Thoughts for Daily Duty, Service, and Suffering
by Octavius Winslow, 1870
"I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." –Hebrews 2:12
These are the words of Jesus quoted by the apostle from a prophetical psalm concerning Him. We have considered Him as teaching us by His example to pray; it may promote our personal holiness by considering Him as teaching us to PRAISE. Praise is an element of the gospel. It entered essentially, if not prominently, into our Lord's personal life. "A man of sorrow," though He was--oftener seen to weep than to smile--yet there were moments when gleams of joy shone upon His soul, and strains of praise breathed from His lips.
Our Lord was of a THANKFUL spirit, and a thankful spirit is a praiseful spirit. How often the words were on His lips, "I thank You, O Father." He thanked God for the sovereignty of His grace for manifesting Himself to His disciples, for the food He was about to distribute, and over the grave of the friend He was about to raise from the dead. In all things Jesus was of a thankful, and therefore of a praiseful spirit.
And so, my soul, should you be! You have everything to praise God for. For the GLORIOUS GOSPEL of the blessed God; which, in the blessed announcements it makes of full pardon, of free justification, of gracious adoption, of present grace and future glory--is praise, all praise, eternal praise. There is not one announcement in the gospel to dishearten or repel a poor, penitent sinner. To such it is a 'joyful sound' without one jarring note, a salvation without a condition, a righteousness without a work, a pardon without money, a heaven without human merit or purchase--all the free gift of God's most free and unmerited grace. Is not this sufficient to awaken the deepest gratitude and the loudest praise in your soul?
And, O my soul! what shall be said of the praise due from you for the GIFT OF JESUS? Can you think of Him for a moment, and not feel your whole soul thrilling with thanksgiving and tremulous with praise? Oh, praise God for Jesus--for such a divine yet such a human Savior--for such a life, for such a death, for such a righteousness, and for such an Atonement as His. Is there no deep response of your heart to the thankful, praiseful words of the apostle--"Thanks be unto God, for His unspeakable gift?" Oh, praise Him for such a lovely and loving, for such a gracious and precious Savior, but for whom, you had been lost forever!
And have you not reason to praise God for YOUR CONVERSION? Oh, what a wonder of sovereign grace that ever you were brought out of nature's darkness into God's marvelous light! That, ever divine power drew you, and divine love chose you, and divine blood cleansed you, and a divine righteousness was imputed to you! That, ever you did hear the voice of Jesus, when lying in your blood, cast out to the loathing of yourself, saying to you, "Live!" And that then He washed you, and clothed you, and decked you with ornaments, and put a fair chain on your neck, a crown and a mitre on your head, and you became lovely through His loveliness put upon you--a king and a priest unto God! Praise, oh, praise Him loudly for that happy day when, having betrothed you in eternity, He savingly drew you to Himself, and you became His. Can you recall the memory of that blissful hour, and not make the desert ring with your loudest, sweetest praise?
"Oh! to grace, how great a debtor!"
My soul! seek from God the spirit of thankfulness, and cultivate habitually the grace of praise. It is a soul-purifying and a God-glorifying grace. It keeps the heart in perpetual bloom, and converts the life into a daily psalm! Praise God for all--praise Him for the blessings--of His providence, for the barrel of meal and for the cruse of oil that have not failed, for the providence that brightens, for the sorrow that shades, for the mercy that smiles, and for the judgment that frowns--for God's love breathing through all. Thus shall you be learning to sing the 'new song,' and to unite in the never ending music of heaven, where–
"Praise shall employ our noblest powers,
While immortality endures."