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of His eye,
creation came into being. The construction,
signal providence of the Return from Baby. lon. So in Zechariah, “After the glory hath He sent me to the nations that spoiled you ; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple
and ye sball know that the Lord of Hogts hath sent me" (Zech. ii. 7-9.) This mission of the Word to deliver captive Israel was an earnest of that fuller and later message, when “the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."Birks : Comm., pp. 246, 247.
A TREASURY OF GREAT TRUTHS.
xlviii. 16, 17. Come ye near unto me, dcc. It is God in Christ who here speaks II. THE NEEDFUL WORK WHICH to us (see preceding note by Mr. Birks). GOD ACCOMPLISHES IN HIS PEOPLE. A treasury of great truths; we can look 1. He is their Teacher. “I am the only at a few of them.
Lord thy God which teacheth thee to I. THE GRACIOUS INVITATION God profit." No one can do this effectually GIVES US. “Come ye near unto me.
but God. None but He has wisdom, In all the means of grace God comes patience, or power enough to deal very near to us, and would have us ap- with these hearts of ours which are proach Him.
He says to us, as Isaac always prone to depart from Him. said to Jacob, “Come near to me, my
The labyrinth of human ignorance has son, that I may bless thee." He would such a maze that none but He can not have us stand at a distance, but penetrate it. draw nigh; not treat Him as a stranger, Divine teaching consists in opening but as a personal friend; not be con- the eyes of the understanding to pertent to be outer-court worshippers, but ceive spiritual objects, and inclining advance as to a footing of holy personal the will to choose and pursue them. intimacy (1 John i. 3; H. E. I. 3427, It is most needful. God never acts 3428, 3448, 3449).
in vain ; unless His children needed God would have us close the ear to His help as their teacher, He would the voice of the tempter and the seduc- not undertake to help them in this tions of the world, and open the ear form. The necessity for His teaching to the whispers of His Word and the arises from our spiritual blindness and pleadings of His Spirit within us. native distaste for divine things ; Those who would learn the lessons of through sin all the faculties of the heavenly wisdom must approach near soul are left in the same condition as to Him, and desire immediate com- the body would be without light. munications from Him. Moses went Hence certain important Scripture up into the mount, while the elders sayings (Ps. cxix. 8; Isa. xlii. 6, 7, stood afar off; we are permitted to &c.; H. E. I. 3399, 2877-2882). imitate Moses, and we should do so. 2. He is their Guide. “Which leadeth While Martha was troubled about thee by the way that thou shouldest go." many things, Mary sat at Jesus' feet. He leads them as well as instructs them,
The tendency of irreligion and and makes dark providences the means worldliness is to separate the soul of giving them spiritual light; for His further and further from God; the Word and His providence are mutual tendency of all the influences of the interpreters. How did He teach Job? Spirit upon the spiritual mind is to By philosophical lectures and a large bring us nearer to the God we worship. scientific apparatus ? No; but by There should be one continual desire : strange and trying providences (H.E.I “Nearer, my God, to Thee," &c. 99, 100, 133, 134).
III. THE CONDESCENDING RELA- deemer" is a title in which He rejoices, TIONS HE SUSTAINS TU THEM.
aud we should too. 1. He is their Lord—the sovereign 3. He is “the Holy One of Israel.” of the Church, Let past experience This expresses at once His own perfecencourage future hope. “ This God tion and the influence He exerts on His is our God for ever and ever :" a people—not only holy, but also the changeless friend, an endless por- author of holiness. To produce that tion.
in them is the purpose of all His deal2. He is the Redeemer of the Church ings with them (Heb. xii. 10; Tit. ii. He had redeemed the Israelites from 14; H. E. I. 2842, 2843). Egypt; He was about to redeem them 4. He is thy God. Let this crownfrom Babylon. He will finally redeem ing and all-comprehensive fact be kept His people from sin, death, and hell. constantly in mind, prompting us to However much the world overlooks devout worship and thankful service the mystery of redemption, God Him- of Him to whom we owe life, breath, self places the greatest stress upon it. and all things that minister to our It is that work from which He derives present well-being, and enable us to the highest glory, and the Church the look forward without fear to the eternoblest comfort. “ The Lord thy re- nal future.-Samuel Thodey.
DIVINE NAMES AND DIVINE WORK.
xlviii. 17. Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, &c. These words were spoken in dark law, he is placed under arrest to it and troublous times. They are fraught (Gal. iv. 24, 25, iii. 10). To death with instruction and comfort. In them (Heb. ii. 15, John iii. 36). (2.) God, we have
in Christ, is the great deliverer. No I. DIVINE NAMES. They convey other way (Acts iv. 12; John viii. 36). ideas of overwhelming greatness and The Gospel is glad tidings of salvation glory, mingled with awful mysterious- to poor, guilty captives ready to perish. ness, and are worthy our careful con- Deliverance has been effected through sideration.
Christ. By a great ransom (1 Cor. 1. “ Lord.” That is, Jehovah, the vi. 20; 1 Pet. i. 18, 19). By conquest. proper and incommunicable name of He not merely paid the ransom price, the Most High God. Represented in but He destroyed the power of man's our version by the word LORD, printed enslavers. See the argument of Christ in capitals. In the Pentateuch it is (Luke xi. 21, 22; cf. 1 John iii. 8). God's personal and covenant name. He rescues sinners from the thraldom It is indicative of the attributes of of Satan, and gives them the liberty self-existence, eternity, immutability, of the sons of God. Multitudes have and perfect independence. How great been delivered, and are now in a state and ylorious is our God ! (See outline of perfect freedom (Rom. viii. 1). You on ch. xlii. 8.)
may be delivered. Is realised by faith. 2. “ Redeemer "- vindicator or de
No other way. liverer. Isaiah addresses his country- 3. “The Holy One of Israel." This men as being actually in a state of name is often applied to Him in Scripcaptivity. (1.) Man is in a state of ture. “There are other beings in the spiritual captivity--the worst sort of universe that are in a sense holycaptivity. He is in bondage to sin angels and saints are holy, but He is (John viii. 34). Sin rules and reigns “the Holy One.' His holiness is in him. He is a slave to his lusts (2 essential and underived. It is the Pet. ii. 19). To Satan (2 Tim. ii. 16; eternal source and the absolute stanEph. ii. 2). To the law. Not having dard of all holiness in the universe. performed the requirements of that Other holy beings to Him are only as
the dim stars of night to the unclouded eternity. We are in the labyrinth of sun of day. He is the immaculate error and sin. Life is like a heath fountain of all holiness, the Father of with paths stretching in various direclights whence every ray of purity in tions. Many appear pleasant and safe the universe proceeds. His boliness that lead astray. We are often beis incomparable (Exod. xv. 11; 1 Sam. wildered, and often choose wrongly.” ii. 2 ; Isa. xl. 25 ; Rev. xv. 4). His (2.) We have a divine guide. God holiness is manifested in His words Himself engages to be our guide. He and His works, especially the work of is the only infallible guide -infinitely human redemption. Is pledged for the wise, powerful, good, gracious. He ulfilment of His promises (Ps. Ixxxix. guides His people by His Word. Its 35). Should produce reverential fear precepts instruct; its revelations en(Exod. xv. 11; 1 Sam. vi. 20; Ps. v. lighten ; its examples encourage and 7 ; Rev. xv. 4).
warn us. By His Spirit, acting directly II. DIVINE WORK.
upon our spirit (Isa. xxx. 21). By His 1. Teaching. (1.) The need of a providence, pointing out the way by the divine teacher, for we are ignorant as
indications of circumstances and curto spiritual knowledge (Eph. iv. 18). rent events. By the example of Christ. Naturally our understanding is so By the counsel of His servants (Ps. darkened that we see no beauty in lxxvii. 20). The wise and good are Christ that we should desire Him (1 here to direct us. (3.) God guides Cor. ii. 14). (2.) We have a divine His people in the way they should go, teacher. God, by His Spirit (Luke not in the way they would go-that is xii. 12; John xiv. 26; 1 Cor. ii. 13 ; man's interpretation. There is a way 1 John ii, 20, 27). By His incarnate in which we should walk—a divine on. “ God's great lesson-book is the way,
ar to those who will see it. cross of Christ. All truth is condensed God's
way is not always our way, but there. Everything you have to learn, it is always the right, the best, the or to do, or enjoy, is written upon that safest, and the happiest way. This page. It is the babe's alphabet, and assurance should always cheer and it is the philosopher's compendium. comfort us. There are the glories which are to be Unconverted sinner! you must move expanded throughout eternity. God forward-you must go,” it is the law holds the clue to that divine labyrinth of your being. But how will you "go”? of awful, blessed mystery. Only the with God, or without Him? You are Holy Spirit can unlock those spiritual free to choose which you will do. Take passages."-J. Vaughan.
God as your guide, the wisest, the best 2. Leading or guiding. “I ain thy of all leaders. To refuse divine leaderconductor and guide." (1.) We need ship is to grope in darkness, and ultia divine guide. “We are pilgrims to mately to perish. - Alfred Tucker.
GOD OUR TEACHER AND LEADER. xlviii. 17. I am the Lord thy God, who teacheth thee to profit, &c. How beautiful and impressive are
live for. No doctrine, no idea, no the “ I am's” of God! Only from God creed can take the place of the Person has the declaration “I am” its full I am the Lord thy God.” The meaning. But God does not isolate apostle of love seems to have taken Himself. What He is, He is for His special heed of the self-revelations of people,
Christ; for in his pages we meet with We must go out of ourselves to get some of the glorious "I am's” of Christ real blessing for ourselves; and to (John viii. 12 ; vi. 35; xiv. 6; x. 7; whom shall we go? The heart must xv. 1 ; viii. 58 ; xi. 25). In the text have a Person to love, to lean on, to God is revealed as our Teacher and
Leader; and “Learn of Me," and love to have it so. The thought of “Follow Me,” are two most important His instruction encourages us, while commands of Jesus Christ.
His leadership emboldens us. I There is an important relation II. Contemplate the words “who between these two offices of our leadeth thee." Read them in the Divine Master. Not every teacher light of Scripture thoughts and inciis a leader, not every leader a true dents. How they remind us of God teacher. Theory and practice are leading His people from the thraldom often divorcod; words and works are of Egypt (Exod. xiii. 21). In Moses' not always wedded. But Christ is song there is a beautiful figure to help like a general who trains his soldiers us in understanding our Lord's leading in the barracks and leads them on the (Deut. xxxii. 11, 12). Passing on, we field, or like a traveller who braves come to the poem of the shepherdthe dangers and endures the toils of king (Ps. xxiii.) And then we find opening up a country, and then de- David's putting into the lips of wisdom scribes its beanties, dilates upon its the words, “I lead in the way of capacities, and adds to the common righteousness." Take another example; fund of scientific knowledge. Does now from Isaiah (xlii. 16). How Jesus teach us to “pray and not to soothing the words of Jeremiah ! faint ?” He also leads (Mark i. 35; (xxxi. 9). Luke vi. 12); does He teach us to III. What spirit shall we manifest glorify God by our “good works ?” in view of this truth? “Suffer thyself, He went about doing good." Does O Christian, to be led ! Presume not He teach us to love our enemies, and at any time either to linger or to prepray for those who despitefully use cede. Follow thy Shepherd patiently, us? How grandly are we led by His gladly, and constantly. Keep close dying prayer, "Father, forgive them!” to His footsteps. Go unhesitatingly Are we to "seek first the kingdom of through this dry and thirsty land of God,” according to His teaching? It sorrows, trials, and disappointments. was His meat and drink to do His Let no hurry of business delay, no Father's will. He truly
“ teaches us
burden of care prevent thee. Let not to profit, and leads us by the way we the sorrows of thy heart prove too should go.” These are the two great overwhelming to deter, 10 joys of this forces which aid in the formation of life too captivating to detain thee from Christian character, and the develop thy God” (Stephenson on Psalm xxiii.) ment of Christian life (H.E.I. 894-899). " When we cannot see our way,
The teaching of our Master is some- Let us trust and still obey ; times out of the book of affliction and
He who bids us forward go sorrow. We have been drawn away
Cannot fail the way to show." from Him by much resting in creature CONCLUSION.—Let us take our place strength; He is jealous for our sakes; by the psalmist, and with him in a so He teaches us our folly, and weak- spirit of humility, resignation, trustness, and sin ; and then leads us into fulness, and hope, put up these petiHis wisdom, and strength, and holi- tions (Ps. v. 8; xxvi. 5; xxvii. 11; ness. Perhaps His lesson comes out xxxi. 3 ; lxi. 2 ; cxxxix. 24 ; cxlii. 10). vi the book of poverty and distress. Thus shall we on earth have a true He strips us, that we may be clothed foretaste of the blessedness of that with change of raiment. In multitudes sinless place, where "the Lamb, who of ways does our Lord teach His is in the midst of the throne, shall people, but ever to the end that He lead them, and God shall wipe away may lead them in the way in which all tears from their eyes."—Walter J. they should go. All the way along Mayers: Christian World Pulpit, vol. He is Teacher and Leader, and we xvii. pp. 228-230.
THE BENEFIT OF AFFLICTIONS. xlviii. 17. I am the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit. God can make all the objects by the source of all good. By taking away which men are surrounded, and all the every other ground of dependence and scenes through which they are called consolation, they may be said to drive to pass, produce just such effects them to the Fountain of all good. in their minds as He sees best. He Thus they operate even upon the can blast prosperity, and bless adver- ungodly (Ps. cvii. 17-19). Much sity. He can make afflictions instruc- more is this likely to be their effect tive and beneficial. It was while His upon the righteous. people were in a state of adversity, II. GOD is able to make afflictions and despairing of relief, that He profitable to His children. Afflictions undertook to comfort them, by re- do not necessarily sanctify; they make minding them of His power over some men worse, and not better (2 them, His relation to them, and His Chron. xxviii. 22; Rev. ix. 20, xvi. 9, tender regard for their spiritual good 21; H. E. I. 229-233); but God is (ver. 12, 13, 16, 17). We find no able to teach each of His children intimation here that God would put how to turn them into sources of an end to the afflictions of His people, blessing: but only that He was able to sanctify 1. He is able to bring Himself into them, or cause them to have a salutary their view. As when the sun rises and desirable effect.
men cannot see the stars, so when I. Afflictions may be profitable to God presents Himself before the minds the children of God. They are not in of His people, they cannot see anythemselves joyous, but grievous; it is thing else. Or rather, they see Him natural to dread them; even in all things—in the providences and Saviour recoiled from the prospect of afflictions which have befallen them. His approaching sufferings; neverthe- But barely bringing Himself into their less they may eventually prove very view, and turning off their attention beneficial :
from all created objects, will not 1. By turning off their attention from afford relief; because men may bethe world. Living in the world, and hold God and be troubled (Ex. xiv. compelled in some measure to its 24). It is therefore necessary to concerns, they are prone to “mi observeearthly things” too exclusively; but 2. That He can draw their affections afflictions have a direct tendency to as well as their attention towards Himself. turn away their eyes from beholding When He brings Himself into view of vanity, and to prepare them to attend the afflicted, He can awaken every to things of everlasting consequence. holy affection in their hearts, and give
2. By turning off their affections from them a sensible enjoyment of Himself, the world. Many of its objects have which is far better than the enjoyment an immense fascination for the human of sons, or of daughters, or of any heart, and we are always in danger of earthly good (H. E. I, 116–142, 204giving them that place in our hearts 221). which is due to God alone. But in III. These facts are fountains of the time of affliction men learn that consolation for God's afflicted children. in the world there is nothing to soothe What a deep and exhaustless well of and comfort them. When they find comfort is this, that God bears a how little it can do for them, how apt covenant relation to them, and has it is to deceive them, and rob them of engaged to treat them as children! superior happiness, they learn to hate All His dispensations towards them rather than to love it.
are the genuine expressions of His 3. By raising their affections to God, fatherly care and kindness (Heb. xii.