We will first read a short Psalm inciting all to praise the Lord, and then we will read part of the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel, specially noticing Mary’s song of praise. It is a blessed thing to indulge our holy gratitude, and to let it have speech in sacred psalm and song. Praise is the end of prayer and preaching. It is the ear of the wheat: it is God’s harvest from all the seed of grace that he has sown.
Psalms 148:1. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalms 148:1. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens:
Begin the song, ye holy angels before the throne; lead us in praise, O ye glorified spirits above!
Psalms 148:1. Praise him in the heights.
Sing aloud, ye that sit at God’s right hand in the heavenly places; let the highest praises be given to the Most High
Psalms 148:2-3. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
Shine out his glory. Ye are but dim reflections of his brightness; yet, praise ye him.
Psalms 148:4. Praise him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Stored up there for man’s use and benefit. Ye clouds that look black to us, and yet are big with blessings, praise ye the Lord. See, beloved, how the song comes down from the praises of the angels nearest the throne, to the glorified saints, then to the sun, and moon, and stars, and the clouds that float in the firmament of heaven.
Psalms 148:5-6. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Or, pass away. Now the psalmist begins at the bottom, and works up to the top.
Psalms 148:7. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Right down there, however low the caverns may be, let the strange creatures that inhabit the secret places in the very bottoms of the mountains and the depths of the seas, — let them send out the deep bass of their praise.
Psalms 148:8-10. Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
If you cannot praise God by soaring up like eagles, if you feel more like the creeping things of the earth, still praise him. There is something very pleasant in the spiritual allusion that grows out of this verse. You who seem like poor worms of the dust, or insects of an hour, can yield your little need of praise to God.
Psalms 148:11-14. Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him.
They ought to sing best and most sweetly, because they are nearest to his heart. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” If all other tongues are silent, let them praise the Lord.
Psalms 148:14. Praise ye the LORD.
The Psalm ends, as it began, with Hallelujah! “Praise ye the Lord.”