'* When a man^s ways please the LOBD, He maketh even His enemies to be at peace with Him." — Prov. xrL 7. THERE are many portions of God's most Holv Word which put «ven the deeply taught and the higUy favoured in the household of God to their studies. Contradictions seem to abound in them, and when viewed in the light of other parts of Uie written Word, and considered according to their own personal experience, truth seems to be afar off. Such a portion we have in the words I have read for vou by way of text. Many of God's poor children are staegered by it, and Know not how to understand the mind and wiU of God therein. From it truth has not been spoken home to their heart by the power of God the ever-blessed Spirit, neither has God's lignt been thrown upon it to guide their weary spirits into the way of truth. Certainly much that is true may be arrived at by comparing it with illustrative portions of Holy Scripture, but the truth of the text appears not. It is one thin^ to read the truth of the Book^ and another thing altogether to nave the truth read therefrom to our hearts by the great Teacher who leads His scholars into all essential truth — wAt is, all the truth necessary for them to know, designed in covenant before the worlds were framed, entrusted to the care of the responsible One, to be communicated to their spiritual understanoings by His g^race, power, and indwelling. Much that is interesting appears on the surface of the text to the mere Bible student, but the living child of God who has been brought into dire conflict with tne powers of darkness, ignorance, and error, prays to know sometning more than the mere collation of like portions to elucidate the meaning thereof. o. 181.— Paiot Ovi Pjuiay. Digitized by LjOOQ IC

320 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT, It may here prove instructive to point out a few inrtanoeB which seem to explain the text. Turn to Gen. xxvi. 26: "And Abimelech went to Isaac from Gerar, and Ahuzzuth one of his friends, and Pichol the chief captain of his army. And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you? And they said*, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee : and we said, Let there . be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee ; that thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace ; thou art now the blessed of the LORD." This portion, at first sight, appears to illustrate the meaning of our text. We see the same in the case of Jacob and bis brother Esau. Dreading death at the hands of Esau, he fled from his father's house. His ^acious Guardian, His redeeming Angel kept and befriended him in all 5 laces whithersoever he went. At length, Esau approaches, when acob in deep distress of soul commits himself and his dear ones to the kind care and keeping of his father's God. Come with me to Gen. xxxii. 9 — 11 : " And Jacob said, God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me. Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee : I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies, and of all Thy truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant ; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan ; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I Pi^y Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau : for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother, with the children." ow look at the description given of the meeting of Jacob and Esau in chapter xxxiii. 1 — 5 : " And Jacob Ufte3 up hie eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four huncured men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. And he put the handmcdds and their children foremost, and Leah and ner children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. And he passed over before

them, and he bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him ; and they wept. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children: and said. Who are these with thee! And he said. The children which God hath graciously given thy servant." God was better to him than all his fears, and made his enemy to be at peace with him. Joseph's history reveals the same truth. Though he was hated and cast out by his brethren, he found grace in the eyes of Potfchar, in the eyes of his gaoler, and in the eyes of Pharaoh. But in all this we see a greater than Joseph. ow turn to Jeremiah xv. 10, 11, where we have his doleful ditty, *' Woe is me, my mother, that thou haai borne me a man of Digitized by LjOOQ IC

THE GOD-PLEASER, 321 strife, and a man of contention to the whole earth? I have neither lent on usurv, nor men have lent to me on usury : yet every one of them aoth curse me." ow listen to the Lord's answer to His complaining prophet, "Verily it shall be well with the remnant ; verily I willcause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction." Read the fii'st chapter of Daniel and you will see him and his three companions findmg favour in the eyes of Melzar the king's steward. " ow God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs." But when we look at the text in the light of our own heart's experience, and the solemn declarations of God's written Word, I ask, Where are we ? Look at the experiences of the very persons whose cases I have enumerated. When Jacob's ways pleased the Lord, Laban sought to do him evil. When Joseph's ways pleased the Lord, he was hated by his brethren, cast mto prison, and the iron entered into his soul. When the ways of

the three Hebrew children pleased the Lord, they were cast into the burning fiery furnace. When Daniel's ways pleased the Lord, he was thrown into the den of lions. When Jesus' ways pleased the Lord, He was despised and rejected of men, cast out and crucified. When the ways of God's elect prove them to be His friends, the world is sure to manifest its enmity against them (James iv. 4). the marvellous wonders of Divine providence ! Cowper might well sing, — ** God moves in a myBterions way His wonders to perfonn.*' The' mysteries of His providence and grace, and the varied workings of His hand are only opened up and explained to those who experience fellowship with Chnst in His sufferings. ow we will look at a few portions of God's written Word which appear to run counter to the first view of the text. Turn with me to John xv. 18. 19 : " If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own : but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." This was as much as to say. If you were of the world, the world would be at peace with you ; but My choice of you is demonstrative proof that My Father is well pleased with you, therefore the world cannot be at peace with you. Look again, John xvii. 14: "I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." ow turn to Matt. v. 11, 12 : ** Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Here I would ask, How can we harmonise these declart^tions of the Digitized by LjOOQ IC


Saviour with the words of Solomon, '' When a man's wajsplease the LORD. He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with Him!" Well, you know my mind in reference to every portion of God's most Holy Word. Each leads directljr or indirectly to the Lord Jesus Chnst. The other ni^ht my mind was led with an irresistible sweetness to these words. In them I saw the beauty and i>reciousne8s of Jesus in such a sacred light as I rarely see Him in the book of Proverbs. Here I saw Him as my own God and Saviour in the glory of His person, the perfection of His salvation^ the sympafliy of His heart, and the prevalency of His intercession for His own. I do not sav this is a type of Him, but somehow or other I can see Him nere revealed. In humble dependence upon the teaching of Him who loves to glorify and exalt God's Christ, we will look at the text according to the following arrangement : — I.— A Man— Who is He ! n.— His ways—" When a Man's ways please the LORD." HL — His enemies — Who are they t " I v.— Their peace— What is it ? I. — A Man — Who is He? We are not left long in doubt, for Hart blessedly brings Him to view in that precious hymn, — ** A Man there ia, a real Man, With wotmds still gaping wide, From which rich streams of blood once ran, In hands, and feet, and side. This wondrous Man, of whom we tell, Is tme Almighty Qod ; He bought onr souls from death and hell ;

The price, His own heart's blood. That human heart He still retains. Though throned in highest bliss ; And feels each tempted member's pains ; For our aflOiction *8 His." There we have the Man. But mark I While, as the weary Workman, He passed a Ufe of sorrow and suffering here below, He was tiie Miffhty God as well. He who wa; Man of His mother bom in the world, was also God of His Father before all worlds. He who was borne upon His virgin mother's breast, was, at the same time, the Sustainer and Upholder of all things. But why the necessity for this wondrous union of the Godhead and Manhood of Chnst? The necessity lay in this very fact: God; in the beginning, created man pure and innocent ; but man fell into sin, and the fair beauty m which he was formed was fearfully defaced. Look at this according to the testimony of Solomon in Eccles. vii. 29 : " Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright ; but they have sought out many inventions." The meaning of this is : If man has not a way of sinning against God ready made to his hand, his sinful ingenuity is suoh that be will invent one. Universally corrupt Digitized by LjOOQ IC

THE GOD-PLHASER. 323 and totally depraved man, ever sinning against his God, is subject to His judgment, which is, " The soul that sinneth it shall die," and " Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them *' (Gal. iii. 10). Elect men in union with Adam the first are under the curse and condemnation of JEHOVAH'S righteous law, yet, in the set time to favour Zion, they are brought by the convincing power of God the Holy Ghost to a knowledge of

their sinfulness and wretchedness, and, prostrate before the footstool of JEHOVAH, thev confess their vileness, and despair of ever entering His sacred presence with acceptance ana in peace. But God, in the riches of His ^ace, in the everlasting covenant of love before all worlds, designed the means whereby His banished ones should not be eternally expelled from SEim. His Son, according to that covenant, must identify Himself in flesh and blood with the people of His Father's choice. See Hebrews ii. 13, 14 : " Behold I and the children which God hath Siven Me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of esh and blood. He also Himself likewise took part of the same.** See also Romans viii. 3 : " For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son in the Ukenesn of sinful flesh, and by a sacrijicefor «tn, condemned sin in the flesh." We contemplate the mystery of His holy incarnation in the declaration of the angel to Mary, " The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee ; therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be bom of thee shall be called the Son of God " (Luke i. 35). In this we see God and Man in one Christ. The Divine and human natures united never more to be divided. We see not our Lord Jesus Christ leaving the glory of His Godhead behind Him in the skies, He yields not up nia attributes of Deity for a time, but comes to earth with all BGs glory, veiling it with His apparently weak, infirm, and helpless human nature. Look at Him through all His pilgrim journey here upon earth. The two natures are seen again and again. At Samaria's well He sat a weary, lonely Man, but as the Mighty God He conferred eternal life upon a poor sinful harlot. In the vessel, beset with no small tempest npon Tiberia's lake, we see the weary Workman fast asleep. The roar of the boisterous elements awake Him not, but the moment the cry of distress flows from the anxious hearts of His disciples — " Master, carest Thou not that we perish 1 " — He is up in a moment displaying the greatness of His Godhead by dropping His word of omnipotence in the raging waters, and there was a great calm. Look at Him in the garden (John xviii. 1 — 8) the despised, hated, and peraecuted Man. He said

unto His persecutors, I AM. The moment these dread words, which declared Him to be the great and eternal JEHOVAH, fell from Blis sacred lips, *' they went backward and fell to the Digitized by LjOOQ IC

SM GROVE CHAPEL PUU>IT. ground/* There we see, in the Lord Jesus Christ, both God and Man. I love to contemplate Him as He is revealed in the Gospels of Matthew and John under these two titles : ** The Son of Man " and ;* The Son of God.'' As the Son of Man, He appears in perfect identification with His brethren. .As the Son of God, He is seen in His unceasing oneness with the Father. As God and Man, He reveals the eternal relationship existing between the Father and His elect children. Matthew xxv. 31 pajrs, " When the Son of M«ui shall come in His gloiy, and all His holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory." Mark, it does not say the Son of God, but the Son of ^lan. The meek and lowly One who had felt all the persecutions and sorrows of His members, will then acknowledge them as His own, and settle matters with their adversaries. Look at John v. 27 : " And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man." ow I used to misquote that Scripture, and say^, "Because He is the Son of God^ That was natural ; but the spiritual declaration is, " Because He is the Son of Man." As the Son of Man, He learned in the school of human suffering how to execute judgment or true discernment in every case of His people's necessities, wants, and perplexities. *' In every pang that rends the heart, The Man of sorrows bears a part ; He sympathises with our grief, And brings the soffering saint relief."

As Man, He obeyed God's righteous law, suffered its dread death penalty. As God, He gave an infinite worth to His obedience and sufferings. As the God-Man Mediator and Surety, He rendered to His Father a perfect obedience to every precept of His law, perfect aquiescence to every thought of His heart, perfect submission to every decree of His covenant, and thus perfectly satisfy His outraged justice, holiness, and truth. This brings us to consider, — 11. — His ways — " When a Man's ways please the LORD." Look at His ways in covenant before the worlds were framed. His goings forth as the Head of the Church, and holding Himself responsible for His people's salvation, were ineffably pleasing to the eyes and heart of His Father. All His ways from the heights of glory to death's dark gloom, from the manger in Bethlehem to the mansion in the skies, were pleasing to Him that appointed Him. Bead the Father's estimate of Him as given in Isaiah xlii. 1 : " Behold My Servant, whom I uphold. Mine Elect, in whom My soul delighteth." Listen to His declaration concerning Him after His baptism : " This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased " (Matt. iiL 17). On Tabor's mount, amid the glories of His transfiguration, the same voice was heard, saying, " This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye Him " (Matt. xvii. 5). Come with me to Digitized by LjOOQ IC

THE GOD-PLEASER. 325 John viii. 28, 29, where the sinless Servant, speaking to those who would have proved Him a sinner of the deepest dye, says, *' When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I AM " — the word ** he " is in italics — " and I do nothing of Myself; but aa the Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me : the Father hath not left Me alone ; for I do always those things tliat please Him»^^ This was, and is, gloriously true. Perfect conformity to every jot and

tittle of JEHOVAH'S righteous law was seen in the will, walk, and ways of the Lord Jesus Clirist. Did God declare, '* Thou shalt have no other gods but Me? " Look at the whole life of the Surety of the covenant ; listen to the words which fall from His grace-filled lips ; notice the looks which flow from His affectionate eyes; mark well every act of His body, whether to friend or foe, and you will find in all, perfect resignation and acquiescence to the mind and will of His Father. This is revealed in that mysterious verse (John iii. 13) where Christ, speaking to icodemus, says, *' And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven." ow, mark you, as the Son of Man corporeally, He was not in heaven, but upon earth conversing with icodemus. How was He then in heaven ? In His thoughts, purposes, desires, and determinations* He was the Father's righteous Servant and faithful Steward all the way through His sojourn upon earth. He wavered not nor swerved in His pathway of perfect obedience. Let me ask you one question — Do servants, as a rule, work the same in the absence as in the preaence of their employers? We know very well they do not. But our blessed Lord, from the first moment He was made under the law to that when He cried, " It is finished," yielded a cheerful, willing obedience, and acted in perfect conformity to the mind, will, law, and commands of His God and Father. Look again : " Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image." His worship was spiritual from first to last, and the whole of the acceptable worship of His members is in spiritual oneness with Him. " Thou shalt not take the name of tne LORD thy God in vain.'* Was that spoken to Jesus! Certainly it was. And every time He took the Father's name upon His sacred hps on behalf of His people. His pleas are heard, His prayera are answered. His demands are complied with. He takes not the name of the Father in vain. " Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." This He did, but not according to Sabbatarian notions. Pharisaic punctiliousness accused Him with the want of Sabbath observance when fault was found with His disciples for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath day. Jesus found not fault with them, but kept a perpetual Sabbath day for them in the eyes of His Father. Go through the whole of the Decalogue, mark well every command-

ment, and you will find that in respect to each, Satan assaulted Digitized by LjOOQ IC

326 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. Him with the intention of disappointing the purpose of the Father, defeating the Son in His work of scuvation.and disgracing the Holy Ghost. Our Jesus, God's most glorious Christy was a real Man, a Man obeying, bleeding, suffering, and dying on the behalf of His people ; a Man dead and buned, and rising from the tomb displaymg His power over death and the grave ; a Man entering heaven's hignest glory, representing His redeemed ones here, and holding in undisturbed possession for them their appointed place of bliss and blessedness. Here we may sing those glorious lines of Mushett^s : — ** The Man who lived, and died, and rose To perfume heaven with blood ; To Him my soul her pardon owes, And claims Him for her Ood. There high He reigns in ether bright, The great Incarnate Word, While suns to darkness dwindle quite Before their radiant Lord. Thence low He stoops to watch the lot Of sonls to Him once given ; And makes the dying sinner's cot The glorioos gate of heaven/' There Ve see the Man whose ways always please the Lord. And here I may ask the question, " When do our ways please

Him t " Do we ever arrive at that point of spiritual gratification and satisfaction to compliment ourselves with the idea that we have been pleasing to the Lord ? If we do, we shall be driven from it. In every place of worship in connection with the Establishment, this morning, the confession has gone forth from the lips, and in some cases from the heart: ** We have offended against Thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those thin^ which we ought not to have done. And there is no health m us." The very same confession which was made last Sunday will be made next, ay, and every Sunday up to the end of our earthly pilgrimage. Our daily confession is, " Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done evil in Thy si^t " (Psa. li. 4). Every living child of God brought by the power of God the Holy Ghost into the inner sanctuary, to bow before the King either in public or in private, with the saints or with God alone, confesses, " I have not pleased Thee." How can man by his own acts please God? We know it is fact that man by Adam's transgression, by the d esire and determination of his nature, can do nothing but manifest a spirit altogether opposite to that which dwelt pre-eminently in the Man Christ Jesus. How, then, can man's ways please the Lord ? Look at him in any wajr you like, what can he do to jjlease Godt Be he religious or irreligious, left to himself, his will, his works, his ways are perfectly opposed to that great and glorious God to whom ho owes his bemg and every blessing. Turn with me ..tized by Google

THE QOD-PLEASER. 327 to ICoah vi. 6, 7 : ** Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers ot oil 1 Shall I give my first-bom for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"* o. He has

taught us that everything we present to Him apart from living oneness with a precious Christ, can only meet with His frown, and with His sentence of eternal disapproval. The more reli^ous our fleshly offerings are, the more nateful they appear to Uim. li you do not beheve that, turn with me to Isa. i. 11 : '< To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me T saith the LORD : I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts ; and I delieht not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-soats. Wnen ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand to tread My courts? Bring no more vain oblations : incense is an abomination unto Me ; the new moons and Sabbaths, the cdling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Tour new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth : they are a trouble unto Me ; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear : your hands are full of blood." If this be all that religion can do for a man, where is he whose ways can please the Lord ? We who have been taught to judge ourselves in the light of the Divine perfections, and measure ourselves by the standard of unswerving rectitudle, know full well that such a man apart from Christ cannot be found But this is the glory and grandeur of God's Gospel, the Man Christ, in all His ways of humiliation, sorrow, temptation, trial, and tribulation, was ever pleasing to His Father. It matters not where He was seen, the fiercer the furnace the brighter His perfections shone, while the Father delighted to express His unceasing and ineffikble pleasure in Him and in His glorious work. From Bethlehem's manger to Calvary's cross this now exalted Man pleased the Lord. The holy Child at Bethlehem, the obedient youth at azareth, the nghteous Man throughout a life of sorrow and suffering pleased the Lord in all things. When assailed and tempted by the devil in the wilderness, '* It is written " distinguished every word and deed. See how Paul describes Him in Heb. x. 5 : " Wherefore, when He cometh into the world. He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, butabodyhast Thou prepared Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast haa no pleasure. Then said I, Lo I come (in the

volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, God. He taketh away the first that He may establish the second." Look at the same portion as it appears in Psa. xl. 7, 8 : *' Then said I, Lo, 1 come : in the volume of the Book it is written of Digitized by LjOOQ IC

328 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. Me. I delight to do Thy wfll, My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart/' or, " in the midst of My bowels" Here Ho expresses His yearning desire and determination to do the Father^s will perfectly from first to last for Hispeople. In His temptations He met and defeated Satan's designs with words not only written bv holy men of old, but inscribed by the Holy Ghost in His own heart s experience. Trace Him through life to the judgment hall, and to Calvary's bloody tree, and there you see Him as the meek and lowly One ; for ** as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so opened He not His mouth." At the close of His earthly existence He presented to the Father a perfect obedience with the words, " I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do " (John xvii. 4). JEHOVAH rejoiced — heaven was filled with acclamation — ^hell was confounded — and the whole election of grace saved in Him with an everlasting salvation. This Man's wa3r8 pleased the Lord, and, blessings rest upon His sacred Head, His ways, so pleasing to the Father, in intercession and blessing have not ceased. Look at that blessed testimony in John xi. 41, 42 : " And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said. Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me, and I knew that Thou hearest Me always." He ever lives to plead for His people, and to claim Heaven's choicest blessings for them. See John xvii. 24 : " Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am ; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me ; for Thou lovedstMe before the foundation of the world." He sends His blessed Spirit to convince His elect and redeemed ones of sin in them and righteousness in Him, and bring them in a heartfelt knowledge of Himself as the

God-Pleaser, tne Saviour, Lover, Husband, and All in all, of His people. lIL — His enemies. Who are they I When this Man's wayjs please the Lord, He maketh even His enemies to be at peace with Him. When the good pleasure of the Lord is manifested to an elect and redeemed soul for the first time, that soul feels himself to be anvthing but a friend of the Lord. According to every portion of the ew Testament Scriptures which refers to that glorious truth, reconciliation, man is set forth as an enemy of God. Turn with me to Rom. v. 10 : *' For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Look also at Col. L 21 : "And you that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled." Mark well Eph. ii. 2, 8: **In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Whose disobedience ? ot Qt)d'a. I* Among whom also we all had our conversation in times paat in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of Digitized by LjOOQ IC

THE GOD-PLEASBB. 329 the mmd, and were by nature the children of wrath." Whose wrath t ot God's. To His children He has none. He is a God of everlasting love. See Titus iii. 3 : ^* For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, Servian divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." otice that description of man in Rom. vii. 7 : ^* Because the carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." It is a glorious fact that the Man whose ways please the Lord makes all those whom He redeemed with His most precious blood, and who, by nature, are His enemies, to be at peace with Him. Look at that blessed t^timony which played about my heart

for many a long day, and why it should do so is a mystery to me : '' Me is the God that maketh men to be of one mind in a house" — that is, in His own house — " whose house are we." We, who were alienated and enemies in our mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled, in the body of His flesh through death, to present us " holy " in the Father's election, " and unblameable " in His own redeeming work, " and unreproveable " by the grace and indwelling of His blessed Spirit. He knows how to slay His people's enmity with love, and make them be at peace with Him. IV. — Their peace. What is it? Look at the testimony of one who was an enemy of Christ with a will. Like an infuriated wild beast he belched out threatenings and slaughter against the Christ and Church of God. Acts xxvL 9 : " I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of azareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem ; and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests ; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme ; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. Whereupon, as I went to Damascus, with authority and commission from the chief priests, at mid-day, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Mel it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said. Who art Thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet ; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.'* Wish you for a declaration of his enmity against the Church of God ? Turn to chap, xxii 19, 20 : " Lora, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on Thee : and when the blood of Thy Digitized by LjOOQ IC

330 GROVE OHAPKL PULPIT. martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consent^ ing unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him." Here was an enem^ exceeding mad against that way. What way ? God's way m Christ of reconciling enemies to Himself. He appears to have been a very devil, tormenting the saints until tney bla^sphemed. Do you think you could find such a description of saintship from any pulpit in the lengUi and breadth of the British Isles ? Modern preachers are not so honest as Paul was made by the grace and indwelling of God the Holy Ghost. He declared that he was so cruel and fiendish an enemy of God's Christ as to cause His saints to blaspheme. Yet, in carrying out the Father's purposes of love, came to Paul, and revealed in him the glorious truth of the eternal union of the saints with Him in His mediatorial glory, and of His union to them in all the sufferings they endure. Paul's heart was taken captive by the power of covenant love, melted by the fire of Divine affection, and moulded into experimental oneness with the Man whose ways pleased the Lord for him. From that moment Saul the persecutor became Paul the persecuted. The peace of God reigned and ruled in his heart, and as Paul's ways pleased the Lord, he was hated, despised, and rejected of men; but he rejoiced in the blessed fact that he was one with that blessed Man in the heavens whose ways always did and always shall please the Lord, in whom he stood eternally loved, saved, and accepted by the Father. May He add His blessing for His name's sake. Amen.

Hymn. Jesus, in condescending love, Thus makes His grace appear ;

He left the shining realms aboye To be a Senrant here. Though Lord of heaven, He stoops to earth To do His Father's will ; Poor and despised from His birth, Yet Lord of gloiy still. Fatigue and sufE'ring, toil and pain, He, as a Senrant, bore, That all His Church might lire and reign With Him for evermore. He did the work none else could do, Then He resumed His throne, StiU keeping His desips in view. And gathTing in His own.



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