DEVOTIO TO GOD RECOMMEDED AD EFORCED.

BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
Ps. xcv. 6 — 11. come, let us worship and bow down, and kneel
before the Lord our Maker. For he is our God ; and we are
the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To- day y
if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the pro-
vocation, and as in the day of temptation in the luilderness,
when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
Forty years long ivas I grieved with this generation, and said,
It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known
my ways : unto ivhom I sware in my wrath, that they should
not enter info my rest.
I the former part of this psahn, the Jewish peo-
ple, for whom it was composed, mutually exhorted
each other : in the latter part, God himself is the
speaker : and the manner in which this latter part is
cited in the Epistle to the Hebrews, shews, that the
whole psalm is as proper for the use of the Christian,
as it was of the Jewish, Church. The peculiar cir-
cumstance of its consisting of a mutual exhortation
is there expressly noticed ; and noticed with parti-
cular approbation : " Exhort one another daily, while
it is called To-day''." This hint the Compilers of our
Liturgy attended to, when they appointed this psalm
to-be read constantly in the Morning Service, as in-
troductory to the other psalms that should come in
rotation : and, as being so appointed, it deserves
from us a more than ordinary attention.
In discoursing upon it, we shall notice_,
I. The exhortation —
[The proper object of our worship is here described. As
addressed to the Jews, the terms here used would fix their atten-
tion on Jehovah, as contra-distinguished from all false gods : but,
as addressed to Christians, they lead our minds to the Lord Jesus
Christ, who is " God with us," even " God over all, bles^sed far
evermore." He is our Maker', for " by him were all things
created, both which are in heaven and in earth **." He is "the
good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep," and who
watches over them, and preserves them day and night'"
Him then we must worship with all humility of mind, *' bowing
down,
'¦"¦ Heb. i;i. 13. '' John i. 3.
' John X. II. Heb. xiii. 20. Ezek. \xxiv. 11 —10.
401.] DEVOTIO TO GOD EFORCED. 323
down, and kneeling before him." At Iiis hands must we seek for
mercy, even through tlie all-atouing sacrifice and from
him, as our living Head, must we look for all necessary suppHes
of grace and peace
O come, let us thus approach him ! let us do it not merely in
the public services of our Church, but in our secret chambers ;
and not occasionally only, but constantly; having all our depen-
dence upon him, and all our expectations from him.]
That this exhortation may not be in vain, we in-
treat you to consider,
II. The warning with which it is enforced —
[The Jews who, in the wilderness, disobeyed the heavenly
call, were never suffered to enter into the land of Canaan. In
the judgments inflicted upon them, they are held forth as a warn-
ing to US'*. Like them, we have seen all the wonders of God's
love, in delivering us from a far sorer than Egyptian bondage.
Like them, vi^e have had spiritual food adiin'nistcred to us in rich
abundance in the Gospel of Christ. And if, like them, we harden
our hearts, and rebel against our God, like them, we must be
excluded from the heavenly Canaan. They by theii* obstinacy
provoked God to exclude them with an oath : O that we may
never provoke him to " swear that we also shall never enter into
his rest !" That we are in danger of bringing this awful judgment
on ourselves is evident from the intimation given us by the Apo-
stle Jude^, and yet more plainly from the warnings which ^t. Paul
founds on this very passage*^- Let us then " hear the voice"
of our good Shepherd, ere it be too late. Let us " grieve him"
no longer but let us turn to him with our wliole hearts
Caleb and Joshua were admitted into Canaan, because
" they followed the Lord fully:" let us follow him fullv, and we
shall certainly attain the promised rest.]
After the example of St. Paul, we would with all
earnestness caution you against,
1. Unbelief—
[The .lews believed neither the promises nor the threateninga
of God, and therefore they perished. Let us beware lest we fall
after the same example of unbeliefs, if we will not believe that
we stand in need of mercy to the extent that God has declared, or
that the service of God is so reasonable and blessed as he has repre-
sented it to be, or that the judgments of God shall infallibly come
on all who refuse to serve him, there is no hope : we must perish,
notwithstanding all the offers of mercv that are sent to us : for
" the
* 1 Cor X. 1— n. ' ver. 5 '' Heb. ii» 7— If) & iv. i.
^ Heb. IV. 12.
3^4 PSALMS, xcvi. 1 — 3. [402.
" the word preached cannot profit us, if it be not mixed with
faith in them that hear it ^/']
2. Hardness of heart —
[As Israel hardened themselves against God when his mes-
sages were sent them by Moses, so do many now harden them-
selves against the word preached by the Ministers of Christ. They
'^ puff at" all the judgments denounced against them'. But
" who ever hardened himself against God, and prospered?" O
" will your hearts be stout in the day that he shall deal with you ?
and vvill you thunder with a voice like his ?" Be persuaded : hum-
ble yourselves before him, yea, " bow down and kneel before
him," and never cease to cry for mercy, till he has turned away
his anger, and spoken peace to your souls.]
3. Delay —
[" To-day," says the Psalmist : " To-day, while it is called
To-day," says the Apostle Paul : and " To-day," would I say :
yes. Brethren, " to-day" " harden not your hearts ;" for you
know not what a day may bring forth. Before another day you
may be taken into the eternal world ; or, if not, you may pro-
voke God to swear in his wrath, that you shall never enter into
his rest ; and then your remaining days will answer no other end,
than to fill up the measure of your iniquities. But surely you
have grieved him long enough already ; some of you twenty, some
thirty, some perhaps even " forty years." Let there be an end
of this rebellion against your Maker and your Redeemer, and let
this, which is with him the day of grace, be to you " the day of
salvation."]
•" Heb. iv. 2. « Ps. x. 4, 5,
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