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it is increased. All this, unless God's In its perpetuity. A river differs from ways are forsaken, goes on to the last. a mountain torrent or summer brook New springs of consolation burst open in this: the river flows on with a comin every stage of our progress, old paratively steady current—sometimes sources of comfort become richer and broader and deeper than at others, it is sweeter; our peace constantly flows true, but never exhausted, never drydeeper and deeper, till it ends in an while the very existence of the brook ocean of peace, the boundless, fathom- and the torrent depends upon uncertain less ocean of everla-ting joy.-Charles showers. The Christian who hearkens Bradley : Practical Sermons, vol. i. pp. diligently to the laws of the Lord shall 276-278.
enjoy perpetual peace. It is not uni
form, indeed, any more than the course It is from simple natural imagery of the river. 5. In its increase. Peace that the mind is put into a fitting shall not only dwell perpetually with frame for catching the spirit of the God's children, but it shall grow text. The good and gracious God stronger and more pervading. addresses this tender language of ex- If you saw a man trying all his life postulation to those who have forgotten to satisfy his thirst by holding an H's laws.
empty cup to his lips, you would smile I. Our heavenly Father is continually at his folly or pity his ignorance. Not speaking to us by His Word, &c. Some- more deplorable folly and ignorance, times His voice is heard in thunder however, than when immortal spirits tones, as on the smoking top of Sinai. persist in seeking peace everywhere exSometimes its gracious accents are cept from its true and only source. those of gentleness and love. It is the “ There is no peace, saith my God, to duty of all to “ hearken,” however and the wicked," and yet each one of those whenever God speaks. To "hearken" who will be condemned at the last day implies
might have enjoyed "peace as a river.” 1. A reverent and careful attention -J. N. Norton : Sermons for the Christo God's message.
2. That we tian Year. sider God's commandments as binding upon us, and as pointing out certain particulars which we are required to 1. Like a river in its commenceattend to. God is a lawgiver, and the ment-trickling from some fissure in sceptre of dominion is held firmly in the heart, singing its own song as it His grasp (Rev. xxii. 14).
drops from leaf to leaf, from ledge Il. The blessing promised, as the to ledye—now gathering itself up in reward of such obedience, is peace- a little pool, saying to its joyous peace of mind and heart; peace with waters, "Here we rest,”—anon rushGod through Christ Jesus. Peace maying on again to fulfil its purpose, and be compared to a river, 1. In its ori- gain its parent sea. gin: small
, joyous, sparkling, vigorous, 2. Like a river in its progress, ever rapid. 2. In its progress: widening and widening and deepening, from the deepening; receiving new tributories ankles to the knees, from the knees on the right and left, from the various to the loins, from the loins to waters means of grace, as they are supplied to swim in, a river that cannot be with the dew of heaven and showers passed over,
passed over, — receiving new tribuof blessings; sweeping away as it rolls taries on the right and left, sweeping on in its strength the obstacles of un- away as it rolls on its healthful sanctified affections and unconquered stream the dead and dying remains lusts. 3. In its overflowing abundance. of past affections and former lusts, It is not a scanty, fluctuating, failing and bearing on its bosom a thousand stream, but a full tide of peace, both newly launched hopes. wide and deep, and supplying to the 3. Like a river in its influenceutmost every longing of the soul. 4. holy, healthy, generating-causing a
wide expanse of “ living green” to the Nile. An awakening providence spread out on either side — making often makes an overflow. Afflictions even the desert of the soul “rejoice and the consolations under them and blossom as the rose.”
always, if the sufferings are the suf4. Like a river in its termination, ferings of Christ. Sacramental times rolling into and mingling with the also; hence the desirableness of freshoreless, blessed sea of perfect peace, quency in the administration of the where undulating waves never roll in Lord's Supper. 4. It gets broader strife, or break in death, but where and broader to the sea.
The Tay. the people of God are “ever with (Prov. iv. 18.) Try yourselves by the Lord.”
this test. 5.' It is fertilising. It Away among the Alleghanies there conveys nourishment.
Egypt owes is a spring so small, that a single all its fertility to the Nile. The ox in a summer day could drain it peace of Christ makes every grace dry. It steals its unobtrusive way grow. Holiness always grows out of among the hills, till it spreads out in a peaceful breast. the beautiful Ohio. Thence it stretches II. Their righteousness would have away a thousand miles, leaving on its been as the waves of the sea. (a) Bebanks, cities, villages, and cultivated -1. It covers over the highest farms, and bearing on its bosom more
sins. 2. It covers again and again. than half a thousand steamboats. It is infinite righteousness. You canBeautiful representation of a Chris- not count the waves of the sea. tian's peace! Peace “as a river." Inference. God wishes men to be
How little do we know of this saved. God sometimes pleads with peace of God! We deem ourselves men to be saved for His own pleasure : happy if we have one serene hour it would be pleasant to Him, it would out of the twenty-four; and if now make Him glad, as in the parable of and then there
a Sabbath the lost sheep. Sometimes He pleads which is balm at morning, and sweet- for His own glory (Jer, xiii. 16; Mal. ness through the still noon, and ii. 1). But here it is for the happibenediction at evening, we count it a ness of sinners themselves (so Ps. rare and blessed experience.-H. W. Ixxxi. 13). Once more, He pleads Beecher.
men, because unwilling that any
should perish (2 Pet. iii. 9).-R. M. 1. Their peace would have been like M'Cheyne : Memoirs und Remains, p. a river. 1. It has a source.
467. begins at the fountain of Christ's blood. 2. It is fed from above. (a) The ideas suggested by the figure of a Rains and showers feed the rivers.
river are abundance, perpetuity, and fresh
ness, to which the waves of the sea add those The shower of grace swells the rivers
of vastness, depth, and continual succession.of peace. 3. It has inundations, as
THE Right USE OF THE HISTORY OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE. xlviii. 20, 21. Go forth from Babylon ! Flee ye from the Chaldeans !
With the voice of joy tell this, dcc. Isaiah had prophesied that his fellow- also purposed to deliver them therecountrymen would be led captive into from; and 2, that every purpose which Babylon; but he was able to look for- God has formed is certain to be acward to the termination of their cap- complished. Assured of these facts, tivity, and could speak thus confidently there rises before his prophetic vision because he knew-1, that God, who was two others :-1. He sees the gates of about to consign them for a time, and the prison-city thrown open; yea, the for corrective purposes, into bondage, prison-city itself falling; and, standing Those pro
in spirit before them, he bids them flee I. The use that Isaiuh made of that from the peril involved in its destruc- history, we also ought to make. Two tion, into the freedom which the ways of reading the Bible-with a mighty change had once more rendered literary interest, with a personal interest. possible for them. “ Go forth from Geology- what it means to an earnest Babylon ! Flee ye from the Chal- student; what it means to the intellideans !” 2. He sees the flight accom- gent owner of a vast estate. With like plished, the pilgrimage from the land personal interests we should read the of captivity completed safely, and his Bible, remembering that God is unfellow-countrymen settled down peace- changeable, and that the laws on which ably in the good land promised to their He has made human welfare and happi. fathers, and he exhorts them to pro- ness to depend are the same in every claim to the whole world what God age. Reading the Bible thus, 1. we has done for them, “ With the voice of shall love it more and more, for the joy," &c.
fullness of its treasures will become His exhortations are in themselves more and more clear to us (H. E. I. prophecies of what would happen to 613). 2. Fears suggested to us by the them, and the terms of those predic- difficulties of the Christian pilgrimaye, tions as to what God would do for and thatotherwise night greatly trouble His people in the future were suggested us, will be driven away; for the history by the history of what God had done will convey to us the prophetic assurfor them in the past.
ance that in every stage of our pilgrimphecies must not be too literally in- age, and in every emergency that may terpreted ; there is no record that God arise therein, the grace of God will wrought any such miracles for His
prove sufficient for us. people during their march from Baby- II. We are reminded also of our duty ion homewards. What Isaiah wished in regard to our own experience of God's to impress upon them was, that God dealings with His people. Isaiah here would do everything necessary to per- teaches that it would be the duty of fect His deliverance of them, and to redeemed “Jacob" to make known to sustain them throughout it; and he the whole world what God had done did this in terms which reminded them for them. This is the duty of God's how in all the trials through which redeemed ones in every age ; collectheir fathers had passed they had found tively, and hence the necessity of misGod able to deliver them. How terrible sion work of various kinds; individually. was the difficulty to which he refers, and Let us not forget this (Ps. Ixvi. 16). 1. how marvellous the deliverance there- Gratitude should move us to do this. 2. from (Exod. xvii. 1-6 ; Num. xx. 1-11). Compassion for our fellow-men should
Isaiah was enabled thus to instruct and teach us to do this. cheer them, because he knew how to make Heaven will be eternally the realm a right use of the history of God's dealings of song, because there the redeemed of with His people. He remembered that the Lord will never grow weary of that history is more than a history; making known what He has done for that it is also a revelation and a pro- them. “ Go forth from Babylon ! Flee phecy-a revelation of what God will ye from the Chaldeans! With the always be found to be; a prophecy of voice of joy tell this,” &c. what He will always do for His people.
WATER FROM THE ROCK.
xlviii. 21, and Exodus xvii. 6. Narrate the instructive fact recorded I. That human life has its great emerin Exodus xvii.
gencies. Abraham, Jacob, David, Paul, This wonderful fact suggests
&c. So with us. Christianity does not exempt us from the sorest trials. 3. It was opened according to Divine Sooner or later, every Christian has appointment by the hand of man. It his Rephidim in his way to Canaan. was a smitten rock. So Jesus “
gave Secular misfortunes, family trials, per- His back to the smiters." And man onal spiritual conflicts, &c. Such
gave the blow. emergencies are needful for the testing II. THE STREAM THAT FLOWED FROM of our principles, and the maintenance THE ROCK, and increase of our spiritual vigour.
1. It saved Israel from perishing.
This was its chief use. And it saved “ We need as much the cross we bear, As air we breathe, or light we see :
them when nothing else could save It draws us to Thy side in prayer,
them. So with the gospel of Jesus It binds us to our strength in Thee."
2. It did more than save. Enabling II. That deliverance often comes from them to wash away the defilement of most unlikely and unerpected sources. the desert, it cleansed the Israelites. Water from a flinty rock. Rademp
Sin pollutes while it destroys. The tion from the carpenter's son at Naza- blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all reth. The promulgation of the gospel sin, because by it He obtained for His by fishermen and tentmakers, and in
church the gift of the Holy Ghost. modern times by Carey, the shoemaker; 3. It refreshed them. Their strength Williams and Thomas, the blacksmiths;
was so renewed that they rose up, and and Moffat, the gardener, &c. (a) after fighting a whole day with the Learn : To confide in God in the
Anialekites, they overcame them, and greatest emergency. He can help you, passed on with fresh vigour to Canaan. whatever it is however dire. He
In like manner the waters of life refresh has promised to support and deliver.
the people of God.-C. Bradley. Let your trust be determined, heroic, constant.-Alfred Tucker.
This fact reminds us that Jehovah (a) “God can bring good to His people from is the God of providence, working even the most unlikely sources. Nothing seemed
miracles for the accomplishment of His more unlikely to yield water than the barren rock of Horeb. So God often brings refresh. purposes; while the great Apostle of ing streams of comfort to His people out of the Gentiles directs us to Jehovah as hard circumstances. Paul and Silas could
the God of grace, when, pointing to it, sing in the dungeon, and their imprisonment was made the means of adding to their con.
he exclaims, “ that rock was Christ.” verts in Philippi. The lot of John in Patmos
View the occurrenceseemed hard and dreary indeed, but at the I. As a seasonable, providential interbidding of Christ, streams of living water
position. 1. A period of great distress; gushed forth there, which reíreshed the soul of the Apostle at the time, and have followed
myriads of men and women and much the Church until the present. Out of the
cattle without water, 2. An instance sufferings of the martyrs came joy to them. of the omnipotence of God-a flinty selves and blessings to their descendants.
rock yields water at His command. Above all, out of the hard circumstances of the crucified Lord of glory, God has brought forth
3. Encouragement to hope in God, waters of everlasting life.”
though we see no prospect or way of supply.
II. As an illustration of the grace of I. THE SOURCE OF THE WATERS. our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. The rock
1. Its durability and unchangeable is an emblem of Christ, in solidness. It was a rock, and one of peculiar ity, strength, shelter, and duration. solidity and strength. Time has not been 2. The smiting of the rock prefigures able either to destroy or materially alter Christ's sufferings. He was stricken, it. So the Rock of Ages (Heb. xiii. 8). smitten of God, that He might bear 2. It was chosen by God Himself. our sins and carry our sorrows.
The So Jesus is a Saviour of His appoint- body of Christ was indeed smitten, ment.
His soul was made an offering for sin. VOL. II.
" See from the Rock a fountain rise !
For you in healing streams it rolls; Money ye need not bring, nor price,
Ye labouring, burdened, sin-sick souls.
3. The waters that flowed from the smitten rock represent the benefits we derive from Christ's atoning sacrifice. How suitable was this supply, how abundant, how lasting! Let there be grateful remembrance of the smitten rock, vigorous prosecution of our journey; we drink to be refreshed and press on. Invite, and bring, our children and friends. Come sinner, thou !
Nothing ye in exchange shall give,
Leave all you have and are behind ;
-John Hirst :
THE POSSESSORS OF PEACE
xlviii, 22. There is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked. “ There is a caveat put in against (1.) In the act of wickedness. There the wicked, that go on still in their can be no happiness in sin-simply the trespasses. Let them not think they gratification of bad passions.
benefit amongst God's (2.) In the business or pleasures of people, though in show and profes- life. The world in none of its forms or sion they herd themselves among modifications can afford solid, substanthem-let them not expect to come tial, elevated peace. “Pleasures pall in shares. What have they to do upon the sense;
» riches take wings; with peace that are enemies to God ? disappointment comes, and the highest Their false prophets cried peace to earthly and sensual pleasure leaves a then to whom it did not belong; but sad sense of want—a feeling that there God tells them that there shall be no is something in the capacities and wants peace to the wicked."
of the undying mind which has not Whatever the reason for its intro- been filled (H. E. I. 4969-4974). duction here, this verse contains a (3.) Of conscience-no conviction most important truth which demands that they are right. Indeed there is universal attention.
often the reverse of peace care, I. WHAT THE TEXT ASSERTS—that distress, alarm, apprehension. “They there is no peace to the wicked (H.
and their consciences are
ever and E. I. 2296-2301).
anon at drawn daggers; . . . their 1. Who are the wicked ? (1.) Enemies consciences are still galling and terof God (Ps. xxxvii. 20, lxxxvii
. 15; rifying them for imprisoning their Rom. i. 30 ; Jas. iv. 4). (2.) Enemies convictions” (Flavel). This world of the Cross of Christ (Phil. iii. 18). can furnish nothing which will give (3.) Evil-doers (Ps._xxviii. 3, xxxvi. peace to the heart that is agitated 12, xxxvii. 1; 1 Pet. ii. 14). (4.) with a sense of unforgiven sin (ch. Men of the world (Ps. xvii. 14). The lvii. 20; H. E. I. 1321-1324). wicked are
“not only all who think (4.) In death. There may be caland feel and do wrong, but all who lousness, insensibility, freedom from have not the right spirit within them- alarm, but that is not peace, any more supreme sympathy with the supremely than sterility is fruitfulness, &c. yood. There are degrees in wicked- Often, however, the mind is filled ness as well as in goodness. All bad with alarm, and the death-bed is a men are not equally bad. Sin has its scene of blank despair (H. E. I. 1567, blade, its ear, its full corn in the ear." 1568, 1590-1593; P. D. 684).
2. The wicked have no true peace. (5.) Beyond the grave. “A sinner They may have the semblance, but can have no peace at the judgment even that is transient and vain (Job bar of God-no peace in hell. In all xx. 5; Luke xii. 20; Ecc. ii. 1, vii. the future world there is no place 6). They have no real peace
where he can find repose.”