To you, my strength, I will sing praises.
For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.
World English Bible
To you, my strength, I will sing praises.
For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.
World English Bible
By Hugh Binning
Though all men’s hands be against it, yet charity is against none. It defends itself with innocence and patience. On the other hand, “He who hates his brother is in darkness even till now.” For if Christ’s light had entered, then the love of Christ had come with it, and that is the law of love and charity. If Jesus Christ had come into the soul, he had restored the ancient commandment of love, and made it new again. As much of the lacking of love and charity, so much of the old ignorance and darkness remains. Whatsoever a man may fancy of himself that he is in the light, that he is so much advanced in the light, yet certainly this is a stronger evidence of remaining darkness, for it is a work of the darkest darkness, and murdering affection, suitable only for the night of darkness. And such a man knows not where he goes, and must incur and fall upon many stumbling blocks within and without.
It is a lacking of love and charity that blinds the mind and darkens the heart, that it cannot see how to forgo and pass by scandals in others, but it must needs dash and break its neck upon them. Love is a light which may lead us by offences inoffensively, and without stumbling. In darkness men mistake the way, do not know the end of it, take pits for plain ways, and stumble in them. The lacking of charity casts a mist over the actions and courses of others, and our own too, that we cannot carry on either without transgression. And this is the misery of it, that it cannot discern any fault in itself. It knows not where it goes, calls light darkness and darkness light. It is partial in judgment, pronounces always on its own behalf, doesn’t care who it condemns, that it may absolve itself.
Language modernized in places.
[I could not find a good way to break this into two smaller writings. -P.M.]
By Hugh Binning
Then, what is comparable to communion with God, and dwelling in him? Shall God indeed dwell with men, said Solomon? That exalts the soul to a royalty, and elevates it above mortality. Quam contempta res est homo si supra humana se non exerat! “How low and contemptible a thing is man, except he lift up his head above human things to heavenly and divine!” Then the soul is truly magnified while it is ascending to its own true element, a divine nature. What is more gracious than this, for a soul to dwell in God? And what is more glorious than this, God to dwell in the soul? Charitas te domum Domini facit, et Dominum domum tibi. Felix artifex charitas quæ conditori suo domum fabricare potest! “Love makes the soul a house for the Lord, and makes the Lord a house to the soul. Happy builder that can build a house for its master!” Love brings him, who is the chief among ten thousand, into the chambers of the heart. It lays him all night between its breasts; and is still emptying itself of all excess of indecency, and purging out all vanity and uncleanness, that there may be more room for his Majesty.
Then love dwells in God, in his love and grace, in his goodness and greatness. The secret of his presence it delights in. Now this mutual inhabitation, in which it is hard to say whether the Majesty of God does most descend, or the soul most ascend, whether he be more humbled or it exalted, this brotherly love, I say, is the evidence and assurance of it. “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,”. (1st John 4:12, 16) For the love of the image of God in his children, is indeed the love of God whose image it is, and then is the love of God perfected, when it reaches and extends from God to all that is God’s, to all that has an interest in God—his commandments, (1st John 5:3) “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous,” (1st John 4:21)“This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous,” (1st John 4:21), “And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God loves his brother also,”) his children, (1 John 5:1) “Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and every one who loves him who begat, loves him that is begotten of him,” his creatures, “Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?” (Malachi: 2:10), The love of God being the formal, the special motive of love to our brethren, it elevates the nature of it, and makes it divine love.
He who has true Christian love, does not only love and have compassion on his brother, either because of his own inclination towards him, or his misery and necessity, or his goodness and excellency. These motives and grounds do not rise above mere morality, and so cannot beget a love which is the symptom of Christianity. If there be no other motives than these, we do not love so much for God as for ourselves; for compassion interesting itself with another man’s misery, finds a kind of relief in relieving it.
Therefore the will and good pleasure of God must be the rule of this motion, and the love of God must begin in it and continue it. And truly charity is nothing else but divine love in a state of coming down to us, or the love of a soul to God manifested in the flesh. It is that love moving in a circle from God towards his creatures, and back to God again, as his love to the created t begins in himself and ends in himself, (1st John 3:17) Isn’t a high thing to know God rightly? “This is life eternal to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who you have sent,”. (John 17:3) That is a high note of excellency put on it, this makes the face of the soul to shine, now brotherly love reveals this, that we know God, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn’t love, does not know God, for God is love,”(1st John 4:7-8).
Modernized in places by this site.
By R.C. Chapman
“I am the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys.” —Song of Solomon 2:1
He to whom all worship was due from angels and men became a worshipper and servant of the Father.
Lord Jesus! Thou art the Rose of Sharon! Thou art the Lily of the Valleys! For our sakes Thou becamest poor. Thy poverty was as deep as the glory of Thy Godhead is high. This earth, under a curse, was Thy choice, where, in Thy low estate, Thou wouldest take root and grow up to scent all heaven and earth with the sweetness of Thy name! Angels were passed by, and Thou becamest the Son of Man, a partaker of flesh and blood, like unto Thy brethren!
Thou Son of God! Thou hast known hunger, weariness (Thy body fainting, not Thy heart). Thou didst bear the drought of day, the dews of night! At Thy birth Thy cradle was with the beast. (O, unkind world! But O kind and gracious Savior!) Persecuted was Thou, betrayed, denied, reviled, blasphemed, spit upon, mocked, scourged, buffeted, crucified and slain!
O, my Lord! My soul pants with longing for Thee! Teach me Thy ways. Let Thy blood purge my conscience of guilt, my understanding of darkness, my affections of idols! Give me to search the mystery of Thy wounds, Thy sweat of blood, Thy crown of thorns! Mournful and outward show, deeper things were in Thy soul. That cry of Thine, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) That cry, Thou Lamb of God, tells Thine agony, and declares Thee bearer of Thy Church’s sin and curse!
Thou was cast out of earth and of heaven. It pleased Thy Father Jehovah Thy God, who delighted in Thee, to bruise Thee and put Thee to grief: “He spared not His own Son!” (Romans 8:32). The ever-during fragrance of Thine atoning sacrifice give Thee prevalence above: Thou the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valleys, art the heaven of heaven!
Men of this world walk in condemnation; I stand rejoicing before God in Thee, my robe of righteousness! O my Lord! I have learned before Thy cross that the joys of earth are cankered! Thorns and thistles, sorrow and shame, this evil world brings forth!
Content, yea, glad am I, my Lord, with Thee to be a worm and no man, with Thee, Thou Rose of Sharon, Thou Lily of the Valleys! Yea, my whole heart cries out, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”. (Galatians 6:14)
By R.C. Chapman
“The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.”—Song of Solomon 1:17
The everlasting covenant standeth fast with Jesus my Lord. With Him, and with me in Him, is it made. A sure house, according to the promise, is built for us. My Lord is the Son of God, by the word of His power upholding all things which by Him at the first were made.
Of Him, the mighty God, the Word made flesh, was it said, “Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth: He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, until He have set judgment in the earth.” —Isaiah 42:1,4 –He could say, “I live by the Father”—John 6:57; and again, “The Father is greater than I”—John 14:28; because the brethren partook of flesh and blood, He likewise partook of the same.
O my soul! Thou dost join with the angels to worship the Son of God; but far above angels’ worship is thy song of triumph and faith! Thy Lord and God calleth thee brother and kinsman, and is not ashamed! And this thy faith credits, delighting itself in a sea of eternal love and manifold grace! Art thou upheld? So is thy Brother that was born for thy adversity.
His throne and crown are made sure to Him by the oath and promise of God: “The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek”—Hebrews 7:21; “Once have I sworn by My holiness; I will not lie unto David”—Psalm 89:35-36. A sure house is built for Him, and also for me: as the Lord is loved, so am I. “Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved me.” —John 17:23– And this, my Lord, Thou speakest, that I and all saints might have Thy joy fulfilled in us. In this Thy own heart is glad.
And now Thou wouldest stir up my soul to remembrance of the sure dwelling place wherein Thou and I, with all Thy brethren, rest. Thy glorious power and majesty are verily our beams of cedar and our rafters of fir. I know it, O my Lord, my heart hath seen an end of all perfection. All things under the sun are vanity and corruption; but I look above, and see Thee gloriously exalted; having a throne and kingdom, by the gift of the Father, which can never be moved.
Daily Thou dost say to Thine, “Peace be to ye;” and as my faith harkens to Thy voice, I worship within the vail by the blood of sprinkling. Now wonders come to view shining forth from Thy perfection of beauty. I know that my inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, and such as cannot fade away—laid up in heaven for me; and, Lord, Thou, who knowest all things, —John 16:30–knowest that where my treasure is, there my heart is also.—Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34
Lord, show me daily the glorious foundations of Thy throne; and as my faith shall gain strength, so shall hope thrive, love wax fervent, and shall triumph over the powers of darkness, and this present evil world; so shall I behave myself according to my high calling—a stranger and a sojourner, whose shifting tent is here, whose sure dwelling is above!
By Richard Sibbes
Now let us see how it may be known that I live the life of faith in justification.
By trying how it comes in the soul: as Romans 7:4, says the apostle, “Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God.” After a man is dead by the law, and apprehends himself slain, then he comes to live this life of faith. Christ enlivens none but the dead…Such only are quickened by him who find themselves dead in the law. Then they come to see that life and comfort are out of themselves and in another. Justification springs from a holy despair, and receiving life, after we have seen ourselves dead.
Where this life of faith is, there is a wonderful high valuing and prizing of Christ, his righteousness, merits, obedience, and wisdom of God in that way of forgiveness of our sins by this God-man, the wonderful mediator; as in Philippians 3:8, Paul counts all things “but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord,” being contented to suffer the loss of all things to win Christ. It is the precious pearl to sell all for. Paul accounts all our own righteousness as nothing in regard to this.
There must be a high estimation of the riches of Christ’s obedience and sufferings: for where there is not this high estimation of it, they are rotten in the point of justification. But you see how Paul sets at being bad and vilifies all things in regard thereof; so Roman 4:16, “Abraham is brought in to be justified by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. ” And Psalm 32:2, He is pronounced to be the blessed man, “unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and whose sin is covered.”
This common domain work’s language modernized in some places.
By Richard Sibbes
Look back every day to the passage thereof. See how we have passed along, see what sins have escaped you; then come at night to God, confess and be sorry for all, resolve against all, crave strength against all. Oh it is a fearful state to sleep in sin; better sleep in a house of adders and venomous beasts. See also and watch every morning; corruption does cleave to all our best actions; we pass no day so, but we have cause to say, Lord forgive us our sins. By this course we shall keep our souls free, being ready for death. We shall by our particular reckoning, every day clearing the score, be ready for our great general pardon, and when trouble comes, have only that to encounter with.
I beseech you, therefore, put this in practice. Be sure with the day to clear the sins of the day; so shall you live a comfortable life, for death, for sickness, trouble, or whatsoever, all our business lying in heaven then.
—”If it be thus, we need not care how we sin: it is but every day to sue out a new pardon.”
Oh beware, if our pardon be sealed, there must be confession, sorrow for sin, resolution with full purpose to do so no more; there must be arraigning, condemning, and judging of ourselves for it, because whatsoever we would not have God to do, we must do it ourselves. Our time in getting this ransom sealed, is for the most part according to our sin. He that has such a resolution to sin every day, because sin is pardoned everyday, he may go long enough without pardon, at least comfort of his pardon.
For though pardon of sins be pronounced, yet God has the keeping of joy in his own hand. As David had his sin pardoned,—by the judgement of faith he knew this much—yet Ps. 51:8, how does he pray for joy, and that God would heal the bones which he had broken! He roared all the day, and still felt a pain like the breaking of bones. The joy of the Spirit had left him. This he cries to have restored.
Thus though sin may be pardoned, yet the more we sin, with little repenting, the longer we shall be wanting of joy; or, it may be, go all our lifetime mourning without comfort in such a case.
This common domain work’s language modernized in few places by this site.
By Hugh Binning
If God has forgiven me so many grievous offences, if he has pardoned so heinous and innumerable injuries, that amount to a kind of infiniteness in number and quality, O how much more am I bound to forgive my brethren a few light and trivial offences? Col. 3:13—”Forbearing one another, if any man has a quarrel against any, so also you do.” Eph. 4:32—”And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even a God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” With what face can I pray, “Lord, forgive me my sins,” when I may meet with such a retort, you cannot forgive your brethren’s sins, infinitely less both in number and degree? Matt. 6:15—”But if your do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.” What unparalleled ingratitude were it, what monstrous wickedness, that after he has forgiven all our debt, because we desired him yet we should have no compassion on our fellow servants even as he had pity on us!
O! what a dreadful sound will that be in the ears of many Christians, “O you wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, because you desired me! Shouldn’t you also have had compassion on your servants, even as I has pity on you? And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if you from your hearts do not forgive every one his brother their trespasses,” —Matt.18:32-35.
When we cannot dispense with one penny, how should he dispense with his talents? And when we cannot pardon ten, how should he forgive ten thousand? When he has forgiven my brother all his iniquity, may not I pardon one? Should I impute that which God will not impute, or discover that which God has covered? How should I expect he should be merciful to me, when I cannot show mercy to my brother? Ps. 18:25—”With the merciful you will show yourself merciful.” Should I, for one or few offences, hate, bite, and devour him for whom Christ died, and loved not his life to save him? —Rom.14:15 and 1st Cor. 8:11.
This common domain work’s language modernized in places by this site.
By R.C. Chapman
“Behold, thou art fair; my love; behold, thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes.” –Song of Solomon 1:15
What though the law in my members be vile and corrupt? Thou, Lord dost teach me to hate the evil I do, and love the good I do not. Thou dost sprinkle me with Thy blood, and purge my conscience from dead works; and I can say before Thee, who knowest all things, it is no more I, but sin that dwelleth in me. Sweet is my liberty, and holy and good, notwithstanding the flesh within me.
Mine outcry, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver?” –Romans 7:24, be tokens my freedom—slaves bend the knee and flatter; freemen fill their land with complaints upon a bare word of tyranny and while oppression is yet far off. Lord, I comfort myself with double comfort. I say within me, Consider, my soul, how that in thy weakness thy Lord’s glory in manifest, His strength made perfect! In this I rejoice! Yea, and will rejoice.
Moreover, my soul, know thou the day makes haste to come when that which is in part shall be done away; this body of death is not forever; but the workmanship of the Spirit of Christ shall endure forever; for “The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and the days of the mourning shall be ended.”—Isaiah 60:12
O my soul! In the first man, Adam, thou wast, with him, earthly, sensual, and devilish—in the Second Man, the Lord from heaven, thou art quickened and justified, and body and spirit shall be made like Him, free of infirmity and all pollution; thy conscience shall ever be pure—thine affections only love—thy body, once a house of clay, shall be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Thy Lord, and all thy members, once instruments of unrighteousness, shall forever be the instruments of love; Thy whole understanding, wondrously enlarged, shall know the riches of Christ, thy Lord, to be unsearchable!
O my Lord! While yet at home in the body I long after the deep humbleness of mind which shall beautify and be the holiness of thy glorified Church! Thou canst look on me as if I were already glorified with Thee. Thy love moves Thee to say, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair: Thou hast doves’ eyes.”—Song of Solomon 1:15