Psalm 119:55
In the night, O LORD, I remember Your name, and I will keep Your law.
Sermons
Characteristics of the Word of God as Declared by the Various Names Given to it in This PsalmS. Conway Psalm 119:1-176
Introductory to Whole PsalmS. Conway Psalm 119:1-176
Songs in the NightS. Conway Psalm 119:49-56
In the Night SeasonArthur Ritchie.Psalm 119:55-56
The Effect of Keeping God's LawH. Melvill, B. D.Psalm 119:55-56
ThoughtHomilistPsalm 119:55-56
Thy statutes have been my songs. "When the Eastern traveler takes shelter from the scorching heat of noon, or halts for the night in some inn or caravansary, which is for the time the house of his pilgrimage, he takes the sackbut or the lyre, and soothes his rest with a song - a song, it may be, of war, romance, or love. But the poet of Israel finds his theme in the statutes of Jehovah. "These have been my pastime, with these I have refreshed my resting hours by the way, and cheered myself onward through the wearisome journey and across the scorching deserts of life. Not songs of old tradition, not ballads of war, or wine, or love, have supported me; but I have sung of God's commandments, and these have been the solace of my weary hours, the comfort of my rest." What is striking in this expression of the psalmist is that he makes his obligations appear as if they were, what he sincerely esteems them to be, his privilege. Here is surely an unusual thing; the man is glad to be placed under restraint, only it must be clearly seen that it is Divine restraint. "Let me fall into the hands of God, and not into the hands of man."

I. A GOOD MAN'S SONGS BEAR THEIR OWN PECULIAR STAMP. Song is the relief of life; but it is one of the most genuine expressions of life. It may be said that a man can be judged by the songs that he loves to sing or to hear sung.

1. The good man always wants to sing. Joy is one of the necessary constituents of goodness.

2. The good man wants the singing to match himself. And since his joy is in God, his singing must be about God.

3. The good man's supreme concern is loyalty and duty, and therefore his songs are about the statutes by which duty is controlled.

II. A GOOD MAN'S SONGS ARE THE EVIDENCE OF HIS GOODNESS. They surprise his fellow-men, who wonder how he can find rest and pleasure in what seems to them so dull. He could not but for that vital change through which he has passed, which we recognize in calling him "a good man."

"I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share."

1. The delight in vulgar and comic songs evidences the low, uncultured man.

2. The delight in high-class music evidences the educated taste.

3. The delight in songs whose interest lies in their religious tone and suggestion rather than in their music, evidences the renewed man. The delight in songs that encourage and inspire obedience evidences a noble sense of the Divine obligations and responsibilities that rest on human life. - R.T.







I have remembered Thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept Thy law.
Homilist.
It is the glory of man that he can think. We conquer Nature by thought. Thought has stretched out its hand, reached the clouds, caught the lightning, made it stand quivering at our side, ready to waft through rocks and oceans our messages to the ends of the earth. Still more, thought can create new universes. Thought gave Milton his paradise, and Dante his hell. Thank God for the power of thought!

I. A GRAND SUBJECT for thought. God's name is Himself; and what is He? The Infinitely Wise, Good, Holy, and Mighty One, the Cause, Means, and End of all things in the universe but sin, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the most quickening, the most invigorating, and the most ennobling Subject of thought. By thinking on Him we rise to the true ideal of being, and in no other way.

II. A FINE SEASON for thought.

1. Night is the season of quietude.

2. Night is the season of solemnity.

3. Night is the season of reality. Thoughts that come to us in the night seem far more real than those that come in the day. It is the season when the material gives way to the spiritual.

III. A NOBLE RESULT of thought. The highest and the only true end of thought is to lift us into conformity with the Divine will. Thought upon Him will stamp us with His image and bear us into His presence, where there is "fulness of joy."

(Homilist.)

I. THE KEEPING GOD'S LAW PROMOTED BY REMEMBERING GOD'S NAME. The name of God includes all the attributes of God. If, for instance, I remember the attributes of God, I must remember amongst them a power before which every created thing must do homage, which hath called into existence whatever moves in the circuits of the universe, and which might in an instant reduce into nothing all that arose at its summons; and if I couple with the memory of this Power the thought that the undying principle which I carry within me must become hereafter an organ of infinite pleasure or of infinite pain, subject as it will be to the irreversible allotments of this Power, what is there which can more nerve me to the work of obedience than the remembering God's name? For does it not necessarily involve the remembering, that to disobey is to arm against myself throughout eternity a Might before which all creation must bend? And if this be sound reasoning when applied to the power of God, it will equally hold good when justice is the attribute remembered. Let us suppose a man to have mused in the night on the justice of the Creator, so that there shall have passed before him all the instruments of retribution, and he shall not be able to cheat himself with those false delusions which at other times have been woven out of the idea of uncovenanted mercies — will the morning find him as reckless as before, as determined to pursue a course that must end in death? The direct and distinct tendency of the remembrance is to the producing obedience; and therefore in regard of justice, as well as of power, the remembering God's name stands closely connected with the keeping of God's law.

II. THE KEEPING THE LAW REWARDED BY KEEPING THE LAW. "I have kept Thy law. This I had because I kept Thy precepts." Now, we do not doubt that there is given to every true Christian just that portion of grace which is requisite for the duties appointed him of God. But although without the grace nothing can be done, and with the grace all may be done, it does not follow that because the grace is bestowed the work will be accomplished. Two men may receive the same portion of grace, just as two servants may receive the same number of talents. There may be industry in the one, and watchfulness, and earnestness; in the other there may be comparative indolence, and remissness, and carelessness. What shall be the consequence? The one improves God's gift, and therefore grows in grace; the other neglects God's gift, and either therefore he is stationary, or he goes back. Grace emanates wholly from God; but, nevertheless, growth in grace depends much upon man. Obedience is like faith — it gathers strength as it goes. We know, indeed, and we tell you again and again, that whatever strength we have in spiritual things comes wholly from God; but a man may be idle, though he may be strong, and a Christian may be remiss, though he have grace. If we do not "stir up the gift of God which is in us," we shall drag on languidly and heavily along the path of life, scarce conscious of any of our privileges, harassed continually by doubts and conjecture, surrounded by a darkness which shall perplex and confound us. You are bidden by St. Peter to give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. We must: "run not as uncertain," and we must "fight, not as one that beateth the air"; out of those efforts of obedience shall evidence continually spring of our acceptance with 'God; with greater and greater clearness shall we read our title to mansions in the skies; we shall be happier, and fuller of confidence, and more assured of an entrance at death into everlasting glory. Tell me, then, whether it will not be true, that there is a reward in obedience, and that this reward consists in further obedience; and all according to the experience of the psalmist — "I have remembered Thy name, O Lord," etc.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

There is a widespread belief that the powers of evil are especially alert and mischievous during the night hours; that is that the darkness is peculiarly the sphere of malignant spirits, whose realm is the outer darkness of the universe, and whose present occupation is to tempt mankind and do all they can to frustrate the coming of the kingdom of universal righteousness, into which they can never enter.

I. IT IS REASONABLE FOR US TO ASSOCIATE THE NIGHT HOURS WITH THE POWERS OF EVIL.

1. The psalmist points out how the wild beasts move about in the dark seeking their prey, and return to lie down in their dens at the day-break. They are the figure and type of evil spirits who go forth especially at night to persuade men to sin.

2. Temptations come to many people more strongly and seductively at night than in their waking hours.

3. Under the cover of the night men commit many crimes. The darkness is friendly to their misdeeds.

II. THE PSALMIST IN MANY PLACES TELLS OF HIS DEVOTIONS IN THE HOURS OF THE NIGHT. Every night he waters his couch with his tears. In the night he communes with his own heart and searches out his spirit. At midnight he rises to give thanks for God's goodness. One might multiply the illustrations, and in every case find this spiritual thought appropriate to them, that by availing oneself of the night hours for prayer, meditation and penitential self-communing, one carries the soul-warfare into the enemy's country, as it were.

III. THE NIGHT SEASON IS A TYPE OF THOSE TIMES OF DESOLATION, OF MELANCHOLY AND LONELINESS WHICH ALL HAVE SOMETIMES TO ENDURE. And it is the way in which we bear ourselves in such circumstances which declares the power and reality of our Christian faith.

1. The seasons of sorrow and of despondency are for the most of us veritable night seasons, hours of darkness. And it may be there are more of them than there are periods of sunshine. What then is our conduct in these night seasons?

2. The night season of sin. The only things which our Lord requires for the full pardon of human guilt are honest penitent confession, and genuine effort to amend.

3. The night of isolation, loneliness, it may be of old age, with loss of friends and of such as have taken interest in us hitherto.

4. The night season is the hour of death. What is to be one's solace in the hour of his passing? The thinking upon the name, the holy name of the Redeemer of our souls.

(Arthur Ritchie.)

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