(From the book ‘‘ by Susannah Spurgeon)
“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me.” Psalm 50:23
“The time of the singing of birds is come,” and from early morning until the sun sets, their sweet notes are a constant reminder of the duty and delight of thanksgiving. Out of the joy of their hearts they trill forth their gladness for the sunshine, and the opening flowers, and the unfolding leaves; and I have heard the same tender song when the rain has fallen, and cold winds have blown, and dark clouds have swept across the sky. Many a time have the birds in the garden sung a lesson in my listening ears, and rebuked my dullness or my unbelief, by their gleeful carolings.
Ah! dear friends, some of us do not praise our God half enough. We “raise an Ebenezer” now and then; but we pitifully fail to obey the command. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Yet, how much we have to bless Him for, and what sweet encouragement is given to our gratitude by His assurance, “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me!” How often are we told, in His Word, that He takes delight in our thanksgivings and songs! The praise we render is dearer to Him than that of angels—for they cannot bless Him for redeeming love, for pardoned sin, and the blessed hope of resurrection glory.
Oh! is it not to the eternal praise of a covenant-keeping God, that poor pilgrims, wandering through a wilderness, and having to wage constant war with the world, the flesh, and the devil, should yet be enabled to sing gloriously, as they put their enemies to flight, and overcome by the blood of the Lamb? It is the overcoming ones who learn to praise. The fingers which can most adroitly use the sword, are the most skillful in touching the harp. Each time God gives us the victory over sin, we learn a new song with which to laud and bless His holy Name.
Does it not make your heart leap to know that your Lord takes pleasure in your praise? In His ears are ever sounding the eternal symphonies of the universe—that majestic chorus which began “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy;” but He turns from these to you, and with infinite tenderness and love, bends to listen to the grateful songs of His redeemed ones, as they bless Him for all His benefits.
The feeble notes uttered on earth by a truly thankful and sanctified heart must, I think, swell into anthems of glorious melody as they rise to the throne of God!
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You have heard of the man who made such a notable change of residence, from “Grumble Corner” to “Thanksgiving Street,” that the result was, his friends scarcely knew him, for—
“His face had lost the look of care,
And the ugly frown it used to wear.”
Without presuming that a need exists for any of my dear readers to remove from their present habitation, it is laid on my heart to remind them of the joy of thanksgiving, and to say, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together!” What a God-honoring employment it is, to “offer the sacrifice of praise continually!” We are constantly praying for one thing or another, often selfishly spending our breath in a long catalogue of our own needs and desires; but our thanks to our gracious God are soon told out, and our praises form but a small part of our devotions.
This is not as it should be—and not as God would have it. To enrobe ourselves daily in “the garment of praise,” is not only to secure our own happiness, but to fulfill the blessed service of “glorifying God.” Prayer is good, but praise is better. Praise is—prayer in richest fruitfulness, prayer in highest spirituality, prayer in nearest approach to Heaven. Prayer is the language of earth, praise is the native-tongue of the angels. Gratitude to God is not cultivated in our lips and lives, as it ought to be. Each moment of mercy should strike a note of praise as it passes, and then our days would be one long-continued psalm. Praise has power to lift the soul above all care as if on wings.
Sometimes, when we feel cold and lifeless, and supplications languish on our tongues, a prelude of praise will awaken the heart’s inmost music, and move it to pour forth its tenderest melody. We are too prone to take our daily blessings and mercies as rights, instead of receiving them as undeserved gifts of “free grace and dying love,” and then returning to our gracious God the full measure of loving gratitude of which our poor hearts are capable. If, in looking back but a day, we fail to count the loving-kindnesses with which its minutes have been laden, how must the retrospect of a lifetime overwhelm us with its weight of indebtedness to the Lord, and also, alas! with a sense of our guilty unmindfulness of “all His benefits!”
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As this is a “personal note”, I may be allowed to tell you that, in my deep and increasing loneliness, I still find sweetest comfort in praising God for His will concerning my beloved and myself, and have even been able to thank Him for taking His dear servant from this sorrowful land of sin and darkness—to the bliss and glory of His eternal presence. Fixing my heart on the blessed fact that what the Lord does is right and best, simply because He does it, I feel the anchor hold in the depths of His love—and no tempest is powerful enough to drive faith’s barque from these moorings. It can outride any storm with anchorage in such a haven. Many a time, when the weight of my dreadful loss seemed as if it must crush me, it has been lifted by the remembrance that, in Heaven, my dear one is now perfectly praising his Lord; and that, if I can sing, too, I shall even here on earth be joining him in holy service and acceptable worship.
How many of you, dear readers, will be “chief singers” unto our God, and resolve that, henceforth, His praise shall be continually in your mouth? Let us, each one, say to the Lord, with good Isaac Watts—
“Long as I live, I’ll bless Your Name,
My King, my God of love;
My work and joy shall be the same,
In the bright world above.”