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The Fourth Psalm

The Fourth Psalm

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Published by glennpease
By Stopford A. Brooke, M.A
By Stopford A. Brooke, M.A

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 14, 2013
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06/14/2013

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THE FOURTH PSALMBy Stopford A. Brooke, M.A" Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness : Thouhast enlarged me when I was in distress ; have mercy upon me,and hear my prayer.ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame ?how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing ? Selah.But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly forHimself: the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.Stand in awe, and sin not : commune with your own heartupon your bed, and be still. Selah.Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in theLord.There be many that say, Who will show us any good ? Lord,lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us.Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time thattheir corn and their wine increased.1 will both lay me down in peace, and sleep : for Thou, Lord,only makest me dwell in safety."IT is often the case in life, though men and womencomplain of it bitterly, that trouble doubles itself.We complain, but complaint is useless ; it neverheals the wound, and it takes away our strength tomeet the trouble. Moreover, that one troubleshould succeed another is part, oftentimes, of ourcommon lot, and we should be prepared to meet138THE FOURTH PSALM 139this common trial. It is at our peril if, like lazyGovernments, we are not ready to meet an enemy,or the certain result of bygone folly.
 
It may happen, then, that having worked withsome faith and fortitude through a long and drearytime, and having emerged with a sound ship out of the tempest, even while we praise God for our peace,we are called on to face another storm. Cloudsgather from another point of the horizon, menacinga new tempest, and before we have had time to setour resting ship in full order, the sun is hidden againfrom our eyes, and, unrested, we have to renew thestrife.This is a fate which often happens to seamen onthe ocean. It is no less frequent on the ocean of life. Then, like the seamen, we know that the timeis come, not for complaint, but for fighting the longdays through, contending, not so much for life, asfor keeping true to the heroic character, to ourdivine origin, to the life within us of fortitude, faith,hope, and love. We may die, but we must not dieunworthily. If we cannot say with any hope, " Ifight for a life's conquest," we can say, and theHeavens will accept that war-cry, " I strive for Godand my fellow-men. I will leave behind the recordof a good battle, of love that never failed, of faiththat never despaired." That is the right and nobletemper of the soul. It is also the wisest temper.If you have to fight a long battle, this is the spiritwhich gives you the best chance. It is certain tosecure the victory of your soul over evil. It may1 40 THE FOURTH PSALMsecure victory for your life over all misfortune, andsend you forth young again, alert and joyous, tobegin a new career. Complaint will not do that ;courage will.This case which I have put was the fate, I think,of the writer of this Psalm. " O God," he cries," Thou hast of old set me at liberty when I was introuble. But now, again, new trouble surges overme like an angry sea. Slander and vain talkingmake free with my reputation ; my honour isblasphemed, and my good name, dearer than life, is
 
the mockery of the world. How long, O Lord,shall I endure how long shall this trouble last?Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness."How did he escape from the new trial ? Whatwas his courage ? On what did he repose when hewas half-despairing? In what spirit did he fight hisbattle ? The whole case is laid before us withwonderful clearness. Everyone in trouble feels itsinterest.First, his conscience was unreproachful. Heclaimed that he was righteous. God of myrighteousness that is his cry. The Lord hathchosen the man who is godly ; when I call on theLord, He will hear me ; that is the answer he boldlygives to his enemies.So, in the darkness of his trial, his conscience wasclear. He could call on God to vindicate his cause.This untroubled conscience on the whole untroubled,for who is altogether right ? is the deepest root of courage, fortitude, patience, and good fighting. ItTHE FOURTH PSALM 141is the consciousness of wrong-doing that makes thedarkness of trouble, darkness that may be felt. Butthe consciousness of duty done, and righteousnesspreserved, of being able to say to God, " God of myrighteousness," suffuses the blackest darkness witha growing light. It prophesies, nay, it secures ourvictory.There are some fortunate souls who have lived alltheir lives in a natural Tightness, whose conscience isclear of those darker sins that weaken and degradethe powers of life. When trouble comes on these,wave succeeding wave, they have at least this consola-tion, and its strength, " It is not any self-degradation,no wilful wrong which has caused my trouble. I havebeen on the side of God my Father. I have walkedhumbly with Christ, and borne his yoke." Andwell it is for them in the day of their pain ; and wellit would be for us in our sorrows, if we would so live

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