Psalm 34:12
Who is the man who delights in life, who desires to see many good days?
Sermons
Keeping Guard Over One's WordsPsalm 34:12
Keeping the Tongue from EvilG. M. Mackie, M. A.Psalm 34:12
LifeH. P. Wright, B. A.Psalm 34:12
Long LifeW. Forsyth Psalm 34:12
The Elixir of LifePsalm 34:12
The Happiness of LifeDean Farrar.Psalm 34:12
The Pursuit of PeaceJ. W. Alexander.Psalm 34:12
The Way to a Happy LifeS. Freeman, M. A.Psalm 34:12
A Devout HymnHomilistPsalm 34:1-22
Blessing the LordJ. Bate.Psalm 34:1-22
Life's Experiences Turned to Manifold UsesC. Clemance Psalm 34:1-22
An Invitation to Participate in the Goodness of the LordSketches of Four Hundred SermonsPsalm 34:8-14
Experimental Evidence of God's GoodnessR. G. Porter.Psalm 34:8-14
Important ExhortationHomilistPsalm 34:8-14
Recreating the PalateJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 34:8-14
Religion Pleasant to the ReligiousJ. H. Newman, D. D.Psalm 34:8-14
Taste and SeeThomas Dale, M. A.Psalm 34:8-14
The Appeal to ExperimentA. T. Pierson, D. D.Psalm 34:8-14
The Goodness of GodR. Price, D. D.Psalm 34:8-14
The Invitation of the PsalmistW. Blood, M. A.Psalm 34:8-14
The Invitation to Enjoy the Goodness of GodW. Jay.Psalm 34:8-14
The Saint's Experience of the Divine GoodnessW. McCulloch.Psalm 34:8-14
Value of ExperienceHomiletic MonthlyPsalm 34:8-14
Children Urged to Hearken to Instruction and to Fear TheE. N. Kirk, M. A.Psalm 34:11-14
The Duty of Teaching Children the Fear of the LordE. Cooper.Psalm 34:11-14
The Roots of the Blessed LifeJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Psalm 34:11-14
The Secret and Blessings of a Happy LifeC. Short Psalm 34:11-22


We may learn here -

I. THAT THE DESIRE FOR LONG LIFE IS NATURAL TO MAN. There may be times, when, under the pressure of trial and weariness, we are ready to say, with Job," I would not live alway." But this is a temporary feeling. Our natural desire is to live, and to live long. This desire has been implanted by God, and works in many ways for good.

II. THAT LONG LIFE, WHEN SPENT IN THE SERVICE OF GOD, IS A GREAT BLESSING. We should desire life, not from fear of death, nor from the pain of parting with dear friends, but "to see good," and that we may do the more work for God. The present world, so far as we know, is the only one in which we can serve God by overcoming evil, and by patience under trial, and by converting sinners. Besides, the longer we live, the more good we can do to others, and the more we can glorify God. To glorify God by the service of our youth is good; to glorify him by the service of youth and manhood is better; but to glorify him by faithful service from first to last, through all stages of life, is best of all (Proverbs 16:21; Philippians 1:23-26; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). How different is it with the wicked! Prolonged life is to them a curse instead of a blessing. The more time, the more sin; the more sin, the more evil; till at last it might be said, "Would that he died early!" or, as of Judas," It had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24).

III. THAT LONG LIFE CAN BE BEST SECURED BY ATTENTION TO THE LAWS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. There is an intimate connection between the body and the soul. We may disregard the laws of health as to the body, and then we must suffer. The care of the body is as needful, in its place, as the care of the soul. The tendency of vice is undoubtedly to shorten life. How often does it happen, that young men, naturally possessed of good constitutions, bring on weakness and disease by dissolute living! On the other hand, the practice of self-denial and virtue is favourable to longevity. "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened" (Proverbs 10:2-7). The question of the psalmist meets a response in our hearts, "What man is he that desireth life. and his wise and fatherly counsel should find an echo in our lives, "Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it." The laws of health are largely studied in our days. We have Acts of Parliament on "Public Health," and much is done to promote the physical comfort and health of the people. This is good. It is of much advantage that the people, down to the poorest, should have pure air and wholesome food and favourable surroundings, and it is the duty of the Church, as well as the state, to look to these things. But more is needed. There must be proper education of the people. They must be taught, not only the care of the body, but the care of the soul. The only complete education is that which embraces the whole man - body and soul and spirit. We are only perfectly educated when we are taught of God, "that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:13). Longevity was not only a promise of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 4:40; Ecclesiastes 12:13), but it is a promise of the latter-day glory (Isaiah 65:20). - W.F.







What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Why is it we see man on all sides wearying himself in the effort to obtain this and that? It can only be because they imagine that these things will make them happy. But will they? Not so. Most men are hewing out cisterns, broken cisterns, which will field no water. The sad thing is, that men never seem to realize the accumulated experience of others. How many a man has made a lifelong trouble for himself by taking true for false, and false for true! There are small ambitions, remember, as well as large ones. A clerk or a labourer may be as ambitious, everybody may be as ambitious in his sphere, as a statesman or an author in his. I say nothing of meannesses to which men must often submit if they engage in that struggle; I say nothing of the free conscience sold, of the noble independence sacrificed, of the voice of protest silenced; nothing of the fact that fame, if it be anything like fame, will raise many a pang of envy in the breasts of others; I say nothing of the inevitable disappointment, of the disenchantments of fruition; nothing of the cup of success dashed away by death or by change at the very moment that our lips seem to touch it; the very best, and even the very best circumstances, the end gained, can give no real, no deep, no lasting satisfaction. But perhaps you belong to that much larger number of sensible, practical persons who do not think much of the empty bubbles of rank and fame; they want wealth, and what wealth brings. Now if the love of money were not a disease, if it were not the fruitful mother of vices, if it were not difficult for the rich man to be humble and heavenly, if the desire to gain were not a scourge, would Christ have said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," etc.? There is a tribe of North-American Indians who are said to eat clay: I declare to you they seem to me to do no more for the body than the slaves of wealth in Britain do for the hungry soul, If there is no danger in wealth, or rather in the love of wealth, and the exaltation of wealth, would St. Paul have said, "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition"? There is only one kind of wealth which has or can have true happiness. It is a wealth far less plentiful than gold; it is the treasure, not of earth, but laid up in heaven, — the wealth which is spent in works of mercy and forethought, and the wealth which is increased by the limitation of reigning desires. And, lastly, are there none of you, especially among young men and young women, who fancy that happiness is to be found neither in rank, nor in wealth, but in the thing they call pleasure? What voices of the dead shall I invoke to describe the emptiness of selfish desire? Shall it be his, the glass of fashion and the mould of form of the last century, Lord Chesterfield? He says, "I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know their value; but I by no means desire to repeat that nauseous potion for the sake of a fugitive dream." Or shall it be his, the great lyric poet, Heinrich Heine, who in the last eight years of his lingering life, "I am," he writes, "no longer brave, smiling, cheerful; I am only a poor death-sick and shadowy image of trouble — an unhappy man"? Enough: there is and can be no happiness in these things — ambition, money, unlawful pleasure. They are vanity; not only, alas, a mere vacuum, but a plenum of misery and wrong; not waterless clouds, but clouds that rain mildew; not empty cisterns, but cisterns full of poison and bitterness. If we want happiness at all, we must seek it everywhere, and everywhere it is of the heart.

(Dean Farrar.)

I. LIFE IS A SERIOUS THING. Many do not take it seriously. Their great object is to get through it pleasurably. They glide along the stream of time into the ocean of eternity without ever having realized that "life is real, life is earnest." It is a serious thing because —

1. It is the preparation-time for eternity. The time to seek and find in Christ the salvation of our souls.

2. It is the believer's working-time for God.

3. It is a time of conflict with evil.

II. LIFE IS ALSO A SOURCE OF JOY. Seriousness and joy are not incompatible, It is a serious thing to have the charge of a young life. Is it any the less a source of joy to have that precious charge committed to one? Life is a source of joy because —

1. God gives us innumerable blessings.

2. If we live it well it is a time of success. Even in this world God ever rewards His toilers with a sense of His presence and favour, and He often grants them true success.

3. Even here we may be conquerors in the conflict with evil through Him who loved us.

(H. P. Wright, B. A.)

I. To BRIDLE THE TONGUE. Innumerable evils grow from this root of bitterness.

1. Perjury.

2. Slander and calumny; the inventing evil things of men, and falsely imputing them to them; this injurious practice to others is apt to provoke the like usage from them again.

II. To DEPART FROM EVIL, AND DO GOOD.

1. The practice of virtue and religion is the natural cause of happiness. What can more highly conduce to the health of a man's body, to the vigour and activity of his mind, to the improving of his estate, to the flourishing of his reputation, to the honour and safeguard of his whole life, than this, his departing from evil and doing good? Virtue seldom fails of its reward in this world.

2. The practice of virtue and religion never fails to obtain the patronage and protection of Divine providence. Righteousness is the image of God; true goodness, wheresoever it is, is a beam derived from that fountain of light, which God cannot choose, if He loves Himself, but cherish and bless with a peculiar favour.

III. To SEEK PEACE, AND PURSUE IT.

1. What is to be done by us in order to peace?(1) A quiet and peaceable subjection to that government we live under.(2) That every man keep in that place and station Divine providence hath set him, and not venture to act out of his own sphere. Did every under-mariner in a storm leave the pump and his own particular charge to instruct the pilot, or every common soldier in time of battle quit his post to instruct his captain, what tumults and confusions would this breed!(3) A constant and conscientious adhering to the Church.(4) That laying aside all pride and passion and self-interest, we pursue after truth with purity and simplicity of intention.(5) That we bear with one another's weaknesses and infirmities (Colossians 3:13). Human nature is indispensably subject to blindness, impatience and levity, mightily prone to mistake and mis-behaviour; the nature of a man's soul is as far from infallibility as the constitution of his body is from immortality, and we can no more hope in all cases to be free from error and mistake, than we can at all times to be exempted from sickness and death. Now how reasonable is it that they should forgive, who so often themselves stand in need of forgiveness!(6) That we pray for peace. The lusts and passions of men are by the psalmist compared to the raging waves of the sea, and the same almighty Power that sets bounds to the one, must also quiet and restrain the other.

2. How great a blessing peace is, and how highly it tends to make our days many and good.(1) As it whets and excites diligence and industry in men's several callings, by giving them hopes of success in them.(2) As it gives men security in the enjoyment of their estates and possessions; in times of popular tumults the fears of losing what a man has creates him more trouble than the enjoyment gives him content.(3) As it affords the fittest opportunity for the practice of religion and virtue, and so conduces to the happiness of the future state as well as of this.

(S. Freeman, M. A.)

Rosenmuller, the celebrated sacred critic, quotes the following instructive anecdote from the book of Mussar: — "A certain person, travelling through the city, continually called out, 'Who wants the elixir of life?' The daughter of Rabbi Joda heard him, and told her father, who bade her call the man in. When the man entered, the Rabbi asked, 'What is the elixir of life which thou sellest?' He answered, 'Is it not written, "What man is he that loveth life, and desireth to see good days? let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile." This is the elixir of life, and is found in the mouth of man.'" The hero of this anecdote wisely says, "This is the elixir of life." The government of the tongue — consisting, of course, in a proper regulation of the passions — will do more both to sweeten life and to lengthen it, than all the medicines in the world. "The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison; it setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell." Most of the wars which desolate the earth, most of the tumults which afflict society, and many of the excitements which produce anxiety, sleeplessness, fever, and multitudinous disease, arise from rash, false, or malicious speaking. None but a Christian has this elixir, — no soul, but such as has been "created anew in Christ Jesus," can enchain the malignant passions, making them captive under a reign of holy love, and pour a balm of honeyed words into the wounds of his own or his neighbour's miseries. "The tongue can no man tame." God alone can achieve the deed. Whoever would find "the elixir of life," must seek it in that Heavenly Physician's laboratory, who "healeth all our diseases," who "satisfieth our mouth with good things," and who "reneweth our youth like the eagle's."

Keep thy tongue from evil.
1. There are different ways of sinning with the tongue. Our words may be —(1) Exaggerated. It is easy to make light of the common expressions, "terrible, awful," and the like; but they are on the road to sin, and betray a tendency to make more of things than they deserve, which is at bottom self-conceit.(2) Insincere. Saying pleasant things without meaning them — the wrong and sinful side of politeness.(3) Malicious. Speaking falsely about a person so as to hurt him.(4) Profane. The use of vulgar and blasphemous words which young people adopt as a sign of manly independence. And that often goes further, and becomes filthy and immoral.

2. The tongue may be kept:(1) By keeping the heart right.(2) By persistent effort to break a bad habit.(3) By the choice of good friends.(4) By prayer.

(G. M. Mackie, M. A.)

The Chinese have a proverb we shall do well to remember: "A word rashly spoken cannot be brought back by a chariot and four horses." The Hindoos have a similar one: "Of thy unspoken word thou art master, thy spoken word is master of thee;" and many a heartache is caused in this world of ours by the passionate utterance of the hasty and the unkind word. Let us remember the adage trite and true: "Speech is silvern, silence is golden;" and, if we cannot speak gently, let us try not to speak at all.

Seek peace, and pursue it.
The more a man advances in piety the more his inward tranquillity ought to increase. The day grows calmer as the sun draws near its setting.

(J. W. Alexander.)

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