A VI EYARD OF RED WI E.

BY THOMAS BRADBURY

" In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. " I the Lord do keep it ; I will water it every moment : lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. — lsaiah xzvii. 2, 8. A TRULY evangelical chapter, and a clear experimental portion of God's Wordi Life-giving truth shines forth from Ifim who is the life and glory of His people. Deep and vital experience is brought up from those unknown sorrows and Bufierings endured by the Man of sorrows on the behalf of His people. Judgment and mercy appear interspersed through the whole oi the chapter. Judgment upon the enemies of JEHOVAH, and mercy upon His friends. Judgment upon the flesh of the saint, but mercy upon his spirit. Figures and metaphors abound, and underlying them we have blessings couched for the redeemed and regenerate children of God. The chapter begins with a declaration of JEHOVAH-JESUS' supreme power and complete victory over the enemies of His Church. " In that day,'* a day of grievous distress to some, but a day of gracious deliverance to others. "In that day the LORD with His sore, and great, and strong sword shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan, that crooked serpent ; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the midst of the sea.'* Here we have the power and might of Zion's Redeemer set before us. The booK of the Revelation is an inspired exposition of this glorious verse, though many can read it but historically, and with an eye to future events. The child of God, as he is led by the Holy Ghost into a spiiitual understanding of the mystenes contained therein, sees things which have been, things which are, and things which shall be shortly. ot simply that shall be hereafter, according to the common acceptation of that word, which means when we have done b. laa-Paici Onm Pbkny. (^r^r^n]r>

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210 GROVB OHAFEL PULPIT. with the world and the flesh and are safe in glory. It is not so, but that shall be shortly in the experience of the saints as the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ is graciously revealed to them. ow the child of God, as led by the Spirit through this precious portion of Divine inspiration, may be startled to read of "a Sreat red dragon in heaven; but are we to understand that the evil can enter the halls of the glorified f o such thing. Satan can never appear in the courts of the blessed, to frighten, taunt, or tempt its blissful inhabitants. When we read of heaven in the book of Revelation, it has the same meaning which we find in that characteristic expression in the Gospel by Matthew, "^i« kingdom of heaven.*^ This was likened to a field, and to a net. In the field were wheat and tares. In the net were good and bad fish. The appearance of the great red dragon in heaven indicates the determmation of Satan to annoy and torment Christ's Church here upon earth. Turn to Rev. xii., where you read of a woman clothed with the Sun. This is the Church clothed in the beautiflfe and glories of Christ, her Head, yet experiencing the pangs of spiritual labour, and bringing forth fruit to the praise and glory of His name. She is persecuted and chased by Satan, but a place of security is found for her until Michael the Archangel appears. Who is Het He reveals Himself in the question contained in the meaning of His name — "W7io is like GodV^ It is Michael, the Prince of the kings of the earth. It is Michael, the Messiah, God's Christ, God's Anointed. He is our Leader, Commander, and Deliverer. He " and His angels fought against the devil and his angels ; and the dragon fought and his angels and prevailed not ; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world ; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a

loud voice saying in heaven. ow is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ." This is the experience of salvation, and strength, and the kingdom which comes to the heart, not with outward show, but by the power of the Holy Ghost, and the resurrection-power of Jesus raising the saints out of, and above, themselves, seating them in the heavenlies with Christ. " For the accuser of the brethren is cast down." Look at the contrast between those two titles of the devil: "The accuser of the brethren," and ** The deceiver of the whole world." Where are we ? In the deceived world? or, in the accused family? The more the brethren are brought into experimental oneness with the Brother once born for adversity, the fiercer will be the accusations of Satan against them. ** For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night " in the court of conscience, but not in the court of heaven. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Digitized by LjOOQ IC

•*A VI EYARD OP RESD WmB.** 211 word of their testimony ; and they loved not their lives unto the death." o I Death is nothing to those who experienoe blessed oneness with Him who is the Resurrection and the Life of His redeemed people. ow the Lord says by His prophet, "In that day the LORD witii His sore, and great, and strong sword shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan, that crooked serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." What are we to understand by the sea? Look at Rev. xxi. 1 : " And there was no more sea*' — that is, no more sin, sorrow, or suffering ; no more temptation, tribulation, or trouble ; no more conflict, storm, or tempest; no more casting up of filth, and mire, and dirt; but peace, serenity, and undisturbed repose. Li the midst of a sea of temptation, tribulation, and trouble, the CSaptain of our salvation, with the sword of the Spirit, defeated the

the devil. You gain a glimpse of this in the account given of our Lord's temptation in the wilaerness in Matthew i v. On the ground ot the victorv there achieved. He could say, " The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in Me " (John xiv. 30). Turn to Heb. ii. 14, 15, where you have an inspired comment upon this portion : " Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood. He also Himself likewise took part of the same ; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death — ^that is, the devil ; and dehver them who, througn fear of death, were all their Ufetime subject to bondage." When Paul says the devil is destroyed, what does he mean? Does the word destroyed mean annihilation ? ot for a moment. It is the misunderstanding of such portions as these which has revived in our days the old theories exploded long time ago of the annihilation of the wicked and the death of the devil. Cosy and comfortable professors cry out, *^ Satan has ceased to be, and we have ceased from conflict. o eternal torments now. The wicked will be annihilated and destroyed." These sentiments arise from the total misconception of those portions of the Scriptures where the word ^^destrtiction^' occurs. Look at Romans xiv. 15: "Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." This cannot mean the destruction, or annihilation, of one of the Lord's redeemedv What does it mean f It means, Destroy not his peace, his ioy, his comfort. Prejudice not his experimental interest in Christ's death and resurrection. We read also of the destruction of the old world by water (2 Peter iii. 6). Did the waters of the deluge destroy or annihilate the earth f o. And when the grand finale comes, " all these things shall be dissolved" and burnt up. I do not believe this means the annihilation of this earth of ours. Yet the more I look at the ead of time, the more I am lost in mystery. What this earth will be after the grand conflagration, I know not. It may be God's intention to purify by fire this earth, which was honoured as ^e birthplace and human abode of His dqar Son, and make

2l2 GROVE OHAPEL PUliPIT. it the fature abode of bliss and blessedness for His redeemed

ones. But of this I really know not. He has told me that my heaven of heavens is His gracions and glorions presence whereever that may be. I have alluded to these portions of God*s blessed Book to show that the word '"^destruction^* does not mean annihilation. The simple meaning of Hebrews ii. 14 is that Satan, in his desi^s against the Church and people of Gk)d, should be rendered meffectual by the death of Christ. In slaying the dragon's power, in bruising the serpent's head, in making an end of sin, the redemption of God's vineyard was finished. " In that day," when this glorious truth is revealed to an enlightened understanding, when it is brought home by the sovereign power of the Holy Ghost to the heart, when you are brought to the experimental realization of the defeat of Satan in all his designs against you, when you are led into the sweet experience of all your sin for ever put away by the atonine death of Zion's Surety and Deliverer, when you are privileged to see death disarmed in the death of Jesus, when you are favoured to know that hell can have no terrors for you, " In that day sing ye unto her." You have the mode and manner set before you in Rev. xv, 3, 4: "And they sing the son^ of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works. Lord God Almighty ; just and true are Thy ways. Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, Lord, and glorify Thy name ! for Thou only art holy ; for all nations shall come and worship before Thee ; for Thy judgments are made manifest." This singing is responsive or alternative. A base and fleshly imitation of this you will hear from surpliced choirs in the Establishment, where little boys arrayed m white respond to each other s singing, while they know not what they sing. But the singing of our text is from heart to heart. It is spirit singing to spirit. It is the heart going forth in blessed and hallowed communion with others in association with itself. It is that reciprocal rejoicing known only by those who are taught by the Spirit to say, **l believe in the communion of saints." It is the enjoyment of that expressed in 1 John i. 3 : *' Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." It is that which you find sweetly described in the preface to John xv. — ^^The consolation and mutual love between Christ and His members J* In the enjoyment of this mutual love by the members of the one body, with the experi-

ence of eternal redemption accomplished for them in the doinr and dying of the Lord Jesus Chriat, they cannot be restrained from singing. Several times I have endeavoured to set before you the fact, that in all the songs recorded in God's blessed Word with the exception of the Song of Solomon, there is exultation over enemies defeated by rae King and Deliverer of Zion. So it is in the song before us, yet here we find something akin to the Song dT Songs. It is our privilege Digitized bv — ^ r^-^

''A ymmwASJ)' of rbd tone,'* 3>a BOW fat a little while to look at the song in its vaiiona «dbjeo*i^-I.~Thb Lotd's possession—" A vineyard of red wine," IL'— The Lord's protecting garb — ** I the LORD do keep it ; Wt any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." lU^— The Lord's supporting care—" I will water it every iDoaieiiL" L— The Lord's possession— " A vineyard of red wine." VHiat is a vineyard? It is a plot of ground selected and separated from all around for the cultivation of the vine and for the pTodnotion of wine. ot sinoplj^ for the production of unfer¦lented wine, but for the production of that very wine of which we read in Proy. xxiii. 31 : " Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright " — that is, when its begins its intoxicating effects ; for it is then that wine " moves itself aright," and gives " its colour in the cup." God has declared again and again that every creature of His hand, brought forth by His infinite wisdom and matchless skill is for use, and not for abitse. Paul, writing to Timothy in his 1st epistle iv. 4, 5, says : " For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it

be received with thanksgiving : for it is sanctified by the \\ ord of God and prayer." Sanctified by the eternal, incarnate, and living Word of God, who has prayed for His people, and ever lives to make intercession for tnem. The intercession of Christ prevails when my polluted breath recoils upon me. But I said a vineyard is a selected spot. This leads our minds at once to the Church and people of God. * It takes us back through time to that eternity when time existed not. Time is but a parenthesis, and the period will arrive when time shall be no longer. Ere time was, God, in the riches of His grace and the fulneigs of His mercy, for the display of His sovereign love, boundless wisdom, and irresistible power, selected to Himself a people in whom, and by whom. He would be everlastingly glorified. These He handed over to the safe keeping of the Son of His love, as we read in John xvii. 6 : *' Thine uiey were and Thou gavest them Me." In Christ they were fenced about by the •ovt^reign decree of election, to be redeemed in the fulness of time b^ His most precious blood-shedding. Has not this expression, ** Red wine," something to do with God's glorious work of redemption? Here we are led to contemplate the agony and bloody sweat of our adorable Redeemer in Gethsemane's gkxHny vale, the scourging and lacerating with cruel thorns in the judgment hall, and His unparalleled sufferings apon Calvary's mgffed tree. The vineyard of the Lord was purchased by blood (Acts xx. 28); it is justified by blood (Rom. V. 9) ; and washed in blood (Revelations i. 5). fllected, s^ecled^ jedeemad by God, it is also fenced about and defended by Bink i^ i^ .^<W9^ i^bont with truth, so that all His

214 GROVB OHAPEL VUtiPHt. children shall be preserved from the snares of error. It is fenced about with omnipotence that all His weaklings may be secured from the power of Satan. It is fenced about by innnite wisdom that Jesus' disciples may be saved from Satan's subtilty and from the world's sophistry. It is fenced about by JEHOVAH Himself, according to that precious testimony in Zech. ii. 5 : •* For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of

fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." Here we see the Church enclosed, surrounded, and defended h^ the attributes, decrees, and determination of a sovereign, omnipotent God. Turn with me to Isaiah xxvi. 1 : " In that day shall this song be sun^ in the land of Judah; We have a strong city ; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwaxkB.** In the faith and experience of this we may well sing, — *' QloriouB things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God ! He, whose word cannot be broken. Formed thee for His own abode ; On the Bock of Ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose f With salvation's walls snrroiinded. Thou maj'st smile at all thy foes.'* God, the salvation of His people, is their unfailing security. Is this the truth in the expenences of our hearts by the teaching of God the ever-blessed Spirit 1 Mark you I it is one thing to read this blessed fact in Goas Book, but another altogether to have it written in our heart by that glorious Teacher who proceeds from the Father and the Son to lead and guide His elect and redeemed into all truth. God's vineyard is a separated spot. Set apart from this world's wearv wilderness. Look at this truth of Be{)aration as it appears all through God's blessed Book. I sometimes come to the conclusion that it is the prevailing truth of Divine inspifration. You see it in creation. After the creation of chaos, light was separated from the darkness. When God*B works were fashioned, the land was separated from the water — ihe living from the dead. You see it again in the declaration of God's Gospel in Gen. iii. 15, where the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent are revealed. Come to the fourth chapter, and here you see two sons of the same parents, who,

according to the loving and gentle John, were widbr apart fcam each other than the poles are asunder. Cain, a child (^ the devil. Abel, a child of God (1 John iii. 10—12). Look at tiie S-and finale of all earthly things as described by the Saviour in att. XXV. 34 — 41. To some He savs, "Come, ye blessed/' To others He cries, ''Depart, ye cursed.' God's elected, selected, surrounded, and separated vineyard is for the culture, ^owtb, and beauty of His vine. What is this vine? It is Christ and His members in fruit-bearing oneness. This we see in John xv. 1 — S: "I am the True Vine, and My FaUi^r is tiie Husbaad-

''A ^I ETABD OF RID WI B." 816 man.*' The peouliarity of this portion in the original is this, we have the definite article both before the word of qualifioation and the Bnbstantive, and reads thus, *' I am the Vine the TVu^." There is no mere profession here. o branch, as some will have it, ^afted on by profession. Those who surrounded the Saviour when He spake were all of one heart and one mind with Him, as 70U see in His address to them in John xiv. 1 : ^' Let not your heart be troubled." Many persons. One heart. Christ the Vine and they the branches growing from Him, bearing fruit by Him, and showing forth His praise who had revealed in them the rich and glorious grace of the Father, and His own redeeming love. " A vinevard of red wine," In Jacob's prophecy concerning his son Judah, he says, *' Bindine his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes " f Oen. xUx. 11)« Here we have red or choice wine. Under this telling metaphor, JEHOVAH sets forth His ineffable love, intense delight, and unspeakable affection for His Church. He speaks of her as the most precious object that can meet His gaze, tne choicest, nearest, and aearest to His heart. In Jotham's parable (Judges ix. 13) we find mention of wine cheering the heart of God and man. The fruit of prayer, praise, and righteousness from the vineyard

of the Lord is cheenng to His heart and refreshing to the heart of His people. The choice wine of the covenant, flowing through the love, blood, and righteousness of Jesus, encourages, strengthens, establishes, and cheers the hearts of God's children who are desponding and cast down ; but who are brought by the power ot His right hand into experimental union wiui their mat and glorious Head. See how this wine is spoken of in rrov. xxxL 6 : " Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts." Why winet Because of its reviving, strengthening, exhilarating S>wer and influence. In wine we see a metaphor unfolding oepel truth which speaks Ufe, comfort, peace, and joy to the nearts of the tried, tempted, and downcast children of God. What is there so cheering to a quickened, convinced, and devil* hnnted sinner as the assurance of redemption accomplished by the precious bloodnshedding of Emmanuel, salvation nnished in His wounds and death, Satan defeated by His resurrection power, and acceptance and glory secured by His ascension into neaven," appeanng there and by His own blood seourinff His people s everlasting peace 1 As we are led by the blened Spirit into the enjoyment of these precious reaUties, we can smg fixmi adoring hearts, — " Those dear tokens of His passion Still His dagf.1ing bodr beais : Cause of endless eztdtation ^ . To His ransomed wonhif^etB J Digitized by CiOOgle

m ^QtOtll CBAFS^ ifijufn. Oaze they on those glorious scars." In beholding the once bleeding wounds of their Incarnate God, the whole of the glorified throng before the throne Kft np their voice with one accord, and sing, " Salvation to our God which dtteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."

" A tineyatd of red vnne.^ In the production of wine, th^ ^pe must be pressed and squeezed. Christ knew this in Getnsemane and upon Calvary ; and you may depend upon it, as assuredly as He suffered, and as the same experience to Recorded of His people in His Word, so will it be wrought kt them by the power of the Holy Ghost. As the child of God id brought into fruitful oneness with a onceHsniffering Saviour, the l^rue Vine, he will receive many a squeeze from Satan, from tinner, and from saint. The hymn-wiiter desoribes this well iii those precious and pregnant words : — " From siimer and from saint, He meets with many a blow." The grinding weight of spiritual oppression must pass over him* The wine-press of Divine discipline must be endured, in which persecution, affliction, trial, and temptation from Satan, the World, the Church, ay, and from God Himself. In the aocom^ plishment of JEHOVAH'S purposes of grace, the child of God will know and feel the truth of that Scripture: ''We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God " (Acts xiv. 22) ; and as we are brought to underatand our oneness with CSirist in suffering and glory, we shall find no room for discontent or murmuring, ^ut some one of you may be ready to say, I am not so highly privileged ; my faith is weak, my doubts are many, and my comforts are so few that I fear to presume. Wait» ta^ friend. I did not say that peace and placiditv were always mine. I know they are not. What I said was ihiB: as we are brought to understand our oneness with Christ in suffering ead glory, we shall find no room for discontent and murmuiing. But when we are left to ourselves, to brood over our troubles, triab, and tribulations, to give way to the wretched disquietude of our nature^ dkoontent and murmuring abound, and these are hufihed only as the blessed Spirit gives us to know our election of Grod, our redemption by blood, and our vital and undisturbed union to our great smd glorious Head. See how the Church is set before us as a vineyard in Solomon's Song viiL 11, IS : ^* Solomot bad a vineyard at Baalhamon ; he let out the vineyard unto keepevB ; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thouaaad

pieces of silver. My vineyard, which is mine, is before mee thou, Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.*' A greater than Solomon is here. Solomon's vineyard t It is Jesus' vineyard. A vineyard Beleot and separate, which He olaimB ae His own peculiar pro-

"A VnCETAUD OF BBD WI»E." 217 perfy. His in the production of the frmt, and in the diqpoenigf of the same. It is of His rioh mercy that we know when He draws ont our hearts in praise and prayer^it is for the comfort, peaee, and joy of those members of the one body with whom we are bronght into spiritual association. II.— The Lord's PROXEOTi a oarb— " I the LOBD do keep it; lest any hurt it» I will keep it nifi^ht and day." It is a mar-^ velloos mercy for us to be taught that the ^eater the daa^^f the greater the security JEHOVAH has provided for His Churdi and people. See how blessedly this is set before us in Psa. xlvi. Luther knew and felt this when, upon one ocoaGOoa, he said : '* Let us sing the 46th Psalm, and aefy the devil." Look at it : " God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early," or, ^^when the morning appearetk;^* when the Sun of Righteousness anses above the spiritual horizon of Zion's pilgrims. "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuse." Do troubles increase? Do fears multiply t Do temptations thicken t Do we dread perishing by the band of this Saul or that? Listen to the testimony of JEHOVAH : " I the LORD do keep it." Look at the declaration of a precious Christ concerning His sheep: "I

S've unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither all any pluck them out of My hand " (John x. 28). His people are secure in His everlasting, immutable love. They stand secure upon the settlements of rich, almighty, and uninflawced gtiaoe. Does He speak of His love ? It is everlasting love (Jen xxxi. 3). Does He speak of His righteousness f It is everlasting righteousness (Dan. ix. 24). Does He speak of His kingdom ? It is an everlasting kingdom that can never be moved. Does He speak of life ? It is eternal life. Gracious Keeper I Blessed kepi ones (1 Pet. i. 5). Turn to Psa. cxxi. 3: " He will not suffer thy foot to be moved ; He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel " — His own vineyard. His own elected, selected, separated, and redeemed ones — *^ shall neither dumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy Keeper." JEHOVAH, in His Trinity of Persons, ** is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by nighL The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil : He shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thj ooming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." This '' going oat and ooaiing in *' is not simply from my boose in thi^

218 GROVE OHAPEL PULPIT. morning and returning in the evening ; but a going out of the sunshine into the shade, from the banqueting-house to the barren heath. See John x. 9: "I am the Door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." Out as well as in there is pasture and preservation. David knew something of this when he oried : ^' To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary" ^Psa. hdii. 2). otice thatl David had seen Him; but here he is longing to see Him again. Tet, in or out, he was gmoiously kept. Look at those remarkable words in 2 Sam. ?iii. 6 : " And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went." Hunted like a partridge upon the mountains at the hands of Saul, he was preserved by his God. Threatened by the giant Goliath in tne valley of Elah, he was preserved by

his God. When he deserved a deeper hell than the vilest reprobate in creation, sinning against light, love, grace, mercy, and compassion, in causing Uriah's drunkenness and murde and committing adultery with Bathsheba, he was preserved by his God. Have I a stone to throw at him ? ot one : for I am not a particle better if left to myself. But this is the glorious truth which God made known to Jacob and reveals to all His tried and tempted ones sooner or later : '* Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou eoest" (Gen. xxviii, 15). Gods keeping is very mysterious and strange to some at times. He promised to keep and deliver Jeremiah ; but to the dungeon and to death Jeremiah must go, and for no other reason than that of declaring God's Word faithfully. God preserved David, but into sins most foul David fell. Christ ? rayed for Peter's safety, but into Satan's sieve Peter must go. 'he goings oufc and the comings in of all the saints are in tne hands of their gracious Keeper. In coming into this world of sin, we were preserved in Jesus Christ, and in going out to face the solemnities of eternity, we shall be preserved in Him. Were not Christ my Glory-Bearer, you mav depend upon it, that this poor frail tabernacle would never be aole to bear up under the " far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory revealed in the person, work, salvation, and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. " / the LORD do keep it J*' From what t From robbers and evil beasts. From blignt, canker, and decAy. JEHOVAH the Keeper and Cultivator is well acquainted with every point and particular in respect to the tendency of the vine. Let us notice one peculiarity. The vine has a trailing and p:rovelline tendency. Go into a vinery where the vine has been ne^lecte^ and you will see neither order nor beauty — the whole de^nerating and tending to trail on the ground. So it is with uie children of God when left to themselves. Had I been left to myself, where should I have been this morning? In this spot preaching His glorious truth T o ; but I should have

" A VI STARD OF RXD WI E." 219 been speakings thinking, and acting oontraiy to the graoions will of mj covenant God, and seeking my own pleasure amid the haunts of sin^ corruption, and death. It has pleased Him to reveal to me the blessed fiact that I am part of His elect, separated, redeemed, and preserved vineyard of red wine, and has caused my heart to sing with a grateful understanding, — " I thirst, but not as once I did. The vain delights of earth to share ; Thy wounds, Emmanuel, all forbid That I should seek my pleasures there." Blessed be the name of our heavenly Husbandman, He keeps His vine from its grovelling tendency, and bears it away from earth, supported and upheld by peg after peg of covenant promise. With His own grace He strengthens His vine in every particular branch thereon He is a glorious Keeper. Round about it He is a wall of fire, over which the wild boar of the wood cannot pass to ravage it. The evil beasts of discontent, infidelity, and unbelief, can never hurt or destroy it. Look at the promise : ^^Leat any hurt it, I will hiep it night and day.^^ Can any one hurt JEHOVAH'S vine t I answer. o 1 But wasit not hurt in Egypt when Pharaoh and his task-masters laid heavy burdens upon the children of Israel I o I for the more they were afflicted and persecuted {hivrt according to our fleshly judgment), the more thejr multiplied and grew. So it is now with God*s own in the wilderness, separated by discriminating and distinguishing grace, defended by Almighty and irresistible S)wer, preserved by infinite and unerring wisdom, that truth of od stands true in their experience, ^' They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain " (Isa. xi. 9). All that caij be done by the assaults and temptations of Satan; all that is accomplished by JEHOVAH in His judgments on the flesh; all that can be wrought by the contention and strife which ofttimes mar the peace and quietness of the children of God, can never really hurt them, but, over-ruled by infinite wisdom, they work

together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose. These eventually drive the living children to seek closer and more intimate communion with Him. ni. — The Lord's supporting care — " I will water it every moment." Water is a beautiful Scriptural figure. Spiritual and refreshing truth abounds under tnis heavenly metaphor. In it is revealed the covenant care and concern of JEHOVAH over His Church and people. We read in Isa. xliv, 3 — 5: •*! will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine ofispring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses. One shall say, I am the LORD'S ; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with bis hand unto ..itized by Google

320 GROTS CHAPEL PULPIT. the LORDy ohcI Bomame himself by the name of I«!a^" Udqb His thiratj plants God pours the water of His grace. But some are more than thirsty, parched up, as you see the dry gaping ^ound in times of drought. A little moist or dew of night wiU not suffice to saturate, soften, and satirfy the hard and parched ground. So in God's care of His vineyard, you may depend upon it. He knows that there are spots of spiritual experience where a little dew of heavenly blessing, or gentle showers of Divine grace, will not soften and satisfy the dry and thirsty souls of His people. Upon these He sends showers and floods ol blessing in His season. E^ch part and particular of His vine has His prompt and patient attention. He will cause His rain, His showers. His floods, to descend and refresh His inheritance when it is weary. But our heavenly Husbandman is not confined to showers and floods. Look at His gi*acious promise in Hosea xiv. 5 : '* I will be as the dew unto Israel*' For the Lord thus to manifest Himself to Israel, the time and the

circumstances must be in accordance therewith. You will find DO dew when the sun is pouring down its light and heat imon the earth ; but when the sun is gone down, and it is dark, God gently distils the dew upon the drooping plants of His creatioa. So in His spiritual vineyard, when it is dark, and the fcJun xjf Righteousness is set in the gloom of spiritual desertion, when pamful bereavements are crushing the soul, and tender ties are riven never more to be united here, when doubts, and fears, and wretched unbeUef have told their sad tales upon the i^iritual and new man, then the dew of JEHOVAH'S heavenly graoe and benediction will fall upon His own, to refresh, revive, and strengthen their drooping graces. But sometimes the plants of «ace have neither dew nor refreshing showers Still, even then uey continue to flourish. How is this T My dear friends, our own God has His nether springs of grace underlying His painful and perplexing dealings with us in providence. Desert lands must be known and felt. Spiritual drought must be experienced but He will make His covenant promise good: ''I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys : I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water " (Isa. xli. 18). JEHOVAH'S springs of grace shall never fail to strengthen His plants and ripen His fruits. These shall be presented before His face with joy and thanks. giving, and not with grief, when we shall hear His gracious voice saying, " Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepai'ed for you from the foundation of the world " (Matt. xi. 34). For the comfort and consolation of our exercised hearts. He has caused us to hear and understand those blessed words» "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain." May the Lord add His blessing.

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