Praise Without Ceasing

Ps. 34:1.---' I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.'

Who said that? Surely he must have been one remarkably exempt from the troubles of life? Not so. he was one whose life was fuller of strange fluctuations, and more loaded with trials, than that of almost any other. Great mercies he had to speak of, great deliverances, great honors, great joys; but he could also tell of great sorrows, great calamities, great reverses of fortune, great punishments for his sins. And yet, with all these full in view, he could say, 'I will bless the Lord at all times,' in my darkest as well as in my brightest hours, in my weary wanderings as well as in my peaceful home, in my sorest chastenings as well as in my purest joys; and it was not simply "I will acknowledge the Lord at all times," or "I will submit to the Lord at all times." It was far more: 'I will bless the Lord at all times.' In the very things that seemed fitted only to depress he found materials for a song!

Divine grace enables us to do what human nature unaided will never do---walk uncomplaining in the furnace which is heated seven times; sing in the inner prison, with backs bleeding from the scourge and feet fast in the stocks; live in the Spirit, though we are exiled to Patmos, and forced to toil in its marble quarries weekday and Sabbath-day. We survey and we accept God's grace manifested in Christ crucified and risen; and that free gift of a full salvation, when we grasp it, when we come back to it continually, conquers our disquiets and elicits our praises, whatever the weather be outside. We appropriate God's grace conveyed to us in the secret and individual ministry of the Holy Spirit; and when we have Him inhabiting us---Advocate, Comforter, Remembrancer of every satisfying truth, Guide to larger endowments of life and light and love---we have a spring of fresh water, gushing up through the sand among the salt waves of the sea. There is ample provision for blessing the Lord at all times.

When the morning broke Job was the greatest of men of the East; when the evening fell he was flockless, serfless, childless, a beggar, a wreck; yet Job was true as the dial to the Sun, although it be not shined upon; he said, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord.' One dark day David fled from Absalom, and Shimei came out and cursed him, and his little troop of loyal souls went weeping over the Mount of Olives, and God's face was hidden; but David's faith had still its quiet song, 'Here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.' Paul lay in the Mamertine dungeon waiting to be beheaded by the lictors of Nero; and the future for Paul was ablaze with hope, and he saw the crown of righteousness, 'and stepping westward seemed to be a kind of heavenly destiny.' Mary Tudor was keeping the martyr's stake for John Bradford; but nothing damped the victory of John Bradford's trustful and restful spirit; "If the Queen be pleased to release me," he wrote, "I will thank her; if she confine me, I will thank her;if she burn me, I will thank her." Three negro boys in Uganda---their names should be kept in everlasting remembrance: Kakumba, Seruwanga, and Lugalama, the eldest not seventeen, the youngest only eleven---were sent in 1885 to the flames for their Christian faith; and from the midst of the fire their hymn came pealing, 'Daily, daily, sing to Jesus!' What has been done by so many, you and I, strengthened by our God in the inner man, can also do.

In Christ, timothy Maranatha