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Open thou my lips ; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. Psalm li. 15. [1801.] Our Church uses these words in her Liturgy. Observe » I. What is meant by this request. It plainly implies that guilt will shut the mouth, as it did Adam's — as it did the man without a wedding garment : " Friend, how camest thou in hither ? and he was speechless." It is probable he could talk to the guests very freely about the feast : but when the king came in to see the guests, he was dumb : he deceived men, but he seems to say, " I find I cannot deceive God !" This was the case with David when, upon a melancholy occasion, this psalm was penned : his lips had been closed by guilt ; and therefore he here prays, " Open thou my lips," that I may praise thee as I used to do; let me come with holy boldness to " the blood of sprinkling," as I used to do. There is no man but knows, if
PRAYER FOR SPIRITUAL E LARGEME T. 451 he comes to speak to his friend, and finds his face set against him, what it is to be struck dumb : on the other hand, if his friend smiles upon him, his tongue is loosed. We inquire, II. How IS THIS TO BE OBTAI ED ? Liberty of heart, and liberty of speech, (I mean in an honest man, for a hypocrite can talk at all times, but an honest man cannot talk of religion if his conscience upbraids him,) true liberty of heart and speech, can only proceed from the work of the Holy Spirit ; the Lord only can again open the mouth which has been closed by guilt, by the application of pardon to the heart of the sinner, teaching him to exalt the Saviour, and then enlarging his heart, and implanting in
it a love of holiness, so that the lips shall show forth his praise. Mark, III. The effect of the lips being thus opened. If the lips have been closed by guilt, as was the case with Zacharias, Luke i. 10, and with David, when the joy of God's salvation is restored, the mouth will soon declare it. " Come, all ye that fear God," says David, " and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul :'* " I will run in the way of thy commandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart." Then it is like Spring season, when the sun comes and gives life to the earth. It is like a resurrection from the dead. However dead and stupid a man has been, not able to speak a word except like a parrot, yet, if the Lord opens his mouth, you need not tell him that it is his duty to praise God, he cannot help it ; you need not tell him that the Sabbath should be observed, it is his feast day : it is the same as respects the sacrament. Do you find nothing like an opening of your lips ?
452 ORIGI AL THOUGHTS. or has guilt sealed and closed them ? Take care not to conceal, much less extenuate your guilt, but bring the matter to Christ. Be not afraid to put the Lord Jesus upon working miracles now, as well as formerly : come to him. If, like David, you have to mourn over a wicked, treacherous heart, here is an example how you should act. Instead of despairing, remember, and endeavor to enter into, what St. John says : " These things write I unto you that ye sin not : but if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous :" — he does not lay the stress here ; " if any man sin," there must be sorrow, and shame, and in the end, ruin ! — but, if any man sin, " we have A Advocate :" let us, therefore, this day approach the table of the Lord, rejoicing in God our Saviour, and seeking the application of that atoning blood which cleanseth from all sin ; and praying that he would put a new song of praise into our mouths ; and sanctify us to himself, as "a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
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