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Man's Need of God's Help.

Man's Need of God's Help.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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MA'S EED OF GOD'S HELP.REV. WILLIAM SPARROWPsalms cxlvi : 5. — Happy is the man that hath the God of Jacob for his help ; whosehope is in the Lord his God.This 146th Psalm has been supposed by some to have beencomposed, and, in the first instance used, at the dedication of theTemple. Be that as it may, it is manifestly, from beginning toend, the language of a soul happy in its God. Let us trace thecourse of thought in it, at least as far as the text.The writer begins with a general invitation to all within hisreach, to praise the Lord. But upon this topic he does not dwell.Whatever reason there may be, why others should offer worshipand thanks to God,, his own obligations seem to him so bound-less, that he is impelled to pass at once to self-exhortation : "Praisethe Lord, my soul" He needs not, however, to pursue suchexhortation far. A word is enough to call forth a quick response.His soul is prompt to do, not only what it is thus specially urgedto do, but a great deal more. It is ready not only to praise theLord, but even to make a vow of perpetual and everlasting praise;therefore, he adds, " While I live I will praise the Lord ; I willsing praises to my God while L have any being." But why, weare led to ask, should the Psalmist declare himself so happy and joyous in his God ? Obviously, the answer is, because that God isso true and gracious in his promises, and so able to perform them.But the faithfulness and power of God, thus brought to mind,naturally suggest by contrast the opposite qualities in man. There-fore he proceeds: "Put not your trust in 'princes, nor in the sonof man, in whom there is no help" The most exalted creatureis but a frail dependence. He may not have the will to help,and, if he have, still he may lack the ability. For what is hisdescription ? Alas, how perishable ! " His breath" continues thewriter, " goeth forth, and he returneth to his earth; in that veryday his thoughts perish." Persuaded thus, to use the language of 
305the prophet, that " Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and thatmaketh flesh his arm," the mind of the Psalmist naturally againreverts to God. Here, he perceives, there is no want of benevo-lence to suggest, of wisdom to devise, or of power to execute any-thing that may be necessary to the present or eternal happinessof any creature. Accordingly, he exclaims with rapture, in thewords of the text : "Happy is the mun that hath the God of Ja-cob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his GodPMan needs help, help for the present, and hope for the future.He is in himself utterly dependent. It is impossible to imaginea being more so ; and, to a reflecting person, therefore, the highhead which he is often seen to carry, and the self-sufficient airwhich he is continually putting on, cannot but be most prepos-terous and revolting. Take the proudest spirit that ever trod thisearth, an Alexander, Tamerlane, or apoleon, and, if he willonly hearken to reason, his lofty looks may in a moment be broughtlow. Before fact and truth his boastfulness must vanish, likefrostwork before the blazing sun. Or should he, despite of reason,persist in his impious presumption, to bystanders, at least, hisconduct may be made to appear as wild and unwarrantable asthe hallucination of the inmate of an insane asylum, that fancieshimself rich as Croesus and as powerful as Csesar, when, in truth,he is a poor, helpless prisoner, living on the bounty of the be-nevolent. Let any man among us reflect, even for a few moments,with real earnestness, on his nature and condition, and this con-clusion becomes manifest and inevitable. Everyone knows thathe is a creature of time ; that he is not from eternity — that he oncebegan to be. And as he is sensible that he received existence atsome past point of time, so is he assured that he received it fromthe Power above. This brief process of thought, indeed, in the judgment of no less a man than Locke, one of the most convinc-ing demonstrations of the divine existence — of the being of thatGod in and through whom we have life and breath and all things.The same conclusion, however, would seem to be a suggestion
of our consciousness, or an inference immediate upon, and insep-arable from, the feeling of the present moment. I ask myself what is the cause of my present existence ; how it comes that Inow have being, and live on from moment to moment ? Is itthe effect of any volition of mine — any feat of my will ? or theresult of any conscious voluntary power that I ever possessed?20306Or, can I suppose, that it comes through the agency of any beingof like kind with myself — of any limited and finite creature exist-ence, however his powers may transcend the human standard ? Formyself, I can see but one answer to these questions % But why speak thus in the singular number? Is it not the felt persuasion of usall? When we look in upon ourselves and analyze our thoughtsand feelings, even for a brief space, we cannot but see that we,and all beings like us, are not self-snstained, any more than astatute that stands upon a pedestal or a tower that is built upona rock. This moment, brethren, do we not feel that underneathus are the everlasting arms, and that it is because we have thissupport, and for no other reason, that we continue to be foundamong the things that are? Do we not feel that, if this supportwere withdrawn, we must drop into non-existence ? But be it asit may with others, no truth, I repeat, appears to me more directlyand certainly suggested, immediately or inferentially, by our con-sciousness, than that we are sustained by a power without us — that in God, we live, and move, and have our being. If this, then,be so, what idea of dependence and need of help can be formed,more complete and total, than that furnished b} r our own condi-tion ? We could not have been at all, if God had not issued thefiat ; we could not now continue to be but by the exercise of thesame almighty power : but for this, even after existence was be-stowed, we must immediately have ceased to be, like the flash of minute gun on the midnight darkness.But our necessity does not stop here. We not only need helpof the Lord to preserve our being, but also to preserve our happi-

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