15 Oh that men would praise Yahweh for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
...the intense desire is expressed that men would open their eyes to the discernment of the greatness, and their mouths in praise of the goodness to which there is no weariness or end. Is not this rooted in the deepest reason? Men do praise things. It is going on every day. They praise beautiful workmanship, they praise disinterested actions; they praise noble deeds. They praise many smaller things and some larger. It is better they should praise small things than praise nothing.
A man who has no praise for anything but his own things, who has no commendation for anything but himself, is an abortion of a man. He lacks the noblest side of man. Better that a man should be enthusiastic about dogs or birds' eggs than enthusiastic about nothing. But among all the praise that is going on, who thinks of praising God in the sincere manner in which they praise a public singer or a public man? It does not occur to them.
One here and there may be found with a mind open and a heart fervent in this direction like David; but to the mass of mankind it is foreign, a lifeless idea ã a thing of -cant." Yet consider how reasonable it is, and how unreasonable by comparison is the praise of anything else.
Why should a picture be praised? It is a lifeless thing. Why should a man of talent be praised? He did not create his talent. A certain kind of praise is doubtless appropriate, the expression of admiration is natural; and that God intended its use in measure is shown by the constitution he has given to the human brain, which in one of its faculties yearns to bestow it, and, in another, has pleasure in receiving it. But we are considering the matter in the bearing suggested by the Psalm.
If praise is legitimate towards men and things, how much more called for towards God. This is the argument of the Psalm. Weigh it, and see how powerful it is. Look around. Man made nothing. He is himself a made thing and frail at that. He is a flower, as the Scriptures declare, that cometh forth and is cut down - a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanisheth away.
But some great Maker is somewhere; for here is a vast universe, full of the contrivances of a perfect wisdom in things great and small. It is enlarging to the mind to study these things ã the organisation of invisible animalculae, the structure of vegetation, the mechanism of a thousand living things, and the balanced majestic movements of the starry universe over our heads.
They bear the impress of a Master Workman - an adjusting, purposeful, contriving Workman...
The Psalms invite us to study these things, "the works of His hands," and to join in the exclamation of over-powered and astonished admiration: "Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all. The earth is full of Thy riches." "Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory."
Here we find scope for unstinted and rational and ennobling and rejoicing praise. We contemplate the Eternal Father, who is ONE and everywhere present by His limitless and subtle Spirit.
We recognise with joy and satisfaction His invisible and universal energy as the source of the latent wisdom and power we see expressed in the visible universe; and the Psalms give us suitable utterance to the otherwise inexpressible feelings that swell the enlightened heart. We praise, we magnify, we exult in the fathomless ocean of power and wisdom in which we live and move and have our being.
Seasons 2.47 / Sunday Morning 177 - TC 04/1887