"His locks are bushy and black as a raven.*' — Song of Solomon v. 11. U SEARCHABLE riches aud everlastiug might in our JEHOVAU-JESUS dwell, and though it has pleased God to give us a true and infaUible account of Uis rare and matchless excellences, not a thousandth part of them have ever been revealed to the most highly favoured, the most deeply taught, or the most sweetly indulged of the members of His spiritual body. The Holy Ghost has been pleased to put all nature under contribution for illustrations, metaphors, and figures to show forth the beauty, grandeur, and glory of Zion's Beloved. The mineral kingdom cannot provide sufficient diamonds or gems to describe His ^lory. The vegetable kingdopi is unable to produce roses, lihes, and flowers to show forth His sweetness and gi'ace. The animal kingdom presents illustrations of His majesty and meekness. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. v. 5), who breaks through every obstacle for His people, and before whom all the adversaries of His Church must quail and flee. He is the Lamb of God (John i. 29), meek, gentle, and loving to the weaklings of His flock. Tenderly He deals with those who cannot manage their own affairs, who cannot take a single step alone, and who are unable to think, look, speak, or act for themselves in any way without manifesting some weakness or infirmity. Yes, this is perfectly true in the case of him who now addresses you. There may be some of more superior metal than myself, I say, there may be, but I do not say there are, and I tell you honestly and candidly I do not think there are, for God '* hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts xvii. 26). The more a child of God is brought into the enjoyment of His o. 137.— Pkicb Onk Pknny. r^r^r^r^]t>

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;5i)2 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. lovingkinduess and tender raercy, the more it will mourn ove* its own shortcomings and infirmities. The more a lamb, or sheep, in Christ's flock feels the warm encirclings of His loving arms, the gentle pressure to His bosom, the more it will lament and weep over its conscious weakness, weariness, and woe. We know the pleasure and the pain of that experience expressed in those two hues by Dr. Watts : " The more Thy glories strike mine eyes, The humbler I shall lie." The more we are brought to feed upon heavenly provision, the more we shall hunger and thirst after it. The more we are carried in the arms of everlasting love, the more we sheJl beg to be carried. We are Hke spoiled children in this respect. 1 have known some who have cried, "Father, carry mel" and the father has carried them until all his strength and patience has been exhausted. But, my dear friends, there is no exhausting the strength and patience of our soul's Beloved. He carries, and He will carry. He bears, and He will bear. He upholds, and He will uphold. This is in accordance with that glorious chapter which I read for you this morning, Isaiah xl. It is a precious chapter to me, and has been for many a long year. Look at this: "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." There is a glorious Carrier for you. But let me ask some of you old folk to look at chapter xlvi. 3, 4, and may you carry it home with you, not simply in your Bibles, but in your hearts and spiritual understandings: "Hearken unto Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by Me from the belly, which are carried from the womb : and even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you; even I will carry, and will deliver you." There you behold a glorious

sight! The weak babe, the strong young man, and the enfeebled veteran carried in the arms of everlasting love. But it is oui-s this morning to meditate upon a very precious portion of God's most Holy Word, and consider some of the I'are excellences which appear in the Bridegroom of the Church. The bride, having charged the daughters of Jerusalem concerning her Bridegroom, is met with a question which betrays their lack of the knowledge she possessed of the Bridegioom's beauties and excellences: "What is thy Beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?" But their ignorance was the cause of this glorious description of the Bridegroom by the bride. Here I would ask you again to notice that little word "50." "That thou dost so charge us." In the bride's inquiries and charges, Christ was All in all. It has been said of me, '* Whenever he opens his mouth, he has nothing to talk about but Christ." When I went to preach God's truth at EdgeDigitized by LjOOQ IC

CHRIST'S LOCKS. 393 green, in Lancashire, after I had been there a few months, some of the mad professors said, " That man cannot preach but it is all Christ. It is Christ everything with him, and none of the variety of the Word." Oh, my dear friends, if Christ appears not in the variety of the Word, the variety may go for me. •' Christ is my All ; where should I go ? Without Him I can nothing do ! Helpless and weak, a sinner great, Yet in His righteousness complete." Wherever I may go, or whatever I may do, may it be my lot to find and acknowledge Him. Do I sing? I desire to hear the voice of my Beloved. Do I pray? I want to feel an interest in ray Saviour's sweet intercession. Do I preach ? I long to know that it is no more I that preach, but Christ preaching through and by me. Whenever I appear before you, the desire of my heart is, that He who is ** the chiefest among ten thousand "

may be seen by the eyes of your spiritual understanding. I thank God that I know it is so in many instances. *' My Beloved is white" There we see Him in the purity of His person. " My Beloved is ruddy." There we behold Him in the perfection of His mediatorial suflFerings and sorrows. *^ My Beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand" It matters not where we appear, in what company we are found, or how numerous our spiritual associates may be, Christ is All and in all. We love to dwell upon His beauties. A passing glance will never truly satisfy the heart once smitten with His charms. " With Him I daily love to walk, Of Him my soul delights to talk ; On Hira I cast my every care ; Like Hini one day I shall api)ear.'.* To know Him in the inexpressible realities of heart-communion is the joy and deHght of living and loving souls; and with them, whatever be the theme, doctrine, experience, practice, or persona, Christ is the chief. " His head is as the most fine gold" Here we see JEHOVAH the Father the Head of Christ. We admire the glory of His Godhead. We adore Him in His glorious sovereignty. We know Hira as the Head of His Church. As the Head He thinks for the whole body. He sees all its concerns and cares. He governs all its movements, and controls every action. He supplies every want, and ministers to every necessity. He is most precious. The experience of this caused Asaph, after many painful exercises, to cry out: ^* Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee" (Psa. Ixxiii. 25). It is not: " There is none upon earth that I desire in compaiison of Thee." Comparison utterly fails before the revelation of a precious Christ to the waiting hearts of His elect and redeemea brethren. Our dear friend and brother Rolleston set this forth most blessedly the


other Tuesday night, when he said: "As a loving wife rejoices to see all honour resting upon her husband, so the bride, the Church, loves to see her heavenly Bridegroom crowned with majesty, glory, dominion, and power, and m Him concentrated every beauty and grace which adorns her person." *' Jesus, in Thee, my sonVs delight, What matchless beauties tempt my sight ; Compared with Thee, the solar ray In shades and darkness dies away." ow we will for a little while consider the precious portion which I have read to you as ray text, ** His locks are bushy and black as a raven." " His locks'' What are we to understand by these words ? The bride, by the leading and guidance of God the ever-blessed Spirit, is captivated with the incomparable beauties revealed in her Beloved. She contemplates Him in His sovereignty and kingly power. She glories in His might, majesty, and dominion. She dehghts to particularise, and in particularising she admires the locks springing and flowing from His head. In these we are led to view the fruits of His sovereignty, majesty, and Headship over all things to His Church. As spiritual beings in union with Christ we love to follow where His good Spirit leads. I love to go to the spring, the source, and foundation of all things, and into a Scriptural and spiritual understanding of the doings, excellencies, and beauties of my Husband, Head, and Lord. I love to trace the wonders of His grace, not only from the time when He first drew me with the cords of His love, and revealed Himself in me, but, to coin a phrase, I go back to a time before time was, or, to a period before periods began. I deHght to be led by God the ever-blessed Spirit to contemplate those glorious covenant transactions which secured the salvation and glorification of the whole elect of God, when the Lord Jesus Christ was set up as the Head and Representative of grace, as the Surety of the everlasting covenant, as the Sponsor or God-Father of His people, the only true God-Father that ever lived. We know of no God-Father but that blessed and adorable One, who, in all His excellency, glory, might, and

power held Himself responsible, and vowed and promised to do, not three things, but everything, for His eternally-loved ones. During a life of sorrow and suffering upon earth He did all that He promised, to obey, satisfy, and magnify His Father's law for us, and now by the power of the Holy Ghost He brings us to the enjoyment of all that He accomplished for us as our Sponsor and Surety. This is a marvellous mercy for me, for whenever a sense of responsibiHty steals ovor me, either on the ground of law or Gospel, condemnation is sure to attend it. " For it is written, 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). Are demands made upon me on Gospel ground t Digitized bv — '. r^^^

OHRISfS LOOKS. 395 The feeling sense of ray responsibility crushes me, and lays me low before the throne of sovereign mercy, crying, " Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me. Do Thou m- me that which Thou hast demanded from me." It is my mercy to know that every fipiritual demand made upon me by the convicting power of the Holy Ghost is the evidence and earnest of the full supply of the same according to the Father's riches in glory hj Christ Jesua I do love such declarations as those in Isa. xxvi. 12 : " LORD, Thou wilt ordain peace for us : for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us ; " and Pea. Ivii. 2 : ** I will cry unto God most high : unto God that performeth all things for me.** There is misery in the depths, majesty in the heights, and mercy in experimental possession. Here I see JEHOVAH the Transactor of all my affairs. Sometimes He comes and sweetly assures me that all things work together for my good, until my heart is melted into adoring gratitude ; at other times I am left with my qpirit bowed down with dreariness and despondency. ** His locks. '^ As His head denotes His majesty, sovereignty, and kingdom, so His locks flowing from His head denote His thoughts, promises, purposes, and counsels. See how the

Psalmist aamired their perfection and beauty in Psa. xxxiii. 11 : " The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generation." See Psa. xl. 5 : " Many, LORD my God, are Thv wonderful works which Thou hast done, €tnd Thy thoughts which are to usward ; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee : if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." " Thy thoughts are very deep " (Psa, xcii. 5). Look at Psa. cxxxix. 17, 18 : " How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God 1 how great is the sum of them 1 If I should count them, thev are more in number than the sand : when I awake, I am stiU with Thee." The thoughts of our great and glorious Head will stand to a thousand generations, when aS our fleshly, religious, and experimental thoughts are buried in eternal oblivion. Who can tea the preciousness of His thoughts t In His gracious pronuse to perform His own good work toward His tempted and tried people. He says : *' 1 know the thoughts that I think toward you ; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end " of all suffering and sorrows which you experience in the pathway of tribulation (Jer. xxix. 11). See how the unsearchable nature of Christ's thoughts are set before us in Isa. Iv. 8, 9. I love to read this blessea chapter in the light of the Aew covenant, that light in which 1 have endeavoured to set it before you more than once, twice, or thrice. A covenant command goes forth to a covenant people : " Seek ye the LORD!^ Mark well the punctuation. " While He n\ay be found call ye upon Him'' You may rest assured that is the only time when we can call upon Him in spirit and in truth. At any other time we may cry and shout, but our prayers will be shut out, and Digitized by LjOOQ IC

396 GROYE CHAPEL PULPIT. the face of His throne will be covered with the thick cloud of judgment. " While Re is near let the wicked forsake His wayS^ You may depend upon it, I can only forsake my wretched ways when He is near to me, and at no other time. " And the un-

righteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him : and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." The thoughts of our most glorious and exalted Head are thoughts of eternal, immutable, and constant love. I love and delight to dwell upon the personal glory of Him, who, throughout a long eternity, is ever dwelling with thoughts of ineffable affection upon His own. *^ Bis locks'' In these we have revealed His deep, firm, immutable, and immoveable counsels. Here we behold Him in covenant oneness with the Father before the worlds were framed, through time, and to all eternity. By His faithfuhiess to them He defeats and frustrates all the counsels of hell. Has heaven its counsels ? Hell will have its counsels too. This you see in the words of our Lord to Peter : '* And I say also unto thee. That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church ; and the gates {or counsels) of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. xvi. 18). ow look at that precious portion, Isaiah xxvr. 1 : ** LORD, Thou art my God ; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name ; for Thou hast done wonderful things ; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and trath." Marvellous mysteries beam forth from the council chambers of eternity as the covenant engagements of our Surety with the Father for His people are revealed. Christ was faithful to the Father, and the Father was faithful to Christ. Throughout a life of sorrow, pain, and woe, the gracious Sponsor was true to His people ; and when He came as the Father's righteous Servant to render an account of His service, and as the Father contemplated that service, He could detect no deceit, evasion, or unri^teousness at all. At every point the faithful Surety could say, " I have florified Thee on earth" (John xvii. 3). The counsels of EHOVAH-JESUS with JEHOVAH the Father were ever faithful and true, and now, as He stands before the throne, the Father sees and acknowledges Him faithful in the communication of every covenant blessing to those whom He redeemed

with His most precious blood, and are the fruit of His groans, sorrows, and agonies. ^^ His locks,^' His exceeding great and precious promises flow so gracefully and graciously from His covenant Headship. ow mark this well : The Son, the Surety, the Saviour, the Sponsor promised to do all that was necessary for the eternal salvation and security of His people. The Father promised to ..tized by Google

CHBISlfS liOOBS. 397 give every needful blessing to His people. The Holy Ghost promised to work every needful ^ace in His people. Did one person in the blessed Three promise ? The whole Three were mutually interested. That which the Father purposed was treasured up in the Son in the form of promise to be secured to His people by the witnessing and sealing of God the everblessed Spirit. This we see in 2 Cor. i. 18, 22 : '^ But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay., For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea." You see that ** the Son of God, Jesus Christ," was the sum total of the apostle's preaching, because in Him the Father had blessed His people with every needful covenant blessing. This is marrow and fatness to our souls as the Holy Ghost IS pleased to reveal it in our waiting and wanting hearts. "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." what a glorious Gospel 1 The Father purposing all things for His people, promising all things to His people, and performing all things in His people. '* ow He which ^ablisheth us with you in Christ, and natn anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and a'ven the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.*' Here we see all e promises of the covenant secured and sure to all the seed royal of heaven (Rom. iv. 16). The *^ Yea" of the Father in

covenant is the **Amen" of the Spirit in living experience. And, let me ask, what are all the promises of uod in Christ Jesus without the kto^^® ^i^d indwelling of God the Holy Ghost t What are all Christ's thoughts, counsels, and promises without the revelation of them to me and in me by the Witness of the covenant, the Glorifier of the Father's Christ? othing whatever. It is from the Headship and sovereigntv of Christ that all the beauties and glories of His person and salvation flow to living souls in union with Him, causing them to sing, — " The work which His goodness began, The ann of His strength will complete, His promise is ' Tea and Amen/ And never was forfeited yet : Things fatm«, nor things that are now, ot all things below nor above Can make Him His purpose forego, Or sever my soul from His love.** " His locks.' I delight to contemplate everything that flows from my covenant Head. Look at His performances. You see them by the eye of faith from the lowly manger in Bethlehem to the rugged tree on Calvary. You see them flowing in all His thoughts of love, in all His looks of fond affection. When Peter fell, a look of love from Jesos' eyes broke up the fountain of the great deep of godly sorrow, and Peter sought where to weep bittterly. In every word of His mouth, whether of judgment to His enemies, or mercy to His friends, righteousness

598 OROVB CHAPSL POUTT. h revealed. Listen to His own declaration : ** My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work " (John iv. 34). It was the Father's will that every jot and tittle of His

law should be obeyed, and it was the eager delight of the God-Man to do it. Down into the depths of sin, sorrow, and soul-tronble, into which His people must be brought, He willingly descended. Down to the very depths of my most degrading sins a precious Christ humbled Himself to bear them with all their consequences on my behalf. Down into the lowlands of all my necessities, wants, infirmities, imperfections, doubts, fears, cares, and anxieties. He willingly wended His way. When in gloomy, dark Oethsemane, the sorrows of hell encompassed Him, and JEHOVAH'S judgment of sin was experienced by His sinless soul. He prayed saying, " O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except 1 drink it, Thy will be done " (Matt. xxvi. 42). He never ceased until He could say, " It is finished " (John xix. 30). Thus we behold Him as the GodMan Mediator of His Church and people, constant in His thoughts of love, faithful in His covenant counsels, precious in His gracious promises, and glorious in His perfect performances for us, while our adoring hearts rejoice in the blessed assurance of our'interest in the love of His Father and ours. Thus blessed, we feelingly join in the song of the victorious followers of the Lamb upon the sea of glass : ^* Great and marvellous are Thy works. Lord God Almighty ; just and true are Thy ways. Thou King of saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name t for Thou only art holy : for all nations shall come and worship before Thee ; for Thy judgments are made manifest " (Rev. XV. 3, 4). It matters not how we look at Him, the glorious truth holds good — *' In ererj office He sustains, In every victory He gains, In every counsel of His will, He's precious to His people still/* ** His loch are bushy J* This leads our minds into the contemplation of the benevolence, bounty, and liberality of a covenant God in Christ. His thoughts of love, like the hairs of our heads, are innumerable. Of His works, the Psalmist could say, " LORD, how manifold are Thy works 1 " (Psa. civ. 24). When He bestows grace, He does it without stint He is no niggard. There is no penuriousness in our God. Does He

give life t He will give it more abundantly (John x. 10). Has He given grace ? He will give more grace (James iv. 6). Has He indulged thee with the communication of one covenant promise 1 It will prove to be, in thy experience, the seed of an abundant crop of covenant promises to thy waiting heart. Has He given to tnee the enjoyment of one of His thoughts of love ? Verily there will be a bushy crop of His eternal thoughts of love in thy enlightened understanding. Has He brojignt thee ^.yitized by VjC ^ ^^^^

CHRIST'S LOCKS. 399 to stand stiU, look on, and behold Him doing wondronsly ? He will yet teach thee that all things prepared for thee before all worlds, were performed for thee by His Son, and shall be perfected in thee by His Spirit. Yes, blessed be God, He will cause thee to acknowledge with jovful heart, " The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me ' (Psalm xxxviii. 8). I love that precious expression in many of the writings of Paul which has come with peculiar force and sweetness to my heart many times of late : " much mofrer You will find it several times in Romans v., where you will notice how fruitful, flourishing, and abundant are the gifts of JEHOVAH'S grace. Speaking of the mediatorial work and sufferings of our Lord and Master, Paul says, " For scarcely for a righteous man will one die." *^ A righteous man." One of yom* proper, precise, stern, unbending creatures, who acts up to the mark, but will not stir one step in the way of compassion or pity. " Yet, peradventure, for a good man, some would even dare to die." What does that mean? God declares, " There is none good, no, not one." Well, it means a man of generous and benevolent disposition ; it matters not what the bulk of his body may be, his heart appears too big for it. If he comes across poor, suffering humanity, out goes his heart to its relief, though he may be often told that charity begins at heme. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." ot righteous men, not good men, but unrighteous and bad men. Yes, as bad

as sin and Satan could make them. This reminds me of a reporter who took down a free-grace sermon. Shortly after, he waited upon the preacher ^' with the report of the sermon — ^just as it was delivered, with one exception — a slip of the tongue. You said, *As sure as there is a God in heaven all the good people go to heU, and all the bad people go to heaven 1 This I have corrected." But the preacher mesknt what he said. All who are good in their own esteem, living and dying so, must go to hell, while all those who are bad and vile in their own eyes, by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, must go to heaven. Those of us who are brought to experience our badness are brought still further to know that " God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Is that sufficient I o. It is the seed of a prolific crop of blessing. See ! " Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God bv the death of His Son, much more^ being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Saved from what ! Saved from the dominion and power of the sins we are sensible of — saved from the terrible temptations which sorely beset us — saved from the accursed influences which surround us, by which devils aim our overthrow, and the Pharisaic world seeks for our halting, and for the opportunity to say, " So would we have it." The proud Digitized by LjOOQ IC

400 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. professor is ever readj' to taunt the child of God with believing that he has a license to sin that grace may abound, which is a pious lie. Thank God we have been taught to glory in Paul's free-grace declaration, ** Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound " (Rom. v. 20). " His locks are bttshy and black as a ravenJ* Wonderful contrasts appear in the metaphors which describe the pei*sonal beauties and glories of Jesus. I have told you that the Holy

Ghost puts all nature under contribution to describe the unrivalled excellencies of our most glorious Christ. Does He compare His loveliness and meekness to the dove? He makes use of the cunning, mysterious, impenetrable raven to show forth His deep and unsearchable designs. Here His locks are black, denoting eternal youth and vigour. A precious Christ with His bounties, blessings, and benefits, can never grow old, fade away, or perish, and that nature possessed by sinnei*s in oneness with Christ is ever young, never grows old. In Rev. i. 14 His head and His hairs are described as " white like wool, as white as snow." This sets forth the eternity of His being and attributes. Grey hairs, which evidence weakness, infirmity, and decay, are not to be found upon our Jesus. Look at the description given of Ephraim in Hosea vii. 8, 9. Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people. ** Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not : yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth it not." Though Ephraim's hail's grow grey, and strangera come upon him, yet his God and Saviour remains ever the same. He is the same in His love, the same in His compassion, the same in His care. Does Ephraim sin? His God will save. Does Ephraim wander ? His God will restore. Concerning Ephraim, jfeHOVAH saith, " Ephraim is My dear son I Ephraim is My pleasant child! for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore, My bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him " ( Jer. xxxi. 20). This is our JEHOVAH-JESUS. He is unchangeable in the counsels of His heart, the purposes of His love, the promises of His mouth, and the performances of His hand. In His power, patience, and perfections He is immutable. o sign of weakness, decay, or infirmity can ever be found in Him. He is ever young, ever vigorous, and ever beautiful in His person, and iu all that flows from Him through the predestinating purposes of the Father. You will find this blessedly set forth throughout the epistle to the Hebrews. In ch. i. He is revealed in a quotation from Psalm cii. 25—27 : ^* And Thou, LORD, in the begnining, hast laid the foundation of the earth ; and the heavens are the works of Thy hands: they shall perish : but Thou remainest ; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt Thou

fold them up, and they shall be changed : but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail." Grey hairs, weakness, .._.y Google

CHRIST'S LOCitS. 40l infitmity, or decay can never be found in Him. " His locks are bushy and black as a raven.^^ Why as a raven ? Becauee of the concealed habits and artful secresy of that bird. This indicates and sets forth the unspeakable glories of Christ's person, the unsearchable liches of His kingdom, and the inscmtable treasures of His love. Here we may sing, " Thy works of grace, how bright thej shine I How deep Thy counsels ! how Divine 1 " The judgments of JEHOVAH, as revealed in the Son of His love, are a great deep. " His greatness is unsearchable " (Psa. cxlv. 3). See how Isaiah sets forth the mysterious independence of JEHOVAH-JESUS and His Spirit : " Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counsellor hath tau^t Him t With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the {)ath of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance : behold. He taketh up the isles as a very little thing" (Isa. xl. 13, 14). In the contemplation of the purposes, promises, and performances of a covenant God in Chnst for His people, the apostle Paul bursts forth in a flood of praise, as recorded in Rom. xi. 33 — 36 : '* the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out I For who hath known the mind of the Lordt or who hath been His counsellor t Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again ? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things : to whom be glory for ever. Amen." What wonderful grace and beauty appear in these black and

bushy locks of Zion's Redeemer ! Goas people chosen to life, salvation, and glory before they had a being, except in the purpose of the Father. They were blessed in Ohrist before they experienced the curse in Adam. They were preserved from falling into hell before they fell in Eaen, or felt a smart from their numerous wilderness failures. Chosen in the counsels of eternity, preserved in Christ through time, saved in Him with an everlasting salvation, are locks so bushy that carnal minds are blinded to their beauty, and human reason can only be embarrassed and entangled with their mysterious and majestic unfoldings. Precious locks! filled with the dewdrops of suretyship sorrow for sinful worms of the earth, we glory in them though earth and hell can do nought but rage and conspire against them. In the rich realization of this, ** When frowns appear to veil His face, And clouds surround His throne, H2 hides the purpose of His grace, To make it better known," we are taught to cry out with Job, ** Lo, these are parts of His ..tized by Google

402 6R0VE CHAPEL PULPITw ways : but bow little a portion is heard of Him I but the thunder of His power who can imderstand?" (Job xxvi^ 14). Blessed with the spiritual understanding of raysteries so deep and bo Divine, we will conclude this morning's service by singing that precious hymn by Cowper, the Olney poet, " Qod moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform ; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm. Deep in unfathomable mines,

Of never-failing skill. He treasures up His bright designs, And works His sovereign will. Te fearful saints, fresh courage take, The clouds ye so much dre^ Are big with mercy, and shall break In blessings on your head. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense. But trust Him for His grace ; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face. His purposes will ripen fast, Unfolding every hour ; The bud may have a bitter tante, But sweet will be the flower. Blind unbelief is sure to err, And scan His work in vain ; God is His own interpreter. And He will make it plain."



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