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ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS,.pdf

ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS,.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL COX



" For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithful-
ness is unto all generations : thou hast established the earth, and it
abideth. They abide this day according to thine ordinances : for
all things are thy servants." — Psalm cxix. 89-91.
BY SAMUEL COX



" For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithful-
ness is unto all generations : thou hast established the earth, and it
abideth. They abide this day according to thine ordinances : for
all things are thy servants." — Psalm cxix. 89-91.

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 10, 2013
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ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS,BY SAMUEL COX" For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithful-ness is unto all generations : thou hast established the earth, and itabideth. They abide this day according to thine ordinances : forall things are thy servants." — Psalm cxix. 89-91.Judged by his own, and, so far as we know, only work,the author of this Psalm was a man wholly devoted toGod, and to the Word of God. His confidence in thatword, or law, as the true rule of human life, had beenexposed to the severest trials. He had seen the wickedin authority, using and straining their power to oppressand destroy the righteous. He himself had been calledto suffer a long agony of anguish and distress, in whichhis soul fainted within him, simply because he wouldobey the highest rule he knew. In the time of his tribu-lation he had besought the Judge of all the earth to dohim right, to vindicate the word in which he put histrust, to deliver him from his afflictions. And thoughneither answer nor deliverance came, he held fast hisintegrity ; he refused to forget the statutes for his obedi-ence to which he suffered, or to relinquish his trust inthe God v/ho did not save him.ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS. 35All this he tells us of himself, but tells us in the mostsingular form, — in a Psalm which is confessedly themost artificial, complex, and elaborate in the wholePsalter, a Psalm which is a literary feat of the mostdeliberate, and not of the noblest, kind ; a Psalm, more-over, which abounds in quaint and curious touches orconceits such as that of Verse 83, in which he compares
 
his soul, wasting and darkening under the pressure of affliction, to the wineskin which the Hebrew yeomanhung in his chimney for daily consumption, — the skinshrivelling and blackening, but the wine growing ripeand mellow, in the warmth of the smoke. Poets of thisstamp need not be insincere, however, although thecurious and artificial structure of their verse tempts us tocharge them with insincerity. They are the creaturesof their time, and of the literary fashions of their time :and the passion or devotion which they so ingeniouslyexpress may be as truly and deeply felt as that whichwe should utter in a more simple and direct way.Nevertheless, as I have admittedj'f they are seldom menof quite "the first force, the front rank, the highestgenius," though they may, now and again, throw out athought so noble that the world will never let it die, orexpress a genuine and deep emotion in perfect words,and so bequeath us one of those rare gems, five words long,That on the stretched forefinger of all timeSparkle for ever.No such gem will be found, I think, in the cabinet^ See pp. 24, 25.36 ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS.of our poet, though there is much to cherish and admirein his fine saying about the wineskin in the smoke.Nor does he, like David or Isaiah, often rise to anyheight of thought which can fairly be called sublime.For the most part he keeps the lower level of sagaciousproverb or quaint analogy ; but now and then he unlocksa deep secret of life, as when, in Verse 45,^ he teachesus that freedom is to be won only by obedience to law,
 
that men only walk at large when they keep God's com-mandments ; and, once at least, he rises to a breadth,a grandeur, a sublimity of thought which is the moreimpressive because we had not suspected that his wingswould ever bear him so high.The Prologue of St. John's Gospel is confessed by allcritics to be one of the sublimest passages in Holy Writ,if not the most sublime. And I do not see how anyattentive student can read the Verses now before uswithout being reminded of that Prologue. The themeis the same in both ; viz., the Word, or Logos, of God." All things were made by him," says St. John. " Thyword, O Lord, which is for ever, is in the heavens and inthe earth," says the Psalmist ; in them as a creative, vital,formative power ; " for," he adds, " both heaven and earthcontinue to this day in virtue of that indwelling Word,and all things are thy servants." "Thy Word," saysthe Apostle, "is the light which lighteth every manthat Cometh into the world." " Thy Word," affirms thePsalmist, "runs and endures through, enlightens and* A discourse on this verse will be found in Biblical Expositions,Art. V.ALL THINGS ARE THY SERVANTS. 37controls all generations." Nor is he, any more than theApostle, simply asserting an absolute or abstract truthwhen he affirms that both Nature and Providence, boththe physical universe and the history of man, aremoulded by and contain a revelation of the word orwill of God. It is because this truth bears on practice,on the daily round of conduct, because it enables himto confront the else intolerable miseries and mysteriesof life, because it brings him comfort in all his sorrowsand pours a stedfast light of hope through all his fearsand anxieties, that he dwells upon it and values it more

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