Can the mere professor make this acknowledgment? He knows only the letter—the shell, which excites no interest. Yet hidden from his eye is an unsearchable depth, which will make the believer a learner to the end of his life. Even he, who "was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter," was brought to this adoring contemplation, "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" Every way indeed is this revelation worthy of Him, the first letter of whose name is "Wonderful." It lays open to the heaven-taught soul what "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man." Think of the Creator of the world becoming a creature—yes, "a curse for man." Think of man—guilty and condemned—made just with God by a righteousness not his own. Think of God bringing out of the ruinous fall more glory to Himself, and more happiness to man, than from his former innocence—in the display of His mercy—the glory of His justice, and the investment of sinners—not, as before; with a creature's righteousness, security, and reward, but with His own righteousness, guardianship, and glory. Think how "the way into the holiest of all" is thus "made manifest." Think how abounding grace is the death as well as the pardon of sin—the present as well as the everlasting life of the soul. These are among the stupendous discoveries of the sacred book, that bow the humble and reflecting mind to the confession—Your testimonies are wonderful! Let us therefore join with the Apostle, in "bowing our knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"—that we "might be able to comprehend with all saints" (for, blessed be God! the privilege is common to all His people) "what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: and to know the" unsearchable "love of Christ," "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
And how delightful is the recollection of these testimonies being our "heritage forever!" For they are not less wonderful in their practical fullness, than in their deep unfathomable mysteries of love. Such is the infinite enlargement of this "heritage," that He who foreknew every thought that would find an entrance into the minds of His people, has here secretly laid up seasonable direction and encouragement for every, even the most minute occasion and circumstance of need. Here, again, is wrapped up, in words fitted by wisdom to receive the revelation, all that communion between God and man, throughout all ages of the Church, which is treasured up in the vast unsearchable depository of the Divine mind and purpose. Can we then forbear repeating the exclamation—Your testimonies are wonderful!
But it is not enough to 'adore the fullness of Scripture:' we must seek to imbibe and exhibit its practical influence. Holy admiration of the testimonies will kindle spiritual devotedness to them—Therefore does my soul keep them. The stamp of Divine authority upon them, while it deepens our reverence, commands our steady and cheerful obedience. To keep them is our privilege, no less than our obligation; and in this path we shall delight to persevere to the end.
But how affecting is the thought of the mass, who look at these wonders with a careless or unmeaning eye, unconscious of their interesting import! They pass by the door of the treasury, hardly condescending to look aside into it: or only taking a transient glance, which comprehends nothing of its inexhaustible stores. "I have written to them"—says the Lord, "the great things of My law: but they are counted as a strange thing." But far more wonderful is it, that we, enlightened, in answer to prayer (See verse 18), with "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation"—should often be so indifferent to the mysteries of redeeming love here unfolded before us, and should experience so little of their practical influence! Oh! let the recollection of our indolence, and want of conformity to them, never cease to humble us. Let us not enter into the testimonies, as a dry task, or an ordinary study; but let us concentrate our minds, our faith, humility, and prayer, in a more devoted contemplation of them. Every such exercise will extend our view of those parts, with which we had conceived ourselves to be competently acquainted: opening a new field of wonders on every side, far beyond our present contracted apprehensions.
And can any joy be imagined so sublime as the adoring contemplation of this revelation? It reflects even to angels a new and glorious manifestation of their God. It engages their every faculty with intense admiration and delight. And while they behold and worship with self-abasement, their obedience is lively. "With twain he" (the seraph before the throne) "covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly." Thus may we study the same lessons, and with the same spirit. May our contemplation humble us in the dust, and animate us in the service of our God! Your testimonies are wonderful: therefore does my soul keep them.
All the verses of this section begin with the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; but each verse with a different word. This seventeenth letter is the letter P. The section is precious, practical, profitable, powerful; peculiarly so. Let us pray for a blessing upon the reading of it "Your testimonies are wonderful." Full of wonderful revelations, commands, and promises. Wonderful in their nature, as being free from all error, and bearing within themselves overwhelming self-evidence of their truth; wonderful in their effects, as instructing, elevating, strengthening, and comforting the soul. Jesus the eternal Word is called Wonderful, and all the uttered words of God are wonderful in their degree. Those who know them best wonder at them most. It is wonderful that God should have borne testimony at all to sinful men, and more wonderful still that his testimony should be of so heavenly a character, so clear, so full, so gracious, so mighty.
"Therefore does my soul keep them." Their wonderful character so impressed itself upon his mind that he kept them in his memory: their wonderful excellence so charmed his heart that he kept them in his life. Some men wonder at the words of God, and use them for their speculation; but David was always practical, and therefore the more he wondered the more he obeyed. Note that his religion was soul work; not with head and hand alone did he keep the testimonies; but his soul, his truest and most real self, held fast to them. The Psalmist was so charmed with the revealed will of God that he felt bound to exhibit its power in his daily life. His wondering and pondering produced reverential obedience.