1 Samuel 10:26
Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, and the men of valor whose hearts God had touched went with him.
Sermons
A Godly Band of MenGavin Struthers.1 Samuel 10:26-27
A God-Touched BandG. Rigby.1 Samuel 10:26-27
Advantages of UnityA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Samuel 10:26-27
Friends and Opponents in Godly EnterpriseB. Dale 1 Samuel 10:26, 27
God Touching Human HeartsH. A. Nelson, D. D.1 Samuel 10:26-27
Godly ComradesHomiletic Review1 Samuel 10:26-27
Hearts Touched of GodJ. Cross, D. D1 Samuel 10:26-27
Helpers and Hinderers1 Samuel 10:26-27
Illusive PresagesD. Fraser 1 Samuel 10:26, 27
Public Opinion in Reference to the New KingJoseph S. Exell, M. A.1 Samuel 10:26-27
The Holy BandW. Denton.1 Samuel 10:26-27
Unity in Christian LabourU. R. Thomas.1 Samuel 10:26-27
Unsociable ChristiansSpurgeon, Charles Haddon1 Samuel 10:26-27


1 Samuel 10:26, 27. (MIZPAH and GIBEAH.)
It was a saying of Socrates that every man in this life has need of a faithful friend and a bitter enemy - the one to advise him, the other to make him look around him. This saying was more than fulfilled in Saul, who, on being chosen king, was followed by a band of faithful friends, and despised and opposed by "certain worthless men." The same thing often happens, under different circumstances, to other men, and especially to the servants of God when they enter upon some new enterprise which has for its aim the furtherance of his kingdom, and deeply affects men's interests and passions. In relation to such an enterprise we have here an illustration of -

I. THE DIVERSE DISPOSITIONS OF MEN, as -

1. Often existing when not suspected, and notwithstanding all that is done to harmonise them. When the people shouted, "Long live the king," the dissatisfaction that lurked in many breasts was little surmised. Samuel did all that lay in his power to bring about a complete union of the tribes; but his efforts did not altogether succeed. Reason and persuasion, though they ought to be employed to the utmost: frequently fail to conciliate men because of the different disposition of their hearts.

2. Commonly manifested by special events. The honour conferred upon the leader of a new movement, or the decisive action taken by him, serves to "reveal the thoughts of many hearts." A single circumstance sometimes, like a flash of lightning in the darkness, suddenly lays bare to the view what was previously hidden.

3. Clearly distinguished as belonging to one or other of two classes: "the host" (sons of strength, LXX.) "whose hearts God had touched," and "sons of worthlessness." "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). The demands of certain enterprises, like those of Christ himself, render neutrality impossible.

"Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that light"


(Lowell)

II. THE INESTIMABLE WORTH OF FRIENDS. Their worth is always great; but it is especially so in a time of need, when new and responsible positions have to be occupied, arduous duties to be performed, numerous enemies to be encountered. Their counsel and support are indispensable; their very presence is a mighty encouragement. "Whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage" (Acts 28:15). Their worth depends upon -

1. Their hearty sympathy in spirit and aim. A merely formal adherence is of little value; and if there be an inward and ardent devotion, it is "from the Lord" (Psalm 110:3). And when God impels a man to useful service he does not leave him without those who sympathise with him.

2. Their perfect unanimity in arrangement and method.

3. Their practical cooperation in labour and conflict. They "went with him," formed his bodyguard, and stood ready to defend and help him. In this manner their sympathy proved itself to be genuine, and rendered most effectual service. Would that all who are favourable to noble enterprises, and all members of Christian Churches, rallied thus around their "leaders!" (Philippians 1:27).

III. THE PRUDENT TREATMENT OF OPPONENTS. "How shall this man save us?" "Shall Saul reign over us?" (1 Samuel 11:12). It is not improbable that they who thus spoke belonged to the princes of Judah and Ephraim, and were envious at his election. They were certainly unbelieving, neither recognising the hand of God therein, nor looking further than man for deliverance. They were contemptuous, deeming him unfit to rule over them. "This man." And they were disloyal and disobedient. The law said, "Thou shalt not revile the gods ( = God, or the judges), nor curse the ruler of thy people" (Exodus 22:28); but they "despised him, and brought him no presents," like others, as an expression of their submission. They might, therefore, have been justly punished as traitors. Yet "he was as though he were deaf;" although he heard them, he did not retaliate, but went on his way in silence. This is often the best way of treating opponents, and it displays -

1. Great self control.

2. Much wisdom and foresight. To attempt at this time to punish these men might have produced civil war. It is sometimes necessary that gainsayers should be answered, but in most cases they do least mischief by being let alone, and are soonest silenced by silence.

3. Strong confidence in Divine help, and the success which it insures. In contending against those whom God calls to do his work men contend against him, and faith calmly leaves them in his hands, to be dealt with as he may think fit (Acts 5:39; Romans 12:19). Conclusion. -

1. Expect to find opposition in the way of duty.

2. Let the forbearance of God toward his enemies teach you forbearance towards yours.

3. Be thankful for the sympathy and help of earthly friends, and still more for the sympathy and help of the Lord. - D.









And there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us.
I. THE SYMPATHY OF SAUL'S FRIENDS. There are times in the life of man when the sympathy of a friend is of priceless value. At critical junctures of our history, in times of sorrow or in seasons of joy, it is most acceptable.

1. This sympathy was human. "There went with him a band of men." Potent as are spiritual influences to sustain us in duty, is it not welcome to feel the pressure of the hand. to hear the love which speaks in the quivering voice, and to see the eye of compassion looking upon us?

2. This sympathy was collective. "A band of men."

3. This sympathy was practical. "They went with him."

4. This sympathy was fervent. "Whose hearts." They did not merely follow Saul as a bodyguard of soldiers, who were to be paid for their work. There was some deep power within that bound them to the new King; and therefore we cannot wonder at their sympathy taking a practical form.

5. This sympathy was divinely called forth. "Whose hearts God had touched." Yes! all hearts are in the Divine hand, and when we are placed by Providence in circumstances of trial, it can influence the most potent so that they become our friends.

II. THAT ANTIPATHY OF SAUL'S ENEMIES. "But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents."

1. This antipathy was envious. "This man save us." They thought themselves far more worthy for the position of king than Saul; they considered his social rank beneath theirs, and his valour far inferior to their chivalry. Envy always makes men blind.

2. This antipathy was sarcastic. "This man."

3. This antipathy was presumptuous. Why should they place themselves in opposition to such a potent and even holy authority.

4. The antipathy was unconcealed.

III. THE SUGGESTIVE CONDUCT OF SAUL IN REFERENCE TO THE HATRED OF HIS ENEMIES. "But he held his peace."

1. His conduct was dignified.

2. His conduct was discreet.

3. His conduct was magnanimous.Lessons: —

1. The considerateness of Divine Providence in giving us the aid of our companions in the trying circumstances of life.

2. That the efforts of national opinion are often misdirected.

3. That envy is often the secret of much political opposition.

4. That silence is the best method of treating such contemptible opposition.

(Joseph S. Exell, M. A.)

In one of his most perilous experiences, in the midst of a wild and savage mob, John Wesley was attended by four devoted followers, three men and a woman, who were fully prepared to die with their teacher and friend if God so willed. At the critical moment the leader of the mob turned to Mr. Wesley and said, "Sir, I will spend my life for you. Follow me, and none shall hurt a hair of your head." With two companions this man conducted the preacher to a place of safety. So, in our lowlier and commonplace walks of life and duty, we shall find both hinderers and helpers.

Another king whose circumstances illustrated by Saul's — one Jesus. Look at Him. Israel refused. Why? Is not this the carpenter? etc. God touched the hearts of a few. He went forth and seeing Matthew said, "Follow me!" Peter, James and John. So now I ask you to look at: —

I. CHRIST'S KINGLY OFFICE.

1. Foundation upon which His kingship rests. We are not referring to His Divine kingship solely. As God He is the King immortal, invisible, etc. But we are viewing Him as deity enshrined in humanity seated upon a throne. And the question naturally arises, what claim has He to be so seated? It rests upon His atoning work. Some crowns are now worn by earthly monarchs which have been won for them by the blood of others, but Christ's crown has been won by His own blood.

2. His kingdom, twofold; heaven where angels worship, earth where believers love and serve.

3. His government, righteous, holy in self, acts, benevolent. Merciful both in grace and providence. Even dark providence is mercy.

4. His conquests. The world to be converted.

II. HIS FOLLOWERS. Many have the badge but not real. Text reminds us of: —

1. Their former state. Their position is one of sympathetic affection, and contrasts with their former state which was like that of those who derided, disliked.

2. The change. One of affection. How accomplished? God touched them — Must be Divine power!

3. A "band" has one view, one feeling, one purpose.

III. LEARN FROM THIS SUBJECT: —

1. The fearful consequences to those who reject Christ. Elizabeth's frown killed Sir Christopher Herren. What will it be to bear the lack of approval from Christ.

2. How to recruit Christ's band. Seek to convert the young. The Sabbath School is the place. There the ranks must be filled up.

(G. Rigby.)

Saul went home to Gibeah, but not alone, for "there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched." Perhaps this Divine touch involved much more than some of us may have supposed. The heart, in Holy Scripture, frequently means the whole spiritual nature, including the understanding, the affections, the conscience, and the will. Their understanding was touched, enabling them to discern their own duty and the true interest of Israel. Their affections were touched, powerfully attracting them to "him whom the Lord had appointed to be captain of their inheritance," and inspiring them with due respect and confidence Their conscience was touched, compelling them to acknowledge the Divine hand in the whole matter, and their own obligation to acquiesce in the appointment of the Most High, and to sustain with all their force the man who had been set over them. Their will was touched, re-enforcing with Divine grace their purpose practically to carry out the resolution they had formed; so that, whatever others might do, they would adhere to the king, and go with him to Gibeah, ready to protect his person, support his prerogatives, avenge all insults offered to him, and serve him in any emergency that might arise, in any capacity that might be required. True, there was much in Saul to attract. All this had its effect in winning their love and confidence; yet there was also a manifest supernatural power working within them. And still, by His Holy Spirit, through His gospel, His sacraments, and His providences, God graciously touches the hearts of men. Without this Divine agency, none would ever be saved. True, there are means and ministries employed, but these without God were fruitless and inefficient. This Divine touch — what is its nature? and what are its effects?

1. It is the touch of a light that illumines. Here begins all true conversion. It may be as the morning dawn, shining more and more unto the perfect day; or as the lightning flash, smiting the sinner blind till some Ananias comes to open his eyes; but in either case, it is God that toucheth the heart with the living light of His grace.

2. It is the touch of an owner that claims. As a man lays his hand upon his lost or stolen property, saying, "This is mine;" so God lays His hand upon the human heart, alienated from Him by sin, and demands it as His own. It has been captured and kept from Him, but He will not relinquish His claim.

3. It is the touch of a weapon that wounds. The heart is in rebellion, and must be conquered. The two-edged sword of the Spirit must pierce and cleave it, before it can be cleansed and cured.

4. It is the touch of a hammer that breaks. Edward the First was called "the Hammer of the Scots." God saith, by His prophet — "Is not my word a hammer, that breaketh the flinty rock in pieces?" What is that flinty rock, but the obdurate heart of His people, hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, harder than adamant, or the nether millstone? Oh! the flinty heart, that cannot feel, and will not relent! What hope can we have of its improvement? God has graciously smitten the stone, and turned it to flesh; and now He binds up the broken heart, and heals the contrite spirit.

5. It is the touch of a fire that dissolves. "God maketh my heart soft," saith Job, "and the Almighty troubleth me." How dreary is the Northern world in winter, the fountains frozen up, and the mountains wrapped in their robes of snow! But when the vernal sun shines forth in his strength, the fetters of ice are dissolved, the streams released flow through the valleys, and all nature puts on its gay and festive attire. Still greater is the change wrought in the heart by the Sun of righteousness. A rough and shapeless lump of gold is cast into the furnace, and soon it becomes a beautiful ornament, fit for the brow of a king. So the touch of God can melt the hardest heart, and change it into a crown jewel for the King of kings.

6. It is the touch of a key that opens. Was it not the Lord that "opened the heart of Lydia to receive the things spoken of Paul?" The heart is closed against Him by sin and selfishness.

7. It is the touch of a spirit that quickens. "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." And dead in trespasses and sins are we all, till touched by the quickening Spirit of God. The affections are dead, the conscience is dead, and the will is dead; and none but He who breathed into the first human form the breath of life, can make man once more "a living soul" — "alive to God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

8. It is the touch of a Healer that restores.

9. It is the touch of a Fountain that cleanses.

10. It is the touch of a magnet that attracts. God is love, and the heart He touches must gravitate towards Him. When Elijah passed Elisha ploughing in the field, and threw his mantle over the ploughman's shoulders, the latter instantly left his oxen standing in the furrow, and hastened after the prophet, and never left him till a chariot of fire took him up from his side to heaven. So the touch of the Divine Galilean drew the fisherman from his nets and boats, the publican from the receipt of custom, etc.

(J. Cross, D. D)

Accommodating this statement, without perverting it, we are naturally led to describe the subjects of Christ under a two-fold aspect.

I. THEIR PERSONAL CHARACTER. They are men whose hearts God has touched.

1. An internal change has passed upon them Their heart has been touched. This is an observation which strikes at the root of a very common and destructive error. Born and educated amid all the decencies of a civilised and Christian community, many amongst us are insensibly moulded into the mere form and fashion of the age. This is particularly the case with the young. If the young, therefore, are to be ranked among the people of the living God, they must follow the Lord heartily.

2. The author of this internal change is God — their hearts are touched by Him. This statement also corrects another very serious mistake in regard to the production of a religions character. If there are multitudes that place religion in outward forms, while it springs from an inward change, so there are not a few who trust to human power for its production, and not to the power of God. It is the besetting sin of fallen man, and especially of the young who have not yet proved by failure the utter weakness of man to magnify their ability, and depreciate the agency of the Holy Spirit. They imagine they have power at any given point of their sinful career, to arrest their progress, repent, believe, and be saved.

3. The influence of this internal change is to make the subjects of Christ cherish warm affection, and practice dutiful obedience towards their King. It was because the hearts of this band were touched by God, that they encircled Saul as their monarch Divinely chosen. And mingling religion with loyalty, gave their conscience to God, and their sword to their sovereign. In a similar manner, every heart renewed by the Holy Ghost loves, and honours, and obeys the King of Zion.

II. Passing from the consideration of their personal character, let us next consider THE SUBJECTS OF CHRIST IN THEIR ASSOCIATED CONDITION. They are a band. This suggests three ideas — union, mutual affection, and joint cooperation.

1. They are united. A life of solitary seclusion is enjoined by no part of revelation. Monks and hermits were the produce of an ignorant and barbarous age. In opposition to this selfish and seclusive spirit there is something uniting and comprehensive about the spirit of the Gospel. The sacred writers delight to represent the followers of Jesus under the figurative emblems of a flock of sheep — of a family — of an army; all of which representations embody the idea of numbers, and of numbers united by the strongest and closest ties.

2. The subjects of Christ cherish towards each other mutual affection. The Church of Christ is united, and united by love.

3. The subjects of Christ cooperate together. Kings long ago, knew how to levy soldiers, train armies, subordinate immense masses of human being to military discipline, and bring them forward, in regular order, upon one point, for the sake of conquest. With the exception of the mad attempt of united Christendom to wrest from the Turks the holy sepulchre, we read of no combined enterprise, on the part of the Church, during hundreds of years, for the advancement of religion. Bible Societies and Missionary Institutions, combining simplicity of plan with nobleness of effort, are the inventions of a period comparatively late. Here, every one does a little, and all their efforts bear upon some great undertaking.

(Gavin Struthers.)

Homiletic Review.
With what glowing prospects does this new-crowned king begin his reign; chosen by God Himself; gifted with a splendid physical presence; filled with the spirit of God; accepted and supported by all the people, and especially surrounded by such a noble bodyguard.

I. GOD, IN TOUCHING THE HEARTS OF THESE MEN, FILLED THEM:

1. With reverence for the cause of which he was representative.

2. With devotion to him as that representative.

3. With a commendable zeal in service to that cause.

4. With wisdom and ability as counsellors.

5. With personal unselfishness in their service.

II. EVERY CHOSEN SERVANT OF GOD NEEDS TODAY AS A BODYGUARD, "a band of men whose hearts God has touched."

1. With the seal of pardon and acceptance.

2. With a sanctified zeal in God's service.

3. With a burning desire for the salvation of souls.

4. With a mighty faith in God as to the results of the work.

(Homiletic Review.)

It is interesting to observe that, although the people were so bent on having a king, they still were willing to have God decide who their king should be. They had not "waited patiently for the Lord," content with the administration of their national affairs which He had instituted until He should see fit to order a change; yet they did not wish to break wholly away from His control. They desired their king to be chosen by Him and kept under His guidance. They did not dare take their new departure without the counsel and benediction of Samuel, "the man of God." As a people, although faulty, they were still the sincere people of God, adhering still to the purpose which an earlier generation avowed to Joshua. "We will serve Jehovah," although so far from perfection of fidelity in that service. From that inauguration scene "Saul went home to Gibeah" — went, no doubt, to serious and earnest thought and deliberation — and (how beautifully it is added!) "there went with him a band of men whose hearts God had touched." There is infinite poetry in that expression, in that thought — God touching a man, the invisible, spiritual God touching the hearts of men. The contact of material bodies, which that word primarily signifies, is a very simple and a very familiar fact. But in living bodies it suggests much more than that primary fact. It is connected with vivid sensation. To touch is to feel — to be touched is to be made to feel. And then with what facility do our minds pass from feeling as bodily sensation to feeling as mental emotion! The effect of a blow upon our flesh is expressed by the same word as the effect of a sorrow or a disappointment upon our souls; we feel it, it touches us. We. are in no danger of misunderstanding the word touch when applied to God. When the afflicted patriarch of Uz exclaims, "Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me" (Job 19:21), no one gets the idea of bodily form or members as belonging to God — members which could be brought into contact with the bodies of men. It is only a vivid mode of expressing Job's devout belief that all which he suffered was sent on him by God. "He toucheth the hills and they smoke" (Psalm 104:82), is the Psalmist's poetic utterance of his sentiment that the sublimest volcanic phenomena are easy products of almighty Divine agency. It is the parallel, in thought as in form, of the other phrase, "He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth." When we read of our divine-human High Priest that He can be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15), we readily understand Him to be capable of quick sympathy, feeling with us whatever painfully affects us. There were some disloyal, some "sons of Belial" — wild, reckless, unprincipled men — who did not hesitate to manifest their contempt for the new monarch. Over against these in the Scripture picture we see "a band of men whose hearts God had touched," whose behaviour showed that they were acting under a Divine influence — that their minds were decisively affected by Divine power. What was the behaviour which showed this? It is very simply related in the context. They "went with him." Were you ever in circumstances in which simply to go with you was the kindest, and the bravest thing that any friend could do for you, including and pledging every other kind and generous and courageous thing which there might yet be occasion to do? Did you ever stand among an angry crowd tossing your name about with ribald scoffs and glaring on you with ferocious faces? Have you known the comfort in such a situation of having honourable citizens and reputable ladies come quietly to your side and show themselves determined to stand with you, and to take with you whatever insults or whatever injuries might come? How came they to have this generous disposition and this loyal spirit? They were "a band of men whose hearts God had touched." Does this dependence on God for such good influence remove from men all responsibility for the state of their minds? To affirm this or to think this would imply an utter misapprehension of the character of that Divine influence and its relations to human activity, human responsibility and human character. The influence which He exerted in touching their hearts to make them feel and act rightly cannot have been inconsistent with such righteous exercise of His judgment upon their conduct, and upon the state of mind which their conduct made manifest. The relation of Divine influence upon men to men's voluntary action, and to their character, and to God's just judgment of them, is one of the most difficult problems of theology. The different attempted solutions of it have had much to do with the classifications of theologians under the names of great theological leaders, as of Calvin and Arminius, or into parties, as Old School and New School, for example. How human character can be determined by Divine influence, and still be character, retaining all the elements of responsibility, no one has yet so explained as to satisfy all other equally candid and clear-minded persons. For myself, I propose to be content without such explanation until, by God's mercy, I may stand on a higher point of view, and may look with a more clarified vision than I expect to have in this world. We can never justify or excuse our wrong conduct or our disobedient or unlovely or unholy dispositions by ascribing them to God's withholding from us the influence which would have begotten right dispositions. The "sons of Belial" who scoffed at Saul and turned away contemptuously from him were wicked men in so doing. Saul could not help blaming them; you cannot; God cannot. Are any of you painfully sensible of failure to be and to do what God reasonably demands of you? It certainly is not best for you simply to lash yourselves up to frantic endeavour or hasty resolution to do better. You will not do better without an influence from God moving and helping you thereto. Seek that influence in simple, frequent, persistent prayer. Every influence of which any of you are conscious, impelling you in any direction which you know to be right, to any service of usefulness which you honestly regard as work for God, — be assured that that influence is Divine. That is God touching your heart. Turn not away.

(H. A. Nelson, D. D.)

The idea that I gather from the incident is, that, not alone, but with those whom God sent, Saul now undertook, and afterwards discharged, the momentous duties of his high office. And without pressing the analogy too far, I think this fact supplies several lessons suited to our present circumstances. The position of the ministry is one, than which, even that of the monarch, is not more important. The subject then that I shall notice, as suggested by our text, is Unity in Christian labour. And concerning it we observe: —

I. IT IS A DESIRABLE THING. We feel its desirability when we remember: —

1. That it secures Church concord. By Church concord, I mean that genuine kindredness of sympathy, that oneness of heart, that binds every individual of the Church, and of all Churches, very closely to each other; that will lead all to feel that they are members of one body. For concord in the Church there must be no rigidness of thought, no monotony of feeling, but a blending of the varied sympathies, mingling of the thoughts, and a harmony of the hearts of all.

2. It secures Church attraction. As all men, with but a few pitiable exceptions, love true music, are attracted to it, and spell bound by it, so the harmony of Christians will attract and over-awe the world.

3. It will secure Church power. Bind together threads, condense steam, focalise light, and you give even to these things an unimagined strength. Unite souls, weld together hearts, and who will dare defy their power? Concerning unity in Christian labour, I notice: —

II. IT AS A PRACTICABLE THING. Such a unity as has been described is then desirable. but can it be obtained? There are three things requisite to this unity, and the mere statement of them will show practicability.

1. Are we agreed in aim? It is only when one purpose directs the sinewy efforts of all the crew, that their united endeavours rescue from peril the storm tossed ship; at is only when every heart is fired with the same desire, that victory crowns the struggles of an united army And so with us With one aim ruling we shall be one.

2. But are we agreed as to the means by which this end is to be obtained? It is said, that the Emperor Constantine, in one of his campaigns, saw in the heavens the sign of a cross, and under it the words, "By this conquer," and that henceforth that was his motto. Have we been to Calvary, and seen there the cross and Him that hung on it. Pointing to it, is our watchword. "By this conquer?"

3. Are we agreed as to the spirit in which we will work? Is it our earnest vow in God's strength, never to exalt ourselves, never to use His work as a ladder to reach our own purposes, never to labour for God, as many do, in a spirit more fitting the service of Satan? Can we say "The love of Christ constraineth us?" The question, how can we obtain them, leads me to notice, concerning this unity of Christian labour: —

III. IT IS A DIVINE THING. "Whose heart God had touched." God's influence on the heart alone can produce that unity of which we have been speaking. I observe: —

1. That an entire change of heart is necessary to this unity. Self-seeking in the world, bigotry, and sectarianism, which are but other forms of self-seeking, in the Church; these are the too prevalent spirit among men. As long as there is sin reigning in our hearts they cannot be united. Robertson has strikingly said, "A dreadful loneliness is the result of sinning; the heart severed from God, feels severed from all other hearts; goes alone as if it had neither part nor lot with other men; itself a shadow among shadows." To get unity then there must be a thorough purification, a radical change Instead of injuring men, delighting in sin, idolising self, and serving Satan, we must bless men, rejoice in holiness, crucify self, and love God.

2. That this change is accomplished by the touch of God. Three of the ways in which God touches our hearts, are like the ways in which we generally touch each other, but He has also other ways possessed by Him alone. He touches the heart by a look. As when "Peter went out and wept bitterly," and Hagar uttered her dread conviction, "Thou God seest me." He touches the heart by acts of kindness In the gifts of His Providence; and far above all in the life and death of His only begotten Son. He touches our heart by His word. The word of warning counsel, promise, and welcome. So we can touch each other by looks, actions, and words But God has avenues to the heart that are unknown to us, for His hands are upon secret springs of our nature. He touches us by the direct influence of His Spirit.

(U. R. Thomas.)

"The Egyptians, in their hieroglyphics, expressed the unprofitableness of a solitary man by a single millstone, which, being alone, grindeth no meal, though with its fellows it would be exceedingly profitable for that purpose." Let this serve as a symbol to those unsociable Christians who endeavour to walk alone, and refuse to enter into the fellowship of the saints. They are comparatively useless. The Lord hath made us dependent upon each other for usefulness. Our attainments are not put to their right use till they supply the deficiencies of others: this is one aide of our necessity for fellowship — we need to associate with the weak, that we may find a sphere in which to trade with our talents, by helping them. On the other hand, our infirmities and deficiencies are means to draw us into association with stronger brethren, from whom we may receive help.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

To separate ourselves from our brethren is to lose power. Half-dead brands heaped close will kindle one another, and flame will sparkle beneath the film of white ashes on their edges. Fling them apart, and they go out. Rake them together, and they glow. Let us try not to be little, feeble tapers, stuck in separate sockets, and each twinkling struggling rays over some inch or so of space; but draw near to our brethren, and be workers together.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The ancient Thebans had in their armies a band of men that were called "the holy band," consisting of such from the various regiments and battalions as were joined together in a bond of love, and were sworn to live and die together in the service of their country. These men were reckoned of great value. They were esteemed the strength of the army, and in time of special danger or alarm were looked to as the nation's hope.

(W. Denton.)

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