SERMO O PSALM TE BY W. J.

STRACEY "He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: He hideth away His face^ and He will never see it,"' — Psalm x. ii. THIS psalm has been made one with the ninth in some versions of the Bible. The coincidences between the two are very remarkable. Almost throughout both, each alternate verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet; so that these two psalms have been called "alphabetical" psalms. The subject of both is the same ; viz., the overthrow of the ungodly who forget and despise Gk)d, and oppress the humble and afflicted who trust in Him. (ix. 10 ; x. 18.) There is a connection also in their language, especially in one remarkable phrase. In Psalm ix. 10 David says, " The Lord will be a refuge at needful times in the trovble!* In Psalm x. 1 he asks, "Why hidest thou thyself at needful times in the trouble V^ And both these psalms end in the same way — in a prayer against the prevailing of weak man against God, and with the judgment of the heathen. In Psalm ix. the psalmist declares that God does not forget the poor. In Psalm X. 12 he prays that God m^y not forget the poor, in

84 PSALM X, contrast with the boast of the ungodly that He hoa forgotten. And as every psalm is intended in some way, we are sure, to refer to Christ our Lord, so the very first words of this remind us of our blessed Saviour's deepest hour of agony and sorrow when, feeling the weight of the sins of the whole world lying upon Him, and His heavenly Father's face turned away for the moment from the atoning victim. He exclaimed, in the greatest anguish of soul, "Eloi, Eloi,

lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In this way we may at once apply the reference it makes to Christ our Lord. But besides this reference it is spoken first of David himself, and afterwards of all who have ever suffered unjustly in this world, and been persecuted for righteousness' sake. David himself had suffered years of persecution at Saul's hands. Said hunted him as a partridge upon the mountains ; his life was continually in danger; though twice when Saul was altogether in David's power, David would not lay a finger upon him to hurt him. o doubt his spirit was often cast down within him. He would ask himself, Why does God allow me to be treated in this cruel manner ? and would say perhaps, " Why standest thou so far off, O Lord, and hidest thy face in the needful time of trouble ?" And then he would reflect with sorrow upon the success and power of his enemies who were continually seeking his life, though he had no evil design

GOD EVER FORGETS. Sj in his own heart against them. othing but God's special grace would keep him from saying, as they did, " Tush, God has forgotten : He hideth away His face, and He will never see it." Men have oftentimes been tempted to give up God when He has seemed for a long while to hide His face from them, or to leave them to the mercy of their enemies. It is one way in which the faith of some is tried and proved. We read in the history of Joseph and David very wonderful instances of faith upheld, and in the end conquering and prevailing even before the eyes of mea On the other hand, many have given way and fallen from God when troubles came upon them for God's sake. Our Lord speaks of this, in His first parable of all, as one reason why some men's souls are lost. Thus, "Some (seed) fell upon stony ground, where it had not much

depth of earth: and forthwith it sprang up, because it had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away." And the explanation which He added afterwards to these words was this : " He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it ; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while : for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." So also the Lord added at the close of His ministry these warning words : " Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax

86 PSALM X. cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." The history of the early Church tells us how soon this trial of the new Faith began. Even John (or Mark) left S. Paul and his uncle Barnabas at one time to continue their dangerous mission alone, while he returned to the safety and security of his home at Jerusalem. And it is surely in deep bitterness of heart S. Paid writes in one epistle thus : " Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." And even sooner than that we see the effort Satan made, though it was unsuccessful, to subdue S. Peter. The Lord said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" ow, what is one cause why men thus fall away into grievous sins or unbelief, and so are lost ? It is simply the fact which my text states, "He hath said in his heart, Tush, God hath forgotten : He hideth away His face, and He will never see it." Sinful men delight to say and think " God hath forgotten," or He doth not see; but God, my brethren, Ti&oer forgets ; He may forgive, and He does forgive us

on our true and sincere repentance ; or we may forget our transgressions, and hide them from our own eyes, and think no more of them ourselves, but Ood never forgets. Settle this fact deep into your hearts, "God never forgets." The great king who forgave his servant all a great

J^ORGIVE ESS CA CELLED. 8/ debt, but that servant went out and cruelly seized and imprisoned a fellow-servant for a very small debt which he owed to him, he did not forget when this occurred what he had already done for this bad man. When he had cancelled his lord's forgiveness by not acting in like manner to another, all the old debt was rememr bered, and required at his hands, and he was cast into prison till he should pay it in full, which was never likely. " So," adds our Lord, " will my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." ow, what makes a man think or say, "God has forgotten"? Simply it is want of faith. A living faith brings God before the mind at all times and in all places. By faith we know and feel that nothing happens by accident. We can by faith not only say, but really fed^ "Thou art about my path and about my bed, and spiest out all my ways. Ix), there is not a word in my tongue, but thou, Lord, knowest it altogether." And not only our words, brethren, but our thoughts are all known unto God. He tries the hearts and reins of every man amongst us. Our most secret thoughts are known unto Him, in darkness and in light, by sea or land. God never forgets; He never hideth away His face; He always sees, and always remembers us. Do you remember the case of poor Hagar in the wilderness ? She W6U5 driven forth with her child into the wilderness ; the bottle of water was spent, and she cast the child down

88 PSALM X. and went to a distance that she might not see him die parched and dried up with thirst. He was her last tie to earth ; all hope seemed over when he was gone, and the child was at his last ; yet God did not forget her. He was watching over her and her child ; and He sent His angel to her, and called her by name, and opened her eyes to see a well at a distance, and so saved her life and the life of the child. So with Elijah in the wilderness. Rather than that the prophet should die in his extremity, God sent a daily supply of food by ravens, which brought it to the prophet night and morning. And so through all the history of the world. God has rtever forsaken them that trust in Him. God never forgets any of us. He may try our faith; He often does so. Even S. Paul's faith was tried when a sore affliction fell upon him, which he calls " a thorn in the flesh." It hindered his ministry, it hindered his sight, as it would appear from other passages, and perhaps his speech ; at least it impeded his external power of influencing others, and he prayed for its removal; and he had to do this, not once only, but thrice; and then the answer he received was, not that the trial should be removed, but this, " My grace is sufficient for thee ; for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Let us take, then, this one thought home with us afresh to-day, and carry it about with us in our daily lives : " Grod never forgets." TSo ; alike the lowest and the highest^ when in a crowd or alone, at sea or on land, by day

A GELS COME AT LAST. 89 or by night, still His eye is upon efo&ry one of us. That poor Lazarus, who was laid daily at the rich man's door,

even the dogs had pity upon his distress, though not man ; nevertheless God had not forgotten him, though He had seemed to do so. When he died, God sent His angels to bear his spirit into paradise. Who might more reasonably have exclaimed : " Tush, God hath forgotten me : He hideth away His face, and He will never see me," than this Lazarus ? Or, again, look at Cornelius of Caesarea. Day by day that good man, before he had the light of Christianity, or the grace of God's Holy Spirit in his heart as we have, knelt down continually before Gxxl, and gave much alms to the poor. At last an angel appeared from heaven, and tells him that his prayers and his alms are come up as a memorial before God. God had seen them, and remembered him for them. So, I say, with every one of us, God never forgets ; God always remembers. Good or bad deeds and words, secret or open, by day or night, none are forgotten; all are written down in the books before Him. He may cancel the great debt we each owe Him, He may as it were put a line through the long list of our transgressions, with a pen not dipped in ink, but in the blood of the eternal Son, but still, testifying to the magnitude of His mercies, or to our deeper guilt if His goodness be afterwards abused, there He the imperishable records of each life amongst us from our earliest to our latest day. What a wonderful revelation will the great day

go PSALM X. disclose! God's never forgetfulness ; God's perpetual remembrance and intimate knowledge of each one of us ! The books opened, and the judgment set. Let our desires, my brethren, be to remember God in some measure as He remembers us. Let us not forget His goodness or our transgressions. " K we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ; but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unright-

eousness." But before we can confess our sins, we must remember and know them ; and the more we remember them in sorrow, the less will God remember them against us to our condemnation. It is in men's forgettiijg God, and so forgetting their sins, that they heap up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. ever say, then, in your heart, " Tush, God hath forgotten : He hideth away His face, and He will never see it." ever say so, but always remember that He does remember, that He remembers each of us daily, separately, individually, and distinctly, not as one of a multitude, but as intimately as though there were none else beside ourselves in the world. Let us rejoice in this faith. " He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? or He that rnade the eye, shall He not see ?" Yes ; knowing us thus, let us pray with David : "Try me, God, and seek the ground of my heart; prove me, and examine my thoughts, and lead me in the way everlasting."

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