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"Thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes." — Psalm 26:3

And it will be well to follow David, and to keep the loving-kindness of God before our eyes also. This should be done four ways.

First, as a subject of contemplation. The mind will be active, and it is our wisdom to regulate and sanctify our thoughts. Isaac went out into the field at eventide to meditate, and we may infer the nature of his reflections from his character. David said, My meditation of Him shall be sweet. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God; how great is the sum of them! People complain of the difficulty they feel in fixing their minds; but the duty would become easier by use, and surely they can never be at a loss for a theme. Let them take his loving-kindness and set it before their eyes. Let them observe it as it appears in the promises of his word; in the history of his Church; in their own experience. Let them pass from the instances of his loving-kindness to the qualities of it. Let them dwell upon its earliness, and fulness and extensiveness, and seasonableness, and constancy. "Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."

Secondly, as the source of encouragement. How often shall we need this! We shall feel our want of it under a sense of our guilt, and unworthiness, and continued imperfections; and nothing short of the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us by Christ Jesus, will be able to relieve us. But this will relieve us, and effectually succour us. It will give us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, and boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. And it will do all this without reconciling us to our sins, or even our infirmities; yea, it will make us lament our deficiencies the more, and grieve that we serve him so little, who loves us so much. We shall want it in our afflictions. And who can hope to escape these in a vale of tears? Now nothing is so desirable in our sufferings as to see, not only the hand, but the kindness of God in them. For often they look like the effects of his wrath, and we tremble under them, and cry, "Do not condemn me. I could bear these trials if I thought they were only the strokes of a Father's rod, and knew they were sent in love." And they are sent in love. They are only the strokes of a Father's rod, laid hold of with reluctance, and laid aside with pleasure.

Thirdly, as an excitement to praise. It is afflicting to think how little the loving-kindness of God is acknowledged by those who are constantly partaking of it. How lamentable, says Leighton, is it, that a world so full of God's mercy should be so empty of his glory. Oh, says David, again and again, Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Were there not ten lepers cleansed? But where are the nine? Did even Hezekiah render according to the benefits done him? And are we better than they? And whence is it that we feel so little the obligations we are under to the God of our mercies? Because the mercies of God are so little remarked and remembered by us. Nothing can impress us when it is out of our minds and thoughts. Therefore, says David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." At the moment when God appears for us, we are sensible of his goodness, and speak well of his Name; but, like the Jews, we soon forget his works, and the wonders which he has shown us. We inscribe our afflictions upon a rock, and the characters remain; we write our mercies in the sand of the seashore, and the first wave of trouble washes them out.

Lastly, we should keep his loving-kindness before our eyes as an example for imitation. The Scripture calls upon us to be followers of God as dear children. And in what are we to resemble him? His moral, and not his natural perfections. We may wish to resemble him in power and independence and to be as gods, knowing good and evil. But we are to be concerned to reverence Him, not as the greatest, but the best of beings; to be faithful as he is faithful; to be holy, as be is holy; to be patient, and forgiving, and kind, like himself. "I say unto you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Be ye therefore merciful, even as your Father which is in heaven is merciful.

You would do well to keep in view some of your fellow-creatures, who feel that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Think of a Howard, a Thornton, a Reynolds. But in Him the fatherless findeth mercy. God is love. We cannot equal him. But it is our happiness to resemble. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

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