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and suffer your spirits, and souls, and II. On these grounds God exhorts bodies to perish?
His people to display a fearless forti2. If creation is a ground of con- tude when they are exposed to trials : fidence in God to them who are re
“ Fear not.” conciled to God and bear His image, III. In order to render it easier for what must redemption be ?
them to manifest the courage which magnificence of love, grace, mercy, His children may well be expected to compassion, holiness, and justice do display. He adds gracious promises we behold in this wonderful trans- which should be to them a pillar of action! Is it to be supposed that fire, to illuminate, guide, keep, and redeeming mercy, surmounting every cheer them in the wilderness, or in obstacle to the salvation of a sinner, the deep waters, through which their can suffer you, in all the helplessness passage to a better country has been of your corrupted nature, to be driven marked out for them : verse 2. Right to and fro with every wind of passion, on to the end, they shall have His and at last to be destroyed for ever! presence and protection.—Miles JackNo! if you would calculate the extent son : Sermons, vol. i. pp. 233_257. of the divine assistance offered to the people of God, you must calculate upon the scale of redemption (H. E. I. Those relations of God to 4631-4632 ; P. D. 3204).
which form the groundwork of the 3. In calling you by His grace, God believer's obligations, are in this pashas given you a personal interest in the saye adduced as the foundations of redemption of His Son, and in all the his confidence and peace; and this blessings of His salvation. The un- fact shows, further, that the two must speakable condescension, friendship, stand or fall together. Men should and tenderness which God in this think of this before they seek to heavenly calling manifests are strik- lower the strict requirements of God's ingly declared here: “I have called law. We can only lower our estimate thee by thy name.” When you call of what we ought to do for God, by each other by your proper names, you first lowering our estimate of what God do not by this signify more familiarity, has done for us, and so stripping from benignity, and confidence than God our faith all that now raises it into does in calling you by them. He heights above our reach, and depths speaks to you, as to Abraham His beyond our fathoming. God is your friend; when He addressed Abraham Creator, Preserver, Saviour, King. by name, He did not feel more love These are the very grounds of the för him than He feels for you day by assured confidence of which the proday, continually. Why should you phet speaks. Considerfear, whom He calls by your names ? I. THE CHARGE GIVEN * Fear He has thus made your redemption and not.” The quality of fear is described all its blessings His personal concern. in the Scriptures under various as4. He who has called you by your
pects. names has adopted you into His Thus it is spoken of sometimes family. “Thou art mine," my ser- as a feeling to be exercised. “Be vant, my child, mine heir, the heir of not highminded, but fear ;” and again mine everlasting kingdom. What can as a thing to be avoided, “ Fear not." be a higher ground of confidence in There is the coward's fear, which can. God than adoption into His family, not bear the very sight of danger. than the endearing an exilting rela
Such is the fear that makes a man tion of a child? What coudescension shrink from examining into the true and mercy in God, thus to select one state of his soul before God, and of the tenderest relations in life, by that makes men hide from themselves which to illustrate the nature of His the thought of death, There is anlove to us! (ch. xlix. 15).
other kind of fear, which never shows
itself till the time of actual trial for that which we are to receive from comes; beforehand, it is arrogant and Him,—they form the ground of our boastful, but sinks into despondency confidence (Ps. cxix. 94). The cerand despair when it is put to the test. tainty of our hope does not depend on God's people are free from both of our holding God, but on God's holding these; they are deeply conscious alike us; it is not in our power to realise of their danger and of the inad. quacy His promise at all times, but we may of their own strength to meet it: but rest on the immutability of that prothey stand fast, "strong in the Lord, mise (2 Tim. ii. 13). The believer's and in the power of His might.” A hope is “an anchor of the soul, both righteous, godly fear, the believer has
sure and steadtast." To see to what a but the cowardice of the world, which strony rock that archor holds, turn is loud to boast, and slow to act, and your thoughts to the relationship quick to doubt, he must never know. spoken of in these words, “I am thy It becomes neither the dignity of his Creator, thy Redeemer, thy Saviour; calling, nor the faithfulness of his “ I have called thee by thy name, God. "The believer and the unbeliever words which imply a personal, imare sharply separated in respect of the mediate interest. Al is His work; objects of their fear. The timid child the goodness which created, the and the courageous man both have grace which has quickened, corrected, fear; but the one fears a shadow : the strengthened, taught, sanctified, has other, that which, not to fear, would all come from Him! show the absence of a reasonable III. THE PROTECTION PROMISED courage.
(ver. 2). This does not consist of any What things ought we to fear? absence of trial and danger; the exShall we fear the opposition and pressions of the text rather imply hatred of the world ; those who can their presence, many in number, and injure the body, but cannot touch the varied in kind (Ps. lxix. 1, 2). No soul; pain, or sickness, or temporal extraordinary interposition wiil premisfortune? Those may do so who serve the child of God from those make this world their all, but not the miseries "to which man is born as believer, who recognises in them the the sparks fly upwards." The protecmedicines of the soul. Shall we fear tion promised consists in the constant the devil ? Not with God on our side. presence with the soul of its unseen Or death ? Not so; for it is the gate
but Almighty Saviour (Ps. xvi. 8; of higher life, and introduces us to Heb. xiii. 5, 6). life's crown of glory. He who fears CONCLUSION.-Contrast the condiGod need know no other fear. Such tion of the believer, and of the unfear is not a base naked terror; it be- believer. Affliction is the lot of all; comes a wondering reverence, and loses but while a man loses nothing, in the itself in love; for He is not against His calculation of earthly happiness, by people, but for them ; “Fear not, for I becoming a follower of the Saviour, in am with thee.” But the absence of this the calculation of heavenly happiness fear makes everything else fearful. he gains all. There is more sunshine, 11. THE REASON ASSIGNED.
even in this world, to the righteous art mine." These words were spoken than to the unrighteous. Both have to Israel after the flesh; yet, as the to share the “ills that flesh is heir relations named--Creator, Redeemer, to;" but what a difference in the and Saviour—are not peculiar to them, strength of the two to meet them ! but are realised by every believing If for a moment the Christian's heart heart, every believer may take to sinks, then the promise comes back himself his share in this animating to him like a refreshing breath from promise; for all these relations are above,"Fear not; for I have reauduced, not as reasons for anything deemed thee."--Edward Garlett, M.A.: we are to pay to God, but as reasons
xliii. 2. When thou passest through the waters, dc. I. THE PATHWAY THE PEOPLE OF
I. THE WATERS AND RIVERS WHICH GOD ARE CALLED TO TREAD. Through ARE IN THE CHRISTIAN'S WAY.(a) waters and fires; used in the Scrip
Waters” and “rivers ” are emtures as emblems of troubles and ployed metaphorically in two opposite sorrows (Acts xiv. 22). 1. Temporal senses, Because, in a warm climate troubles. You can scarcely look into especially, waters are so necessary to the narrowest circle of your acquaint- allay the thirst of man, and to cool ance without finding sorrows, losses, and invigorate the body enfeebled by cares, broils, contentions, all the fruiis excessive heat, and are so calculated to of sin (H. E. L 47-51). 2. Spiritual beautify the landscape and to diffuse troubles. Consciousness of utter in- fertility, everything that is comfortability to comply with the demands able and joyous is shadowed forth by of the fiery law. Satan's suggestions “ waters,"
rivers," streams (ch. and temptations.
xli. 18). But in other places, as here, The troubles of life are- -1. to the by “waters” and “rivers” we are to ungodly, judicial punishments; 2. to understand afflictions and tribulations; God's people, fatherly corrections, or because waters, which are so benetrials of their faith (1 Pet. i. 7; H. E. ficial, when in over-abundance are so I. 66-70; 3678-3684).
noxious; and because he who has to II. THE UPHOLDING POWER THAT pass through them has a difficult and BEARS THEM ALONG. “I will be with hazardous task to perform, and he who thee.” Two views may be taken of is plunged into them is in imminent this precious promise : there is such a risk of his life. thing as God being with His people, 1. The waters of affliction are numeand they not knowing it; and there is
The Christian in his progress such a thing as their sensible enjoy- towards heaven has not one river only ment of it. 1. God never deserts the to pass through ; there are many, inobjects of His love. But there have cluding the Jordan, that lie between been many instances in which His bim and that happy land (Ps. xxxiv. people have had added to their trials 19; H. E. I. 3661, 3674). the terrible fear that He had deserted 2. They are often deep. Every stream them (Lam. iii. 8; Ps. lxxvii. 7-9; is not a brook ; there are rivers as well Job xxiii. 8, 9; H. E. I. 1644–1657). as rivulets; and all afflictions are not 2. But to those who humbly wait light.” The stream is easily passed upon Him, He reveals His presence over in summer months, or when the with them; and in that they find all sky is serene and setiled, compared they need to sustain them, and heaven with what it is in the midst of winter, begun below.
or when it overflows its banks in III. THE TERMINUS WHERE THE consequence of the descending torPATHWAY OF God's PEOPLE WILL rents. When it goes well with the END. It is a mercy that the promise soul, and the Christian walks “in the is “when thou passest through,” not light of God's countenance,” and “in merely into. God's elect pass through the fellowship of Christ," and "in waters and rivers, fires and flames, the comforts of the Holy Ghost," the but they get to the other side. And waters of trouble are easily forded ; what is found there? The rest that they seem not half so deep as at other remaineth for the people of God (H. times when the heavens above, as well E. I. 2792, 2793; P. D. 1784). as the things on earth, frown upon Joseph Irons : Grove Chapel Pulpit, vol.
him. The union of many streams iv. pp. 289-299.
occasions a greater depth of water than
can be found in any of them vingly ;
and how deep must be the affliction of come running unto us at a tiine when that saint who meets with combined all is quiet, and we looked for joy distress of body and of soul (Ps. xlii. (Job xxx. 14, 26, 31). Even when 7 ; Jonah ii. 3).
the soul enters the stream with full 3. They are frequently muddy. When warning of what it is to meet with, the waters of a river are most plenti- it is often found more rapid than was ful they are usually least limpid, and supposed, and descends with a force the traveller who has to pass through which it is not easy to sustain (H. E. them, besides the uneasiness which he I. 54, 55). suffers from perceiving their increased II. THE PASSING THROUGH THE quantity, is distressed because he can WATERS. neither see the bottom nor conjecture 1. There is no getting to heaven without their depth. How often in times of passing through the waters. The heavenly affliction is it thus with the saints ! land, like Canaan to Abraham when The designs of Providence are wrapt he dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, “lies up in obscurity. Their eye is unable beyond the flood," and through this to discover the reasons of the Divine we must pass before we can enter controversy with them ; neither can in and possess it. Affliction is the their anxious minds form any idea of portion of saints in this world. Each that depth and severity of distress of them in his order seems to say with which they must yet suffer before they Jeremiah, “I am the man that hath obtain deliverance.
seen affliction." The Great Head of the 4. They are in many places broad. Church Himself passed through many The river is often confined by the waters of tribulation (ch. liii. 3). height of its banks within a narrow 2. Some saints on their way to heaven channel, and whatever be the difficulty pass through more rivers of trouble than of passing through, the traveller soon others. Travellers who set out to the reaches the further side; but at other same place from different parts of the times it spreads itself out to a great country pass through tracts different extent, and it is not till after many a in their form and scenery, and some weary step that he reascends to the meet with rivers which others avoid. dry land.
The waters of affliction The Lord, in wisdom and sovereignty, often extend over a great space (Ps. diversifies the lot of His people. xc. 15, lxxxviii. 15). It is no small 3. The travellers to Zion pass through addition to trouble of any kind, when the same waters at different stages of their it is lengthened out. The soul is journey. The rivers wind. Hence ready to faint because of its con- they are met by the travellers from tinuance; faith, patience, and hope different parts at earlier or later are ready to die out (Ps. xiii. 1, 2). periods, at greater or less distances. Indeed in no case can we see the Let us not take it for granted that further bank of the river of trouble. because we have never experienced A mist hangs over it.
trials against which others have had enter it, we can never say how long to contend, therefore we shall never it will be before we reascend out of meet with them. it. This only we know, that when 4. Through the very same waters of the journey of life is finished, we shall affliction the Christian in his journey be delivered out of all tribulation, and has often more than once to pass.
We “the days of our mourning shall be ought not to imagine that, because we ended.”
have been in any particular period 5. They are at certain seasons exceed- afflicted in a certain mauner, we shall ingly rapid. They sometimes descend
more experience that distress. upon the saint with all the rapidity of The waters through which you have a torrent, and ere he is aware he is already passed may wind about, and in the midst of great distress. As in you may have to pass through them Job's case, the messengers of woe yet again. Never think yourself secure
against any one trial, temptation, or But as His presence is intended for ailliction, while you are so far from the consolation and salvation of His the house of your heavenly Father. people, the promise reaches to every
5. The Christian, in passing through kind of distress. the wuters and the rivers, much needs a 4. It is llis presence at all times which guide and helper. Without one, he is promised. He is not like a stranger could never pass through them in who occasionally appears for the relief safety. His own wisdom, courage, of those who are struggling with the and strength are utterly unable to stream, and are ready to be swept resist the impetuosity of the torrents away by it. No, He abides with His that assail him. His fellow-Christians people (ch. liv. 10; Ps. cxxxviii. 7). need the same assistance as himself. 5. The promise guarantees the presence His help can come only from Him of God with all the saints when passing who says here: “When thou passest through the waters. Partialities are unthrough the waters, I will be with known with our God. He loves all thee; and through the rivers, they His children, and He will provide shall not overflow thee.”
deliverance for them all. If this III. THE PROMISED PRESENCE OF promise was made for any, it was for GOD DURING THE CHRISTIAN'S PAS- them that especially need His presence SAGE THROUGH THE WATERS.
and help. The more helpless thou art 1. It is the presence of God Himself in thyself, the greater is the evidence which is promised. Not merely by that He intended it for thee. means of instruments. The Lord has IV. THE HAPPY CONSEQUENCES OF more love to His people than to leave God's PRESENCE WITH THE SAINTS any of them to pass through the waters WHEN
PASS THROUGH with no other comforter or helper than WATERS. the best of men, or even the greatest 1. He guides and directs them. It is angels. Their wisdom, power, and His general promise to His people : grace are finite, limited, and insuffi- “I will guide thee with mine eye;" cient for an undertaking so arduous. and if there is any season in which He has therefore promised to be with they need Divine counsel and heavenly them, and this is everything.
guidance, it is in the season of distress. 2. It is the special presence of God But then He gives it to them as He which is promised to be with them. By did to Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. xx. 12; His essential presence God fills heaven, H. E. I. 176). earth, and hell, upholding and govern- 2. He comforts them (H. E. I. 202; ing all things. But if the promise has P. D. 93). any meaning or comfort in it, it is a 3. He sanctifies to them the waters of promise of special presence; a promise afliction. Since God is with him, the of His presence as a God of grace and swelling waters purify the believer, love. How big with comfort, help, and cannot destroy him; they fit him and deliverance is our text when thus for heaven, and cannot prevent his understood! In the time of trouble, progress to it. Many, besides David, we wish our friends to be near us. instead of suffering by affliction, have Yet, often their sympathy cannot re- come up out of the waters “like flocks move our anguish, nor their help effe of sheep which go up from the washour deliverance. But when we have ing” (H. E. I. 116). God with us, He can do for us all we 4. Ile strengthens them to pass through need.
the waters. Cry then unto Him (Ps. 3. It is the presence of the Lord in all xx, 1, 2). distresses which is here promised. Were 5. He delivers them from the waters. there one river through which a saint They cannot deliver themselves. But had to pass in which he had not they are not therefore lost in the deep reason to expect the Divine presence, waters (Ps. xxxiv. 6). Deliverance he would have cause to be afraid. comes not always as as they