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The Pattern of Human Gladness
We are not accustomed to think of Christ as the pattern of human gladness, but He was so.
I. The earthly life of Christ, even in its sorrows, was a life of unparalleled joy. What were the leading characteristics of the life of our Lord in their bearing in this connexion?
( a ) The consciousness of constant Divine communion. Communion with God is gladness.
( b ) Obedience to the will of God is joy. The habit of recognizing the Divine will in all things has a power to make us glad.
( c ) Purity is joy. Freedom from an accusing conscience, freedom from unbridled desires is happiness.
( d ) Love is joy. The oblivion of self, the act of self-sacrifice is joy.
II. The heavenly life is a life of joy, perfected by sorrows past. The gladness of the heavenly manhood of the Lord lies in the continuous extension of the benefits of His death, and in all the glory and triumph which His human soul there possesses.
III. The joy of the Lord on earth and in heaven is granted through His sorrow to sorrowing men. For earth we may receive communion with God, forgiveness, and holiness; for heaven the share in His triumph. Our earthly life can never be pure and uninterrupted gladness, but its gladness may be most real and deep.
References. XLV. 7. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii. No. 1273. XLV. 8. Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 46. XLV. 9. J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 129. XLV. 11. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 55. XLV. 13. J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 140. XLV. 13-15. J. A. Aston, Early Witness to Gospel Truth, pp. 76, 94.
Fathers and Children
I. The message contains a very obvious, but sometimes overlooked fact, viz. that within the compass of a few brief years our places as parents, as citizens, as business men, will be occupied by others. For us the struggle and discipline and activity will be over; we shall have played our part for good or ill on the stage of human action. There will be a new County Council, a new Parliament, a new England; new merchants, manufacturers, tradesmen, labourers; new missionaries, pastors, teachers, church officers; a new set of men and women for God to rule and Christ to save. Those of us who are now over thirty and live fifty years longer will see all this.
II. And the part of that fact which is supremely important to us is, that the men and women of the future are with us. They are not going to swoop down upon us from some other clime, and drive us out when we are feeble and old. We have them now under our influence in our homes and schools; we are handling and shaping today the material for the future.
III. This, however, is only on the surface, and the next important lesson conveyed by the text is its assurance of an unbroken line of godly men and women. The workers of yesterday are gone; they grew weary, and God gathered them into His rest. The workers of today will follow them, but there will be workers to-morrow a new strong race, vigorous in piety, clear in faith, eager in philanthropy, wise in method, spiritual in temper and aim. God lives, and He is still making men in His own image and likeness, and still calling them with an effectual calling to Himself.
IV. The coming generations of Christian people will be more than equal to the present or past generation. God will not only have a people of His own in the days to come, but a people more truly His own, nobler, purer, more like Himself than any preceding generation has ever been.
It is recorded in classic story that once when the Spartans were defeated, and the king demanded fifty of their children as hostages, they replied, 'We would rather give you one hundred of our most distinguished men.' It was an answer that indicated their unbounded faith in the future generation. They had been defeated, but they looked to their children to conquer. They had done their best, but they believed their children would do better. They had such profound faith in the future that it seemed to them that fifty children were of more value than a hundred fathers. It seems perhaps a strange preference, but do you not think it is true to the universal instincts of men? are we not always looking to, and building upon, the coming generation?
C. Brown, Light and Life, p. 121.
References. XLV. 16. J. Edmond, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii. p. 161. XLV. 17. J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 149. XLV. 19. G. H. Morrison, The Scottish Review, vol. i. p. 338. XLV. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 383.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 45". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
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