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danger of the precipice makes the traveller grasp with greater firmness the arm of the guide, thus, in proportion as our trials increase, faith will cause us to cleave closer and closer to the arm of Om- . nipotence. The Christian will fly to the very power which appears to be raised up to smite, exclaiming, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” O! to have the immortal mind thus clinging to the infinite and eternal Spirit !
3. This is a frame of mind exercised on evangelical principles. There are few but profess to trust in God; but there is no ground to presume upon trusting in him, except as he is revealed in the gospel. As a sinner, how can man presume to approach the offended Creator without a daysman—"a Mediator between God and man?” It is only in God as he reconciles the world unto himself by Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to trust. If
have never viewed the Creator in the light of the gospel, you have never taken that view of his character calculated to encourage trust; and you give the most undoubted proof that you have never exercised that filial confidence which is here required. The Holy Spirit never awakens a dependence which is not founded on the principles of the gospel. It is beneath the shadow of that throne where the Saviour appears as the Lamb in the midst of it, beneath which true faith causes us to repose. These words present,
II. A gracious assurance to be considered : “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace."
This does not refer to external peace, but to mental peace and serenity in trying circumstances; and this is very great. The margin reads, Peace, peace,” which our translation renders peace :" and that such is the character of this
appear, 1. If you reflect on the Author of it. “ Thou wilt,”—the very Being on whom the soul reposes, who is the Lord God all-sufficient. It is described as the work of the whole Trinity. The Father ordains peace ; he is therefore represented as “the God of Peace.” To obtain it was the great design of the Redeemer's death : hath made peace by the blood of his cross. That was the price which procured the peace of a dying world. The Holy Spirit applies this peace to the soul; not only writes the law upon the heart, impresses the Saviour's image there, but shines upon that work, “ bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.” All the works of God are perfect; and this, therefore, gives perfection to this peace : for “ If he giveth quietness, who then can give trouble?"
2. If you consider the extent of this peace. As the Redeemer once said to all the elements of nature that were convulsed, “ Peace, be still ; and there was a great calm ;” thus he speaks to all the agitated and perturbed powers of the human mind. When he communicates this peace, it spreads its sweet influence through the whole soul. The conscience feels its influence. When truly aroused, it stings like a scorpion ; its voice is as the roaring of a lion: but the blood of the cross calms its ragings; conscience becomes the friend of our peace; it is not lulled into a deceitful silence, but it is then scripturally and divinely appeased. The understanding, too: this, like all the other powers, is in a state of opposition to the Divine will ; but when brought to be stayed upon God, it is in peace. His ways may be mysterious; his paths in the deep waters: but reposing upon the unimpeached wisdom which regulates all his ways and does all things well,-out of the greatest evil educes the greatest good, we are still knowing that he is God. Much of our distress arises from leaning to our own understanding ; from listening to its vain and contracted views of the Divine government: but when the understanding is thus brought to bow to the Divine will, to admit that all he does is right, it must be the means of preserving a peace that passeth understanding. You see this in the conduct of the Shunamite: though she had left her beloved child a corpse in the prophet's chamber, and her heart was pierced with many sorrows, yet when the man of God asked, “Is it well with the child ?" she said, “ It is well.” Though she could not understand how, yet she felt assured that all the Divine conduct was right.
Again, the affections are preserved in peace while they are wandering over the unsteady and unstable objects of the world, like Noah's dove : though here might be a putrid carcase, and there a floating cedar, yet she found no rest for the sole of her foot till she returned to the ark. Thus, whatever is the object our affections may select, there can be no solid ground to rest upon until we return to Him as our rest, and they are raised from earth to heaven. Then our minds find an object that affords complete and enduring satisfaction. In his presence, as enjoyed on earth, there is not only fulness of peace, but joy. Whatever may be taken away, here the soul finds boundless stores of unfailing satisfaction. David, when he returned to Ziklag and beheld the city a heap of burning ashes, and his property and family carried away, what did he do amidst the scene of desolation ? It is said, “ And David encouraged himself in the Lord his God." Here he found peace, yea encouragement, amidst a scene so calculated to distress and overwhelm the mind. This is a peace which, while the world cannot impart, the world cannot take away.
Its source lies beyond all creatures, even in the throne of the Eternal. It is the bright and glorious foretaste and pledge of that which inhabits the minds of the glorified spirits in heaven. It is a peace which can live like the three Hebrew youths in the midst of the burning fiery furnace ; lights up the lamp of consolation in the chamber of sorrow : many waters cannot quench it—the floods cannot drown it.
III. An intimate connexion to be established : " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”
This connexion is established,
1. By the dictates of reason. It is reasonable to expect that he who reposes on a rock should feel himself immovable ; that he who visits the polar regions should be chilled by the northern blasts. This, in the nature of things, is to be expected; but not more so than that the mind stayed on God should be kept in perfect peace; that they who trust in the Lord should be “ as Mount Zion which cannot be moved ;" for He bears the world and all things up.
2. They are connected in the promises of Scripture. It is prophesied of Christ by Micah, “This man shall be the peace when the Assyrians shall come into our land;" that is, in times of great national calamities, those whose hopes are founded on him shall find that his grace can diffuse peace over the most troubled scene. miah illustrates the same important connexion, when he says, “ Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is ; for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river ; and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought.” As the tree whose roots are nourished by a constant stream is unaffected by the burning heat of the sun and the drought that causes every thing to perish around, because it has a constant supply of nourishment at the root, thus with those who trust in the Lord.
The apostle, in addressing the Philippian church, having pointed out the nature of trust in God, when he says, “ Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication make known your requests unto God," immediately adds, " and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This connexion is established,
3. In the experience that trust in man has often been deceived ; but the benefits of having the mind reposed on the infinite and eternal God can be attested by thousands. We will select only a few instances. There was Job: messengers of evil tidings came in quick succession one after another, until he was surrounded by the wreck of every object that was calculated to endear this world to him; but his mind was “stayed on God," and though he felt his circumstances of destitution, yet he was favoured with a calm and settled serenity. His language is strongly expressive of this : “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” The sweet singer of Israel, on account of his confidence in God, uttered some of his sweetest notes in his darkest nights of sorrow: hence he is heard to say, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for thou Lord only makest me to dwell in safety;"-language supposed to have been uttered when he fled from Absalom his son, when his land was in a state of rebellion, and his life would consequently be exposed to danger. The apostles Paul and Silas, in their experience, realized this connexion between trusting in God and the possession of perfect peace, when, though smarting beneath the strokes of the scourge, they were able to convert the innermost dungeon of the Philippian gaol into the tabernacle of the righteous, where the voice of salvation and rejoicing was heard. " They prayed, and sang praises to God;" and with that holy hilarity that the other prisoners heard them.—Thus we see this connexion is founded on the dictates of reason, the promises of Scripture, and the testimony of experience.
Let Christians be reminded, by these considerations, of the importance of a more implicit dependence on the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ Let the life which you live in the flesh be by the faith of the Son of God, who hath loved you, and given himself for you.” Exercise a careful vigilance over the heart; for through unbelief it is prone to depart from the living God. By all the acts of faith, love, prayer, obedience, be constantly reposing your hope on Him from whom alone your expectation comes.
Let the wicked be reminded of the source of all their want of peace,-their sin is their punishment.
You lean on your own power, wisdom, and righteousness, rather than feeling that in the Lord you have righteousness and strength: and the result is, you have no solid peace, you realize that affecting description of the wicked in your own experience: “The wicked are like the troubled sea that cannot rest!” But what must be the state of the spirit