The first duty of man is enjoined upon him as the command of God: The first sin of man is disobedience against God. A creature who sins always makes himself of importance. Man, in the progress of his knowledge, is ever striving after unity, ever seeking to reduce many phenomena to one general principle. In what of glory or grandeur can he be wanting who is capable of knowing and worshipping God? He should make all the events of life pay tribute to Him who governs, as He created, the world for the Church. For the heavens display the infinitude of God, and that infinitude filled with existence. But when death comes near us this reply will not serve. What is the value and dignity of all the knowledge which has been acquired by the animal portion of the universe since it first came into distinct being? Holy Scripture is one continuous record of God's effort to catch the attention of human ears, and to win the affection of human hearts. Is he not a clod of earth, a piece of clay? He does not mean that man is insignificant in comparison with the heavens. ON THE WONDERS OF DIVINE GRACE IN THE HEIGHTS ABOVE. Feuerbach declares that "The soul is but the sum total of nervous processes." But there is another and more modest form of this same impiety, and which is derived from the contemplation of the vastness of the universe. By the image of God a "vital" likeness is intended; a likeness that has its source in a community of life. But he is a person — something separate and distinct from all others, and whose identity can be traced, year after year, all through life. Therefore man holds a place of so great importance in the universe of God. Think of the swiftness and regularity of their revolutions. God sees in man what is like Himself, the sense of justice, hatred of cruelty, unselfishness. He is the grand sum and substance of the Psalms. II. Harrison. WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR HIM. GOD HAS REVEALED THAT MAN WAS CREATED IN HIS IMAGE. — This language of the Psalmist shows that there were two facts in his mind that had settled down as undebatable convictions. There is nothing like it in all the variations in the material world. Modern sophistry either regards man and the laws of man's conduct as but a part of the course of nature, or talks of necessary determinations and invariable antecedents of the human will. POSITIVELY. GOD HAS REVEALED THAT MAN IS THE RESULT OF A SPECIAL CREATION. Then the peculiar attribute of God is holiness. "The New Testament is latent in the Old. Ah me! Not one of them gives evidence of this knowledge of personality which we all possess. In the very highest there still survive affinities with the lowest. It is the glory of the Christian faith that for us who believe in Jesus, and know the record of His life, all the dim faith in the supremacy of goodness has reached a point of primary realisation. But we can leave Him. It teems with marks of purpose and intelligent design. "Mindful of him" is not merely opposed to "forgetting him." He said that the Father sent Him that He might save the world.(D. Punshon. The thought which lies behind this text is of far deeper intensity now than when it was first uttered by the awe-stricken Psalmist. (Thomas Sherlock, D. D.)God mindful of manEdward Andrews, LL. P. Liddon, D. D.)ImmortalityClement Bailhache.The Psalm reveals not the littleness, but the greatness of man. But a moment comes when mere materialistic investigations and discoveries do not satisfy. There is absolutely nothing besides.5. I think, and I know that it is only I who think. And a being who can measure the distance of a star is infinitely greater than the star whose distance he measures. The truth in it David had a glimpse or: But instead of yielding to the grovelling fear, David triumphed over it, turning with exulting confidence to his assurance that, after all, God is mindful of us, that God doth visit us. He has led us to take the highest view of our spiritual nature. 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. It teems with marks of purpose and intelligent design. There must be, in the moral government of God, the same certainty and universality of principles, and a harmony and connection of the various portions, all being controlled to effect the one purpose of the glory of God. 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. Is God's character ill-balanced? But there is another and more modest form of this same impiety, and which is derived from the contemplation of the vastness of the universe. Insects on a globe of sand; the world an ant hill, and we but ants upon it." The reasonableness of the fact that God is mindful of us.2. To the Infinite they have no meaning. Thereemin, D. D.In unfolding the contradictions of our nature we shall speak of man as a being endowed with reason, a moral being, a being impelled by longings for happiness. How grateful should we be for this distinguishing grace of God.2. But has not this reason also presumed to assign to things themselves their own origin, their own preservation, their own destruction? Man has not survived, but is contemporary with them. Take humanity out of the universe, and it is neither moral nor immoral, it is simply natural. He is dependent for everything. Have a proper sense of thy dignity, and learn to think generously and nobly.4. A SUMMARY SURVEY OF GOD'S REGARD TO MAN. However feeble, and obscure in rank, if he suffers, and is liable to suffer forever, he becomes of importance in the Divine government.5. Bacon, who originated our modern philosophy, and Newton, who verified it, — the two minds who more than any other have ruled the world of mind, — both believed in the Supreme Intelligence which the material universe demonstrated. But are they forever to remain unsatisfied? That large knowledge of the natural world, its forces and their application, to which modern science has advanced with such splendid strides. Our main business, therefore, is to save our soul.(H. The very conception of universal law and order, which science discloses as pervading the material world, is liable, if contemplated in an irreligious spirit, to lead our thoughts away from God, who is mindful of man and visits him, to represent to us a God of science, who is not a God of worship, to set before us an intelligence, it may be, manifested in the grand scheme of the universe, but to hide from us the personal God of each one of us, our Father who is in heaven. And so the Psalmist asks, What is man? It is indeed wonderful that the Son of God should be born of a virgin, and suffer and die for our redemption. He does not mean to imply that there is a probability of man being overlooked amidst the immensity of God's works.4. This condescension would impress him much more as he thought upon him as a mortal creature, a creature only of a day, "who cometh forth as a flower and is cut down," etc.3. 1. TO DAVID. The inward structure of things will sometimes awaken in the most atheistic mind a fear of that mysterious Agent who "maketh darkness His pavilion round about Him," and "gathereth the winds in His fists." Consider a Being who, full and complete in Himself, needs no addition, and feels no want, a Being who knows all things, embraces the past, the present, the future, in one comprehensive glance. But then mere benevolence could be supposed to extend only to the relief of absolute necessity, or deliverance from immediate danger. D.Look at these words in reference —I. The meanness of man, and his unworthiness of the regard and affection of the Most High God. Man does not need it. Man is God's image, and God would not have His image marred. And it agrees emphatically with the Scripture distinction between the "fathers of our flesh" and the "Father of our spirits." D.Considered as part of nature, mall is insignificant. Sider comes a long way up the track of language; it was born sidus. What is man, considered as a spiritual being, and capable of redemption? He is capable of virtue and of sin. "What is man?" Webster was kept back from Christianity for a long time by this thought. This is a beautiful illustration of the progress of revelation. The makeup of the human body has ever been a matter of wonder to the thoughtful mind. They forget that all arguments other than those of the mathematician can be assailed again and again, and are always open to question. In this, at least, we find the special prerogative of humanity, that which distinguishes and differentiates man from all the lower orders of creation. Look at proof of the mindfulness of God outside the Bible. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Lift up yourselves, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in"? Why, then, should man refuse to believe that he is an object of solicitous love to that God who created him, who made him what he is, and who thus crowned him with glory and honour? (Bishop Lightfoot. In what does his superiority consist? But there are also individual visitations in which God makes Himself felt in every human life; some of these are so striking and significant that even the most careless soul can only put them away by an effort; some of them so quiet and commonplace that only the spiritually minded will see God's hand in them at all. And because we have this soul we are capable of religion But —II. I take the Psalm before us as furnishing a triumphant and lasting reply to the kind of unbelief in question. Contemplate the nature of the great and glorious God, and judge how unlikely it is that He should be "mindful of man," or visit him. But think of one philosopher bringing into correlation to the same law the falling apple and the revolving worlds, and another reducing to theoretic uniformity the speed at which the planets circle in their courses, and a third demonstrating, with glass of new magic, the constituents of the solar atmosphere, and you will see how there can be no comparison between that which thinks and that which simply is. How couldst thou fail of perceiving Him, the Eternal, the Infinite, the Almighty, the Supremely-wise, the All-gracious, in these His works? We give account of our powers. Whoever attends to the teaching of nature listens to the conversation of Him who speaks through all nature. 2. Ince, M. A.Man seems to occupy a middle position in the universe. But when the Prince of Heaven came He did not come on any secret mission. For the two truths stand or fall together. Scripture: Psalms 8:4. Ince, M. A.The view which glorifies the dignity and value of human nature and points its aspirations forward is challenged in our time by an important school of thinkers. Yes, these are the only relics which man has rescued from the Fall. And here we have —1. The earth is part of a system of worlds. Shall we not, then, make it our prayer and our endeavour to keep alive and awake within our souls that heavenly faculty whereby we can recognise our God when He draws near in whatever way He please to visit us?(E. We shall face our Maker. In the constitutional workings of the soul God does manifest Himself to it. 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. All things unto our flesh are kinde In their descent and being; to our minde In their ascent and cause. Even that power by which man discerns the truth he employs to hurl truth from the throne, and to set up error in truth's stead; squandering upon it the enthusiasm which only the truth should inspire. But whatever else the words may mean, they clearly assure us that there is in every man something that is akin to God, something which separates him from all other creatures on the face of the earth, something which makes it possible for him to think of God, to know God, and to love God. By the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. What we now call "Discord" is really "Harmony not understood."II. So much, then, for what nature teaches. NEGATIVELY. Intro: One day this past summer I had breakfast in New York, ate lunch at home and dinner in Hawaii. The creation that is lower than ourselves refutes the objection; for if God care not for us, still less will He care for them.I. 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. I am conscious of my own identity and of my utter separateness from all besides. Is it begotten by the parents? II. — The influence on religious faith and hope of what we call "nature" — of the sun and the moon, the stars, the mountains, and the seas — varies with different men, and varies with the varying temper and mood of the same man at different times. In the very highest there still survive affinities with the lowest. Who are we, then, to judge of it as some do? A. It is the soul that makes man the most precious being in this lower world.V. A SUMMARY SURVEY OF GOD'S REGARD TO MAN. We give account of our powers. We give account of our powers. The keen conscience leaps up to answer His least command. He will reveal His loving approval in our moral judgments; these will be the heavens declaring the glory of God. The fact of a thinking mind in man puts him above sun and moon and stars. Satisfying his spiritual needs. Is eternal life too much for a being whom the worlds combine to sustain, to feed, and to bless? Apostles and evangelists saw the true fulfilment of the Psalmist's prophetic saying in the ultimate and supreme destiny of mankind, as realised in the person and work of the one representative Man. What is man, for what purpose is lie intended, that he fills so large a space in the Divine regard?I. Be sensible also of thy insignificance, and learn humility. They made gods of brutes, and became brutes themselves. And if we find, as we do, that God has taken such care for our present life, is it not reasonable to suppose that He will also care for our spirits? Napoleon thought most of Austerlitz, Wellington of Waterloo, Morse of the telegraph, Lincoln of the Emancipation proclamation. Suicide would be reasonable, and, indeed, has been advocated as wise. He does not answer his own question, but he reminds us of this important factor in the inquiry, which must not be left out of view. There is in all of us, whatever we may have been, something which rises in us and tells us what we are meant to do and to be, some sense of duty, some inherent conviction, that what we ought to be is assuredly in the long run what we can be. Tholuck. From the very beginning of the world man stands out apart and distinct from the rest of God's creation, alone made in the image of God, alone subject to a moral law, alone capable of obedience or disobedience to that law. When the Psalmist looked up to the heavens, he was at first overwhelmed with a sense of his own littleness; but, … What improvements has it undergone? Is the soul, then, created by an immediate act of God? Try from the greatness of man to estimate the greatness of the end. There is a radical distinction between man and the universe. Whence, then, came the soul? But think of one philosopher bringing into correlation to the same law the falling apple and the revolving worlds, and another reducing to theoretic uniformity the speed at which the planets circle in their courses, and a third demonstrating, with glass of new magic, the constituents of the solar atmosphere, and you will see how there can be no comparison between that which thinks and that which simply is. It is God's house; it is man's house; God-given for man's use and man's supremacy. (2) God has revealed his "Name ' to man; and this gracious visitation from the Father of our race has raised man in the scale of being. To the lowly it is much to enjoy the notice of the strong and high.5. Where is it treasured up? Night was made for man to rest in. 4. Oh, the depth of the riches of the bounty and goodness of God! How do we receive this visitation? What is man when compared with immensity? Man is God's best workmanship. Consider even the present grandeur of human knowledge. We have the resurrection of Christ as the great argument for the resurrection of the body as well as of the soul. Some say that human nature can regenerate, can perfect itself; that it has in it a principle inherently good, and needs no Gospel to lead it into the way of truth. The ascent is easy from nature to grace, in which the Divine estimate is raised to its highest point. The whole history of mankind is the proof of man's consciousness. Man penetrates into the nature of things, and investigates their hidden causes. One of the special characteristics of man is self-consciousness. He did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Man, like God, is a spirit; his corporeal frame being only a frame.2. But, in reply, we have new species of animals. Little or nothing could be lacking to man were not this power abruptly checked; or, which is still worse, were it not frightfully abused. This is a more natural thought than the former one, but it is, nevertheless, a very hurtful one. He is not a mere automaton pushed and pulled by external forces over which he exercises no control. If we perished, what difference would it make to this stupendous universe? But this false modesty will be confuted if we remember that the universe is composed of separate parts, and that the whole is but the vastness of accumulation. "). In Ezekiel 16:1-5 , we have a relation of the wonderful condescension of God to man, who is there resembled to a wretched infant cast out in the day of its birth, in its blood and filthiness, no eye pitying it; such loathsome creatures are we before God; and yet when he passed by, and saw us polluted in our blood, he said unto us, "Live." Thus work up your souls into an astonishment at the condescension of God. It is probable, therefore, that this higher order of existence actually spreads itself over the entire surface of the material system, and is developing itself in some manner proportionate to its superior dignity. 1. HIS DIGNITY APPEARS FROM THE HOME IN WHICH HE DWELLS. Because He loves us. But he is a person — something separate and distinct from all others, and whose identity can be traced, year after year, all through life. Still, man feels his littleness as he never felt it before in the vastness, the inconceivable vastness, of the system of nature. God is revealed in relation to man as He is revealed in relation to no other of His visible creatures — the personal God of His personal creatures. The Old Testament is patent in the New" (Augustine). The thoughts of my mind are my thoughts; the acts of my will are my will. I. But when asked, "From which parent came the soul, or was it from both?" Wynn. The nightly vision of the starry heavens has three daughters, Religion, Superstition, Atheism. But. — what can be a severer recompense than for us, if we are left incorrigible, to have the inward assurance that our Friend, our best Friend, is ever near us, frowning upon us, — our compunction being His frown; — not because He is indifferent to our persons, but because He loves them, and therefore abhors our suicidal crimes, and exposes His abhorrence, not in artificial forms of speech, but in our own reason, in our moral judgment, in all the pains by which He awakens our displacency, and which He appends to it. If you consider that this world is a university. D.Considered as part of nature, mall is insignificant. Ince, M. A.The view which glorifies the dignity and value of human nature and points its aspirations forward is challenged in our time by an important school of thinkers. Man is capable of wonderful growth. The opening of Scripture brings before us man in his religious nature, as a being created by and dependent upon God. Observation: What is God in His nature, covenant, person? What is man when compared with immensity? And power and genius are never so great as when they stoop to lift the fallen and the lost. A somewhat inferior check, by which God humbles our pride, springs from man's mistakes in judgment. I am the ruler who disposes all other manifold instruments of my nature. And the son of man? M. Gallaher, D. D.)God mindful of manDean Mansel.These words furnish no reasonable ground for a doubt as to the possibility of God's exercising a sustaining providence in favour of such a creature as man. They express a conviction which lies at the root of all natural as well as all revealed religion. 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