PSALM cxxxix. 7—“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”

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Not any whither, O my God. From Thy Spirit I ‘do not desire to go; from Thy presence I do not wish to hide myself. Thou art not mine enemy; 'they are mine enemies who would make me think ‘. My sins, my doubts, my unbeliefthey are 'mine enemies; but Thou my Friend, my Father. 'I do not wish to flee from Thee; it is my hope and ‘joy to be near Thee; the Lord is my strength and 'my song, and He is become my salvation.'

Such, undoubtedly, was the Psalmist's tone of feeling when he wrote the remarkable Psalm from which the words at the head of this paper have been selected. He was thinking of the presence of God, not as a source of terror, but as his highest comfort and blessing.

He says, for example, in the ninth and tenth


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verses: "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.” “Lead" me, “hold” me:it was the “ leading" grace, the “holding” or upholding grace of God, the Psalmist had in view; not the terrors of His presence as the Witness and Avenger of sin.

Again he says in the eighth verse, “If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in

I hell, behold, Thou art there." As regards the first clause of this verse there is no difficulty. It is the special presence of God that gives its glory to “heaven.” But "hell” is a terrible word. It calls up terrible ideas. In this passage, however, as in many others, it simply means the invisible state, or state of the dead;—and what the Psalmist intends is, that even the state of the dead had no terrors to him; even in that state he would still be under the Divine guardianship; the grave would be to him merely a resting-place; and so he speaks of “making his bed” in it.

And yet once more let us call to recollection the concluding verses of the Psalm: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me.” Could the Psalmist have used such

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