RIGHT WAYS.

BY THOMAS BRADBURY

*Who is wise, and he shall understand these things ? prudent, and he shall know them 7 for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall therein/' — Hosea xiv. 9. I the minds of many of the living children of God, much ignorance abounds in reference to the meaning of many of the prophecies, especially those contained in what are styled, " The Minor Prophets." These are often read, but to little purpose. The reason of this is because of the veil of ifi;norance upon the heart. A man may possess a marvellous intellect, and capacious reasoning powers; be able to understand natural things to perfection, have a wide grasp of God's plan of salvation, and be able to trace out accurately the doctrines of predestination, election, redemption, regeneration, preservation, and glorification, but when he looks at the dark portions of the prophecies, he is all at sea. Man is so prone to put carnal constructions on those metaphors, illustrations, and prophecies given by God in His blessed Word for the spiritual guidance of a spiritual people. K, when reading this precious prophecy of Hosea, we see not God's dealings in grace with His own children in Christ Jesus, and look solely to God's ancient people, the Jews, we are lost in a fog, apprehending not the Divine mind, nor enjoying our part contained in the varied terms He employs throughout the whole of the Book. But the moment He takes away the veil from our heart, and brings us to know and confess that precious truth contained in Psalm xxxvi. 9 — "For with Thee is the fountain of life ; in Thy light we shall see light " — the moment God's light is thrown upon that which is dark — the moment the light of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ shines in the heart of the redeemed one, there is a right apprehension of God's mind contained therein. This prophecy o. ISe.-PRlCK 0«K Pkn>v. Digitized by GoOQ IC

620 OROVB OHAFEL PULPIT. was given for the purpose of unfolding the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in His people — the riches of the glory of His ^race in the selection, separation, and salvation of His people m Christ Jesus. ow, without this, I may as well be honest and tell you that I do not understand the .prophecy of Hosea. But when I am taught to read it in the light of God's dealings with His people during their sojourn in the wilderness, brining them to enjoy His paternal love, His preserving care, and His protecting mercy, in the face of all their sins, idolatries, adulteries, wavering, and wandering from Him, then I see in a moment that He is the God that will do for me, and I am just the sinner in whom His grace can be magnified. This is the Gospel my heart loves, and which causes me to long for the time when I shall have done with sin, corruption, and death, enter into His glory, and never more go out. It is our happy privilege now to look at the portion which I have read for our consideration, and may we be blest with the guidance and grace of God the Holy Ghost as we notice, — I.— The characters named — ** The wise, the prudent, and the just." II. — Their experience — " Who is wise, and he sftall understand these things f prudent, and he shall hiow themt " ni. — Righteousness acknowledged by them — *'For the ways of the LORD are right.'' IV. — The lot of the just and of transgressors — "And the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall therein." I. — The characters named — " The wise, the prudent." In reading God*s Word in the letter of it, we ofttimes come across what appears to the natural understanding flat contradictions,

flagrant discrepancies, and statements totally opposed to each other. For instance, the text leads our minds to the contemplation of certain persons who are wise and prudent, yet blessed with spiritual knowledge and understanding in the ways of the Lord. If you will turn to Matthew xi. 25, you will see that the declaration of the Great Expounder of Holy Writ, the Glorious Expositor of God's mind and will, is the very opposite to that of our text : ** At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things front the wise and prudent^ and hast revealed them unto babes." This declai*ation leads the mind to certain who are not wise and prudent yet are blessed with gracious revelations of the Father 8 mind and will, while Hosea notices thoee who are wise and prudent and have a spiritual knowledge and right understanding in the ways of the Lord. ow look at the mind of Christ as revealed in Luke x. 21 : "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto Digitized by LjOOQ IC

RIGHT WAYS. 621 babes : even so, Father ; for so it seemed good in Thy sight." Why should He rejoice under such circumstances? He rejoiced to see the accomplishment of His Father's will, and the fulfilment of all that JEHOVAH had declared in His eternal counsels. Judgment was visited upon all out of Himself, and mercy revealed to all in Himself. He rejoiced because the Father in His own absolute right had hidden the blessings of the covenant from reprobate dogs, and had shown them to elect sheep, because He hid them from the great ones in their own esteem and revealed them to the little ones of His family. Then we see the spirit of satisfaction with which He admires the unemng judgment of His Father : *^ Even so. Father ; for so it seemed good in Thy sight."

Let us notice the question, "Who is wise? " When we look at men universally, and judge of them according to our own heart's experience, knowing well what we were in the days of our unregeneracy, we despair in our hope of finding a wise man. Look at Eph. ii. 2, 3 : *^ 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 : among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind ; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." ot the objects of God's wrath, but wrathful children. Wrath and enmity against God, characterising every thought, look, word, and action of the old nature. It matters not how good, how excellent, religious, pious, or devout a person may be, independent of union to the Lord Jesus Christ and the gracious anointings of God the ever-blessed Spirit, all his pretensions are but vanity, foolishness, and enmity against God. *• Who is wise ? " Where, among the sons and daughters of Adam, is such an one to be found ? We will ask one to describe his state and condition previous to the Lord's gracious work in him. By the Holy Ghost he says, *' For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and. hating one another " (Titus iii. 3). Foolishness characterises every thought and act of our existence until we are taken in hand by that blessed and adorable One whom Paul describes as " Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God " (1 Cor. i. 24). Look again at that confession going forth in prayer and supplication from the exercised heart of the Psalmist ! In Psalm Ixix. 5 he says, ^* God, Thou knowest my foolishness ; and my sins are not hid from Thee." What foolishness can be so great as that which sets itself against the wisdom of JEHOVAH as revealed in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ? What foolishness can be so glaring as that which would bring down the infinite JEHOVAH, the eternal God, the sovereign Lord of all, to the bar of man's puny judgment? What foolishness can be .,__, Google

^22 GROVE OHAPEL PULPIT. RO flaf^raut a8 that which would drag the great and glorioos JEUOVAH from His throne and attempt to usurp His prerogatives ? Yet, on the right hand and on the left, we see poor, proud man raising His voice against the God of heaven and earth. Professors of religion are besotted with the delusion that the plan, performance, and perfection of the salvation of their souls are wholly in their own power. What folly can equal this ? But look here : '' Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child'' (Prov. xxii. 15). All that is required for the display of this foolishness is time and opportunity. Foolishness appears in every thought, look, word, and act of the natural man. Who, then, are the wise and the prudent ? According to nature's judgment we are driven to the conclusion that all are endowed wiUi a certain amount of wisdom and prudence. But I find, in the course of my observation and experience, that there is precious little of either real wisdom or prudence in the world. Men, in their ordinary dealings with each other, lack prudence. Men, in communicating their thoughts and in expounding their views, lack prudence. ay, even godly men and godly women, whom a gracious and long-suffering God is training for glory, are frequently found lacking, and mourning over their lack of, prudence. These are often wanting in foresight in reference to the doing of the work God has arranged for them in His allwise providence. Often are they found trying to do the Lord's work in a fleshly spirit. But the prudent are those in whose hearts God has implanted His fear, and who dread to sin against Him. But, my dear friends, we must proceed further in seeking out all the truth God has to communicate in connection with a subject so precious, instructive, and profitable. The wise and prudent are also represented as '*I7iejti8tJ' Where are the just to be found! God declares that '' all have sinned and come short of His glory " (Rom. iii. 23). All mankind in Adam sinned, rebelled, and proclaimed against JEHOVAH'S righteous rule, holy law, and sovereign sway. Thus man universally became unrighteous and unjust. A few portions of God's most Holv Word settles this matter.

" The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether beoome filthy : there is none that doeth good, no, not one " f Psa. xiv. 2, 3 ; lui. 2, 3). ow look at Paul's quotation of mese two Psalms as given in Romans iii. 10 : *' There is none righteous, no, not one." Here we see in a moment the judgpnent of the Holy Ghost concerning the unrighteousness of the whole human family. ot a just man to be found upon earth. Ah I but we go still further than this. Solomon, m Eccles. vii. 20, says : *'^ For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not." The word just may be rendered justified^ and this read : '^ There is not a justified man upon earth that doeth ^.yitizedbyVjOOQi

EIGHT WAYS. 623 good and sinneth not." This does not question the existence of justified men, who are accounted just or righteous before God ; but reveals a fact so pungent in the expeneuoe of God's livini^ children, that, a justified man througn the blood and obedience of Jesus, who does good and sins not, cannot be found upon earth. ot one. All mankind, elect and reprobate, redeemed and unredeemed, regenerate and unregenerate, in themselves are always sinners and ever sinning. The spiritually taught children of God know full well that until the last sigh is heaved from their throbbing bosoms every one of them can do nothing but sin, and their confession before the presence of'infinite excellency is, that they never did a good work during the whole of their lives. Then we may well ask the questions, Who is wise? Who is prudent? Who is just? The answer is, That man, that woman, that child found in living union with Him who is styled pre-eminently: "The Wisdom of God" (1 Cor. i. 24) ; •< My Servant shall deal prudently " (Isa. Hi. 13) ; '* THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUS ESS" (Jer. xxiii. 6). Christ is the Just One in the presence of the Father, for all those who know and feel that in themselves they have neither wisdom,

prudence, nor righteousness. The wise are those who are made wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. iii. 15). The prudent are those who are blessed with the spirit of power and ot love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. i. 7). The just are those who are accounted so in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Rom. v. 19). The great and glorious God whom we worship and adore will not be limited in His gracious operations by what we can see and judge. He works where He will, when He will, how He will, upon whom He will, and just because He will. He thus stains the pride of lordly intellect, and brings aspiring reason to His footstool, while the faith of His own giving bows with reverence and awe before His sacred Majesty, thanking Him for the revelation He has given, and begging of Him still further to reveal Himself in love — What I know not, teach thou me. Who then are the wise? Those whom JEHOVAH has graciously taken in hand and brought to know their standing in Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and biowledge (Cot. ii. 3). As assuredly as we are in Him these treasures of wisdom and knowledge are ours, to be communicated in God's own time. See how clearly Paul, by the Holy Ghost, declares this precious truth in 1 Cor. i. 20 — 31 : " Where is the wise ? where is the scribe t where is the disputer of this world ? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world t For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign (that is, Ritualism), and the Greeks seek after wisdom (that is, Rationalism). But we preach Christ crucified, imto the Jews ..tized by Google

CS4 GRO^ XaUWi tPULFTT. a stumbliug^blook, and uato the Ghreeks foolishnesB ; but miio them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God." So then, if I am wise, my wisdom, like Samson's strength, hes in my Head. Solomon has

this remarkable saying : *' The wise man's eyes are in his head " (Eccles. iL 14). Where else on earth would you have them ? I, for one, answer, owhere else. Lord, but in Thee, nyr living Head. I do not want them in this poor, frail, perishing body, but in Him who is the Head of all influence, motive, and power to His body, the Church. His eyes are ever beholding, watching, and concerned for every member of His living faniily. Who is wiaet He is a wise man who is brought by Divine grace and power to the footstool of sovereigpi mercy, renounouig everything of his own — bis own righteousness — his own confidence — his own strength — his own wisdom. Self in every phase and feature renounced, excluded, put out of doors, and God in Christ All in all. Christ my Wisdom, for I am a fool Christ my Righteousness, for I am a black transgressor. Christ my Sanctification, for I am a polluted worm. Christ mf Redemption, for I naturally hug the chains of sin and Satan. Christ my Glory, for all I have apart from Him is degradation and shame. In Christ I am wise. In Christ I am prudent. In Christ I am just. A just man in Christ stands before his God B8 thouffh sin never had any power over him, as though he bad never sinned, yes, he stands before his Gtod in {>088e8siou of a nature as pure as Christ's is pure, as holy as Christ's k holy, as perfect as Christ's is perfect, as impeccable as Christ's is impeocable. This nature is communicated by a sheer act of sovereign grace, and revealed in regeneration. The partaker of the Divine nature (2 Peter i. 4) may sin awfully like an infuriated devil, as Saul of Tarous who compelled the saints to blaspheme, or, may sin in the presence of incarnate love, meekness, and compassion, as Peter did, denying his Lord and Master with oaths and curses, but the new nature cannot be touched, polluted, or marred. God looks on him, Christ looks on him, the Holy Ghost looks on him, and deals with him according to that vir^n purity and glorious perfection in which be stood with Chnst before the worlds were framed. The wise man in Christ is he who cannot and will not believe, hope, repent, or pray, without the presence and power of the responsible One, who does all these for him and in him. The prudent man is he who has been taught through many a painful process and in manv perplexing paths, that a sovereign God can manage His work perfectly without his interference. But, how often we think we

can improve our state here upon earth I We try to feather our nest. We endeavour to make our home cozy and comfortable. We struggle to master our natural dispositions and triumph over our imperious wills. We are determined to Uve in peace and quietness with those surrounding us. But as assuredly as I Digitized by LjOOQ IC

•ttempt these things, God will create a waiter to deslroy. £ither the devil, my own evil nature or my fleshly sorronndings will be sure to bring about a breach in my good behaviour, and prove to me that I am not the nice young Thomas I imagined myself to be, and that I am not so humble, gentle, loving, and kind, as I fain would be. This has been the experience of all •the saints, from AbeFs days until now. The juat man is he who knows feelingly that in lum dwelleth no good thing, and that though to will is present with him, yet how to perform that which is good he finds not; but while this is his nainful experience a covenant God communicates to him the glorious truth that there is One of His own appointing who is responsible for his wisdom, responsible for his prudence, responsible for his righteousness, responsible for his perfection, responsible for his safe conduct to glory, and that, a precious Christ. The wise are wise in Christ The prudent are prudent in Christ. The just are just in Christ. We new notice — II. — Thbir EXPEREE OB — " Who is wise, and he shall understand theee thinaaf prudent, and he shall know themV* I love that view of spiritual matters which leads us into the contemplation of those two lines of Hart: " Trae reli^oii*s more than notion, Something must be known and felt.** iCark I He does not say, Something must be felt, merely, for knowledge accompanies feeling. *' Something must be known,"* and that something must be Divinely communicated and

brought home to the heart by the power of God the ever^ blessed Spirit. Many portions I could quote bearing upon this. David says : '* And they that know Thv name will put their trust in Thee'' (Psa. ix. 10). Job declared: *^ I know tnat I shall be justified'' (Job. xiii. 18). Was not Job justified at this time? Certainly he was, and that by his God ; but accusation after accusation was brought against him by men and devils. Yet he was conscious that the time would come when God would bring him to the light and justify him before his fellows. He also said : " / know that my Redeemer" (my Kinsman, my Vindicator, my Avenger) "liveth" (Job xix. 25). After personal communication with JEHOVAH in the whiriwind, he could say to Him: "/ know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought of Thine can be hindored'' (Job xlii. 2). I love such testimonies as this. Again, we have Divinely-imparted knowledge set before us throughout the ew Testament Scriptures. See 1 John v. 20: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that' is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." Mark you this; we may be in possession of Scriptural knowledge, and possess a spiritual understanding, but without the light of God thrown ..tized by Google

096 OROTS OHAFKL FULFIT. upon it, all is dai^ as midnight. Look at Eph. i 18: '' The eym of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His cafiing." Suppose you were in this place last nieht with all the gas turned off, what could you see? I^othing. AU would be dar^ess and confusion. So it is with a child of Ood in possession of a spiritual understanding, without God's li^ht he knows nothing, sees nothing, apprehends nothing, yet with David he can say: " In Thy light we shall see light" (Psa. xzzvi. 9). But we have more of this revealed in Luke xxiv. 44, 46.

The Lord Jesus Christ led the minds of His disciples to the all things written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Fsalms concerning Him ; but that was not su£Scient« He brought them to another sta^e in Divine knowledge, for we are told: "Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." ow, in possession of a God-given understanding (1 John v. 20), of u God-enlightened understanding (Eph. i. 18\ of an opened understanding (Luke xxiv. 45), if the Holy Gnost takes not of the things of Christ to show them unto us, what do we know or feel to edification ? othing whatever. We may have a knowledge that puffeth up, "but we shall be destitute of the love that buildeth up. It is only as the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and shows us the mystery of His incarnation, opens up to our adoring gaze His life of sorrow and suffering upon earth. His bloody sweat in Gethsemane, His darkness and desertion upon Calvary, bearing our transgressions, sins, and iniquities mto the land of never-ending forgetfulness, casting them into the sea of eternal oblivion, triumphing over death, hell, and the grave, and entering into heaven's nighest glory to appear in the presence of God for us, I say it is only then that we can understand God in His word, in His providence, and in our heart's experience. He who knows and understands these things by the teaching and guidance of the Holy Ghost can never get rid of them. **Ah," say some of you, "we think we have heard you say that the mind of the child of God is oftentimes like a sieve, not able to retain that which is poured into it." Quite right, my friends, quite right. We may listen to God's truth this morning, and before night comes all may be forgotten. We may read God's Book, and never more think of what we have read; but if the Book by the Holv Ghost reads us, and if He communicates to us His bounties, blessings, and benefits, we may forget them, but He will take good care to refresh our treacherous memories again and again. In our forgetfulness, we see the necessity for the office of the covenant Remembrancer to bring to our remembrance whatsoever things Christ may have spoken to us. Here we are brought to a marvellous view of Divine grace as set before us in this precious allegory of Hosea. " T^^^f things!"^ The whole book describes the gracious dealings of a

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RIGHT WAYS. 627 covenant God with a covenant people. It opens up the wonderful longsuffering and patience of Israel's God, and the incorri^bility of God's Israel. Are there any such characters here this morning ? If there are not, you may depend upon it we have nothing whatever to do with the covenant people of God. But it is my mercy to take up my Bible, and as I read portion ^ter portion revealing ?'Sovereign gnce o*er sin abounding," electing love overcoming lost sinners, and redeeming mercy revealed in its power over the wayward and wandering children of God, I see, and feel, and know myself to be one with those who wander and waver, one with those who are ofttimes wanting and weary, one with those who are set before us by Jeremiah and Hosea under the name of Ephraim. Turn with me to Jer. xxxi. 18 — 20: "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus: Thou hast chastened me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke : turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the LORD my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh : I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth." But Ephraim's kind and indulgent God sajs: " Is Ephraim My dear son ? '' or, as it may read : ^* Ephraim is My dear son, he is a pleasant child; for, since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still : therefore Mv bowels are troubled for him ; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD." But who is Ephraim? God's child ; but we are told he is a rebellious one, a wandering one, a wajrward one, an obstinate one. Look at the description given of him throughout this book of Hosea. In the 2nd chap, we see him loved with an everlasting love. Here God declares His love to His people in the face of their manifold sins and

wanderiufi^ from Him, in the view of which good old John Kent could sing so blessedly: " Betrothed in lore, ere time began, His blood-bought bride with Jesos lee ; Made by eternal nnion O R, Who was, and is, and is to be.** But look at her as she appears in this 2nd chapter. She is following after other lowers, seeking her pleasure and enjoyment everywhere and anywhere but in her God, her loving Husband. But He says: "I will hedge up thy way with thorns." Know ye anything about these thorns? I do. Terrible thorns in conviction and afflictive dispensations. If a thorn hedge is not sufficient, He says: *' I will make a wall that she shall not find her paths." Is it not a marvellous mercy that, although we are determined to seek after other lovers, our first Husband — the Husband of the covenant before the worlds were framed — ^haa declared that we shall not overtake them. Look at the allurDigitized by LjOOQ IC

628 GROVE OHAPEL PULPIT. ings of His love : " Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And! will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope." Look still further how the eternal espousals are manifested : " And I will betroth thee unto Me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in iudgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and Thou shalt know thb LORD." But look at the description given of these people under the various names of Ephraim, Judah, Israel, and My people. Did you notice those words by Jeremiah : ** Since 1 spake against him?" Where did God speak against him? In his conscience, by the convicting power of God the Holy Ghost.

Turn to Hos. iv. 17 : " Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him alone." I remember a sermon upon these words being put into my hands to read; and, though I hate to read the sermons of one who preaches free-grace in the morning, free-will in the evening, and can present a nauseous hash of both at noon, I read it. Ephraim's God was not found therein. It was an attempt to work upon the feehngs of those whom the preacher considered to be the wicked wretches of his congregation. He spoke of this as having reference to obstinate sinners who despised God's word, rejected His Gospel, and sinned away their day of grace. Oh, what vile rubbish ! This is the glorious truth of the text : " Ephraim, who is My dear son : Ephraim, who is My pleasant child; Ephraim, whom I love with an everlasting love: Ephraim, over whom My bowels yearn; Ephraim, for whom I nave a home in My heart ; Ephraim, for whom an eternal redemption waits; Ephraim, for whom covenant provision is prepared; Ephraim is joined to idols, and will have none of Me, bat he can only go the length of his tether. He is Mine; let him alone. Where sin abounds in him. My grace shall much more abound, fie may wander, but he cannot get beyond the sight of Mine eye, or the affection of My heart, while My long, strong, powerful arm of love shall bring him back to Myself, and he shall know that I am the LORD. With all your fleshly efforts, you cannot bring him back a moment before his time. You let My Ephraim alone, for your judging, threatening, and denouncing will affect him not. It is not by declamation and denunciation that My Ephraim shall be brought back to Me. Oh no I Let My Ephraim alone." My dear friends, we ought to be very careful as to the manner in which we speak of God*« Ephraims. The other day, one sitting near to me at this moment, stood with me by the door of a village smithy. The village black* smith said a few things defaming the character of the late rector of the parish, who, I believe, is now in glory. I could not bear to hear it, and said, ** You look here, if the dear man did all and more than you can say against him, I would sooner sin with him ..tized by Google

RIGHT WAYS. 629 than I would sing with you. Look at this blessed Book ! Turn to Genesis ix. 20 — 27 : oah was drunk in his vineyard. His son Ham spread the report. His two sons Shem and Japheth took a garment and went backward and covered the shame of their fatner and would not see it. Was oah drunk t ot in the estimation of his two lads, they would not see it. The shame of the old man was for ever hidden from their view. oah's blessing rested upon the hiders of his sin, while his curse followed the bearer of the evil report. You think of this, and when you are tempted to speak oi the old rector again may God stop your defaming mouth, with the conviction that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to the troublers and defamers of His people." Oh that we could remember this in our dealings one toward another. But look still further at God's description of His Ephraim : *^ I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me : for now, Ephraim, tnou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." Listen again, '* And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face : therefore shall Isi-ael and Ephraim fall in their iniquity ; Judah also shall fall with them." Where shall they fall ? ot beneath the everlasting arms. They shall fall on the Rock and be broken in heart, while all the despisers of Ephraim shall be ground to powder by the Rock falling upon them. Again, ** Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee ? Judah, what shall I do unto thee ? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away." That is me, say you. Bless God if you know it, for He cannot do too much for you. Listen again ! " Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people." And no wonder when you see the enemies of the Lord so obliging, accommodating, and Uberal. *^ Ephraim is a cake not turned," not fit for either God or man. Look through the whole Book and then come to chapter xiv. 8 : *^ Ephraim shall say. What have I to do any more with idols ? " That is when God in Christ is revealed to him. God says, *' I have heard him, and observed him." Ephraim says, ** I am like a green fir tree.**

Some say the fir tree is out Lord Jesus Christ. I don't believe it. The fir tree bears no fruit, and according to Psalm civ. 17, it is the house of the stork. ow the stork was an unclean bird, a type of indwelling sin, that unclean tenant because of which every child of God laments. To such Christ says, "From Me is thy fruit found." how comforting to the tempted child of God who looks within for some fair fruit of trace, but all is barrenness and death. He, by the grace of the pirit, looks up to the presence of the Eternal where a precious Christ ever lives to make intercession for him, and from whom the fruits of righteousness abound to His own. God's wise and prudent ones understand and know these things. If we are of the number, we shall know something of the changes, desertions, and deliverances of Ephraim. We shall be broken in i^idgment ..tized by Google

630 GROVE OHAPEL PULPIT. to be' healed in mercy. We shall be killed feelingly to be made spiritually alive. III.— Righteousness acknowledged by them — **For the ways of the LORD are right.** There may be some of God's poor children here this morning who during the past week have been harassed with trouble, trial^ disappointment, and dissatisfaction. Hopes cut off, prospects blighted, and the future as ffloomy as death and the devil can make it. Well, the future belongs to God, and the present He claims as His own. In surveying the present and trying to pierce the gloom of the future, like Job we are filled with distress. Here the desire of the eye is taken away with a stroke, and yonder the bread winners are hurried out of time by terrible catastrophes, leaving behind them wives and little ones to mourn their loss. As we are led to see a ffracious hand in all events we can say, " The ways of the LORD are right." Satan says. ay. Grace says. Yea. I think I hear some poor old lady muttering, " It is all very well

for you who can have a nicely provided table prepared for you, to say, ' The ways of the Lord are right ; ' but put yourself in my place without a crust in the cupboard or a penny in possession, with Satan tempting, nature doubting, and all things conspiring against you, will you say then, * The ways of the Lord are rightt ' *' Ah, my dear friend, with all the earthly comforts God can give me, 1 cannot say His ways are right but by the Holy Ghost. IV. — The lot of the just and of transgressors — "And the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall therein.'* Yes, the just shall walk with Jesus in povertv, perplexity, persecution, desertion, darkness, and distress. He will uphold them while the transgressors shall fall there. The very same spot where judgment is displayed against the enemies of the Lord, there mercy is sweetly experienced by His children. You see this throughout that glorious Psalm cxxxvi., but it is so little understood. ^* But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea : for His mercy endureth for ever." Mei-cy toward His own, judgment toward His adversaries. Lovingkindness and aboundmg grace revealed to those on whom His heart's affections have been fixed from the days of eternity ; but eternal wrath and unmitigated vengeance upon all the enemies of His Christ and His people. May He add His blessing for His own name's sake. Amen.

1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books

2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=1000

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