GOD TO BE ACKOWLEDGED I OUR MERCIES.

BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
Ps. cxxiv. 1 — 8. If it had not heen the Lord ivho was on our
side, now may Israel say ; if it had not heen the Lord who
was on our side, when men rose np against us ; then they had
swallowed us up quick, ivhen their turath ivas kindled agaiiist
2is : then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had
gone over our soul; then the proud waters had gone over our
soul. Blessed he the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their
teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the
fowlers: the snare is broken, and lue are escaped. Our help is
in the nanie of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
O what occasion this psalm was written, we are
not informed: but in the title it is ascribed to David:
and in his history, no period suits it better than the
time of Absalom's rebellion, when, but for God's in-
terposition, in defeating the counsel of Ahitophel, the
banished monarch and his adherents must all have
perished.
But as there is no period fixed, it will be needless
to enter into a consideration of any circumstances
as connected with the psalm, since all that we
should say could rest on no better foundation than
conjecture. Of course, if we apply the psalm to the
circumstances of our own nation at the present time,
we shall not be understood as intimating that there
was any such reference intended by the Psalmist,
but merely as accommodating the general expres-
sions of it to our own particular case : and truly we
must say, that if they had originally been penned
for
454 PSALMS, CXXIV. 1 — 8. [431.
for the occasion, they could not be more suited to it
than they are.
Two things then we would lead you to consider :
I. The great deliverances which we are now met to
celebrate —
During this long and bloody war, several occa-
sions have arisen wherein we have experienced the
most signal deliverance. We will call your atten-
tion to a few : we have been saved, almost by mira-
cle, from,
i . The revolutionary principles —
[In our own nation, as well as on the continent, there was a
general outcry about liberty and equality j and multitudes in
every rank of life united their efforts to overthrow the Con-
stitution of this country, and to establish a democracy in the
land. Even pious people in vast numbers were carried away by
the delusive idea of ameliorating the condition of the lower
classes of society, and lent their aid to others who aimed at no-
thing less than the utter subversion of the Government. But
through the energy of our king, and of those who administered
his government, God in his infinite mercy preserved us : and we
have lived to see the day when almost all who were so deluded
have seen their error, and been led to regard the Constitution of
this country as the most perfect of any upon earth.]
2. The mutiny of the fleet---
[Time was, when the dissatisfaction so industriously che-
rished and diffused by traitors within our own bosom, and spread, by
means of corresponding committees, over the whole land, had
reached even that class of men who in all former ages had been
the boast and glory of their country, the sailors in our fleet.
Many of these broke forth into open mutiny, and threatened to
carry our ships, which were the bulwark of the nation, to the
ports of our enemies. Such a blow as that would have destroyed
us utterly : but the same kind Providence which had watched
over us on so many other occasions, interposed to rescue us from
the impending calamity, and to restore amongst our fleet that union
and energy which have rendered it triumphant in every quarter
of the globe.]
3. The threatened invasion —
[What immense preparations were made by our enemies to
invade us, and what little preparation there was on our part to
oppose them, cannot have escaped from our remembrance.
True it is, that we were powerful by sea ; and that consideration
it was which kept the enemy in check : but had not their forces
been
431.] TO ACKOWLEDGE GOD I OUR MERCIES. 455
been called off to other encounters, there can be no donbt but
that they would have attempted to invade us ; and, if they had
succeeded in landing only two thirds of the forces which they
might have brought against us, there can be no doubt but that
they would have seized and plundered the metropolis, and spread
desolation and misery over the whole country. We all know
what destruction they threatened us with*; and, could they
have once overrun our country, they would have reduced us to
such a state of subjection as Israel experienced, when the Pliilis-
tines suffered them not even to retain a workman in their land,
who should be able to fabricate arms for their defence. ot a
dock, or a naval architect, would have been left in our land.
4. The overthrow of the Russian empire —
[Already had the whole of Europe been combined against
us, and we were constrained to array ourselves against their
united force. But the insatiable ambition of our great enemy
raised up opposition at last from amongst his own allies, and
gave us an opportunity of engaging him in a foreign land, in-
stead of having to contend with him on our own soil. Still however
we must have fallen before him, had not his insupportable des-
potism goaded to resistance the Russian monarch. But at one
time, even that event also appeared to have prepared for us a
more complete destruction. But God suffered the proud Op-
pressor madly to protract his stay amongst the ruins of Mos-
cow, till a retreat became extremely difficult. Hence arose
defeat : the severity of the climate, and the extraordinary energy
of the Russian armies, soon dissipated the forces of our enemy ;
and enabled many who had been compelled to fight under his
banners, to turn their arms against him, and to seek the recovery
of their former independence. Yet, after all, if the last great
battle had not been decided in favour of the allied armies, our
enemy might still have retrieved his former losses, and forged
chains for the whole civilized world. But the time was come for
God to have mercy on us ; and he has had mercy beyond all that
could possibly have been expected : he has trodden down the Op-
pressor, as the mire in the streets j and has restored peace amongst
all the contending nations, even such a peace as the world never
saw before ; a peace cemented by universal harmony and love.]
Let us then, instead of contemplating our mercies
only, proceed to consider,
II. The duty of acknowledging God in them —
In the psalm before us, all the success is ascribed
to God alone : God's gracious agency is acknowledged
to have been the sole cause of Israel's preservation'';
for
* " Delenda est Carthago !" was their universal cry.
^ ver, 1,2.
456 PSALMS, CXXIV. 1 — 8. [431.
for this his name is humbly and gratefully adored "^ ;
and he is declared to be henceforth the only hope of
his people'^. In like manner should we acknow-
ledge hull in all the mercies which we now cele-
brate : for,
1 . They do all in reality proceed from him —
[We are by no means disposed to withhold our tribute of
praise from those who have been the instruments of our delive-
rance. Those who have been at the helm of our affairs have
certainly laid their plans with consummate wisdom ; and our
forces both by sea and land have carried them into execution
with extraordinary energy. But still, without the Divine bless-
ing their united efforts, however great, would have failed. It is
God alone who inspired them either with wisdom or courage ;
and he alone who gave success to their endeavours. We are
assured that even the ploughman and the thresher derive all their
skill from him*; how much more then the governors of nations,
and the conductors of fleets and armies ! The victories of Cyrus
were, as much as any could be, the result of human energy;
because God was not known either to him or to his people : but
God tells us, that he, even he alone, gave him success^ In like
manner it is he, and he alone, who has conducted us in safety
through all our troubles, and brought them at last to such a
happy issue. That we should see and acknowledge this, is of
infinite importance ; because God is "a jealous God, who will
.not, give his glory to another," or endure that we should " sacri-
.fice to our own drag, and burn incense to our own net." Hear
with what earnestness he cautioned the Jevvs against this great
impiety^; and let us learn with all possible care to avoid it :• let
us bear in mind that it is God alone ''who maketh wars to cease,
and breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, and
burnetii the chariot in the fire'';" and that, as there is not evil, so
neither is there good, in the city, which is not the work of his
hands'.]
2. The acknowledging of him in them gives us the
truest enjoyment of them —
[Others may indulge in carnal mirth ; but their joy will
expire " as the crackling of thorns under a pot;" and no solid
benefit will accrue to their souls. But if we view God in our
mercies, they will lead our affections heavenwards; they will
tend to abase us in the dust for our own unworthiness, and to mag-
nify in our estimation the goodness of God, who has done such
great things for us. Compare these feelings with those which
the ungodly experience on such occasions ; how pure, how ele-
vating,
' ver. 6. ^ ver. 8.
•^ Isai. xxviii.26 — 2Q. ' laai. xlv. 1 — 7. *f X)eut. viii. 11 — I?.
" Ps. xlvi. 9, 10.- ' Amos lii. 6.
431.Tto acknowledge god in our mercies. 457
vating, how abiding ! We may see the conduct of the ungodly
strikingly exempHfied by the Amalekites after they had invaded
and plundered Ziklag : " they were spread abroad upon all the
earth, eating, and drinking, and dancing, because of the great spoil
that they had taken ^." On the otlier hand, we may behold ia
Israel the conduct of the godly, singing praises unto God, and
glorifying him for all the wonders he had wrought for them at the
Red Sea ; " Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods ? who
is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing won-
ders^?" Can we doubt which of the two had the richer enjoy-
ment of their prosperity ? Let us then imitate the pious Israelites :
yea, let us contemplate, like David, every occurrence whereby
God has manifested his care over us ; and let us, in reference to
every one of them, say, " His mercy endureth for ever ; his mercy
endureth for ever"'."]
3. A view of him in these his providential mercies
will encourage us to apply to him for the blessings
of his grace —
[Great as the dangers were from which Israel had l)een
delivered by the interpositions of their God, they were not a
whit greater than those to which we are exposed every day and
hour. Truly we have a sea of difficulties ready to overwhelm us :
we have a roaring lion seeking to devour us; and a subtle enemy
ready to take us in his snares. And who, but God, can deliver
us? Who can hope to escape from so great perils, if God him^
self be not on his side? Truly, " our help is in the name of the
Lord who made heaven and earth," and in his name alone.
Where is there one of us, who, when he considers the number
and power of his spiritual enemies, has not reason to say,
" Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their
teeth ?" Sure we are, that there is not a Believer amongst us,
who does not view himself as " a brand plucked out of the burn-
ing," and marvel at the grace that has been magnified towards
him in the redemption of his soul.
ow then let those who have not yet experienced this mercy,
consider how gracious God has been to our guilty land, and
what an amazing deliverance he has vouchsafed to us : and let
them say with themselves, " Will God be less gracious to my
soul ?" Has he not assured me, that " he willeth not the death of
any sinner;" that " he will cast out none who come to him in the
name of Jesus ;" and that, if I make my requests known to him,
he will fill me with " a peace that passeth all understanding?"
O let us put this matter to a trial ; let us see whether or not he
is " rich in mercy unto all that call upon him." Beloved Brethren,
the
^ 1 Sam. XXX. l6. ' See Exod. xv. 1 — 1 1.
" See Ps. cxixvi. where this is repeated twenty-six limes in as
many verses.
458 PSALMS, CXXVI. 1 — 4. [432.
the time is short : there are yet but a few more months or years,
perhaps but a few more days or liours, before the day of salvation
will be closed. We would earnestly wish, that, at the moment of
your departure hence, you should be able to look back on all the
dangers you have escaped, and with triumphant exultation adopt
the language of the psalm before us. Certainly, as many of us
as shall be saved at last, will instantly, on thei. entrance into the
eternal world, begin the song of the Redeemed, and sing, '' Sal-
vation to God and to the Lamb for ever and ever." ow then
seek to have the Lord on your side: beg him to strengthen you
against all the evils of your own hearts; to rescue you from the
impending storms of a tumultuous world; and to deliver you from
all the deceit and violence of your great Adversary. So shall you
have peace with God in your own conscience; and in due season
enter into that rest, where neither sin nor sorrow shall ever assault
you more.]
««»The author was not aware that he had written on this subject
before. But as the former Skeleton consists of only a single page,
and this goes over such different ground, particularly in shewing how
to improve national mercies, he has thought it not improper to print
this also.
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