contrary way to that in which it is lost. Therefore, consider what it is whereby thou provokest God to remove it, and by the doing of that which is most opposite to it, thou mayest persuade Him again to restore it, by crucifying those lusts more especially Which before thou hadst prevailing in thee, and by performing of those duties more vigorously which before were omitted by thee. Fourthly, attend upon the ordinances, the word and sacraments, and the communion of saints; these are means to recover our joy.

(Thomas Horton, D. D.)


1. Joy in the retrospect of the past, for salvation is a past blessing. It is something that has taken place already.

2. The joy of present possession, for salvation is a present blessing — the deliverance from pollution a present continuous thing. Perfection is not reached at one stride.

3. The joy of future prospect — for salvation is a future blessing, a something we expect, long for. Views from the sunny heights of Pisgah.


1. Through the practice of sin. David, Peter. Many have grievously fallen. Their history are beacon lights to warn us.

2. Through presumption and carelessness. How we watch our outward actions which men see, and neglect to watch our inmost desires which God sees.

3. Through indolence. The laziest man is the most miserable and the most easily tempted. Work is healthy. The most faithful Christians are the most joyful. Work imparts joy, and joy gives strength for work. "The joy of the Lord is your strength."


1. Entire dependence upon God. He alone can rekindle the flame.

2. Deep and sincere penitence. Our sins the clouds between us and God

3. Belief in the power of prayer. God will hear. In heaven the joy will be uninterrupted and eternal.

(E. Owen, M. A.)

I. THERE IS A JOY IN GOD'S SALVATION. Salvation itself, so far as it consists in a state of safety and acceptance, is equal in all believers; the joyful persuasion of it is not equal in all, being dealt out in various degrees by the free Spirit of God, and, on some occasions, even entirely taken away for a time. It is specially His work, who applies unto men this salvation, to produce in them also an assurance of it; and this He does by "taking of the things of Christ, and showing them unto them" so vividly, that they can see in His work a sufficient satisfaction to the Father's justice for their sins, and can exercise on it consequently such a degree of reliance as brings their souls repose and peace; by "shedding abroad the love of God in their hearts," the sure pledge of reconciliation; and by leading them to delight in His service and fellowship.


1. It is not every degree of sin remaining in a believer that will have this effect. The joy of God's salvation is compatible, in some good measure, with those remaining sins which still cleave to the flesh, though these do unquestionably impair it, and that they who walk, on the whole, humbly with God, and in reliance on His grace, ought not to shut themselves out from the comfort of the Gospel; for it is just to such humbled, convinced, believing souls who mourn for sin, and conflict with it, that all the promises of pardon, perseverance and eternal life are made.

2. We may lose the joy of God's salvation without sinning so deeply as David did. It would be extremely dangerous in one to calculate how far he may go in sin without forfeiting his peace. The truth is, he cannot go far. The peace of the Gospel is easily lost, but not easily regained; and even when not entirely lost, it may be more or less diminished, and, in fact, will ever be in proportion to one's spirituality of mind. It may be diminishing even when the person is not aware of it. For the most part, the first deviations from holiness may be so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible, and the peace of mind, consequently, little disturbed; yet these inroads on his spirituality and comfort may, and will proceed, unless checked by Divine grace, till they utterly strip him of both.

III. THE JOY OF GOD'S SALVATION MAY BE RESTORED. God has an end in view in removing it. It is to punish His people, and when they are punished in such measure as is necessary for bringing them to a just sense and acknowledgment of their sin, it will be restored. He, therefore, in furtherance of His gracious designs toward His people, by a new communication of reviving grace, brings them to a sense of their sin — for sin deadens the soul, so that the first motions of repentance must be from God. Their affections, after this temporary estrangement, return with greater force to Him, whose lovingkindness they have, in their bitter experience, found to be better than life; and He, who knows the heart, and who has Himself wrought all this in them, satisfied with the depth of their repentance, forgets and forgives their ingratitude, and restores unto them the joy of His salvation. With a compassion truly astonishing and generous, He observes, He cherishes the first motion of the heart towards Himself. He sees His once prodigal but now returning child a "great way off," and has compassion, and runs and embraces him.

(A. L. R. Foote, D. D.)

I. DAVID'S PRAYER. It implies —

1. That David had lost the joy of salvation — no uncommon experience. May be caused by —

(1)Open sin.


(3)Neglect of duty.

2. The desire to have the joy of salvation restored.

3. The desire to maintain a Worthy character. David prayed that he might be kept in a state of mind in which he would willingly, spontaneously, promptly obey God.


1. To teach others. Saved sinners are best fitted to tell of the Saviour of sinners.

2. He promises to teach even the worst men — "transgressors," those who are rebels against God and apostates from truth. "The worst men need the best teachers," the worst diseases the most experienced physicians.

3. David promises to teach the worst people the best truths — "Thy ways." This is a marvellous subject, it includes all history and experience. It includes all time and space, all science and art, all truth wherever found. Wonderful theme! It may well fill the mouth of preachers the world over. It will be our song and glory in eternity. "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Tell of the ways of God.


1. He was persuaded that his teaching would reach sinners. They would see the evil of transgression; they would be convinced that mercy could be found. The Gospel is mighty; an uplifted Christ is the mightiest magnet the world has ever known. Believe this truth; preach it.

2. He was persuaded that they would be moved to action. This is not a passive verb, "shall be converted." It is an active verb. They shall turn or return. This is its meaning. This is the end to be sought. Men have wandered from God; they must return,

3. David was persuaded that their return would be complete. They would return "unto Thee." Not converted to certain church rites, but to Jesus Christ. Christ first; other things will follow.

(R. S. MacArthur, D. D.)

I. THE THEME — SALVATION. Deliverance, restoration, preservation.


III. A SAD EXPERIENCE. He had lost this salvation; and felt like Tamar — "And I, whither shall I hide my shame?" It was a manifold loss — the salvation of his God and the serenity of his soul, the fealty of his heart and the favour of his God — contamination entered, communion fled, sin tasted, joy gone. It was the result of his settled, yet stupid, choice; the perfect liberty he coveted he finds galling vassalage.


V. THE WAY TO RETAIN IT. Cry to God for strength. "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit." The Spirit must not only attest our acceptance, but keep us by guiding our feet into the way of peace, by a complete transformation of the faculties of the soul, so that they can only delight in spiritual objects; by giving it such refined tastes that all sinful food will nauseate.

VI. THE WAY TO REJOICE IN IT. "Then Will I trust," etc. The best way to strengthen our graces is to exercise and utilize them. VII. THE TIME. "Then," and not till then. Conversion is one of those things we must experience before we are qualified to speak about it. VIII. THE EFFECT. "Sinners shall be converted unto Thee." "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit."

(W. Hassall.)

I. SALVATION HAS JOYS — the Christian s duty and privilege to possess them.

1. In so changing our relations as to put us in harmony with God.

(1)Once rebels, now obedient subjects.

(2)Once lost and condemned, now saved and pardoned.

(3)Once strangers, now children.

2. In enlarging our field of usefulness. No man is prepared to live till he is born again.

II. THESE JOYS MAY BE LOST. This accords with the sad experience of God's most faithful servants.

1. One cause of the joyless life of many professed Christians is the want of salvation. How can they expect an effect without a cause?

2. Another source is the neglect of known duties.


(2)Reading the Bible.

(3)Assembling themselves together.

3. Retaining sin in the heart.

4. Being wise above what is revealed.

5. Giving more time and care to our secular interests than to the service of God and the cultivation of the heart.

III. THESE LOST JOYS MAY BE RESTORED. How indulgent, patient and kind is the backslider's God!

1. They will be restored.




2. The Christian's happiness and usefulness are complete when he is in the full enjoyment of salvation.

(E. A. Taylor.)

I. IN THE CHILD OF GOD THERE ARE ALL THE SEEDS OF DEPARTURE FROM GOD. When he rises in the morning there is need to have this perpetually brought before him — "This day, as yesterday, I possess the seeds of all departure from God; so that I have need to be held up; I have need to be kept in; I have need to be kept from presumptuous sins." What departure there may be in a look; in a word; in a tone of voice; in a thought — actual departure from God! Oh! I believe there are periods in which the Lord takes off His check, and reproves sin by sin. And then what is the effect? Why, the outside goes on, but what becomes of internal religion? There are the prayers, but where is the secret dealing with God? There is no absolute neglect of outward duties, but how little of God is there in all!

II. WHEREVER THERE IS DEPARTURE FROM GOD, IN DIRECT PROPORTION AS IT PREVAILS, THERE IS A TENDENCY TO LESSEN THE BELIEVER'S JOY. The Word is not what. it once was to you; sermons are not what they once were to you; intercourse with the people of God is not what it once was to you. You have secret prayer, but it is not what it once was to you. There is a want of sweetness, there is a want of substance, there is a want of fruitfulness, there is a want of realization in your religion. Look well to it, for there must be a cause — some sin, some neglected duty, some worldly conformity.


(J. H. Evans, M. A.)

I. THAT WHICH IS LOST — spiritual joy. It can be lost —

1. By lack of cultivation. You may sow a seed or plant a tree, but unless these are watered and cultivated they will die. Christian joy must be cultivated by prayer, praise, and growth in grace.

2. By indulgence in sin. He will withdraw from the sinner, and then the" sunshine ceases.

3. By want of faith. We often blame circumstances, etc., as we fall into the slough, when it is our own doubts that are shutting out the light. No one can rejoice who does not trust. Confidence is the root of peace and doubt the handmaid of torment.

II. THAT WHICH IS SOUGHT — a restoration of that which has been lost. Not anything new. And this desire is natural. For —

1. The soul has experienced its preciousness.

2. The soul recognized that its loss involves the displeasure of God. Hence the petition so earnestly urged. It is the Divine anger that takes away the joy. This is a greater sorrow to the Christian than his own loss. No wonder that he seeks for restoration.




1. Joy is the natural fruit of salvation possessed and experienced.

2. All the proper exercises of religion are in themselves joyous — love, faith, hope.

3. The command of God is, "Rejoice evermore."

4. The fruit of the Spirit is — "joy."

5. The language of the Psalms is, to a great extent, the language of joy.


1. This was exemplified in the case of David — strikingly in that of Job.

2. Joy depends on a conscience void of offence.

3. Joy depends on having a heart right with God.

4. Joy depends on seeing the evidences of our discipleship to Christ.

5. Joy depends on the measure of our faith.

6. Joy depends on realizing the presence, and seeing the excellency of God.

7. Joy depends on God, in His sovereignty.


1. David felt it to be so — he longed for it.

2. Each believer feels it to be so — if he cannot; rejoice in God, he can rejoice in nothing.

3. It is a foretaste of heaven (1 Peter 1:8).

4. It is the spirit of praise (Isaiah 35:10).

5. It is a support under affliction (Habakkuk 3:17, 18).

6. It fits for duty. "Then will I teach," etc. He who has not a sense of God's favour and presence is a coward.

7. It is obedience to God's requirements.


1. David sought only for this kind of joy — he had earthly pleasures in abundance.

2. The joys of salvation are the purest, and greatest, and most enduring.

3. Without these, the others are not accessible to the believer.

4. The great effort of man is to be happy independently of these joys.

(1)He fails in time.

(2)In eternity.

(3)God the source of joy, and of pain.

5. You can reach these joys only through salvation.


1. God is its source.

2. God is its Author. "Thy salvation."

3. By prayer for it —

(1)His sovereignty must be acknowledged.

(2)His commands must be obeyed.

(3)The law by which He dispenses His blessings must be conformed to — "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

(J. Stewart.)

I. DESCRIBE IT. I find that the gladdest moments of my life were not to be mentioned in the same breath with the bliss of believing in Jesus Christ. Yet are they the best comparisons that I can offer you of the greater joy which I trust we have all experienced.

1. I compare it first to the finding of a long-lost treasure. Something like that, though infinitely beyond it, was the joy of finding God's salvation. Some of us searched long for it.

2. I compare this joy of salvation, next, to escape from a terrible predicament, and to deliverance from a threatened danger. Such, but infinitely more delightful, is the joy of God's salvation, when the storm of a troubled conscience is hushed to rest, when the thunders and lightnings of an outraged law cease to alarm.

3. I wonder if it has ever been your lot to know the joy that comes of the removal of the displeasure of some friend who has been grieved; in a word, the joy of reconciliation. When mistakes have been explained, or faults forgiven, the joy of the handclasp, as in the days of yore, and the heart warming as in the times that are gone — such is the joy of God's reconciled countenance, and of His smile and favour.

4. Entrance into a new and blissful state is an emblem, too, of the joy of God's salvation. You have been sick, sick almost unto death, and God has raised you up again. Can you forget how the pulse beat in your veins as it revealed to you the fact that you had turned the corner and were going to pull through? But oh, when you felt that the sickness of sin was at an end, when you knew that the healing touch had been given, when you felt the virtue come out of Jesus into you, what joy it was!

5. Further, there is the joy of finding a faithful friend. When loneliness is at an end, when love finds its affinity, when the hopes, perhaps of many years, are at last fulfilled, and the joy-bells ring, maybe in the marriage peal, what delight is in the heart. Such was your joy when you discovered that Jesus was your Fellow-friend, your Brother, your Lover, your Husband.

6. It is also like the joy of coming home after long absence.


1. Sin grieves God, and causes Him to hide His face; it produces an eclipse of the sun.

2. Sin may well cause us to question our standing in Christ Jesus.

3. Sin blinds our eyes to the promises and to the power of God. He may well be miserable who has found out His sinfulness, for he has sinned against light and knowledge, against grace and love.

4. Moreover, it makes the conscience smart and throb. The unhappiest man beneath God's sun is surely he who, having known the joy of salvation, is now a backslider, with hardened heart and tearless eye. How can he rejoice as once he did?

III. IT MAY BE RECOVERED. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation."

1. God only can restore it. It came from Him at first, and He must revive and quicken it; it will be through His mercy and His mercy only. Thus the psalmist pleads in forma-pauperis, praying only for God's lovingkindness and tender mercy.

2. There can be no restoration of the joy of God's salvation apart from cleansing. Think not to regain thy gladness till thou hast made a full confession, and more than that, till thou hast heard that heavenly whisper saying, "Thy sins which are many, are all forgiven."

IV. THIS JOY OF SALVATION MAY BE RETAINED. "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit." You will retain the joy if the Holy Spirit maintains His hold of you, and if you retain your hold of Him. You will not cease to be happy unless you cease to be healthy, but so long as this prayer is in your lips you will not fail to be healthy. Forget not that upholding work is the work of the Holy Ghost. The best of us, the strongest, the most experienced, will fall unless the Spirit holds us up. "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit." I like that name for the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of liberty and truth, the Spirit which, like the wind, blows where it lists, and does its work mysteriously and mightily. The R.V. renders this, "Uphold me with a free spirit"; evidently under the impression that the reference is to the spirit or disposition which the upholding God produces in the heart of the man who is thus restored. He becomes possessed of a free spirit. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty," and the man who has fallen and has been thus restored, and is thus upheld, serves God with a willing mind. He has been in a hard school, but he has learned the lesson well, and now all he does is done from very love of Him who not only saved him as a sinner, but restored him as a back. slider.

(T. Spurgeon.)

The sentiment to which the psalmist was led to give utterance is weighty, and deserves to be pondered. A clean conscience and a lively enjoyment of religion are necessary to extensive usefulness and influence in the cause of God, and in winning souls to Him. This will appear from three reasons, embracing the elements on which a successful result depends — Experience, confidence and joy.


1. A blind man has been known to lecture on colours; but a blind man could not teach the art of painting. In like manner, religion is not a mere theory, but a practice also. Its vitality and excellence consist in action. It is a life and a power. Hence the apostle speaks of the power of godliness, and distinguishes between the power and the form. Without the former, the latter is but an empty shell. It is no better than sounding brass or tinkling cymbal.

2. People have a wonderful instinct and sagacity in determining who is likely to benefit them. As the Babylonians brought their sick to the market-place, and asked such of the passers-by as had had the same disease to tell the remedy that cured them, so the conscience-stricken will turn away from the learned and profound preacher, who is deficient in a wide experience, to hang with breathless eagerness upon the lips of him who can say, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul." Men want those that have suffered and sorrowed like themselves to show the way of relief for their burdened hearts.

II. WITHOUT CONFIDENCE WE CANNOT UNDERTAKE TO GUIDE OTHERS. A guide must have the confidence of those who follow him; and, in order to command it, he must have confidence in himself. But how can a man have satisfaction in his own mind, and confidence in his own judgment, when he is disturbed by doubts and fears? Fear is the natural concomitant of a guilty conscience. Wretched, most wretched is the condition of the sinner labouring under poignant convictions. If his guilt has been detected and exposed to the world, the consciousness of that exposure, and the dread of scorn's slow-moving finger, weigh him down. And oven if he feels secure against detection, he knows that God is privy to it, and has "set all his sins before him, his secret sins in the light of His countenance." How cutting his self-upbraidings! how prompt his remorse! how bitter his loathing of himself! No position seems too humble for him to take, no penance too heavy to undergo. Can such a one, destitute of all satisfaction in his own soul; an utter stranger to the peace of God which passeth understanding; devoid of confidence in God, in himself, in the truth and efficacy of religion; can such a one invite sinners to Zion, or teach transgressors the ways of God? He may be a beacon to warn, but never a clarion to rouse to victory.

III. IN ORDER TO WIN SOULS TO GOD, IT IS DESIRABLE THAT WE HAVE A LIVELY ENJOYMENT OF RELIGION. "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit! Then," adds the psalmist, "then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and," through my zeal and fidelity, "sinners shall he converted unto Thee." The connection between these two things, the condition and the result, could not be more plainly pointed out. Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm. He who would make others feel, must feel himself. He who would unlock the fount of tears, must be the first to weep. He that would enkindle and carry away his auditors, must have his own soul on fire.


1. How desirable and precious the joy of salvation! Thrice happy the soul which holds communion with Jesus, which has the freedom of the city of God, and feeds on the heavenly manna!

2. If we find torpor and inactivity benumbing us in the service of God, it is not difficult to conjecture the cause. "Sin lieth at the door."

3. The way of return is equally obvious. Retrace your steps. Begin at the beginning. Relay the foundation.

4. We may infer that ordinarily a deep experience is necessary to great usefulness. Paul was such an instance. He was arrested in the midst of his persecution and rancour, and "obtained mercy, that in him first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering," etc.

5. We see the secret under God of revivals of religion. When religion is in a lively state in the heart, it is easy to talk about it. The heart is engaged.

(R. Davidson.)

I. DAVID'S RESTORATION BEGINS IN THE RECOLLECTION OF A BY-GONE BLESSEDNESS. There is a looking back to something lost and departed. He sorrows over a vanished happiness.

II. THE RESTORATION DAVID DESIRES IS WHOLLY RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL. His prayer is free from any admixture of selfish and worldly feeling. David does not cry, as Saul cried to Samuel, "Honour me now, I pray thee, before the people," but, "Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation." David, after his great sin, sin that had done its worst, asks for joy. Was this possible? Persons convicted of some great wrong, that brought shame and misery on others as well as on themselves, have been heard to say, humbly and penitently, "I believe God has forgiven me. I am not afraid of the future, but I can never be happy again." "A true penitent never forgives himself." It seems reasonable that David, after such crimes, should have rejected the idea of joy. Yet God gave him joy; the joy of not having become wholly vile and reprobate, the joy of not having been cut off with his guilt red upon him, the joy of God's forgiveness and salvation. Our refusal to admit the possibility of joy after our great sin and fall is a sort of solace to our wounded pride, a selfinflicted penance, a reparation, we think, for the wrong.

III. THE RESTORATION DAVID SEEKS IS TO BE A PERMANENT ONE; PERMANENT THROUGH THE ABIDING POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Men sometimes speak as though sin were to be the remedy for sin. Satan is to cast out Satan. They have fallen once, but are never to fall again. Past sin is to prevent sin in the future. "It shall never occur again. It's a lesson to me for life." The serpent's fangs once deeply felt will, it is thought, scare the man away in future. David, so far from feeling that his sin would work its own cure, is more fearful of himself and of future falls, and cries, "Uphold me," etc. The power David implores is inward power. He asks for a Spirit, deep as his own spirit, that shall act with healing, strengthening power at the core and centre of his life. "Thy free Spirit." He must know the joy of God's salvation; he must be able freely to renounce the evil, and to choose the good. "Thy free Spirit," who shall burst all the shackles of the soul, so that the man may "walk at liberty and have respect unto all Thy commandments."

(A. Warrack, M. A.)

In these words we have —

I. AN ACT: "Restore."

II. AN AGENT — God: "Restore Thou."

III. THE PERSON SUING — David: "Unto me."

IV. THE BLESSING SUED FOR — the joy of God's salvation: "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation." Come, Christian; look upon the tree. In the winter it is stripped of its fruit and leaves, nipped by the frost, covered with snow, so that it seems to be withered and dead, and fit only to be cast into the fire. Say, then; may not faith be where sin and the filth of the flesh hath oppressed it?

(A. Farinden, B. D.)

It is connected inseparably with obedience, constant and prompt. David had failed, oh, how terribly I and so he had lost this joy. Let us think a while —


1. Of the joy of pardon. How blessed this, to know and feel that my sins are all forgiven.

2. The joy of rescue — from the power of one great enemy, and that when he seemed to have final possession of us.

3. The joy of power — to overcome the wicked one and temptation and sin. How glorious this. Would that it were more common. It is to have the world beneath your feet.

II. THE LOSS OF THIS TREASURE. Some cannot lose it because they have never possessed it. But others can, and do, by backsliding, by the power of sudden temptation, as Peter. And especially by the power of besetring sin, as Demas. And by indolence. Men are not diligent in religious duties as they should be. See Samson. What a fall was his.

III. ITS RESTORATION. The soul that has once known this joy can never be happy without it. No earthly prosperity can compensate for it. But the soul's anguish at its loss is God's call to it to return. And let none despair. This restoration is in Christ's hands.

(Luke Wiseman.)

I. THE JOY OF A SUFFICIENT AND FINAL ANSWER TO THE SELF-UPBRAIDING OF A GUILTY SOUL. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord," etc. (Romans 7:25; Romans 8:1-4, 33-39). The burden falls off; the darkness is chased by dawn.






(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

Nothing spoileth us of this joy and pleasure that we have in God, but only sin. For once delighting in sin, we can have no pleasure in God's service; for these two can never stand together. Therefore we must loathe sin, that we may rejoice in God.

(A. Symson.)

The estate of a Christian is not always one; joy and sorrow are intermingled; he hath a summer of joys and a winter of griefs. St. Paul had the messenger of Satan to buffet him, that he should not be exalted above measure with his great revelations. After a Christian hath mourned, he will rejoice.

(A. Symson.)

The moon one day said to the sun, "Oh, Sun, why hast thou ceased to shine on me? I used to speed along in thy light; why now this darkness?" And the sun answered, "Oh, Moon, I have never ceased to shine; I am pouring out my light as full as ever." The moon thought for a moment, and answered, "Then, depend upon it, the earth has come between us." Yes, she was suffering from an eclipse. This is equally true of our life. If we allow the world or sinful indulgence to come between the soul and the Sun of Righteousness, we plunge ourselves into deep darkness and lose all our spiritual comforts.

I have never told in public, scarce ever in private, of a great sorrow that afflicted me once when I was first in Australia. Whether it was the tongue of slander in the old land, or some misinformation or mistake, I do not know, but there came to my dear father's ears a story which did not reflect credit upon his absent son. It came in such a form that he was almost bound to believe it. I remember the grief that tore my heart when I received a letter from him kindly chiding me for this supposed wrong-doing. I knew before God that I was innocent; but, despite that conviction, there was some pain, of course, and there had to be a delay of many months ere my contradiction of the damaging tale could reach him. I left the matter with God, and He espoused my cause. In a few days' time I received a cablegram — and telegraphing was expensive in those days — which read thus: "Disregard my letter; was misinformed." I cannot tell you the thrill of joy that filled my heart to feel that I was restored to my father's approbation and confidence; I will not say to his love. for I had surely never fallen from that. It was many months ere I could come into possession of particulars, but to know that he had found out his mistake, and that confidence was restored — why, it was almost worth while having been in the sorrow to experience the delicious thrill.

(Thomas Spurgeon.)

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