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AT ST. GEORGE THE MARTYR'S, SOUTHWARK, LONDON,
WEDNESDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 6TH, 1876.
The 116th Psalm, and the 12th and 13th verses. 6 WHAT SHALL I RENDER UNTO THE LORD FOR ALL HIS BENEFITS TOWARD ME? I WILL TAKE THE CUP OF SALVATION, AND CALL UPON
THE NAME OF THE LORD.” This Psalm seems to me to have been penned by the writer after he had experienced some great deliverance. I gather this from one or two of the preceding verses. In the 8th verse he says—" For Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” There is a great similarity between some of the verses in the first part of this Psalm, and the first part of the 18th Psalm. Some of the expressions which occur in both are much alike. The 18th Psalm was written, as you will learn from the heading, by David, after he had been delivered from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. It was about the same time, as it appears to me, that this Psalm was written by him, and probably it refers to the same great deliverance or deliverances. The Psalm opens thus: “I love the Lord.” Many may say this in words, but it is only the Christian man, or the man of God that can say it truly from his heart. There is a great difference between the reality and the formality of religion. He then tells us why he loved the Lord. “The Lord hath heard my voice and my supplications. He has inclined His ear unto me, and now I will cail upon him as long as I live.” He then gives us the experience which he had, and the deep sorrow and trouble through which he had passed. In the 3rd verse, he says—"The sorrows of death compassed me, and the
pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” Preeminently, I am aware, this language will apply to Christ. But it is not in this aspect I am about to treat the Psalm this evening. I wish to consider it practically, as spoken of the Psalmist himself; and then also of the children of God. " Then called I upon the name of the Lord,” “ O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul”. “ deliver me out of these pains of hell, and from these sorrows, and these sufferings, in which I now am.” Observe the argument which he employs in pleading with his God. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous ; yea, our God is merciful.” Well, what then ? “ Deliver me and save me out of all these troubles. The Lord preserveth the simple : I was brought low, and He helped me." “ Thou Lord hast brought me very low, but Thou hast also helped me.” It is a blessed thing in the experience of God's children, that when God brings them down it is that He may lift them up again. Then the Psalmist turns in upon himself and speaks to his soul, “ Turn unto thy rest,”—and thy resting place is Jehovah Jesus— “ Return unto thy rest, O my soul : for the Lord hath dealt BOUNTIFULLY with thee." This is just the way I desire to be dealt with by our Lord Himself, bountifully and graciously, even according to the multitude of His tender mercies to blot out my transgressions, and to remember them no more against me for ever. O Lord, deal BOUNTIFULLY
“ for Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.” Then, “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” The people of God shall see how I walk among them. The Psalmist's resolution reminds us of the conduct of Enoch, and Noah, and Abraham, and Job, who walked before the Lord, and had this testimony that they pleased God. “I believed, therefore have I spoken.” When a man is brought to believe the truths of the Gospel, then the Lord opens the man's mouth, and out of the abundance of the heart he speaks gracious things. It is out of the abundance of the evil heart the wicked utter evil things. When God magnifies IIis grace in the souls of His children, then they utter good, kind, and gracious words out of the abundance of that grace which God has put into them. The Psalmist was greatly afflicted, and when he was in this state he appears to have made a rash statement: “I said in my haste, all men are liars.'' It is certainly true of all by nature, that as soon as they be born, they have a tendency to go astray and to speak lies (Psalm lviii
. 3). And I think David could use these words somewhat extensively from his own experience when he looked back upon the conduct of Saul, and of others towards him. They had broken their pledges and proved unfaithful. “I said in my haste, 'all men are liars.' These words must be read in connection with Isaiah. “My people are children that will not lie” (Isaiah lxiii. 8). David made a great mistake in speaking hastily, but God's children do so sometimes which shows that they have not yet done with corrupt nature, and its evil workings within. Notwithstanding, the Psalmist's heart is full of gratitude. He had experienced so many deliverances at God's hands, and received so many blessings from Him, that he exclaims in the words of our text>"What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” Well, this I will do_“I will take the cup of salvation, and call
the Name of the Lord.” There are two things in our text which we shall consider. The First is the question, and the SECOND is the answer. The question is this: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" And the answer is this : “ I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon
the name of the Lord." These are two very easy divisions, a question and an
We shall now address ourselves to the First: " What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”. I wish to point out to you in considering this question one thing which is very important. If we look at the different scriptures where questions occur, we shall find that they may be regarded as strong and forcible assertions.
Let me shew you this from the Scriptures. If we look into the 50th chapter of Isaiah, we shall find in the 2nd verse a few questions.
“ Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is My Hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem ? or have I no power to deliver ?” Here are four questions, but they may be considered as four forcible assertions, thus : “When I came there was no man to help; when I called there was none to answer; My Hand is not shortened at all that it cannot redeem ; and I have all power to save.
! You see that these questions are equal to strong assertions. If you were to compare this with the 59th chapter of the book of the Prophet Isaiah, and the 1st verse, you would find there a confirmation of what I have said. “ Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” Perhaps this will appear somewhat more clearly still if we look at one or two passages in the New Testament. In this way we shall gain instruction. Look into the 8th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and examine the following questions :—“If God be for us, who can be against us ?” “He Who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not with Him also freely give us all things ?” “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?” 6 Who is He that condemneth ?" “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecutions, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ?” Now, look at these questions, and see if they are not equal to so many positive, forcible, and strong assertions; as if he had said “ No one shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect.
No one can condemn those for whom Christ died. Nothing shall separate them from the love of Christ,—neither tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword. None of these things shall be able to separate them from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I will give you another example, and then we shall turn to our text. Read the 10th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and the 14th verse, “How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be sent ?" Now, all these questions may be read as assertions, thus: “They cannot call upon
a Person in Whom they have not believed, they cannot believe in a Person of Whom they have not heard, they cannot hear without a preacher, and he cannot preach except he be sent by the Lord Himself." You may examine these and other scriptures for yourselves bearing upon this point.
I am inclined to look at the question in our text as having the force of a strong assertion. " What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" Why! His benefits are so many towards me, that I cannot feel sufficiently thankfnl to my God. “Blessed be the Lord, who loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our Salvation.” Having shown you the force of the question in the text, let us glance at some of His benefits.
“ All His benefits : “ His benefits.” There is an emphasis to be put upon the word “His.” It is just the opposite of ours or mine. - His benefits !” “All benefits,” bestowed upon the Church come from Jehovah. And these benefits may be classed under two heads. They are all either temporal or spiritual, or both. David, when speaking of these blessings in the 29th chapter of the first Book of Chronicles, and the 11th verse, says :-“Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty : for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as Head above all. Both riches and honour come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now, therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all things come of Thee!” These are some of the left-hand blessings of God; and hence David says in the 14th verse : “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee." We have nothing to offer to God except that which He has first given to us. Therefore, do not boast, my friends, that you render back to the Giver a little from the left-hand blessings bestowed upon you. I dare say that some think that they have done wonders when they have given a trifle to God's cause. Why! it is not theirs but God's. It was one of the left-hand blessings that He had given them, and they have made a trifling return to the giver. These lefthand blessings are the temporal gifts of God. But some of you may think that I am speaking at random upon this matter. If so, turn to the 3rd chapter of the Book of Proverbs, and the 16th verse, and read : “Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour.” These left-hand blessings of wisdom are riches and honour.
We shall now speak of the right-hand blessings. And I think they are much more important than the left-hand ones. Well, then, what are these “ benefits”? If we look at another Psalm we shall get a little light thrown upon them. They are brought out in the 103rd Psalm. “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Here are the same ideas and the same things stated. The Psalmist explains what he means by “benefits." They are spiritual benefits. The first is this—“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities." I think that
this is a great benefit. Iniquity forgiven, transgression not to be remembered, and sin blotted out. In whom have we all this forgiveness of sins but in Christ Jesus our Lord? God forgives sins for Christ's sake and not for man's sake. True, inan receives the benefit for Christ's sake and God's glory. What a benefit—"He forgiveth all thy sins.”! And, then, when God forgives sins, He forgives them in a God-like
-“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah xxxi. 34). I will blot their sins out of My sight, and neither the powers of earth, nor the powers of darkness shall be able to raise them up again. This is one of the right-hand blessings of God. And the second is like unto it, “Who healeth all thy diseases.” You know that our Lord when He was upon the earth, went about doing good, healing divers bodily diseases of the people (Matt. iv. 24). But the diseases spoken of by the Psalmist are something far deeper and more serious than those afflictions of the body. They are the diseases of the soul. “Who healeth all thy diseases." And mark, my brethren,
“ All thy diseases." “He healeth all.” Now if He has healed all the diseases of thy soul, He has healed them with the precious blood of Christ, the balm of Gilead. The Healer is the Great and Good Physician, Jesus. It is He who alone healeth diseased souls. The Psalmist then mentions another of these benefits :-“Who redeemeth thy life from destruction.” What a great benefit this redemption is ! The redemption of thy life from what? From going down into the pit of destruction. We may enlarge upon this. In the 33rd chapter of the book of Job, we read—“Deliver him from going down to the pit.” And why? Because “I have found a ransome” (24th verse). God is indeed gracious to him. “He looks upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God often times with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.” This is the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus. In Him alone is redemption, and by Him alone are we saved from the pit of misery and destruction. Another benefit is this—“Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” The foundation of a sinner's salvation is loving-kindness and tender mercies. The work of grace is carried on in loving-kindness and tender mercies. Hence it is here said :-“He crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies." There is an idea in some persons' minds, that if they love God, then God will love them. It is better to say that we love God, because He first loved us. If God has loved His people, they will most assuredly love Him in return. If He have already displayed His loving-kindness and His tender mercies in their souls, we know that He will carry on the work, and that He will complete and crown the work, for He will lay on the top “stone with shoutings, crying, grace, grace
unto it (Zechariah iv. 7). The Lord's work is crowned by Himself. Another benefit we have in these words :—" Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, with the good things of the house of God, with the living bread, Christ Jesus, with the water of life, the Holy Spirit to water, to teach,