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righteousness” (Isa. lxi. 10). This is the best robe that the Father ordered to be put on the prodigal son when he returned to his mansion home. And then,
3. Princes live close to the throne. And so do the children of God. The throne of grace is their constant resort; and, as Daniel when in trouble went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God as he did aforetime; so the Lord's Daniels know what it is continually to make prayer and supplication unto the Lord : often the lips moving, while the voice is not heard. Oh, to be kept near the throne! Oh, how we desire this !
- Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee." 4. The purpose of God in all this work-to make them inherit the throne of glory. It is a matter of fact. Herein is security consummated, salvation completed, grace bursting into glory. Jehovah does not work without a distinct purpose in view; whom He calls, them He also justifies : and whom He justifies, them He also glorifies. What should we say of any man who worked without a plan ? All we see that is ingenious and clever in man's working has been the result of much thought, deliberation, and human wisdom; nothing is attained without it. So it is with the great things of eternity. There is a first cause—the Eternal Three. There is a carefully-devised plan—the plan of salvation. There is the carrying out of this plan, which has been effectually done by our adorable Lord. There is the purpose of it all, namely, to make His saved ones inherit a throne of glory. O glorious consummation! sweet climax! My soul, aspire towards it-a "throne of glory."
Eternal mansions! bright array !
Oh, blest exchange! transporting thought!
Or the least shadow of a spot.' 5. Who dares to gainsay this work ?"For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness : for by strength shall no man prevail.” Who dares to say this scheme of salvation is not according to my notion of things ?” “Nay, but, Oman, who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another to dishonour? The pillars of the earth are the Lord's. He doeth as seemeth Him good in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say, What doest Thou?" No, reader; our position is to bow to His sovereign will, and, if there is anything we cannot comprehend, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. And shall there be any failure in this work? Shall there be any falling by the way, so that the crown may not be gained, and heaven may not be reached ? Do note the next stanza of dear Hannah's song, which decides this matter:
" He will keep the feet of His suints." Oh, what a mercy! They are well kept whom the
He is too fond of His sheep to leave them to perish by the way. His own declaration concerning them is, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck
them out of my hand.” Yea, as if to make them doubly secure, He adds, “My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” Herein indeed is a glorious security. Beloved, our subject is fraught with divine consolation for the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. It reminds such of what they were once by nature, in a state of degradation; it shows how the mighty hand of a covenant God has rescued them, and put them into a safe position. It sets forth the dignity of the children of God, and that the divine purpose in all this display of His mercy and goodness is to bring them into eternal glory. What, indeed, hath God wrought for us!
“Redeemed and saved from sin and hell,
Divinely led and taught;
What God-your God-hath wrought.”
“ I have been young, and now am old ; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken
nor his seed begging bread.”—Psalm xxxvii. 25. I. This psalm has been a rich source of consolation to the Lord's children in every age and under every dispensation. It encourages the saint to trust in the Lord in the storms of adversity. It teaches him not to be envious when the wicked prosper, by reminding them of their end. It assures the man of God that his wants shall be supplied (ver. 3, 19).
And, what include, every blessing, Jehovah is his covenant God and will never forsake him (ver. 23, 24-28). Also the words of our text delightfully confirm this precious truth : from these words we present the following observations:-
1. The language of our text has an exclusive reference to the righteous.
6. The happy results of godliness often extend to the righteous offspring of the righteous.
These words have an exclusive reference to the righteous, a character admirably delineated in the word of God; the 30th and 31st verses are very comprehensive and descriptive.
II. Our text is the language of an aged saint, who could say, I have been young. The aged pilgrim is here taking a retrospect of the past;
; the aged may truly say they have been young, but the young have no right to calculate upon a long life. They cannot say with certainty they shall live to three score years and ten. Ah, how many children and young people are cut down ere they attain the strength and maturity of manhood. My dear young friends, seriously and deeply reflect upon this! They
are cut down as the flower of the field; even our pious youths are frequently taken from us. I will not say they are cut down; no, they are only removed-transplanted into a more genial atmosphere-into a richer soil
, and to flourish in eternal beauty in the paradise above. There can be no doubt he who penned these words had devoted his youthful days to his Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier: and how few such are found beautifying the Church of God! Oh, how I love to meet the aged pilgrim in the paths of righteousness, whose hoary hairs are laden with the fruit of the Spirit, and whose eyes glisten with delight when elevated toward his heavenly home. I love to hear such recounting the history of their trials and their conflicts, ending with, “ Thus far the Lord hath helped me!" Oh, when contrasted with an aged righteous man, what a wretched character is a sinner grown old in sin.
III. We are reminded by our text of the loveliness and beauty which adorn a righteous character, and which are inseparably connected with godliness. This loveliness is substantial, solid ; it will bear the strictest scrutiny; the more it is tested and tried the more pure and bright it will appear. It may be counterfeited, but the counterfeit will and must be detected; the form of godliness, the almost Christian we read of, will be stripped of this. 1. The commencement of a righteous life is beautiful.
2. Its progress is beautiful. 3. Its end is beautiful—the path of the just. It is like the shining light which shineth brighter and brighter to the perfect day. 4. Our text also reminds us of the blessedness of a life of righteousness.
(1.) It conduces in blessedness. (2.) As the righteous man advances in the life of God, blessings multiply and honours thicken around him. (3.) A life of righteousness terminates in a life of glory. (4.) The reason of all this, God is the covenant God of the righteous, and He never forsakes him. Hence the righteous man can emphatically say: This God is my God for ever and for ever, and He will be my Guide even unto death." "My presence shall
go with thee.” Hence every attribute and perfection of God are engaged in behalf of the righteous.
(a) The experience of saints testify; witness Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, Daniel-Job, amidst all his affliction, on the rock.
(6) The purpose of God, the promises of God all present an irrefutable argument to prove this doctrine.
(c) The covenant of grace, and the work of redemption accomplished by the blood of the Incarnate Son of God.
(d) The whole tenor of the word of God; and let a few specimens suffice, Isaiah xlvi. 3, 4, 9, the latter part of ver. 11, “ Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” And ver. 13, also Psalm lxxi. 5, 6, 15-18. Be of good comfort,
. Oye aged pilgrims! God will not cast you off; He will not abandon you now your labour and your toils are nearly ended. He remembers the kindness of your youth, He accepts your feeble efforts, though you cannot accomplish all your desires, He pities your infirmities; and, if the world be
He is not. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath you are the everlasting arms, and, though the world sees it not, a halo of glory is encircled around you.
And what shall I say to the hoary-headed impenitent sinner? You, too, have been young; how have your youthful years been spent? The years of manhood, too? And you are yet promising yourselves a little longer?
“there is but a step between you and death!” Look back,
what a scene! Can you bear to look back ? Time trifled, years murdered, now you are ripe for ruin. Oh, if there is on earth an object to be pitied, thou, thou art the man! How can I comfort you ? There is hope concerning even you ; such mercy extends to the old as well as to the young. Late repentance is often untrue; but true repentance is never too late. Oh, I entreat you, beseech the Lord of His great mercy to give you true repentance.
TO A FRIEND,
AFTER A LONG ILLNESS, DURING WHICH SHE HAD PASSED THROUGH
Her correspondent writes, “ How pleased I am that the Lord permitted me to wet your
lips with a sip of the Brook by the way.' BROOK of brooks, how sweet Thou But, when weak and faint at heart, flowest
Precious Brook, how sweet thou art Through the land, my soul thou goest; Brook of brooks, when all seems dry, Brook of brooks, thou comest rolling Thy dear stream is flowing byFrom the home where we are going.
Never failing, on to flow, Brook of brooks, no change Thou Till no longer thirst we know, knowest,
Oh, my friend, I joy with you, E’en when our poor hearts are lowest; God has brought you bitherto; Never empty, never shallow,
Earthly trials, blow on blow, Yielding fatness, yielding marrow.
Just when sickness laid you low. Brook of brooks, Thou art a love
But I guess, you asked not why?
Only prayed, He would be nigh, stream From the wounded side of Him
Did not want the cup removed,
I have felt His love through you;
So that Brook, through all life's stages,
Shall endure The Rock of Ages ! Leamington.
ORIGINAL sin accounts for the remaining imperfections too visible in them that are born of God.
The brightest saints below ever had, and ever will have, their dark sides. Abraham, Noah, Job, David, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, John were sanctified but in part. On God's earth people are each & compound of light and shade. * In glory, we shall be all light, without any mixture of shade whatever.
A believer cannot stand one moment longer than God upholds him, nor walk one step farther than God leads him.
A saint when he falls, cannot take that delight in sin which others do, because the will does not fully close with the temptation. Conscience, and partly a sanctified nature, declare against it; there is a secret dislike to it. Yet corruption, like a torrent, carries him away.
THE CHRISTIAN MAN'S DUTY, AS EMBODIED IN THE
APOSTLE PAUL. “And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first
day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all
seasons,” &c.—ACTS xx. 18-35. In analyzing this speech of Paul's and classifying it under the two heads of duty to God and duty to man, I have been struck with what the Holy Ghost sets forth in the first place as a Christian man's duty, under the first head, Duty to God, verse 19 : “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind." This is very important to notice, being a grace we should more frequently pray for; as the apostle James says, " God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” And not only so, " But He giveth
I do not think this grace of the Spirit can be cultivated or acquired, but must be asked of Him “who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given.”
In verse 21 we find the Christian man's duty characterized in two more ways, “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”. Although repentance is placed first here, it succeeds true faith in the Spirit's work; but, as one cannot well exist without the other, we can understand why the apostle should not be over-nice (as too many are in the present day) in his manner of using terms, for we know there can be no repentance without saving faith in the soul, neither can there be faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, but it will produce great sorrow for sin; and “godly sorrow worketh repentance unto life.” The more we see and believe in Christ as our Saviour, the more shall we see of what He saves us from.
In the 23rd and 24th verses submission to the will of God is set forth as a part of our duty to Him: “Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions -abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.” This is rather a difficult part of our duty to God, and one that requires great grace to ful6il.
Sometimes a Christian man's trials make it hard for him to
say, “Thy will be done;" yet, in the midst of all his afflictions, Paul's desire
" that he might finish his course with joy;" and, in this same verse (the 24th), there is another characteristic of this duty to God, namely, “ to testify the Gospel of the grace of God,” or, as it is said in the next verse, "preaching the kingdom of God." This is the duty of every Christian man, so far as he is enabled and finds opportunities of so doing, because in all things he should be seeking the glory of God and the good of souls, following the example of Paul: « For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” It is also a duty to God to feed His Church, which He hath purchased with His own blood, and to "commend it to God, and to the word of His grace" (verse 32).
In the 35th verse we are told “to remember the words of the Lord Jesus."
What greater duty can there be than this ? To remember the words, follow the example, and tread in the footsteps of the Son of God, that so we may grow up into His likeness, that God may be all in all. This we cannot do of ourselves, but are told to “ask and receive, that our joy may be full."
But we must now proceed to the second part of our subject, namely, Duty to man; which in these verses embraces a very wide field, which it will be somewhat difficult to keep within due limits. Praying the Holy