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MAN, THE NOBLEST WORK OF GOD.

“WHEN I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,

the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him ?-PSALM viii. 3, 4.

DAVID was evidently a man of majestic mind. If he could not fully comprehend the problems which modern science has solved, still he was no stranger to that knowledge which at once elevates and humbles : he was no stranger to himself; he was no stranger to his God. This must be admitted, so long as those sacred poems remain which emanated from his mind. In diversified strains of holy sweetness, they convey to our hearts the most delightful lessons. The fervent, deep-toned piety of the Psalms cannot be accounted for, except on the theory of a peculiar inspiration. Like the needle seeking the pole, or the anxious eyes of a loving child seeking the smiles of a father's countenance, did the mind of Israel's royal minstrel turn towards heaven. See him where we may, in the cave surrounded by lion-faced men, on the mountain brow, hunted like a frighted partridge, or in the security of his own palaces, still his mind turns towards heaven. If we see him crestfallen after a defeat, or elated after a triumph, still his mind turns towards heaven. If we see him wandering in the wild desert, or seated on the monarch's throne ; if we see him prostrate on the dust, smiting on his guilty bosom, or arrayed in his royal robes, swaying his kingly sceptre, still his mind turns towards heaven. If we see him battling with the savage bear, or grappling with the growling lion; if we see him seated on the green sward, amid his fleecy flocks, or going forth with his simple sling to fight the mail-clad giant; if we see him wielding the bloody battle-axe, or sweeping the strings of his melodious harp, still his mind instinctively turns towards heaven. Hence it is that his sacred songs are so exquisitely adapted to the condition of every saint, in every age, in every circumstance, and in every clime. They have wiped away the widow's tears, relieved the orphan's sorrows, comforted the mourner, soothed the penitent, cheered the soul of hoary age, gladdened the spirit of buoyant youth, and have trembled on the martyr's fire-scorched lips as his spirit has burst from its flame-shroud and soared to glory!

Beautiful, heavenly, holy strains! They have rolled down from age; firing the souls of lofty poets, sweetning the lips of lovely children, smoothing the pillows of dying saints, and uniting in one the hearts and voices of worshipping thousands ! And still they seem as fresh, as sweet, as lovely, as powerful as ever ; yea, accomplishing even mightier triumphs than when first chanted !

We have selected a sublime passage from one of those peerless poems for our contemplation:

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-66 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest him ?” Now, the meaning of the Psalmist is inexplicable, unless we admit that he knew something of the real magnitude of the starry globes. If he only viewed them as a multitude of brilliant spangles glittering on the black brow of night; or as a host of sparkling studs decking her azure robe, what was there in them so to have dwarfed this world with its countless inhabitants ? But we believe that a glimpse of the starry scheme burst like a revelation upon his soul; and considering at once the immense magnitude of those rolling worlds, with their harmony, order, and beauty, he exclaimed in astonishment, “ When I consider thy heavens, what is man?This was his first impression ; but it speedily yielded to a more correct view of the peerless dignity of man, for he exclaimed, “ Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.”

But the mind of the royal minstrel soared above the starry heavens, to the heaven of heavens ;” to the gorgeous palace of God's immediate presence; and as he thought of all the brilliant worlds that rolled and blazed between him and the throne to which he looked, he was wrapt in an extacy of astonishment, that God should be mindful of, or visit poor, feeble, guilty man.

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Ah! well might the Psalmist's soul be filled with amazement. Heaven is God's throne, earth is his footstool ;" magnificence is enthroned on the one, insignificance is stamped on the other ; majestic power resides above, in burning suns, blazing comets, lurid lightnings, roaring thunders, crashing storms, and gleaming stars. Passive weakness, feebleness, and helplessness, creep and cower, shiver and tremble below. one is a place, nay, a fountain of glory, from which angels glide, and Deity himself at times descends: the other is a tomb, an aceldama, a golgotha; and yet, though the one, in comparison

, with the other, be so grovelling and mean, taken in connexion with the other, it catches and reflects a certain degree of glory. It has no light in itself, but the sun condescends to shine upon it, to gild its streams and to touch its mountains, as with the finger of God. It is a footstool, but it is God's footstool; it is a tomb, but a tomb set in the blue of heaven. It is not the habitation of demons, or angels, or God; but angels rest their feet upon its hills, demons walk too and fro through its wastes, and God has been heard at times in its groves and gardens ;'** and although invisible, he still condescends to visit its guilty inhabitants and bless them with his presence. Whilst guiding the stars in their courses, whirling the planets in their spheres, and feeding the fire of the sun, he is mindful of poor, puny, polluted man!

The text furnishes us with the following sub

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* Gilfillan,

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