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“Other Psalms have been mere lakes, but this is the main ocean” by Charles Spurgeon

“I have been all the longer over this portion of my task because I have been bewildered in the expanse of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm, which makes up the bulk of this volume. Its dimensions and its depth alike overcame me.

It spread itself out before me like a vast, rolling prairie, to which I could see no bound, and this alone created a feeling of dismay. Its expanse was unbroken by a bluff or headland, and hence it threatened a monotonous task, although the fear has not been realized.

This marvelous poem seemed to me a great sea of holy teaching, moving, in its many verses, wave upon wave; altogether without an island of special and remarkable statement to break it up.

I confess I hesitated to launch upon it. Other Psalms have been mere lakes, but this is the main ocean. It is a continent of sacred thought, every inch of which is fertile as the garden of the Lord: it is an amazing level of abundance, a mighty stretch of harvest-fields.

I have now crossed the great plain for myself, but not without persevering, and, I will add, pleasurable, toil. Several great authors have traversed this region and left their tracks behind them, and so far the journey has been all the easier for me; but yet to me and to my helpers it has been no mean feat of patient authorship and research.

This great Psalm is a book in itself: instead of being one among many Psalms, it is worthy to be set forth by itself as a poem of surpassing excellence.

Those who have never studied it may pronounce it commonplace, and complain of its repetitions; but to the thoughtful student it is like the great deep, full, so as never to be measured; and varied, so as never to weary the eye.

Its depth is as great as its length; it is mystery, not set forth as mystery, but concealed beneath the simplest statements.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 111-119, Volume 5 (London: Marshall Brothers, 1882), 5: v.

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“They knew the whole Psalter by heart” by Charles Spurgeon

“The Book of Psalms has been a royal banquet to me, and in feasting upon its contents I have seemed to eat angels’ food. It is no wonder that old writers should call it,—the school of patience, the soul’s soliloquies, the little Bible, the anatomy of conscience, the rose garden, the pearl island, and the like.

It is the Paradise of devotion, the Holy Land of poetry, the heart of Scripture, the map of experience, and the tongue of saints. It is the spokesman of feelings which else had found no utterance.

Does it not say just what we wished to say? Are not its prayers and praises exactly such as our hearts delight in?

No man needs better company than the Psalms; therein he may read and commune with friends human and divine; friends who know the heart of man towards God and the heart of God towards man; friends who perfectly sympathize with us and our sorrows, friends who never betray or forsake.

Oh, to be shut up in a cave with David, with no other occupation but to hear him sing, and to sing with him! Well might a Christian monarch lay aside his crown for such enjoyment, and a believing pauper find a crown in such felicity.

It is to be feared that the Psalms are by no means so prized as in earlier ages of the Church. Time was when the Psalms were not only rehearsed in all the churches from day to day, but they were so universally sung that the common people knew them, even if they did not know the letters in which they were written.

Time was when bishops would ordain no man to the ministry unless he knew ‘David’ from end to end, and could repeat each Psalm correctly; even Councils of the Church have decreed that none should hold ecclesiastical office unless they knew the whole Psalter by heart.

Other practices of those ages had better be forgotten, but to this memory accords an honourable record. Then, as Jerome tells us, the labourer, while he held the plough, sang Hallelujah; the tired reaper refreshed himself with the Psalms, and the vinedresser, while trimming the vines with his curved hook, sang something of David.

He tells us that in his part of the world, Psalms were the Christian’s ballads; could they have had better? They were the love-songs of the people of God; could any others be so pure and heavenly?

These sacred hymns express all modes of holy feeling; they are fit both for childhood and old age; they furnish maxims for the entrance of life, and serve as watchwords at the gates of death.

The battle of life, the repose of the Sabbath, the ward of the hospital, the guest-chamber of the mansion the church, the oratory, yea, even heaven itself may be entered with Psalms.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 111-119, Volume 5 (London: Marshall Brothers, 1882), 5: vi–vii.

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“He never speaks in vain” by Charles Spurgeon

“‘And in His word do I hope.’ This is the source, strength, and sweetness of waiting. Those who do not hope cannot wait. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. God’s word is a true word, but at times it tarries.

If ours is true faith it will wait the Lord’s time. A word from the Lord is as bread to the soul of the believer; and, refreshed thereby, it holds out through the night of sorrow expecting the dawn of deliverance and delight.

Waiting, we study the word, believe the word, hope in the word, and live on the word and all because it is His word—the word of Him who never speaks in vain. Jehovah’s word is a firm ground for a waiting soul to rest upon.”

–Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David: A Commentary on the Psalms, 3 Vol. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988), 3:120.

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“A holy regard of God” by Charles Spurgeon

“Free, full, sovereign pardon is in the hand of the great King. It is His prerogative to forgive, and He delights to exercise it.

Because His nature is mercy, and because He has provided a sacrifice for sin, therefore forgiveness is with Him for all that come to Him confessing their sins.

The power of pardon is permanently resident with God. He has forgiveness ready to His hand at this instant. ‘But there is forgiveness with Thee that Thou mayest be feared.’ This is the fruitful root of piety.

None fear the Lord like those who have experienced His forgiving love. Gratitude for pardon produces far more fear and reverence of God than all the dread which is inspired by punishment.

If the Lord were to execute justice upon all, there would be none left to fear Him. If all were under apprehension of His deserved wrath, despair would harden them against fearing Him.

It is grace which leads the way to a holy regard of God, and a fear of grieving Him.”

–Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David: A Commentary on the Psalms, 3 Vol. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988), 3:119.

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