Saturday, December 9, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #24

I will be continuing on in my study of Psalm 119 this autumn. I have spent months reading Thomas Manton's exposition of Psalm 119. In December, I hope to cover the next sixteen verses of Psalm 119.

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

Sermon 60 (Psalm 119:54)

  • By God’s statutes’ is meant his word in general, more especially the precepts and promises: in the one we have the offer of life; in the other, the way and means how to attain it. In the word is both our charter and our rule; in both regards it is matter of rejoicing.
  • Wheresoever the believer is, or whatsoever his case and condition be, he hath still matter of rejoicing in the word of God.
  • Two points are observable:— Doct. 1. That the godly count this world, and their whole estate therein, the house of their pilgrimage. Doct. 2. That during this estate, and the inconveniences thereof, they find matter of rejoicing in the word of God.
  • Doct. 1. That the godly count, this world and their whole estate therein, the house of their pilgrimage.
  • Here is no fixed abode; there where we live longest we count our home and dwelling; not an inn which we take up in our passage, but the place of our constant residence in this world. We are only in passage, and so should consider it.
  • Here we stay but a little while, passing through to a better country. The mortality of the body and the immortality of the soul showeth that we are all strangers here; for if here we do not live for ever, and yet we have souls that will live for ever, there must be some other place to which we are tending.
  • We are mortal, and all things about us are liable to their mortality; and therefore here we must be still passing to another place.
  • Here we have no rest. Our home we count the place of our repose. Now there is no rest and content in this world, which is a place of vanity, misery, and discomfort. Yea, to the children of God there are stronger motives than crosses to drive them from the world—daily temptations, and our often falling by them. Crosses are grievous to all, but sin is more grievous to the godly; and nothing makes them more weary of the world than the constant in dwelling and frequent outbreaking of corruption and sin.
  • Many complain of their crosses that complain not of sin. To loathe the world for crosses alone, is neither the mark nor work of grace.
  • No man can be a right sojourner on earth who doth not look for an abode in heaven; for that which doth most effectually draw off the heart of man from this world is the expectation of a far better state in the world to come.
  • All the life of a Christian is nothing but the seeking after another country, every day advancing a step nearer to heaven.
  • Their main care is to obtain this blessed condition; therefore they use word and sacraments, that they may grow in grace, faith, repentance, new obedience. Every degree in grace is another step towards heaven.
  • Are we thus minded? There are two sorts of men in the world—the one is of the devil and the other is of God; for all men seek their rest and happiness on earth, or rest in heaven.
  • In this life we are not capable of the glorious presence of God; it is not consistent with our mortality; and our being present with him in the spirit is but a taste that doth provoke rather then cloy the appetite.
  • There are some that take up here, and never consider whence they are, nor whither they are going; as Christ saith, I know whence I am, and whither I go.’ They look altogether for the present, and if they be well for the present, they are contented. Alas! in what a miserable case are these men, though they mind it not! they seem to me to be like men that are going to execution.
  • Will you be at home in the world, or seek the happiness of the world to come? that is, in other terms, do you mean to be pagans under a Christian name, or Christians indeed? You have but the name if you be not strangers and pilgrims here upon earth. All Christ’s disciples indeed are called to sit loose from the world, and to have a high and deep sense of the world to come.
  • Let us carry ourselves as such as count our best estate in this world as the house of our pilgrimage.
  • Let us with great joy and delight of heart entertain the promises of the life to come, resolving to hold and hug them, and esteem them, and make much of them till the performance come.
  • Let us take heed of what may divert us and besot us, and hinder us in our heavenly journey.
  • Let us be contented with those provisions that God in his providence affordeth us by the way, though they be mean and scanty.
  • We came into the world contented with a cradle, and must go out contented with a grave; therefore, if we want the pomp of the world, let it not trouble us: we have such allowance as our heavenly Father seeth necessary for us till our great inheritance cometh in hand.
  • Doct. 2. That during this estate, and the inconveniences thereof, God’s children find matter of rejoicing in his word.
  • If we can depend upon the promise, when nothing but the promise is left us, there are no difficulties too great for the comfort of God’s word to allay.
  • Experience of the comfort of the word is more than a resolution to seek it there.
  • That which hath been may be; God, that hath given a promise and comfort to his saints before, will continue it in all ages.
  • Now I come to the reasons why God’s pilgrims find matter of rejoicing in his word during the time of their exile and absence from God, and all the inconveniences that attend it. [1.] Some on the word’s part. [2.] Some on the part of him that rejoiceth. [1.] On the word’s part, God’s pilgrims can rejoice in it. (1.) There they have the discovery and promise of eternal life. It telleth them of their country.
  • The love of the world will mislead us, our own reason will often leave us comfortless, the examples of the best are defective, but the word of God will give comfortable direction to all that follow the direction of it, under all their crosses, confusions and difficulties.
  • This word must be improved by reading and hearing, but especially by meditation and singing.
  • Delight begets meditation, and meditation begets delight.
  • Affections are not excited but by deep and pondering thoughts.
  • By singing psalms we draw forth this delight.
  • We will complain of the want of a spirit in prayer; we should do so in singing. Coldness in this holy exercise argueth a deadness of faith and a coldness in true religion. We should express our joy this way.
  • The flesh cannot afford anything so delightful as a Christian hath; the word will hold good for ever.

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