“Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” – Psalm cxvi. 7.
WHILE the arminian tribes of anti-christ are engaged with might and main to connect the Jewish covenant with the statutes of our state and nation in order to establish the first day of the week as a legal Sabbath, and to coerce the consciences of our citizens into an observance of their improvement up on the divine law, how pleasant it is to the children of the heavenly kingdom to contemplate the substance, or antitype of which the Jewish Sabbath was only a shadow. All the rites and ceremonies of the old covenant which enjoined the Sabbath implied an external or outward performance of duties in which the children of Israel were to be perpetually engaged, until the sceptre should depart from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet; but the law and its requisition was not of faith, neither did it require faith, but obedience, perfect and unremitting. To establish a kind of worldly religion in the absence of faith, and of the Spirit’s work in the heart, it is not strange that the modern usurpers of Moses’ seat should manifest so strong a propensity to revive the dead works of the law, the abrogated rites of Judaism, and have them incorporated with the laws of our land, and thus pave the way for a national church in our country. But a soul enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is released from the bondage of the law, and ushered into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. In the spiritual devotions of the inspired Psalmist, we trace some sublime predictions of our great Redeemer, his labor and suffering under the law, his bitter death, triumphant resurrection and entrance into his rest; for he hath set down at the right hand of the majesty on high. And what appears so clearly to point to the incarnation, death, resurrection and exaltation of Christ in this beautiful subject, points out also the Sabbatic jubilee of all the saints of God, which the blessed gospel brings to light.
Compare the connection of the text with the experience of the saints who have ceased from their own works. “The sorrows of death compassed me; I found trouble and sorrow.” When was this the case? Ah, when the arrows of the Lord had entered the heart; or at the time when the quickened sinner was brought to see and feel the terrors of the law of God, to hear and tremble at its thundering; to feel a load of guilt and sin sinking his stricken heart in deep despair. Death with its gloomy sorrow as the consequence and wages of sin, Presents its awful terrors, compassing the distressed and despairing soul with sorrows; the pains of damned spirits seized with desperate grasp the helpless victim, and tire contemplated destiny of banished so&s seemed already to have begun its work of retribution. Here was a time of labor, of toil, but alas, the struggle of the soul was unavailing.
“Stern Justice cried, with frowning face,
This mountain (Sinai, or the law) is no hiding place.”
Not all the poor creature could do, could satisfy the rigid demands of the law of God, assuage the anguish which he felt, or afford a refuge for his soul. The pains of hell had taken hold with such a deadly grasp, the very best obedience the victim could render to the law would not answer, but still he labored, sought for peace, for comfort; but what did be find? “I found trouble and sorrow;” and these were all that he could find. The soul became weary, distressed, fainting find exhausted, finding no more to rest upon in the law, or in his works, than Noah’s dove could find when absent from the ark. These exercises of the soul, produced by the work of the Spirit, a breathing of desire to God for deliverance. “Then called I upon the name of the Lord, O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.” This calling upon God for deliverance does not take place until the soul is made sensible that there is deliverance no where else. The Spirit in whose hands he is, directs the supplication, and that Spirit opens to the sinking soul the way of life through Jesus Christ. At which he is enabled to break forth in the language of the next succeeding verse of this Psalm. “Gracious is the Lord.” O, yes, the plan of grace now breaks forth upon his soul; his heart is ravished, his burden removed; joy and thanks giving, love and wonder, now overwhelm his soul. But how, he now inquires, can such deliverance be in justice extended to a wretch so vile, one whose condemnation was so clearly sealed by the law? But, lo! the Savior’s blood appears, and he is made to add, “And righteous, yea, our God is merciful! The Lord preserveth the simple,” and as a illustration of this, he pleads his experience, “I was brought low, and he helped me.” The all-inviting charms of Jesus are now presented, and sweeter than the melody of angel voices sounds the words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.” To which his joyful leaping heart responds: “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.” his Sabbath is here begun, his servile labors are ended; he enters into rest. No more to think his own thoughts, or speak his own words; for it is God that worketh in him, to will and to do of his own good pleasure. No more shall he gather sticks, kindle fires, or attempt to warm himself by what he can do; but finds in Christ a sun of righteousness, emitting, upon him the golden rays of heavenly light, of burning love; and the fruits of the Spirit are unto him “Love, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith.” This is a Sabbath indeed, the observance of which is dictated by a law which is written in his heart, and enforced by the governing power of grace reigning in his soul. This is the day which the Lord has made, and he will rejoice and be glad in it.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
July 15, 1845
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 566 – 569