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desire it; but it comes in due season ; Your friend's trouble


have been it never comes too late. In the most the hopeless ruin of his fortune. You unexpected moment, in the most un- could do nothing for him. But you expected manner, He appears for their made it in your way to call upon him. deliverance; so singular is it some- He will never forget it. He is sick; times that they can scarcely credit it and time, to the sick, is weariness. (Ps. cxxvi. 1-3). He does not always You visited him. Dear to Paul the deliver them from every river into apostle were those friends who were not which they enter. He permits some one ashamed of his chain ; who visited him or other of them to carry them down in imprisonment and ministered to his the stream till they reach the waters of wants. It is not merely that there is Jordan. But there they do not perish. society to relieve the tedium of soliHe gives them victory over death, and tuile, and divert attention from the by means of this deliverance sets them presence of sorrow. Any one might free from all their troubles.- James do that. But more is wanted. A Peddie, D.D.: Discourses, pp. 395-424. stranger, or one to whom the sufferer

is personally indifferent, could not con

vey the mysterious influence that has It is assumed that God's people help and comfort in it. The comfort will

pass through the waters and comes from the consciousness that the through the fire. These elements, so presence is that of a friend. useful as friends, so terrible as enemies, Now, God is the best of friends. It represent trouble and distress. Water is the privilege of believers to call Him may be too deep to ford, the practised friend. By faith their sins are forswimmer may be overpowered. Withe given. They are reconciled to Him. in the grasp of fire, injury, destruction, By His grace they are born again. death are speedily accomplished. The The old enmity of their hearts is sufferer is sometimes like one aroused abandoned. Its place has been taken from sleep in a burning house. Despair by love. Fellowship with God is the seizes him. Those who have no God, or Christian's joy. His friendship reflects whose faith fails to realise His suf- glory on those who are honoured with ficiency, relinquish effort and hope. it. It is this Friend who says,

" When The antidote is found in God's all- thou passest through the waters I will sufficient promises. Here is one that be with thee." We cannot see Him. assures believers of the Divine pre- Sight is not necessary to the conscious sence in trouble, and the Divine deliver- presence of even an earthly friend. The ance from it.

room may be dark, not a word


be I. THE DIVINE PRESENCE spoken, not a sound heard; but we feel TROUBLE.

What is it in our nature that he is there; the influence is the that finds a relief in the presence of a same as if we saw him. God's confriend in times of deepest sorrow? In scious presence fills the soul with faith, the first burst of sorrow, the heart must hope, peace. It is the consciousness of be left alone. It prefers to be alone. love and sympathy. It is the invisible, The nearest earthly friend must not si cr't, gentle power of His Spirit that intrude on the sacredness of its grief. gives calmness and strength while But the time comes when it craves for trouble is pressing most heavily, and sympathy. The presence of a friend, while external circumstances are the even if no word is spoken, exerts the most distressing. “I will be with thee" mysterious influence that brings relief (H. E. I. 198, 3677). and consolation. At suitable time and II. THE DIVINE DELIVERANCE in suitable manner, there will be the FROM TROUBLE. If the believer is sympathetic word. Perhaps the sub- called to pass through the waters, they stantial aid. Whether or not, there shall not overflow him; if he is called will be the restful feeling of the weak to walk through the fire, he shall not be when they depend upon the strong. burned, nor shall the flames kindle upon



play His

him. Trouble may come : but he shall subordinate to this. Hindrances have be brought through at the last. It may been swept away. He has spared no seem like a miracle. It is like saying expense. “I gave Egypt for thy the action of fire and water shall be so

Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” controlled that their natural result shall He gave His Son. not follow. No difficulty, no trouble is 2. His faithfulness. You can plead so great that the Lord cannot effect a His word of promise. The truth of deliverance; in some unexpected way His nature is pledged. He will do as deliverance shall come. The day is He has said. overcast with gloomy clouds; the atmo- 3. His love. Is He not thy Father? sphere is depressed; the rain comes in He loves His children. His heart is torrents; the wind sweeps down houses set on their salvation. Will not love and trees before it; universal wreck do all that is necessary? seems impending; when unexpectedly 4. His power. He can sweep away the storm abates, wind and rain cease, all material and spiritual hindrances the clouds separate, a genial warmth is that lie in the way. Nothing is too diffused, the sun shines out, the storm hard for the Lord, is forgotten.“ Allthings work together But there must be faith. God's for good to them that love God." He promises are made to faith. The suffers His people to pass through fire blessing is according to faith. Let and water, not only that He may dis- your mind rest in the promises in


and love in their deli- every time of distress, whatever its verance, but often, because the fire and

nature, assured that either He will the water lie in their way to some good remove it or overrule it, so that a exceeding what they have ever enjoyed; blessing shall come through it. If which, without it, could not have been there are losses, disappointments, be. reached. Sickness is sometimes the reavements, soul-troubles, the solemn pathway to health; temporal calamity hour of death, His presence, and His to prosperity ; sorrow to established delivering power shall be the sufficient Christian character; spiritual dis- antidote.-J. Rawlinson. tresses to a profounder realisation of spiritual blessings. The cross prepares for the crown. Death is the God's grace never shines so brightly gate of life.

as when it shines through the cloud of Oh, how many such deliverances are His people's sins. Nor does it ever recorded in the sacred history! Jo- appear so glorious as when displayed seph from prison. The bush burned, in the depth of their unworthiness. but was not consumed. The children When nature is at the lowest, grace is of Israel through the waters of the generally at the highest. When God Red Sea and the Jordan Daniel has threatened His people for their from the lions' den. The three He- sins, or chastened them for their brew youths in the furnace of fire; follies, He then generally steps in but there was one with them “like with some revelation of His grace, or the Son of God, and therefore upon makes some precious promise. This their bodies the fire had no power, was the case with Israel of old, nor was a hair of their head singed.” whom God had visited with sore Fire cannot burn, water cannot drown and terrible judgments; and then, those whom the Lord preserves. No

instead of utterly consuming them, thing can prevent the fulfilment of His He comes forward and says,

" When word.

thou passest," &c. Consider the grounds on which I. THE PILGRIM'S PAINFUL LOT. your confidence may repose

He has to pass through deep, sore, 1. His purpose. The salvation of and successive trials. Persecution, His people from every evil is part of temptations, conflict within. TemHis redeeming, plan. Everything is poral trials: losses, crosses, disap

appear below.

pointments, and vexations. The fire parched with thirst; at another, either be. tries the metal, and separates it from

numbed with the cold, or scorched by the heat, the dross, &c. So the believer's trials

or overpowered by the severity of the storm,

before he can reach a place of shelter, or find refine him, &c.

the necessary refreshments of nature. Now, II. THE LORD'S GRACIOUS PROMISE. he knows not at what place he shall enter the "I will be with thee.” Nothing is so

forest, to avoid being torn by the briars and much needed, nothing so much prized

thorns, or entangled in some impenetrable

thicket. Then, he besitates whether the by the believer in affliction, as the pre- thick mire be not too deep for him, or the sence of God. 1. To direct thy sieps, for murshy ground may not sink beneath his I know all the way. 2. To strengthen

feet. In a little while he is distressed how thy faith, for I know how weak and

he shall, by the best and easiest path, ascend

the steep and woody mountain; or how, in feeble it is. 3. To cheer thy heart, for I descending, he shall avoid the precipices which know all thy sorrows. 4. To secure thy

A said, he arrives at the banks benefit, for I will surely do thee good. of some deep and rapid river, or approaches

some torrent descending from the mountains, 5. To bring thee safely through all, and

and swelled by the winter Boods; and how he lead thee safe to glory.

Bhiall descend, and where be shall pass through, CONCLUSION.-Ourtrials willsweeten and whether the waters be fordable, or the home. Heaven will make amends for streams be not too rapid, are questions which

distress his mind and fill him with anxiety all. Whatever happens, God is still

and fear. our Father, and we are His beloved

Many such impediments were in the travel. children.-James Smith.

ler’s way; and to many such hazards was he

exposed in Canaan, and especially in the (a) In most parts of our country, ingenuity countries adjacent, many of which were and labour have been employed to lessen the mountainous and waste. On this account, fatigues and remove the dangers of travelling. frequent allusions to this state of things are Roads are cut through woods and morasses, made by the Spirit of God in scripture, and over mountains; inns are established; especially in describing the Christian life. and bridges are thrown over rivers and brooks. The Christian is represented as a man travel. But in countries which are thinly inhabited, ling through the waste howling wilderness to or into which the improvements of modern Iminanuel's land. . . . Many a mountain of times have not been introduced, travelling is difficult duty has he to ascend, and many a full of danger and of toil. The stranger, if steep of painful suffering bas he to descend on he has not a guide, is in perpetual uncer. his way to his heavenly home. Many waters tainty, is harassed by apprehensions; and if of deep distress, which sometimes rush unhe reach his destined place, it is not till he is expectedly upon him, like torrents from the almost exbausted by fatigue, and after many mountains, and threaten to sweep him away hair-breadth escapes.

At one time, he is into destruction, has he to pass through. almost faint with hunger; at another, he is Peddie.


xliii. 4. Since thou wast precious, 8C We learn here-1. That nations and of His Church, to defend it in danger, armies are in the hand of God and at and deliver it in time of calamity. 4. His disposal. 2. That His people are That His people should put the utmost dear to His heart, and that it is His confidence in Him as being able to purpose to defend them. 3. That the defend them, and as having formed a revolutions among nations, the rise of

purpose to preserve and save them.one empire and the fall of another, are A. Barnes. often in order to promote the welfare

(A Motto Tect for the New Year.)

xliii. 5. Fear not, for I am with thee. Again we enter upon the dark of un- hy experience will have its cares, and certainty. Standing upon the thresh- its perils, and its sorrows. What is old of another year, which we know the true antidote of fear? What is

the real elixir of the happiness we II. THOSE QUALITIES WHICH RENDER
wish to one another but the presence THE PRESENCE OF GOD AN ANTIDOTE
and protection of the Lord ? This He TO FEAR.
guarantees to us : “ Fear not, for I am The


any one possesses with thee.”

to dissipate fear by his presence deI. FEAR IS NATURAL TO MAN.

pends upon the qualities of that person, 1. As a feeble creature in the midst his ability and his willingness to help. of the irresistible and mysterious The character of God is what He is in powers of the universe. What can Himself, what He has already done, allay this fear but the protection of and what He has promised to do; it One who can control those forces, who is this which gives force to the exis nightier than they, and will use hortation, “ Fear not, for I am with that might in my behalf?

thee." 2. As a sinner, conscivus of viola- III. SOME OF THOSE OCCASIONS TO tions of the law of the Great Ruler, WHICH THE EXHORTATION IS SPECIALLY and therefore justly apprehensive of APPLICABLE. the divine displeasure. The religion

The first Sabbath of the year.

We of the Bible reveals the Creator as a walk forward in darkness; what that Saviour, delighting in mercy. Thus darkness conceals we cannot the real language of the Bible is, Fear conjecture. Fear may suggest various not. To Abraham, Isaac, Joshua,

evils. God says, “ Fear not, for I am Gideon, &c. In all these exhorta- with thee.” To some the

year tions not to fear, the reason given is to prove one of severe trial. To Jehovah's presence; but it is that very

some this


will be the last on presence that makes the conscious earth. sinner afraid (Gen. iii. 8). Yet in the CONCLUSION.- Appeal to those who Bible the presence of God is urged as do not regard the presence of God as a dissuasive against fear. Because the chief element of their joy, as that God is revealed to us as merciful, &c. which chiefly will make the year a -in Jesus Christ as the Saviour and happy one. --Newman Hall, LL.B.: the friend of sinners.

The Christian World, January 8, 1864.


is sure


(Missionary Sermon.)

xliji. 6. I will say to the south, Keep not back I. THE GRANDEUR OF THE SPEAKER. standing, but to the conscience and I will say." Who is He? The tone heart; to all the secret springs of our He assumes is that of one who need nature; so as to make converts not only speak to be heard, felt, and obeyed to the sect of the Nazarenes, but to through all nature. It is He who is righteousness; not to Christianity only, the great I AM; in comparison with but to Christ. Take two or three inwhom the universe, with all its furni- stances : St. Matthew, St. Paul. Are ture, is as nothing, &c.

Such an

you converted to Christ? Without it, agent, such a friend, one so high and perish you must everlastingly (Matt. unspeakable, suffices you. But what xviii. 3, &c.) We see the grandeur will He say? or, what will He do ? of the speaker in these and all similar He promises to interest Himself in

instances. the conversions of the heathen, to 1. Does the ineffable JEHOVAH Himbless our attempts for their conversion. self promise to speak in this manner? How divinely pleasant and supporting! Then, let us not regret the want of What more do you ask? But how will miracles to convert the heathen. The He speak? Not merely to the under promise suffices alone.

What greater Be

say,” &c.

miracle than conversion itself? (5, 6) we have a grand promise of content with these miracles, and expect universal conversion. them from Him who says, “I will “I will say to the south, Keep not

back.This implies2. Does He promise His efficiency 1. Something divinely tender and in converting the heathen, on the sup- affecting. “I am your Maker and position that we become His organ? Saviour -- essential love; and wait Then, let us no longer blame Him upon you, to unite you to myself and for the partial communication of the to all the flower of being in the uniGospel. As was said by the Israelites verse," &c. Can infidelity propose a to Pharaoh, “The fault is in thine own greater good to mankind than the people.” The Gospel is committed to Gospel ? us in trust.

2. He will say to the south as He You whisper, “But if success is says to us, “Bring out your dead, thus indefinitely assured to Gospel deliver up all your vices, keep none missions, none can fail of effect.” I of them back.” The design of Jesus answer-(1.) None do fail altogether. Christ is to redeem from all iniquity. (2.) The promise in the text, and 3. That there is a disposition in the every similar one, implies that, though south to do the contrary. They have God will command success, it shall be not only the common corruption of through a fit instrument. (3.) God our nature to contend with, but the will work in a way worthy His in- prejudice of ages to keep them back finite wisdom as well as goodness. from the Gospel. Then, every exerDuty is our province; events of time, tion on our part is necessary. The &c., belong to Him.

natural and strong predilection of the II. THE GLORY OF THE THING heathen for their own ancient system. SPOKEN.

In this work nothing can be lost. “I will say to the south.No parti- Nothing less will be gained than eternal cular country is specified. Better so, glory, for millions upon millions in the than otherwise. "The south,” amongst South Seas will be won. — T. Prutythe cardinal points of the world-the cross, A.M.: The Pulpit, vol. v. pp. east, West, north.

In those verses 161-172.


xliii. 10. Ye are my witnesses. This is what Jesus says to us. He II. THE THINGS A BELIEVER MUST has left His fame in our hands (Acts POSSESS IN ORDER TO WITNESS FOR i. 8). He could have done without us. CHRIST. 1. Knowledge. 2. Veracity. . But He has chosen the weak things to 3. Consistency. 4. Patience. 5. Boldwitness as to what He has done and is ness, firmness. (H. E. I. 3922–3976). doing now.


private devotion ?

Learned exposiHe knows experimentally more of God tions of your creed? Denunciation than any other being. Angels could of your opponents ? Seclusion in a witness of His majesty and goodness. hermit's cell? Nay. But rather-1. Devils, of His wrath and justice. All A daily manifestation of heart-loyalty men, of His wisdom. But a child of to Christ. 2. A daily feeding on His God, while witnessing to all these, can promises, thus showing contentment tell of His forgiving love, &c. 2. He and hope. 3. A daily growing in His can have no greater joy. 3. On ac- likeness. 4. The daily display of the count of our being constantly in the graces of His Spirit.—R. A. Griffin : presence of our fellow-men. He would Stems and Twigs, pp. 63. have the world without excuse.

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