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147. Psalm 147

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

2The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

6The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

7Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

8Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

9He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

10He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

11The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

12Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.

13For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.

14He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

15He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.

16He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.

17He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?

18He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

20He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

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15. While he sends forth, etc. He again touches upon some instances of the operation of God, everywhere to be seen in the system of nature. And as the changes which take place in the air, and upon the earth, and which should be considered evidences of his power, may perhaps be regarded by the world as the effect of chance, the Psalmist, before proceeding to speak of the snow, hoar frost, and ice, expressly declares, that earth is governed by his power and control. The sending forth of his word is nothing else than the secret influence by which he regulates and governs all things, for without his orders and appointment no movement could take place among the elements, nor could they be borne, now one way and now another, upon their own spontaneous impulse without his foregoing secret decree. He says, that his word runneth quickly, because, when once God has intimated his will, all things concur to carry it into effect. If we do not hold fast by this principle, however acutely we may investigate second causes, all our perspicacity will come to nothing. It is thus that Aristotle, for example, has shown such ingenuity upon the subject of meteors, that he discusses their natural causes most exactly, while he omits the main point of all, upon which the merest child, at least having any religion, has the superiority over him. He must have little discernment who, in the sudden snows and hoar-frosts, does not perceive how quickly the word of God runs. If, then, we would avoid a senseless natural philosophy, we must always start with this principle, that everything in nature depends upon the will of God, and that the whole course of nature is only the prompt carrying into effect of his orders. When the waters congeal, when the hail spreads through the air, and hoar frosts darken the sky, surely we have proof how effectual his word is. But if all these wonders produce no effect upon most men, at least the piercing cold which benumbs our bodies, should force us to recognize the power of God. When the heat of the sun scorches us in summer, and again, upon the succession of winter, all things are bound up, such a change as this, which must have appeared incredible had we not been accustomed to it, cries out loudly that there is a being who reigns above.




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