"If the LORD delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey." (Numbers 14:8)
INTERESTING and instructive are the circumstances recorded in connection with the portion which I have read for our meditation; but instructive only to those whom the best of all teachers has graciously taken in hand. On such His lessons of grace are never thrown away, though ofttimes little success appears to attend them. Those whom He has brought from death to life, from sin to righteousness, from self to Himself, rejoice in the guidance of so faithful a Teacher, and with grateful hearts adore Him for the instruction He imparts, which, if not always pleasant, is always profitable.
Turn with me to 1 Cor. 10:11, where, after recounting various waverings and wanderings, failures, falls, and follies of Israel of old, the apostle says, "Now all these happened unto them for ensamples;" (or, as you read in the margin, for types) "and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." This falling is not a falling away from grace or into hell; but is a part of His predestined purpose, to teach us the instability of our "own stedfastness," and to break all our schemes of fleshly folly, and stain all the pride of our glory. It is amazing to think that after we are brought into the experimental possession of spiritual understanding and Scriptural knowledge, how very clever we fancy we are going to be! We eat of His bread and drink of His wine, little thinking of the hunger and the thirst awaiting us. We enjoy His peace, but we forget the world's tribulation. Our mountain stands strong, and we are determined to stand strong in our mountain; but "then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel." True humility here! "And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes. And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed through, to search it, is an exceeding good land." No mention made of the sons of Anak; no allusion to the walled cities; dangers had disappeared, difficulties had vanished. JEHOVAH'S covenant, purpose, and grace occupied the minds of these two worthies. What were giants before Him in comparison to whom "all the inhabitants of the world are reputed as nothing?" What were walled cities to Him who could throw them down before the blast of such feeble and foolish instruments as rams' horns. If the LORD delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey."
In these words we see the action of God-wrought faith. Two courageous! Ten cowardly! But let me ask you, have we an upbraiding word to throw in the face of these doubting disappointed, and dissatisfied ones? Oh, no! for we are painfully conscious of our failures and falls, and of the dangers and difficulties which beset our path; but while we humbly acknowledge these, through the glorious "loops of blue," which JEHOVAH has brought to our understanding and comprehension, we discern His eye to guide, we behold His arm to defend. Let us look for a short time at the portion before us. "If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey."
I. JEHOVAH'S DELIGHT--"If the Lord delight in us."
II. JEHOVAH'S DETERMINATION--"Then He will bring us into this land."
III. JEHOVAH'S DONATION--"And give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey."
I. JEHOVAH'S DELIGHT--"If the LORD delight in us." "If." The term is legal and conditional, but the spirit thereof is free from all clogs and contingencies. We who are led by the Spirit of God into the enjoyment of His covenant verities and into the sweets of Divine communion, knowing that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and of death," (Rom. 8:2) know nothing of "ifs, buts, or peradventures," but can join heartily, intelligently, and spiritually with those lines,
"There's not an 'if' to foul this stream,
No peradventure here."
The "if" of the text was a glorious, evidential, demonstrative "if" in the minds of Caleb and Joshua. The realized the presence of their God, they discerned the guidance of His eye, and the defense of His arm. The acknowledged
"The Great First Cause of all events,
Who gives decrees, and ne'er repents,
And Holy is His name."
Therefore having Him, and not the giants and the walled cities, not the dangers and the difficulties, in their eyes and in their hearts, Caleb and Joshua had a glorious view of the everlasting and unchanging delight which JEHOVAH ever had, has, or ever will have in the people of His choice.
"DELIGHT!" It is a precious word when seen in oneness with Jesus. "DELIGHT!" It fills the heart with "wonder, love, and praise." There is a glorious Gospel hymn in this book which I have tried lots of times to learn, but I cannot. I suppose there is too much glory in it. I will read the verse now playing round my heart,--
"What was there in you that could merit esteem,
Or give the Creator delight?
'Twas 'Even so, Father!' you ever must sing,
'Because it seemed good in Thy sight.'"
That is the only reason given; "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight." What is there in me, a poor dead dog in myself, to call forth the notice, the regard, the esteem, the concern, and delight of a sovereign God? Why should He delight in me, a poor rebellious creature against every East wind of His providence which comes nipping my nice little buds of earthly delight and carnal confidence, and finding out the weak spots, the aches and pains of this poor frail tabernacle. What is there in me? Everything to cause Him to denounce and discard me; but "He brought me forth into a large place: He delivered me, because He delighted in me;" (2 Sam. 22:20; Ps. 18:19)
Where has JEHOVAH this delight? See! It is on new covenant ground that He delights in the people of His choice. We obtain a glimpse of this in Prov. 8:30,31: "Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth: and My delights were with the sons of men." JEHOVAH-JESUS' delights were with the elect sons of men when He was set up in covenant "from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was."
"Oh, what love the Father bore us!
Oh, how precious in His sight!
When He gave the Church to Jesus,
Jesus, His whole soul's delight."
"If the LORD delight in us." Blessed be His Name, on resurrection ground He has demonstrated the fact that He does, without any if, let, or hindrance, delight in us. Look at that resurrection Psalm 16, from which Peter quoted in His sermon on the day of Pentecost: "O My soul, thou hast said unto the LORD says, "You think you stand, take heed lest you fall." He hides His face, we are troubled. Those who thus fall, blessed be His Holy Name, fall on Himself the Rock, and are broken in heart, spirit, purpose, and determination, and from the very Rock on which they fall and are broken, there springs forth strength and sweet encouragement. They fall, but though great and deep may be the fall, "underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deut. 33)
In my younger days I was ofttimes tempted to find fault with the Israelites because of their rebelliousness, murmurings, and discontent; but the longer I live the more I am convinced that God ofttimes works thus with redeemed and regenerate men; yes, and the more I know that He is working over again in me those very experiences of failure, sin, and shame, which characterized the forty years' wanderings of old. In fact, experimental history is repeating itself in the exercises of my heart before God. Let us look at things as JEHOVAH has recorded them; I don't mean by the power of our own free-will, but by the guidance of His grace and the light which He throws upon the truths of His own blessed Word. We will just notice a few "loops of blue." "Loops of blue!" say you, whatever is meant by that? You read in the account of the construction of the tabernacle of "loops of blue" which connected the curtains together. "The loops held one curtain to another." (Exod. 36:11,12) Blue! The heavenly, celestial color, and when we see this word in God's blessed Book it refers to heaven, God, and glory. When He speaks of "loops of blue," I look to find things looped in heavenly harmony and joined in spiritual unity. There are many such in the Word of truth. Let me point out two or three to you. Phil. 2:13,14: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling!" That sounds like free-will, duty-faith, and creature-ability. Look at the loop! Look at the loop! "For it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure." You find another in 2 Tim. 2:19, "Nevertheless the foundation of the Lord standeth sure having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." Where is the loop? It is here; "And, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ depart from iniquity." The first part is quoted by the cold Calvinist, and the latter by the flaunting Arminian; but the child of the living God who has been brought into fellowship with Jesus in His sufferings, and the enjoyment of the power of His resurrection, will thank God for His kindness and care, and hate the sins which caused his precious Redeemer to suffer so much. We behold another "loop of blue" in the legacy left to the disciples of Jesus. See! John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace." Our selfish natures and fleshly religious feelings would ever dwell upon that precious part of the legacy; but there is a loop, and attached thereto we have, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." Our fleshly natures are ever on the look out for that which makes for our comfort, happiness, and ease, losing sight of the many declarations of the Word that through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God. We do not want to know this, and will put it from us as long as ever we can, until He surprises us with the working of the same in our heart's experience. Our God is not only an infallible Teacher, but He is also a faithful Guide. He keeps back nothing that is profitable for us to know, though the communication of much may be painful indeed. Through the grace-filled lips of the Son of His love He speaks to our hearts: "If it were not so, I would have told you." The Holy Ghost teaches all essential truth, darkness as well as brightness, adversity as well as prosperity, pain as well as pleasure, sorrow as well as joy.
We see something of this in the chapter which I have read for our instruction and in the one preceding it. God had promised to Abraham that his seed should possess the land wherein he was a stranger. His own right hand should be their defense, and His eyes their safe conduct. He promised to go before them and with them. Before them as their Guide, with them as their Guard. My eyes shall watch over you for your good. My arm shall ward off all dangers and triumph over all your enemies. Through the wilderness the children of Israel were marched until they approached the borders of the Promised Land. Here they began to confer with flesh and blood, and question as to the right mode of entering in and taking possession. They lost sight of JEHOVAH'S gracious promise that He would be as eyes before them and protection around them, and began to question Moses. See Deut. 1:22,23. The Lord met His people on their own ground. He came down to their wants, necessities, ignorance, and forgetfulness. He gave them their heart's desire and sent leanness into their soul. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them." (Num. 13:1,2) This was equal to saying, If My eyes are not sufficient for you, I will give you twenty-four eyes which shall search well and diligently the land which I promised to your forefathers. The twelve men were appointed and sent, and were to bring back a faithful report of the land and of the people thereof, whether strong or weak, few or many, good or bad, tents or strongholds, fat or lean. They returned bearing a cluster of grapes between two--a glorious evidence of the truth of the promise that the land was good. But what was the report? See Num. 13:27,28: "And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there...And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well about to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." Where was God's arm, God's power, God's omnipotence? They forgot His eyes, and His arm left them. "And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel saying, "The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight." The Lord knows He has a great number of His own children in these days who are but grasshoppers--little in their own sight and insignificant in the estimation of those with whom they come in contact, and all through their losing sight of God's covenant declarations, and those precious promises in which He had sworn to be wisdom and power, eyes and hand for them in all places and circumstances whither they should be brought.
Then of these twelve men took not into their account the fruitfulness and goodness of the land, nor the glory of God. Evil hearts of unbelief misled them. Carnal reason deceived them. What meets their gaze and fills their minds with disappointment and dissatisfaction?
The "loops of blue" were wanting. Oh, how blind we are to the hand and the eye of our God! He promised a land flowing with milk and honey for them, and of giants to be subdued by His own right hand, and walled cites to be overcome by the look of His eye, but they, like us, were too apt to see and dread dangers and difficulties, while they were blind to the bounties and blessings. And are we not sometimes presumptuously blind to the dangers and difficulties, being wholly bent on the possession of the bounties and blessings? In the evil report of the land the people saw not God's hand, neither discerned they His eye. See! "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night." Why did they weep? Because the giants, not JEHOVAH, the walled cities, not the good land, haunted their minds. God's covenant with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac, and the confirmation of the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant were perfectly forgotten. Look at the marvelous contrast existing between Exodus 15, and Numbers 14. There faith was fruitful in praise, here unbelief murmurs and weeps. There God is All in all and the people rejoice, here God is forgotten and the people mourn. There the children of Israel, delivered by the mighty power of JEHOVAH from Egyptian oppression, are joyful in Him. Mark well the 11th and following verses: "Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation. The people shall hear and be afraid; sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed: the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till Thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which Thou has purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, in the sanctuary, O LORD, which Thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever." That is the experience on the shores of the Red Sea, but what is it at the borders of the Promised Land? "The people wept that night."
See! Twelve men were appointed to spy out and to report their survey; ten of the twelve, with all the congregation of the children of Israel, excepting Moses and Aaron, have respect to secondary things, are exercised about mighty giants and walled cities, are troubled concerning dangers and difficulties, not seeing the Invisible One who, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, sweeps all dangers and difficulties out of the pathway of His own people. "And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt; or would God we had died in this wilderness. And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be prey?" I wish you to notice that expression, and then look at verse 31: "But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised." In their unbelief and fear they said, "Our wives and children shall be a prey." No! said God, they shall not be a prey, but you shall. They cried, "Would God we had died in this wilderness." God takes them at their word, and says, "But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness." Ofttimes God's children say things for which they repent. In this way God shows them His love and pity as a Father, teaches them their naughtiness and nothingness, and causes His rich and abounding grace to shine in every action of their lives. We thus behold the glory of God revealed through all the sins, transgressions, infirmities, and weaknesses of His people. But we must hasten. "And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return unto Egypt. Then LORD, Thou art My Lord: My goodness extendeth not to Thee; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all My delight." Has thus ever been brought home with power to your hearts? Has it dropped with sweetness into your sad and sorrowful spirits? Then you can delight yourself in Him whose delight it is to show mercy to the miserable. "My delight." That means all the delight of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to the objects of eternal and unchanging love. But what is the nature of this delight? See! It is the delight of a loving Husband to the bride of His heart. Turn over with me to that marvelous declaration--almost too good to be true to the child of God--Isaiah 62:4,5: "Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah; for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." It is as the delight of an affectionate mother over the offspring of her body, a part of herself. This delight none but a mother can know. Mark you! None but a godly mother can enter fully into the love and delight of a covenant God in Christ Jesus thus set forth. (Isa. 66:13)
"If the LORD delight in us." It is to be remarked that those persons to whom God has a delight, and in whom He has wrought His delight by the Holy Ghost given unto them shedding abroad His love in their hearts, are sometimes discouraged in the presence of danger and doubting amid difficulties. Look at David humbled under the mighty hand of God and stripped of his stateliness. Under discipline because of an open evil; he enjoys not the delight of his God, yet he holds, like a ship to its anchor, to this his only hope of restoration. See 2 Sam. 15:25,26: "And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me again, and show me both it and His habitation. But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth Him good." In David we see true humility! Faith and fear bowing in acquiescence to the Divine will. Love in lowliness clinging to a Father's chastening hand. How many of us are there who can this morning, in the face of dangers and difficulties, discouragements, and doubts, say, "But if He thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let Him do to me as seemeth Him good?" But, how precious it is in the enjoyment of the sweets of Divine restoration to know what that means in that precious couplet of Joseph Irons,--
"My ifs and buts I laid aside,
And now in shalls and wills abide."
It is blessed to know that the Father, in the glass of His decrees, before the worlds were framed, looked with fond delight upon His dear Son who stood as the Surety of the covenant and the Substitute of His people, and at that very moment He saw them perfect as He was perfect, complete as He was complete, and comely as He was comely, according to that precious verse of dear old John Kent,--
"Then, in the glass of His decrees,
Christ and His bride appeared as One;
Her sin, by imputation, His,
Whilst she in spotless splendour shone."
The splendour of the God-Man's mediatorial glory which could never be tarnished. Though the Church fell in Adam, and though the elect children may sin and sin again, yet this is true concerning every one of them,--
"Unbelief, sloth, self-seeking, oft cause me to groan;
Oh, how strong is the evil within!
But justified freely by grace through His blood,
Though still sinning I'm free from all sin."
That sounds like Antinomianism! say you, How awful! Yes, the first part of that last line is truly awful and distressing to the living child of God: "Though still sinning!" while the latter part is exceeding precious as communicated by the power and indwelling of God the ever-blessed Spirit: "I'm free from all sin."
"If the LORD delight in us." He delights in us: first, because He has respect to His covenant; second, because He has redeemed us by the blood of His covenant; and thirdly, because we are regenerated by the Witness to the covenant, His blessed Spirit. The Father's delight is in the people of His choice. The Son's delight is in the fruit of the travail of His soul. The Spirit's delight is in those whose bodies of humiliation He has made His dwelling-place. It was the Father's delight to preserve His children all through the dark days of their unregeneracy, enmity, and rebellion. It was the Saviour's delight to do the will of the Father in suffering obedience, and thus save His elect brethren. It is the Comforter's delight to quicken, encourage, and refresh the elect of the Father, and the redeemed of the Son, who are hated by Satan, despised by the world, and burdened by the flesh. The Father cannot cease to delight in the objects of His eternal election. The Redeemer cannot cease to delight in His redeemed jewels. The Sanctifier cannot cease to delight in those with whom He has promised unceasing companionship throughout their earthly pilgrimage. "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." We are now brought to notice,--
II. JEHOVAH'S DETERMINATION--"Then He will bring us into this land." First of all we will notice the land. Men with poetic license have taken this land to represent the realms of eternal bliss, and I must confess that I do love that sweetly figurative hymn.
"There is land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain."
Ofttimes in spirit I find myself humming it, yet it conveys not the truth concerning the land. Canaan, or Palestine, was called the land of promise; but the Canaanites were there, and doubts and fears in respect to the promise were experienced by the people of God in it. It was styled the Holy Land, yet corruption and depravity were plentiful there. It was also called a good land, but wickedness, disobedience, and rebellion cropped up in wild profusion. Now mark! Up yonder there are no doubts, no fears, no corruption, no depravity, no disobedience, no rebellion!
Let us look at the land typified in the text in a threefold light: 1. The land of covenant relationship; 2. The land of Divine revelation; 3. The land of spiritual promise. Now, "If the LORD delight in us, He will bring us into" the experimental possession of these blessed privileges: 1. That He is our covenant God and Father in Christ, and has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ; 2. That the Father reveals His Son in us, (Gal. 1:16; John 16:14,15) that the Son reveals the Father to us, (Matt. 11:27) and that by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation the Father and the Son are known, approved, and appreciated in their will, ways, and works. (Eph. 1:17-23) Here we shall know and feel that the Canaanite is still in the land, but Christ will be our Salvation; that the Assyrian will come into the land, but Christ will be our Peace; that doubts and fears will arise, but Christ will be our Confidence. Mighty giants, DISTRUST, DEJECTION, and DESPAIR, will defy; and walled cities, such as Ignorance, Insincerity, and Infidelity, will annoy; but, in the face of all, "He will bring us in."
"He will bring us in." Do you notice that? Our possession of covenant privileges is not by dint of any power, wit, will, or wisdom of ours. Oh, no! He must do it all. Read for yourselves Ps. 44:3, "Because Thou hadst a favour unto them." Look also at Deut. 9:1-6. It was because of His covenant determination, His choice of them that His own arm and eye guided them into the possession of their inheritance. So now, it is because He loved, chose, and redeemed His covenant people in Christ Jesus, that He brings them into the enjoyment of covenant relationship with Him, the blessedness of Divine revelation, and the possession of spiritual promises. Now let us look at a few characteristics of the land.
1. A land of Divine revelation. Gen. 12:1, "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee." Every nook and corner of Divine revelation must be known by the teaching of Father, Son, and Spirit, and by that alone.
2. A land inalienable. Lev. 25:23, "The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is Mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me." My dear friends, just look at the marginal reading of that verse, and my God bless it to you: "The land shall not be sold to be quite cut off." "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform, or finish it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:35-39)
3. A land of covenant favor. Ps. 85:1, "LORD, Thou hast been favourable unto Thy land." Yes, God has marvelous favors in store for His peoples. All we have in Him is by favor. (Ps. 44:3) Protected by favor. (Ps. 5:12) Exalted in favor. (Ps. 89:17) "Satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the LORD." (Deut. 33:23) And mark! "By this I know that Thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me." (Ps. 41:11)
4. A fruitful land. Lev. 26:4, "The land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." Did you mark that word fruit? not fruits. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Gal. 5:22,23) "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." (Phil. 1:11) All these shall spring up in His time and in their season, and that by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5. A land of glory. Ps. 85:9, "Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land." This is the glory of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The glory of the covenant! the glory of His salvation! the glory of His righteousness! the glory of His intercession! the glory of His humiliation in His coming down to the wants and necessities of those who, through dangers and difficulties, are brought into the experimental possession of His favor. "For, I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." (Zech. 2:5) Into this land JEHOVAH is determined to bring all His loved, elect, and redeemed people. What know you of it? Now, a word or two, and I have done.
III. JEHOVAH'S DONATION--"And give it us." Not sell it, but give it. Not ours because we have paid for it, fought for it, or wrought for it. Not mine because of any right I have in myself, my doings, or performances. Oh, no! To His own people God gives, and He gives like a God. Who can declare the bounty, the benevolence, the liberality, the free-grace of our God? Himself! He gave His Son! He gives His Spirit! He gives His righteousness! He gives a new heart! He gives precious faith! He gives all things! See Rom. 8:32, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" All things, not some things. There are those, and preachers too, who torment many of God's children. The can talk free-grace, which deceives, for a time, God's very elect. With marvelous profusion they can utter words about election, and with astonishing fluency they can maintain the doctrine of particular redemption, and that grace alone can put a sinner in possession of spiritual privileges; but--But what? Well, the enjoyment of peace, comfort, and happiness, depends upon your faithfulness and consistency. Be off home with your faithfulness and consistency, such wont do for me. If my peace, comfort, and happiness depends upon my faithfulness and consistency, I should always be fighting, mourning, and miserable. No, my dear friends, our choice, salvation, justification, calling, standing, peace here, and glory yonder flow from the free, sovereign, uninfluenced grace of our God.
"And give it us." "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Cor. 2:12) All things freely given to His own, in, by, and through Christ Jesus, from the first communication of Divine life down here to the first communication of Divine glory up yonder. Blessed be His Name, all flowing from His free, unbought, spontaneous grace, and communicated by the power and indwelling of the Holy Ghost. "If the Lord delight in us." He proved that He does in covenant. He proved that He does on Calvary. He proves that He does in the presence of the Father for us. He proves that He does by His tender sympathy. He does delight in us. He will bring us in. "He will give grace and glory."
"A land which floweth with milk and honey." As I came up the passage this morning that word "floweth" came with much sweetness to my mind. We delight in the flowing of God's life and love in our hearts; which, mark you, is neither for the sickening or surfeiting of His children, but for their sustenance and satisfaction. That which His poor and afflicted ones need this morning He will graciously supply, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Has He a waiting one in that gallery or anywhere in this place? See! He is a God ready to save thee from all thy dangers, difficulties, and doubts, and nigh at hand to bless thee with an introduction into the land of covenant favor, causing thee to sing--
"He who hath brought me hitherto
Will bring me all my journey through,
And give me daily cause to raise
New Ebenezers to His praise."
May the Lord add His blessing for His own Name's sake. Amen.