“A Holy Song From Happy Saints”

An excerpt from a sermon
delivered by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
On Lord’s-day Evening, March 5th, 1871.

“From the first moment in which sin is pardoned, to the last moment in which we are here on earth, it should be evermore our delight to sing to our well-beloved a song. “How can we do that?” say you. Well, we can do it in three or four ways. There is such a thing as thanks-feeling—feeling thankful, and this ought to be the general, universal spirit of the Christian. Suppose, my dear brother, you are not rich, be thankful that you have to eat and to drink, and wherewithal you may be clothed. Suppose, even, that you had not a hope of heaven, I might say to a man, “Be thankful that you are not in hell.” But to you, Christian, I would add, “Be thankful that you never will be there, and that, if just now your present joys do not overflow, yet “there remaineth a rest for the people of God”: let that console you. Is there ever a day in the year, or ever a moment in the day, in which the Christian ought not to be grateful? Our answer is not slow to give—there is never such a day, there is never such a moment. Always receiving blessings untold, and incalculably precious, let us always be magnifying the hand that gives them. Always, beloved; as we have been, before the foundations of the world with our names engraved on the Saviour’s hands, always redeemed by the precious blood, always preserved by the power of God which dwells in the Mediator, always secure of the heritage which is given to us in covenant by oath, by the blood of Christ—let us always be grateful, and, if not always singing with our lips, let us always be singing with our hearts.

Then, brethren, we ought to be always thanks-living. I think that is a better thing than thanksgiving—thanks-living. How is this to be done? By a general cheerfulness of manner, by an obedience to the command of him by whose mercy we live, by a perpetual, constant, delighting ourselves in the Lord, and submission of our desires to his mind. Oh! I wish that our whole life might be a psalm; that every day might be a stanza of a mighty poem; that so from the day of our spiritual birth until we enter heaven we might be pouring forth sacred minstrelsy in every thought, and word, and action of our lives. Let us give him thankfulness and thanks-living.
But then let us add thanks-speaking with the tongue. We don’t sing enough, my brethren. How often do I stir you up about the matter of prayer, but perhaps I might be just as earnest about the matter of praise. Do we sing as much as the birds do? Yet what have birds to sing about, compared with us? Think you, do we sing as much as the angels do? yet were they never redeemed by the blood of Christ. Birds of the air, shall ye excel me? Angels of heaven, shall ye exceed me? Ye have done so, but I do intend to emulate you henceforth, and day by day, and night by night, pour forth my soul in sacred song.

We may sometimes thank God not only by feeling thankfulness and living thankfulness, and speaking our thanks, but by that silent blessing of him which consists in patient suffering and accepting the evil as well as the good from Jehovah’s hand. That is often better thanksgiving than the noblest psalm that the tongue could utter. To bow down before him and say, “Not my will, but thine be done,” is to render him a homage equal to the Hallelujahs of cherubim and seraphim. To feel not only resigned, but acquiescent, willing to be anything or nothing, according as the Lord would have it—this is in truth to sing to our well-beloved a song.”