What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Not, indeed, without God's help. Ince, M. A.Man seems to occupy a middle position in the universe. If we could see deep enough, we should recognise that "Whatever is, is in its causes just." To us Christians the ascension, the glorification of our Lord, His triumph as prophet, priest, and king, ought to be a thought both of continual power and continual inspiration....In the moral world, ay, in the world of matter as well as of spirit, there is nothing ultimately strong but that cause, that cause of thoroughgoing holiness, truth, and love, which is forever embodied in Jesus our Lord. Who are we, to judge of what it is wise for God to do? What we now call "Discord" is really "Harmony not understood.". (4)Tranquillise the impatience and fretfulness incident to an incomplete life. The preacher may indefinitely expand and illustrate the following points: (1) The dominion of man over nature is vastly greater even now than it was in David's time, and is destined to be more complete than it even now is. Mark the circumstances of his creation. Geology took up the tale where astronomy had left it; and man, the speck in space, becomes but as a moment in time. ON THE WONDERS OF DIVINE GRACE IN THE HEIGHTS ABOVE. THE DISTINCTIVELY CHRISTIAN VIEW. The pure heart sees, and knows, and welcomes God. Wonder; for how wonderful is Christ.2. TO DAVID. The material universe changes, but mind lives on in conscious identity. We find in the animals a consciousness of feeling, but not a consciousness of self. This expression supposes more than mere care or providence. But man cannot sin without Divine assistance. As though his very being itself, with all its noblest faculties, were a contribution of his physical development! This condescension would impress him as he thought of man as a spiritual creature.2. II. ON WHAT GROUND WE MAY JUSTIFY THIS PROFUSION OF BOUNTY AND REGARD TO MAN. Obliterate distinctions, frame general laws as we will, there is one distinction which stands out marked and prominent as the basis of all philosophy and all religion, a distinction which neither philosophy nor religion can set aside without destroying themselves at the same time: the' distinction between mind and its objects, between moral and physical law, between liberty and necessity, in one word, between person and things. A man is said to visit another when he comes to him in order to cultivate friendship and love. Now this reasoning is plausible; it does justice to the wisdom of God, and no injustice to man. To the Infinite they have no meaning.II. How do we know He has not? We are encompassed by laws which take no heed of the personal differences of men, of the varieties of their character, or of the vicissitudes of their condition. Though each part is necessary to the whole, there are those which occupy more important places in the great economy, not, doubtless, from any intrinsic excellence in themselves, but the ordination of God. II. Me told us He came that He might bind up the broken-hearted; that He might give liberty to the captives; that He might give sight to the blind; that He might seek and save that which was lost, and to strengthen the weak. The Scripture gives many answers to this question. Psalms 8:4. What improvements has it undergone? David is supposed by some, to have written this Psalm, long before his elevation to the Jewish throne; while he was yet a youth, busied in tending his father's cattle on the plains of Bethlehem. I. Consider, then, the nature of God's benevolence.1. The folly is evident when we consider that this outward, physical life is a very fragile and temporary affair, which has no certain lease of existence, and is liable to be pulled down at any time, liable to be snuffed out like a candle, while the inner spiritual personality is to go on living forever.(L. what is man, that you think of him? Now, this consciousness is not the result of our physical constitution. There is a radical distinction between man and the universe. We are not told that man transgressed against the moral order of things; we are not told that he disobeyed the dictates of his own reason; we are not told that he felt the reproofs of an accusing conscience. The greatness of God crushes our hearts if we look only at the wonders in the heights above, and the expression of amazed and humble thanksgiving is also the language of doubt. If the mind of man were in unimpaired simplicity, the spectacle of the universe would teach him piety; but, being as he is, piety must be first imparted by other means. Therefore man holds a place of so great importance in the universe of God. "You will not only have to pall down the church tower," said the man, "you will also have to blot out the stars, before you can destroy all that reminds us of God; they speak to us of Him."(W. HIS DIGNITY APPEARS FROM THE HOME IN WHICH HE DWELLS. But when I cannot sleep may I, with the Psalmist, entertain my waking with good thoughts. Man - Heb. Man has lifted his eyes to the stars. What is man? What tenderness we find in the human heart! God is a person. Not only has this wonderful world been given to us, not only has this wonderful world been mastered by us, but it has been given to us to find the way to the mastery of it ourselves. )The royal visit and its objectD. A somewhat inferior check, by which God humbles our pride, springs from man's mistakes in judgment. 1. There is nothing more great, nothing more noble, nothing more beautiful within the reach of humanity than to know with a personal affection the Being to whom we owe our existence, to be able to understand something of the working of His Divine power and love, to sympathise with the holiness and purity of His nature, still more to make efforts after attaining to some measures of that purity and that holiness in ourselves. The thoughts of my mind are my thoughts; the acts of my will are my will. In judging of a house you do not think merely of the man who is to live in it, but of the power, station, wealth, and so on of the builder, and then you judge whether or no too much has been lavished upon it. So on the whole earth weary, heavy-laden men have ever since drunk of the water of life which quenches the thirst forever.(J. Zollikofer. It is the soul that makes man the most precious being in this lower world.V. God acts as a sovereign, choosing whom He will.2. It lies not in superior strength, powers of endurance, or length of days, but in that mysterious relation to the Maker of all, His likeness, His image, in which man alone of all God's works was made. He cannot form an image of Himself without disclosing the original excellence which is imaged forth. The real greatness of man as a sinner lies in his penitence, contrition, confession.3. God acts as a sovereign, choosing whom He will.2. We look upon the earth, these rivers, these mountains, this ocean, we look back historically upon the tremendous forces which have pushed these continents up, and are pushing them, so that it is estimated that within the last five years Scandinavia has been pushed up over three hundred feet into the air from the ocean bed; we look upon the starry firmament with these immensities of space, and it will be very strange if we are not inclined to say, "What are we? In the centre and heart of my being I am free. Tholuck.It is charged against earnest Christians that they are unable to see the wonders of God in the world; that from holding so rigidly to the letter of the Scripture, the taste has been lost for the Divine displays in the firmament and in the glory of earthly nature. FINE ANIMAL ORGANISM. Great names are ranged on either side of the controversy. He is mindful of us in providing "all things needful" — laying the whole creation under contribution towards our benefit, and also by a constant inspection of our heart and our ways. IT IS, HOWEVER, IN HIS MORAL AND SPIRITUAL NATURE WHERE HIS IMPORTANCE IS MOST FULLY DISPLAYED. The Divine care of man exhibits His goodness; but even Divine goodness is not without a purpose, for it is a form of the Divine wisdom. The true greatness of man can only be manifested as he is renewed by the Spirit of God; and comes to grow up into him in all things who is the Head, even Christ. Man has not survived, but is contemporary with them. The old theory of final causes and foreseen adaptations of organs to their purposes we are told must be abandoned, and a doctrine of types of form must be substituted for a wise and benevolent will underlying the material universe. 1. The Jew held that man had once walked with God on noble heights of wisdom and righteousness, and that, having fallen from these, it was his true aspiration to regain those spiritual levels, and live again the life which is pure, holy, heavenly, Divine. Are we to suppose that God would enact in heaven what our sense of justice and charity will not allow on earth — that the superior can be unmindful of the inferior?2. That is found in the sacrifice that God has made to restore man to the high place from which he has fallen. And He is mindful of us in His providence. Christ alone gives the satisfying answer. The very next verse shows that he could not mean that, for he says, Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, etc. It is not less true that He who made us made us in His own image, a little less than Himself, to crown us with glory and worship. If a man is worth so much to God, he surely ought to be of great value to himself.4. While the unbeliever declares that a being so insignificant can never be the subject of Divine care, still less of Divine love; that man is no more to the Supreme than are the insects of a summer's day. God is just. Even our afflictions are all for our good.II. But it becomes stranger and more significant still, when it is seen to involve the power of setting up the "I" over against the "All," and, weak, ignorant, transitory, as each one of us is, of distinctly comprehending the vast and complex totality of which we form a most minute and undistinguished part. What improvements has it undergone? And by its means we find the infinitude of God in every flying straw and in the smallest grain. Further, it should be remembered that these men of science have elevated their abstract laws to the position of effectual causes of things, and so have Set aside the first great Cause, and, in their minds, supplanted the higher truth. 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