Return to your rest, O my soul; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
I. AS AN ORIGINAL INHERITANCE. "Return unto thy rest." There is no rest for souls in places, however fair, beautiful, or grand; not in any externalisms, however calm and sunny. It is nowhere but in their own moral states. But what are the moral states that constitute soul rest?
1. Unquestioning trust.
2. Satisfying love.
3. Conscious rightness.
4. Congenial pursuits.
II. AS A LOST INHERITANCE. The whole world is in disquiet. Men are trusting, but their trust is not unquestioning. The foundations of their hopes prove to be sand. The staff they grasp for support proves to be a reed that breaks beneath their weight. Everything they rest on fails them. Men are loving, but their love is unsatisfying. They are loving the imperfect, and the discovery of their imperfections distress them. They are loving the unreciprocating, and their indifference fills them with painful solicitude. They are loving the inconstant, and their inconstancy tosses them as timbers on the billows. They love the unhappy, and the sorrows they discern bring a shivering shadow over themselves. Men want righteousness; their deep cry is, "Oh! wretched man that I am." They see the right, they reach after it, but it eludes their grasp. Men are active, but the pursuits they follow are uncongenial wish their nature, and felt to be unworthy of their lofty powers and destiny.
III. AS A RECOVERABLE INHERITANCE. The text implies the possibility of regaining the rest. How can this soul-rest be recovered? The Gospel and the Gospel alone returns the satisfactory answer. "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." How does He give rest? By supplying man with the necessary conditions. He presents the only object for unquestioning trust. One that is all-wise, all-kind, all-powerful, the unchangeable and eternal God. And He bids man to trust in Him that liveth for ever. He presents to man the only object for a satisfying-love. One who is all perfect, who is light, in whom is no darkness at all. One who returns in an infinite degree all the love that is given. One who is constant, who will never leave and never forsake. One who is happy — the "ever blessed God." He supplies man with the means of becoming consciously right. He presents congenial pursuits — pursuits connected with the advancement of holiness, the promotion of human happiness, and the glory of God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.