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meet the last enemy? Nay, we believe, in spite of all that Satan may suggest to the contrary, and all that constitutional infirmity or natural fear and timidity may awaken within, at the last critical juncture, and in the final dread conflict, there shall be such a marked realization of the presence and power of their great and gracious Deliverer, as shall enable them exultingly and triumphantly to say, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory
.;; Reader, we believe from our inmost soul that, at that time and under those circumstances, there shall be a holy, a blessed, an inconceivably happy participation in the glorious triumphs of Him who, ages before Àis incarnation and mediatorial conquests, exclaimed, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave : I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues : 0 grave, I will be thy destruction : repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Dear reader, may the Lord the Spirit enable you and ourselves to enter into all the fulness and blessed reality of these divine verities ! May they instrumentally lift us above all our natural fears and fleshly infirmities! At the moment of writing the eye dropped upon that precious assurance, as though the Lord would have us quote it for your encouragement. Here it is : “ They shall not be ashamed that wait for me. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered ?”
Personally, we are free to confess our deep regret is that we should ever, even for a moment, call in question Divine wisdom, or love, or faithfulness. We often tell the Lord, if He is but as merciful, and as gracious, and as bountiful in the future as He has been in the past, we shall be perfectly satisfied : for, with respect to the past, with all its numberless trials and afflictions, we are bound to say that “He has done all things well;" nor would we have one thing altered. Oh, then, for that simple childlike faith, that we may be enabled to rest in Him for the future, leaving to His wisdom, and His love, and power, the direction and control of all!
“ 'Tis enough that Thou shouldst care,
Why should I the burden bear?”
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
And neither knows measure nor end.
Whose Spirit must guide us safe home;
And trust Him for all that's to come.” Lord, Lord, give us grace so to do, we earnestly pray Thee! Faith is Thine own sovereign gift. Thou, and Thou alone it is, that doth bestow it; and it is Thou, and Thou only, canst nourish_and strengthen it. Thou, dearest Immanuel, art the Author, and Thou must be the Finisher of faith. “Lord, increase our faith !” “Lord, we believe; help Thou our unbelief !” And do grant, we pray Thee, that we may, by the putting forth of Thine own power in us, be lifted
up above all fleshly fears-above all surrounding appearances-above all passing circumstances--above all Satanic influences ! And enable us, we pray Thee, to come before Thee, from time to time, with a “Do as Thou hast said !” “Be it unto us, O Lord, according to Thy word !” Amen and amen.
We come, however, dear reader, to the next clause in this sweet portion : “ Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.' Now, it would have been very merciful and very gracious had the Lord said, “ His bread and water shall be sure;" but, as though He would be plainer, more definite, additionally assuring, He condescendingly makes the promise in this double or twofold way, “Bread shall be given him ; his waters shall be sure.” And, dear reader, whatever
2 our own base hearts or Satan may suggest in opposition, we believe from our inmost soul that it shall be even as the Lord has spoken. We have nothing whatever to do with appearances, or with what poor carnal reason may say to the contrary :
“Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain;
And He will make it plain.” Oh, it is so blessed, beloved, when the Lord is pleased to give that simple childlike faith by which He enables us to trust in Him, and repose upon Him, in the very face of the most adverse circumstances ! !
The Lord hath spoken !” That is enough for faith. That was a blessed position of the prophet when he had been inwardly moved and irresistibly prompted to declare to Ahab, “ Get thee up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of abundance of rain." Where was there that sound [or noise] of abundance of rain ? In faith's hearing; not in the natural ear. Did any hear it but Elijah ? Certainly not.
? Then comes the wrestling, the watching, the waiting. Reader, do you know anything of it? “And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel.” [When some special plea is to be presented, or some close wrestling at the throne, there is sure to be a drawing off from the creature, and a seeking to be closeted with the Lord—oh, how blessed the contact!] “And he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.” [Becoming position, dear reader, for a poor sinful suppliant, when seeking to approach unto and to plead with the holy and the righteous One-yea, the God of the whole earth.] “And said to his servant, Go up, now, look toward the sea. [The prophet must be left alone. Not even his servant must be with him.]
And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing." [Ah, reader, this is the test-here is at once the trial and the triumph of faith. Flesh and reason say, “It is false, you are deceived, there is nothing;” but faith says, “Go again seven times”—perfect number. And what a wrestling and what a waiting time the interval! Oh, who can imagine the depth and the ardour of the prophet's plea at that most critical juncture ? Mark, dear reader, what the Holy Ghost has said upon this precious subject, by the mouth of the apostle
James: “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not reign: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James v. 17, 18). Oh, what an encouragement to prayer is this !] "And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.” Mark, dear reader, “a little cloud”-the openings of Jehovah's providence are commonly so minute, seemingly so insignificant, such unlooked-for and unlikely means; “rising," too, “out of the sea. Ah, from the very bosom of that vast blank-out of the very depths of the forbidding and seemingly-destructive element. Deliverance is to come from this. And, further, “ like a man's hand.” Is there not something special in this, dear reader? Was it of mere chance, think you, that Elijah's servant was thus prompted to express himself? Is there not a glorious Gospel truth couched in the saying ? Does it not intimate that Jehovah's best gifts to man were to be communicated through the medium of humanity ?that Jesus, the omnipotent One-co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the ever-blessed Spirit-was to take human nature into union with the divine, and
that as man He was to serve and as man He was to suffer? “His own arm brought salvation.” Again, is there not another idea plainly suggested by this fact, namely, that the Lord commonly vouchsafes deliverance to His people by means of men ? He uses this one and commissions that one to go and minister to the wants of His poor and needy ones.
All hearts are in His hands, all circumstances and all events under His divine direction and control. Nothing is hidden from Him, nor is He in the leastwise indifferent to or regardless of His people. He is cognizant of every pain, familiar with every trial, reads the language of each sigh and of every tear. Moreover, He graciously adapts Himself to all the varied positions of His dear children. "In all their affliction He is afflicted.”
Beloved, in the gracious fulfilment of this divine promise, “His bread shall be given him, and his waters shall be sure,” it is so sweet and refreshing to contemplate the various ways in which the Lord ratifies His word. He first brings His dear children down into the very depths of trial or affliction, or dark and drear necessity, and then, in the face of difficulty and seeming desertion, worketh “wondrously.” Independently of all human interference or creatureresort, He directs this instrument or that to administer to His poor distressed child, proving by the very way in which He works how His ear was open to the cry of His oppressed ones. By way of example, we will quote one instance, out of the thousands upon thousands which, we doubt not, are daily in sweet and blessed operation, under the gracious direction and control of our God. Since this article was commenced, two of Zion's pilgrims met, as we say casually, in the street.' One had passed his threescore
years and ten, and had been called indeed to witness a great and sore troubles." With respect to the other, when about to walk in his usual direction, a something seemed to say to him, “Don't go this way, but that.” He immediately followed the prompting, when, scarcely had he turned off in the other direction than he met the aged pilgrim before alluded to. “Well, how are you?” “Not well, thank you. Why? what's the matter ?” “I am very low
- very depressed. But for _'s kindness I should have been in the union, and I sometimes think even now that I shall come to the union after all." “ Never!” was the answer.
6 You will never come to the union. It reminds me of one who, many years ago, once said to me, 'I fear sometimes I shall come to the union, after all.' • Never,' said I; "the only union you will ever know anything about is that which exists between the Lord and His dear people. I visited that old pilgrim afterwards, upon his death
' bed—which was indeed a peaceful one-and reminded him of what had passed in our former conversation. It cheered his heart, animated his soul, and led him to testify afresh to the goodness and faithfulness of His God.” Now, from what followed, we have not the smallest doubt that it was the Lord had the ordering of the meeting of those two pilgrims just at that moment; and that it was to be a further illustration of the truth of His word, “His bread shall be given him, and His waters shall be sure.”
Here again, dear reader, for the present we leave the subject. May God bless His word to your souls; and, when it is well with you, may He give you grace to remember before Him your brother in tribulation, but in the hope of eternal life, St. Luke's, Bedminster, Sept. 10, 1869.
EFFECTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. MARK the rain that falls from above, and the same shower that droppeth out of one cloud increaseth sundry plants in a garden, and severally, according to the condition of every plant; in one stalk it makes a rose, in another a violet, divers in a third, and sweetening all. So the Spirit works its multiformous effects in several complexions, and all according to the increase of God. Is thy habit and inclination choleric? Why, try thyself if thou be very apt to be zealous in a good cause, and it turns thy natural infirmity into holy heat. Is melancholy predominant? The grace of God will turn that sad humour into devotion, prayer, and mortifying thy pleasures to die unto the world. Is thy temperature sanguine and cheerful? The goodness of God will allow it unto thee in thy civil
? life, in a good mean; but over and above, it will make thee bountiful, easy to pardon injuries, glad of reconciliations, comfortable to the distressed, always rejoicing in the Lord. Is a man fearful ? If this freezing disease, which is in thee from thy mother's womb, be not absolutely cured, yet the Holy Ghost will work upon it, to make thy conscience tender, wary to give no offence, to make thee pitiful, penitent, contrite, ready to weep for thy transgressions.
RECOGNITION IN A FUTURE STATE. WHAT! are our dear ones who have died in Christ lost to us for ever? When we have watched by their bedside, and seen them draw their last breath, are we never to know them again ? Such a thought is distressing indeed; but we do not believe that such is the will of God concerning His children. We believe we shall recognize them in a future state, and the hope of a reunion in another world is a source of great comfort and consolation. And, as this subject must be one of general interest to the Lord's family, it is laid upon our heart at this season to dwell upon
it. May He guide us into truth, that we may not err in our judgment and tracings! We believe we shall recognize our dear ones who have died in Christ, because
I. We have the confirmation of it in the Scriptures, which are the revealed will of God; and we put this foremost, because our assurance is not founded upon sentiment, but upon the Scriptures. And this is important; for opinions are not to be depended upon-they are various and uncertain. “For what saith the Scriptures ?” is the all-important point: not "What are our views clothed with the Scriptures ?" No, the Scriptures should be our guide, not ourselves the guide of the Scriptures—an error prevalent enough in the present day. We much like good Bishop Hurd's words :
" Wait till He shall Himself disclose
Things now beyond thy reach;
Who the Lord's secrets teach.
Tell more than He revealed,
And read what He left sealed." What is revealed must be, then, our guide on this and every other point; and we shall see that it is according to the Scriptures, if we mark
II. It was the expectation of the worthies. For example, it was good old Jacob's expectation concerning Joseph, when the wicked brethren took Joseph's coat, dipped in the blood of goats, to the sorrowing patriarch. “ He knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up
to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” A gleam of solace burst into the heart of the poor distressed parent, when he thought that after his decease he should rejoin and know his son in the kingdom of God.
Again, the same fact consoled the contrite spirit of the erring David. Nathan, by his striking parable of the poor man's ewe lamb, had brought home the sin to David's door, and the child, the fruit of that sin, was doomed to die as a mark of the divine displeasure. David felt it deeply. “And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now