"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him." Psalm 92:15

The Psalm from which these words are taken is entitled "A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day." It is also supposed to have been a Temple song: that, from the reference to the instrumental music of the Temple—"the instrument of ten strings, the psaltery, the harp"—it may probably have been intended to be used for the public service of the sanctuary. Nor was this use to be on Sabbath only. From verse 2, it has been further surmised that the psalm may have been employed at the daily offering of the morning and evening sacrifice—"To proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night." Remembering, moreover, in connection with the name of this Volume, how the Temple was decorated with palm as well as cedar (the palm, as previously noted, chiseled by the engravers are all round the sacred walls, interlaced with open flower-work and cherubic figures, while the doors and roof were from the forests of Lebanon), how natural that these two trees should be taken to symbolize the character of the acceptable and accepted worshiper (ver. 12).

It may well be designated, from its whole scope, 'the Psalm of old age.' The writer seems to delight in rehearsing the experiences of a bygone happy, because holy life. He compares, as we have just said, the true Believer—"the Righteous man"—to the gracefulness and beauty of an Elim-palm, combined with the strength and indestructible vigor of a Lebanon cedar. Not like the trees of many an earthly forest, whose bared tops proclaim that they have outlived their best, and that they are only the ghostly memorials of what once they were; these spiritual trees of the Lord's planting are "full of sap." They know no infirmity, no decay—"They still bring forth fruit in old age" (ver. 14).

Old age without true religion is the saddest of experiences—gathering up the faded flowers of pleasure; attempting to drain the exhausted bowl, or to extract honey from the empty comb. Nothing, on the other hand, is so attractive and lovely as the closing life of a true Christian—an old veteran warrior about to sheathe his sword and pass to his crown. How calm, and tranquil, and subdued! Like wine mellowed by years; or like the decaying, ivy-encircled ruin—grandest in its decay! His outward man may be perishing, but his inward man is renewed day by day. His life is hid with Christ in God—his roots are moored in the Rock of Ages. Lessons of tribulation have wrought patience. Christ becomes more and more precious. Heaven has more of the aspect and association of home. Gleams of its glory come flashing on the aged countenance, as the rising sun tips the mountain-top before it has reached the horizon. Oh, the gray head is indeed "a crown of glory" when thus "found in the way of righteousness;" and when death does come—the stern Reaper with his sickle—it is only to fall like a shock of corn in its season, fully ripe!

Beautiful, too (what our motto-verse may be regarded as embodying), is the dying testimony of such—"The Lord is upright." This is the end of their 'planting' and 'growing' and 'flourishing' (verses 13, 14). The sweet singer, in this last note of praise, repeats the opening stanza, testifying, morning and evening, to Jehovah's faithfulness. The palm-tree waves its joyous tribute by the side of the Elim springs. The cedar, as it battles with the storm on high Lebanon, wafts it on the breath of the tempest. It is a testimony to God's unchanging faithfulness to His covenant promises, and that, too, amid all diversities of rank and age and circumstance. Palms of the lowly valley, cedars of the lofty mountain—rich and poor, young and old, learned and unlearned—are ready to witness that the Lord has proved Himself 'upright,' and that not one of His declarations have failed. He has made the shoes of His people "iron and brass," and to the very close of the wilderness journey "as their days, so shall their strength be" (Deut. 33:25).

The writer finally adds his own subscription and personal experience to all he has just said. He has been painting no hypothetical picture—describing no mere poetic dream. He is himself ready, with the closing harp-strain, to endorse all his utterances of sober prosaic truth—that the righteous is the happy, joyous, God-protected man he has described him to be. "He is my rock," he adds, "and there is no wickedness in Him." I have tried Him, and He is all He said, and all He promised. "He is my rock." As a rock I have built on Him, as a rock I have stretched myself under His shadow—"O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him."

It reminds us of the close of some of Paul's Epistles—"The salutation of I, Paul, written in my own hand." That blind Apostle-prisoner seems to have employed a secretary to take down at his dictation the rest of his letter. But he cannot refrain tracing upon the parchment the closing salutation or postscript, in his own autograph, thus to seal and ratify all that had been written. So it is here. "He is my rock." Witness my signature. I have tested His faithfulness; I now firmly rely upon it. I warble this farewell attestation "on the harp with solemn sound"—with earnest soul-musing, as it means—not only, as has been said, "with harp-strings, but heart-strings." "I believe, therefore have I spoken."

Delightful and precious are such old age and deathbed testimonies as these to the sustaining grace of God. The world of unrealities is at an end then. The gold is separated from the alloy. We see the real strength of the vessel when left to itself to grapple with the hurricane—in other words, the power of Gospel truth and religious principle. The noblest and most convincing of all Christian evidences is to lead the skeptic to a dying couch, and there, amid weakness and depression (it may even be racking pain,) to let him hear prayer mingling with praise—the alternate breathings of submission and thankfulness, arising from the consciousness of the presence of a gracious though unseen Savior, and the quickening anticipations of an opening heaven!

Can that sustaining Gospel be a lie? Can that dying 'grace' be an illusion? Can that Redeemer—that Being who seems to be clung to almost as a near and loving friend—be nothing but a myth or phantom of the brain? When the feeble lips are proclaiming, "He is my rock," are they mistaking for a solid footing what is like the desert mirage or the shifting sand? No. The Rock of Ages is a sublime reality. That aged believer has clung to Jesus as an Almighty Savior on earth. He has loved Him, prayed to Him, praised Him, committed his eternal all to Him; and now the music of that same Name refreshes his soul in death. "He is my rock." Oh, that such may be our testimony! Sitting calmly under the Beloved's shadow, when the day is about to break, and all other shadows to flee forever away—"Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!"

"When I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyelids close in death;
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."

"A Man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land."

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