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Divine Guidance and Discipline.

Divine Guidance and Discipline.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,




Deut. viii. 15, 16. — Who led thee through that great and terrible

vnldemess, wherein were Jiery serpents, and scorpions, and

drought, where there was no water ; who brought thee forth

water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the toilderness

with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble

thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter

end.
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,




Deut. viii. 15, 16. — Who led thee through that great and terrible

vnldemess, wherein were Jiery serpents, and scorpions, and

drought, where there was no water ; who brought thee forth

water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the toilderness

with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble

thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter

end.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 17, 2013
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DIVIE GUIDACE AD DISCIPLIE.BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,Deut. viii. 15, 16. — Who led thee through that great and terriblevnldemess, wherein were Jiery serpents, and scorpions, anddrought, where there was no water ; who brought thee forthwater out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the toildernesswith manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humblethee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latterend.*This passage tlirows light on a subject of deep and abidinginterest to tbe people of God. The methods of his providentialdealing. with his children and his church are a form of Divinerevelation which demands more of the spirit of faith and sub-mission than is required by the most mysterious doctrines of theBible.Such sublime mysteries as the Incarnation, the Trinity, andthe Atonement, lying as they do beyond the sphere of reason'sdiscoveries, are to be accepted by an act of simple faith in God,who reveals them : and this only involves that kind and degreeof humility which consists in acknowledging the inferiority of our feeble intelligence to his infinite understanding. But whenwe turn from the revelations of Saipture to the discoveries of 
 
250 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.Providence; from doctrines which address themselves to the un-derstanding, to providential dispensations which defeat our pur-poses, disappoint our expectations, and wound our sensibilities,the case is very different, and we find it exceedingly difficult tobelieve in the wisdom and bow to the sovereignty of Jehovah.The feelings and behaviour developed in such circumstances, area test of character the most infallible.Under the Providence which guides the way and determinesthe lot of individuals, and churches, and communities, a twofoldrevelation is ever going on : God is revealed to men, and menare revealed to themselves ; and both for the most important ends.Let us, therefore, make the subject of his Providential lead-ing AD discipline the theme of our present meditations.The text exhibits it under the threefold aspect of its charac-teristics^ its present effects.^ and its final purpose.I. With regard to the peculiar characteristics of the Divineguidance, we may take the description of Israel's condition andpilgijimage through the desert as embodying the substantial truthof universal experience. Besides being a chapter in the generalhistory of the world, their case has the remarkable peculiarityof being the model, or type, of the Divine method with all men,and through all time. Israel was a typical people, and all thatbefell them had a prophetic reference, and "happened," as theapostle says, ' ' for our ensamples, and is written for our admoni-tion upon whom the ends of the world are come." The granddifference between the Divine guidance then and now regardsthe miraculous element, and the material, visible forms which itassumed : in all its essential characteristics it is the same. Itmust needs be so : it is exercised by the same God, upon menof the same character, and for the self-same purposes. Everyfeature of God's dealing with the Jews has its spiritual antitypeXVI.] DIVIE GUIDACE AD DISCIPLIE. 251
 
in the methods of his providence towards ourselves. It is inter-esting to note the particulars in which the parallel holds true.The guidance is real and actual in both cases. It is said inthe text, that God " led " Israel through the wilderness. Theywere not left to choose their own way : it was divinely orderedfrom beginning to end. They had Moses for a leader, but hewas obedient to the commands of a higher Power: "Jehovahled Israel like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron."And what is remarkable, he did much more than indicate thegeneral direction in which they were to journey. He markedthe precise track ; appointed every encampment ; gave the sig-nal for every march and every halt throughout their entire wan-derings. Grod assumed to himself the whole conduct of theirprogress : nothing was left to their own choice. Their taste,their temper, not even their judgment was consulted ; and allthis was done nof in the absoluteness of Divine sovereignty, butin the tenderness of Divine compassion. It was the act of a Fa-ther whose wisdom and strength supplement the ignorance andhelplessness of the child which he leads by the hand. As of old, so now, Grod leads his people. It is actual and real. opillar of cloud and of fire is seen, but the vanished symbol hasnot carried away the indwelling Grod. It is the glorious mark of the ew Testament age, that Grod is nearer now than he wasbefore : and we know that a Presence more precious than thatmajestic sign rests upon the habitations, and leads the way of Israel still. The whole sacramental host, in its sublime proces-sion, and in each of its lowly members, has yet "the Lord goingbefore them" for a Leader and Guide, and "the glory of theLord" as a "wall of fire" for their "rear- ward."ot one of us is left to choose our own way. Taste, sensibili-ties, aifections, reason, have their uses, but they are not ade-252 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.

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