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There is progress in life, there is progress in history, because the Lord is building, working, and watching with man; and man is learning. slowly, alas! and by stages that seem imperceptible each moment, visible only over a long range of generations that the one way of life, the one fountain of blessing, is the taming of his self-will to build, and watch, and work with God.
I. The great concern of man's life on earth is the discovery and establishment of a harmony between himself and God. The concord of man's thought and activity with God's is the secret upon earth of all true, real, and abiding work.
II. Man, we say familiarly, is the architect of his own fortune. It is a poor limitation; he is the architect of his own character and his own destiny. By the house of life I mean those principles and habits of moral judgment and action which are the true house of the soul, wherein it dwells and from which it comes forth to work benignly or malignly for itself and mankind. Of that house man is the architect, not God; that house he is daily building, and that building will abide and be the home or the prison of the soul throughout eternity.
III. If you would build wisely, look to the foundations. Christ is the one Rock on which the house of life must rest if it is to escape the floods and fires by which all that is perishable must perish, and be lifted on high among the imperishable things through eternity. The question, "What think ye of Christ?" is the vital question for every one of us.
IV. And build daily in conscious, blessed dependence on the co-operation of a higher hand. There is One working with you, working in you, who alone can make your building of the house of life a large and lasting success.
J. Baldwin Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 103.
References: Psalms 127:1 . C. J. Vaughan, Memorials of Harrow Sundays, p. 1.Psalms 127:2 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i., No. 12.Psalms 127:3 . W. Braden, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 369. Psalms 127:0 S. Cox, The Pilgrim Psalms, p. 155.
We take the "sleep" in our text as denoting death, and confine ourselves to an illustration of the passage under this one point of view. Here we have an idea which it would be well to work out in detail. God values death. He must value that which He reserves for the objects of His love. There are two great reasons to be given why death should be regarded as a gift to the believer, and why, therefore, as being a gift, it should be called precious or valuable in God's sight.
I. Regard the believer as testifying to the finished work of Christ. What evidence of the complete success of the scheme of redemption can exceed or equal that which is furnished by the death of God's saints? That which they could never have learned from natural theology the Gospel has taught them: they have learned how to die. Thus the Gospel is put, as it were, to the greatest possible trial; and the trial does but issue in full evidence of its sufficiency.
II. Regard the believer as admitted in and through death into final security. Having fought the good fight and kept the faith dying as well as living, the righteous are henceforward placed beyond the reach of danger. Nothing can put their salvation in peril. If they be not crowned till the morning of resurrection, a crown is laid up for them which "no thief can rifle and no moth corrupt." The death is a precious gift because the life is perilous; and God bestows a benefit on His people when He has gathered them into the separate state, because then they can be no more tempted to the forsaking of His law, no more exposed to the assaults of the Evil One, no more challenged to a battle in which, if victory be glorious, there is all the risk of a shameful defeat.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1666.
References: Psalms 127:3 . F. Tholuck, Hours of Devotion, p. 425.Psalms 127:3-5 . H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ix., p. 323.Psalms 127:4 . A. P. Stanley, Good Words, 1877, p. 82; J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 2nd series, p. 100. Psalms 127:1-3 . J. Baldwin Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 136. Psalms 128:5 . W. M. Statham, Ibid., vol. xviii., p. 360. Psalms 128:0 S. Cox, The Pilgrim Psalms, p. 177. Psalms 129:8 . V. M. Statham, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 29. Psalms 129:0 S. Cox, The Pilgrim Psalms, p. 199.
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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 127". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13