Psalm 90:4

Note -

I. THE GROUND OF THIS ESTIMATE. It is the eternity of God. He who is from everlasting to everlasting - God, the Eternal. There never was a period in which he was not. He is more permanent than the most changeless things.

1. History teaches us this. Push back so far as we can into the remote past, there we find the sure proof of the Divine existence and work.

2. Science teaches it yet more powerfully. Whether we investigate the old rocks beneath our feet, or gaze upon the stars on high, both alike tell of vast ages, millenniums upon millenniums, in which they have had their being, and alike they proclaim God.

3. Revelation affirms the same.

II. ITS REASONABLENESS. Human analogies help us here. For our ideas of time are:

1. According to our own length of life. To short-lived creatures, such as the insects, a day appears a vast stretch of time; but to us, the days of whose years are three score years and ten, and perhaps four score years, a day is scarcely any time at all. We think a great deal of half a century, but what would one like Methuselah have thought of it? Only an insignificant fraction of his life, not needing to be much counted of. The angels of God also, what are our centuries to them? Above all, God the Eternal, how could it be otherwise than that a thousand years should be to him as one day?

2. According to the magnitude and multiplicity of those matters which demand and occupy our attention. There are people who live in very limited spheres, and who have scarcely anything to do - the idle rich, and many more. Their one idea is how to kill time; they hardly know how to get through it - their days are miserably long. But take the man of affairs, who has large responsibilities resting upon him, the statesman, the merchant, the governor of wide areas and of great numbers of men; - these have so much to attend to that the days are all too short and too few, and are gone long before they can accomplish what they have to do. Apply this to the idea of God. How vast his dominion! how infinite the demands upon his thought and energy! To him, therefore, a thousand years would be as one day.

3. Happiness or misery also cannot but affect our estimate of time. The sufferer tossed with pain, the prisoner in his dungeon, the exile, the miserable ones of all kinds, - how long, how wearisome, are their days (Job 7:4; Psalm 130:6; Luke 16:23-25)! On the other hand, the happy ones, - how time flies with them! And God is the blessed God - "the blessed and only Potentate." All that. can contribute to his joy is present to him increasingly; the evil that exists is but the evolution of good. Why should he not be blessed? Our sad days of pain, therefore, which seem to us like a thousand years, he knows not, but only the joy which reverses such estimate of time.

III. ITS BENEFICENT REMINDERS. All truths of Scripture have practical bearings, and this one assuredly has.

1. It deepens in us the spirit of holy reverence. (Psalm 8:3, 4.)

2. It loosens the power of this world over us. What poor things are all the world's gifts, when seen in the light of God the Eternal!

3. It bids us be patient, and not fret ourselves at the seemingly slow progress of good.

4. It ministers unspeakable consolation. We die, and leave our loved ones and our work; but God ever liveth, and they are in his charge. - S.C.

For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
1. Let us set this truth before our minds: that which seems a long season to man seems a very brief season to God.(1) God has lived for ever. Farther back than our strongest thought can travel, farther back than our swiftest wing or fancy can fly, and there our God was. As a drop in the boundless ocean, so is a cycle of a thousand years in the view of Him who is alike without beginning of days and end of years.(2) If God estimates the years by the magnitude of His empire, by the multiplicity of His cares, by the wide sweep of His eternal purposes, then no wonder that with God a "thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past."(3) Our Father in Heaven has an unspeakable blessedness. He is infinitely wise, holy, and good. He is love. "His tender mercies are over all His works." He tastes for ever the perfect joy of creating bliss, and conferring it upon others.

2. I proceed to point out the practical uses of this truth.(1) It helps our deep awe and holy reverence. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, as surely as love to God is the very summit of perfection.(2) One way of keeping the world in its proper subordinate place is to more frequently fasten our attention on these subjects, — the power and grandeur of God, the eternity of His being, the perfection of His character, the boundlessness of His empire. These things have power to lift our minds on high.(3) Lastly and chiefly: the practical use of this text is to strengthen our patience, and to cherish in us the assurance that, however long delayed, the purposes of God will be accomplished, the promises of God will be fulfilled.

(C. Vince.)

With the Deity, such a vast existence indicates only vast events. And these events must necessarily assume the form of a progress in which the present shall become the cause of the morrow, for any other method would either make eternity a monotone, or else a reckless succession like the results of chance, the throwing of dice, or the forms assumed in the kaleidoscope. In ages and centuries where the mind has become aroused into that action which is called civilization, it is utterly impossible to believe in God except as being the Supreme Activity. Assuming, then, this Divine activity, we may the more readily assert that the endless events of this God will assume the form of a progress. This assumption of a universal law is justified by the fact proclaimed in many special laws. The acorn passes to leaf, to twig, to bush, to sapling, to tree, to the great monarch of the forest. In its long life each year is a progress, each day being the cause in part of the next day. Its second year so multiplies the leaves that they breathe in a double quantity of air in behalf of the third year, and the roots of the second year so redouble the nutriment on hand that they also order an advance of the whole plant for the next springtime. All that we see around us in the organic form is acting under a law of progress, hence it does not seem hasty if we conclude that all the events coming from the Divine activity are occurring in the form of a progression, the present being a result of the past and a cause of the future. If, as we all believe, man is an image of the Creator, we may read in the human mind a confirmation of the idea that God is expressing Himself in a continuous series of events, for in such a career only does man, God's image, find happiness. The idea that God once acted should be crowded out by the idea that He is now acting. The world is a chain in which all the links are equally valuable, because each one is an inseparable part — a part without which there is no value in the chain. Hence you stand as much in the presence of God to-day as stood the earth when God was planting the Garden of Eden for the first sons of man. It may be that the external world, with all its forms and laws, is nothing else than the spiritual God, expressing Himself in visible and audible and tangible forms, in order that our souls may possess some outward revelation of the Deity. The light that makes myriads of colours, the sound that is divided up into music, the height and depth that are emblems to us of infinity, the grandeur of the "star depths," and the millions of years consumed in their orbits, may be the only ladders upon which our humble feet can climb to any belief in a God. The laws of the universe, instead of concealing a God, do reveal Him, for they are the footprints of One whose form cannot otherwise be traced As the delicate wire of Franklin revealed an agency of which he had only dreamed — as it became a Jacob's ladder upon which the invisible angels came down from the clouds — so the whole material world must be concluded as the path where God bursts from His invisible spirit-life out upon the sight of His children. Hence the laws of Nature are not indications that there is no God, or that there once was, but they are the places and the times when and where this Creator continually confesses His presence. The "thousand-year" day of God seems to argue that His children will not be limited to the earthly mornings and evenings, but will rise to where they can, like their Heavenly Father, see the past and the present, rise to where the love and memory dimmed by a few years have many returns to the souls torn asunder in this vale. If in God's sight the children of earth stand near together, so that Paul and Wesley mingle their eloquence, and Magdalen and Guyon mingle their love, and Lovejoy and Lincoln their liberty and blood, then this "thousand-year" day which so mingles things separated on earth should be man's day also beyond the tomb, that there, in blest companionship, souls may meet which toiled here for one end, but who never saw the faces about to follow them, nor saw the golden harvest destined to spring from their blood and tears. If to God the graves of Paul and Fenelon, of Magdalen and the Dairyman's Daughter, of Lovejoy and Wiberforce, are all close together; under the same flowers and same Divine presence, there should be a realm beyond where those sleeping souls should wake to consciousness of their blended lives.

(D. Swing.)

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