Two Songs and Their Solution.

Of the 150 Psalms two of the shortest are Psalm 131 and Psalm 133; but they are spiritual gems of the inspired word. Each is a song of degrees of David. In the first of them we see Christ; in the other His brethren.

Surely only He could say that He was without the pride of the natural heart; only He could disclaim every scornful look. None but Himself could court the gaze of the Searcher of hearts, saying, "Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty." What a lesson this for His saints. If ever there trod upon earth one in the form of our humanity who was entitled to carry a lofty mien, and to take in hand its great matters, it was He who voluntarily accepted the lowest place, and who said, "I am meek and lowly in heart;" the One who did neither strive nor cry, and whose voice was not heard in the streets! He made himself of no reputation, but took a bondsman's form, and humbled Himself therein unto absolute obedience, even unto death! What a study for every true disciple is His Nazariteship, and His emptying Himself for that deep, deep descent which none can measure but He, for none ever made it save Himself; that unequalled stoop from God's eternal throne down to the place and the circumstances of penury, suffering, and shame, entitling Him unaffectedly to say, "My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty."

Our first lesson then is one of lowliness; the second is separatedness. "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child." Again are we struck with the fitness of these words in His lips! How often, when we read this language, and much more of like import, we have to say, How true to the letter is all this of the eternal Son of the Father in His incarnate nature, God's lovely man upon earth! But when we ask our selves if it be equally descriptive of His disciples, our own hearts rebuke us, we are self-condemned, and have to confess with dismay that our following Him has been sadly like that of Peter - "afar off." But let us gaze with admiration upon Himself, and acknowledge in what divine perfection the Psalmist's utterance found its unqualified answer in the Lord Jesus! He who learned obedience by the things which He suffered also trod the path of practical separation - the unworldly One, the heavenly Stranger - who equally, amid attraction and distraction, behaved and quieted Himself "as a child that is weaned of his mother." The One who could truly say, as to experience, "My soul is even as a weaned child." It is indeed a beautiful lesson for faith; but again are we smitten with the conviction how imperfectly we have learned it! One who is really weaned, we must observe, is not simply cut off from nature's springs, but has lost all his former relish for them; and has acquired in its place a new-born taste for the more solid food that is adapted for growth and maturity. Must we not admit that most of us are little, if at all, beyond that cutting off from the world that which is of the earth earthy - which arises from the discovery that it is no longer allowable to us or consistent with the path of faith; but whose hearts linger over it, and whose appetite has never been eradicated? It is no little measure of attainment then, when neither cynically nor stoically, but solely because the heart is captive in glory with Christ, we pass by all that the world presents to the observing eye, the appreciative ear, the educated mind, the cultured taste - unattracted, unaffected, undetained! And doubtless more especially is that so in the case of those whose means enable, not to say permit, them to indulge and gratify what the most delicate and refined feeling alone seems so laudably to suggest. Thus how small the number of those who have positively turned away from nature's springs, having no longer any zest for her attractions, because of the excellence that has been found in that new and spiritual food by which Christ Himself is practically appropriated more and more by the soul; who, passing along the moving scenes of daily life, know how to refuse the worlds good equally with the world's evil; before whom its brightest things are lustreless and its gayest scenes joyless, because of "the glory of that light" which has eclipsed everything but itself, and closed our eyes to all but Him who is its centre and its source. It is these alone who can truthfully say

"This world is a wilderness wide!
I have nothing to seek or to choose;
I've no thought in the waste to abide;
I've nought to regret nor to lose."

Few indeed are they whose affections are so wrapped up with Himself that without hyperbole they can affirm

"'Tis the treasure I've found in His love
That has made me a pilgrim below."

Only such can fittingly use the language of our psalm, "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child!"

With manifest consistency there ensues confidence in the Lord, which is our third lesson. "Let Israel hope in Jehovah, from henceforth and for ever." Nothing is so conducive to confidingness in Jehovah as the being weaned from natural things. The heart is free then to turn to Him who is invisible, and confidence in Himself is engendered and increased. And who is our great exemplar in this, also, but that blessed One who, in the same hour in which He pronounced woes upon the guilty cities which had witnessed His mighty works, and the unbelief of which had made them a waste and a wilderness to Him, rejoiced in spirit as He turned His sorrowful eyes upward saying, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (the heaven of His glory and joy, and the earth of His shame and sorrow), "that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." Could there be a finer utterance or one of a deeper and more touching pathos? And how divinely does it exhibit Him as a child weaned from His mother (Israel and her cities) to find His meat in doing the will of Him that sent Him, and His peculiar joy in the revelation of His Father to the babes!

The fitting sequel we find in Psalm 133. The Spirit of God is there delineating the grace and the beauty of unity among saints, the brethren of Christ, a term applied both to the Church and to the remnant. (Compare Matt. 28:10 with Matt. 25:40.) The first verse embodies the proposition; the second and third yield suited illustrations. Nothing could be higher in moral beauty than the first of these. (v. 2.) The Spirit's unity is surely suggested; and the precious, holy anointing oil clearly prefigures the Holy Ghost Himself descending from the mitred head of the true Aaron (see Heb. 2:9) down to the very fringe of His garments. Nor is the illustration less appropriate than beautiful; for the saints should surely be to Christ as the flowing robes of His adorning, each having received the Holy Ghost - an unction from the Holy One - first poured out upon His person, and then having been a second time received by Him, descending from Him, the Head in Glory, upon the members of His body down to the very least. Nor is the closing verse less suggestive of the breadth of the stream by-and-by. When all His paths shall drop fatness! when the nation shall be united in Jehovah's land; when Israel and Judah shall dwell together as brethren; when, as the dew condensing on the mountain slopes of Hermon and of Zion, the Spirit shall be poured out from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isa. 32:15.) Then, and not till then, shall He see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied!

"Lord, haste that day of cloudless ray,
That prospect bright, unfailing;
Where God shall shine, in light divine,
In glory never fading."
W. Rickards. (D).

If we knew more of Christ's sympathies, the children of God might have more for one another. If full of sorrow yourself, go and sympathize with another, and your own will be gone.

The people of God should wait with the girdle and the lamp, which are the beautiful standing symbols of their calling, till the Lord appears - that is, with minds girt up unto holy separation from present things, and with hearts brightened up with the desire and expectation of coming things. J. G. Bellett.