"Songs of Deliverance."

In leading our souls into an apprehension of His mind, God breaks up, so to speak, some great truth, that the Holy Ghost may select and apply the precise morsel suited to each one at any moment; or He may, and often does, epitomize a certain range of truth, that we may survey it all at a glance, and learn to classify and arrange its various points, and to judge of their mutual bearing. Psalm 32 in a very striking way presents a development of God's great salvation, though ranging in extent beyond the limits of what could have been then known to the psalmist (being thus prophetical) and bears the soul forward into blessings which, thank God, are now known as the fruit of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Generally, the first few verses of each psalm give the result reached through exercises such as are described in what follows. Hence, to consider the exercises of the godly soul in this psalm, we pass on to verse 5 and those following it, where we find:

1. "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee," etc. (v. 5.)

2. "Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin."

3. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time," etc. (v. 6.)

4. "Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him." (v. 6.)

5. "Thou art my hiding-place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble;" (v. 7.)

6. "Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance." (v. 7.)

7. "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." (v. 8.)

Thus we have confession, forgiveness (cp. 1 John 1:9), dependence, safety, peace, deliverance, and guidance.

In reviewing these several features of a soul's experience, not only is there, as we know, great joy attendant upon a knowledge of forgiveness - expressed by the psalmist: "Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven," etc. - but in the progress clearly implied in the above divinely-sketched series, joy doubtless accompanies the learning of every step. One must therefore in nowise conclude, as too many do, that when joy floods the soul as God's amazing love is first tasted, nothing more is to follow until heaven be reached. Vastly otherwise is it, as we have already seen, but very specially also in the point we wish now to treat of.

It will be observed that something is presented in connection with deliverance in the above series, which renders it quite exceptional. Up to that point not a word is said of God's feelings, though, as already mentioned, the soul itself is happy when the burden of guilt is removed. But here we read of His happiness: "Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance." God's joy gives character to the blessings vouchsafed in deliverance, though herein assuredly the soul too rejoices, yea, has a basis for comfort, rest, and joy, so perfect and inexpressible, that former experiences are swallowed up, and every consideration of self utterly demolished.

When one enquires how these things can be, it is, blessed be God, easy to find an answer in His unspeakable love and abounding grace. But great as is that love, it has its ways with us, and, amazing goodness! not until we reach the point at which He can rejoice over us "with singing" does He "rest in His love." (Zeph. 3:17.) This point we have already seen (Ps. 32) to be deliverance - that which the soul proves between verses 24, 25 of Romans 7. There, the upright soul, delighting in the law of God after the inward man (22), uses every effort to release itself from the grasp of sin unavailingly. He proves his utter weakness in the struggle. Then, having learned this, he looks away from himself, and cries for a deliverer. Not now for a work, but instinctively for a Person, whose dignity when perceived invests the work with its proper glory in the new apprehension of the redeemed soul. Such a Deliverer is now presented, established in a position and titles which manifest at once the dignity of His person, and the glory of His work - the Lord Jesus Christ. The lowly Jesus, dying in love, and in a glory but dimly seen through the thick darkness at Calvary by the kindling eye of an awakened soul, has been "made both LORD and CHRIST," in attestation of God's perfect satisfaction with the work in which He charged Himself with the deep responsibilities of our guilt and state. Not alone with our guilt, but with the condition of utter weakness for God, so lately proved (Rom. 7:24), with the dreadful strength for self-pleasing too, discussed in Rom. 6 He has charged Himself with all, only to make an end of it all, before the eye of a holy God, in a way that has brought eternal glory to Him, as we read, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." God has not lost by our sin; He has realized glory through it - by the way in which it has been put away. Blessed for ever be His name! And we learn this, to our joy and perfect rest, when we see where He has set our Saviour, as we further read, "If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him." The eye of faith is now and henceforth upon Him. He has become everything to the soul thus instructed in righteousness. Drawn out of self, it finds beauty, worth, acceptance before God - peace, comfort, and joy in Him alone. Communion with God is now realized; for now, as before the foundation of the world, the Son of His love is "daily His delight" - the Only-begotten of the Father. The Father too rejoices "with singing" over the soul thus introduced into the blessed liberty in which "CHRIST IS ALL," and rests in His love. J. K.