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My Soul Cleaveth to the Dust.

My Soul Cleaveth to the Dust.

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ACCORDING TO Thy WORD. — Psalm cxix. 23.


ACCORDING TO Thy WORD. — Psalm cxix. 23.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 16, 2013
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MY SOUL CLEAVETH TO THE DUST.REV. THOMAS SOMERVILLE, A.M.,"My soul CLEAVETH TO THE DUST: BUT QUICKE ThOU MEACCORDIG TO Thy WORD. — Psalm cxix. 23.An old writer has well said, " The book of Psalms is placedin the heart of the Bible, for it reveals the heart of allhumanity." God poured streams of feeling into David'sheart and brought marvellous skill of music to his right hand.Carefully was he educated by God for giving to His Church aperpetual liturgy and litany. He led him the round of allhuman conditions, that he might catch the spirit proper toeach, and utter it according to truth. He brought him upamid the sheep pastures, that the groundwork of his char-acter might be laid among the simple and universal forms of feeling. He placed him in the palace, that he might haveideas of majesty and power, of nobleness and glory. Hecarried him to the solitudes of the wilderness, that his soulmight form the sublime conceptions of God and of Hisgreat works. He made him an exile and an outlaw, that hemight depend on the providence of God. His trials werebut the tuning of the instrument with which the spirit mightexpress the many voices of the earth. As some skilledmusician upon the strings of his harp, he touches the differentchords of the heart, and evokes from each its separateutterance. Every feeling, whether of joy or sorrow, of fear50 MY SOUL CLEAVETH TO THE DUST.or of hope, of penitence or of faith, is there expressed in itsintensest form. Even by his backslidings David becamebetter able to utter forth every form of spiritual experience.
This Psalm is in praise of the law of God. He con-templates the glory of God as revealed in His holy andgood law. He speaks of God's righteous judgments, of God's testimonies, of God's word. As the painter gazesupon some famous masterpiece in every light, and contem-plates it from every point of view, so the shepherd kingsurveys the law of God in all its different aspects. But justas the man who stands before some clear and brilliant lightdiscovers the dust upon his raiment, so, gazing upon thisclear law of God, his own departure from it stands out toview. In almost every verse the contrast is maintainedbetween the purity of God's law and his own weakness.^' Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not tocovetousness." " Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that Imight not sin against Thee." " Blessed art Thou, O Lord :teach me Thy statutes." It appears as if at this point(verse 25) he had paused in meditation upon his past life;and reflecting how often the council had been despised, howoften his vows had been broken, how often his soul hadbeen steeped in sense and sin, resumed again his song inpenitential strain : " My soul cleaveth to the dust : butquicken Thou me according to Thy word."I. — "My soul cleaveth to the dust."True, O David, king of Israel ! God's anointedthough thou wert, yet sadly didst thou stain thy regaldignity. Dost thou remember that letter sent to Joabby the hand of Uriah? or that time when athan, theprophet of God, stood before thee? or that night whenthou wert crying in the gate, whilst the sick child of MY SOUL CLEAVETH TO THE DUST. 5 1thy transgression was dying within the palace walls ?Oh, thine offence, how rank it rose to heaven ! Letus, however, remember that if David was a man of strongpassions, if he soiled his royal dignity, if he did what was
mean and sensual and base, there is a whole-heartednessabout his confession of sin. If his guilt was black, hisrepentance was bitter. Of all who have sinned as Davidsinned, few have repented as David repented. We see himlying low in the dust ; but we hear also his earnest cryascending heavenward : " Have mercy upon me, O God,according to Thy loving kindness ! " Mark the depth of thisexpression : " My soul cleaveth to the dust." Here are twothings brought together, which are utterly contrary in theirnature — soul and dust. The soul, the breath of theAlmighty, a ray from the Infinite Himself, immortal in itsdestiny, noble in all the expansion of its powers, andheavenly in its aspirations — this is brought into contact withdust, that which is earthly, perishable, dead, unclean. Andnot the dust as we understand it — not the soft, fresh soil intowhich the seed is cast and nourished until it sendeth forththe bud and the tender blade, but, as the original signifies, thehard, dry, beaten pavement — that which is barren, unclean,and trodden under foot of men. What a depth of degradation !The soul clinging to the dust ! We have seen the delicate cirruscloud, born of the breeze in the serenest sky, rolling around thehard, dry lava on the mountain summit; we have seen thebeautiful sunlight resting on the foul and pestilential den ; w^ehave seen the flowers of beauty cast around the cold claycorpse ; we have seen the chambers of a once famoustemple filled with all loathsome things ; but saddest of allpictures is that of the soul cleaving to the inharmoniousdust — the spiritual subordinated to the material — the incor-ruptible merging itself with the corruptible. Yet sad as the52 MY SOUL CLEAVETH TO THE DUST.picture is, it is one which is often seen. The man in ourSaviour's parable congratulated his soul by saying, "Soul,thou hast much goods laid up for many years." He, likemany others, brought goods to the soul — the material to thespiritual. But the soul will not be at ease with these. Withaspirations which reach the heavens, it is restless when con-

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