Isaiah 8:12


It is clearly insufficient to know that we are on the same side as that of the majority of the good. The voice of God's people is not always his voice; their way not always his way (ver. 11). They may call for "a confederacy" when he disapproves of it. They may cry "peace" when he sees only present confusion and future disaster. They may be shaken with fear when they ought to be calm and trustful (ver. 12). They may be full of complacency when they ought to be overwhelmed with shame. We shall not be to God that which he demands of us, except we come into distinct, direct relation to himself.

I. THAT GOD SOMETIMES ACTS UPON US WITH CONSTRAINING POWER. "The Lord spake with a strong hand" (ver. 11; see Ezekiel 3:14). The Divine impulse was one that the prophet felt he must not resist. Not that it was absolutely irresistible, but one that a faithful man knew that he must not hesitate to obey. God often acts upon the soul of men with strong and urgent power to constrain or to restrain. He approaches and influences us thus by

(1) his Divine providence;

(2) one or other of the privileges he has provided for us;

(3) his Holy Spirit.

II. THAT GOD HIMSELF IS THE TRUE REFUGE OF THE HUMAN SOUL. (Vers. 13, 14.) Here is:

1. Our duty. We are to fear God, to pay a reverential regard to his will, to shrink from that which grieves him, to "dread his wrath.

2. Its recompense. He shall be for a Sanctuary." In him, as in a pavilion, we shall hide. He will either deliver us from trouble by saving US from our enemies or in trouble, by granting us the sustaining grace which makes us "more than conquerors" in the midst of it. If we who are his "saints" will but "fear him" with obedient reverence, we shall then "have nothing else to fear."

"How was it, lovers of your kind,
Though ye were mocked and hated,
That ye, with clear and patient mind,
Truth's holy doctrine stated?
In God as in an ark ye kept;
Around, and not above you, swept
The flood till it abated."

III. THAT TO RESIST GOD IS TO WALK IN THE WAY OF WRONG AND RUIN. God is, to the perverse and the rebellious, "a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense" (ver. 14). God must be everything to us, for life or death. If our relation to him is not to us the fountain of everlasting joy, then it will be to us the source of unspeakable sorrow. The rejection of his truth and of himself will be our sin on earth, our condemnation in judgment, the subject and source of our remorse and retribution in the long hereafter. Our God is One whom it is infinitely worth while to make our Friend, and One whom we must not make our Enemy, if we have any love for ourselves, any interest in our own destiny. - C.









Neither fear ye their fear. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself.
To sanctify Jehovah is in mind and in practice to recognise Him as the holy God, the Lord who is absolute, free from the limitations which hinder all other beings from carrying their wills into full operation; and to believe with the whole heart that God can and does govern all things according to the counsel of His own will, and that what He determines does certainly come to pass, however probabilities and appearances may be against the belief.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

Isaiah's — or rather the Divine — policy was one of non-alliance and non-intervention. It did not forbid kindly commercial and literary intercourse with foreign nations. On the contrary, it ever looked hopefully forward to a time when all kings and their subjects should acknowledge Jehovah, and flow into His house. It was a policy of justifiable and absolute trust in the protecting care of the living God, who holds the nations in the hollow of His hand. It was a policy of the highest and truest patriotism, because it first insisted on the internal purification of the nation from sin and disobedience, from idolatry, drunkenness, oppression of the poor, unrighteous trading, luxury and lust, from hypocrisies and shams of ceremonial religion; and then, upon the uselessness and irrationality of standing armies and warlike weapons.

(F. Sessions.)

I. SPEAK AGAINST GIVING WAY TO FEAR. In periods of alarm the reports that are spread always much outstrip the truth. Fear is a very inventive passion; it creates to itself many causes of alarm which have no existence, and greatly magnifies those which really exist.

II. POINT OUT THE PROPER AND ONLY SUFFICIENT REMEDY AGAINST DISQUIETUDE. There is no rationality in being free from fear, or relieved from fear, otherwise than by true piety towards God. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself," etc.

III. SHOW HOW COMPLETE THIS RELIEF OUGHT TO BE. And in doing this, I shall place before you a few passages of Holy Scripture showing what is proposed to you, what may be hoped for and ought to be aspired after. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower," etc. The perfections of God are our never-failing resource and security. "Come, My people, enter into thy chambers," etc. (Isaiah 26:20). "Be careful for nothing," etc. "Cast thy burden on the Lord," etc. Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, etc. They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion," etc.

(J. Scott, M. A.)

I. THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF GODHEAD IS ONE OF AWE, and if of awe, then "dread." The more you know of God, the more you feel the unfathomableness of the mystery of Godhead. And all mystery is awe. It is a rule of our being, that we must tremble when we stand on the margin of the unknown. Therefore they who know most of God will most "fear," not His anger, but simply His amazing greatness.

II. THE SENSE OF MERCY AND BENEFITS HEAPED UPON US HAS AN OVERWHELMING INFLUENCE UPON THE MIND. Do not you know what it is to tremble at a danger when you have escaped it, much more than you did when you encountered it? That is exactly the "fear" and the "dread" of a pardoned sinner. It is the contemplation of a thundercloud which has rolled over your head.

III. REVERENCE IS THE GREAT LESSON WHICH OUR AGE HAS TO LEARN. Be suspicious of the love which is without awe. Remember that our best acquaintance with God only shows us more the immensity of the fields of thought which no mind can traverse.

IV. "HE SHALL BE FOR A SANCTUARY." Do you recoil at the idea of dreading God? That which makes the dread makes the hiding place. To those who fear, He shall be for a sanctuary.

1. To a Jewish mind, the first idea of the sanctuary would be refuge.

2. The sanctuary of safety becomes the home of peace. "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations."

3. God is the fountain of your holiness. The Shechinah shines you become familiar with the precincts of that holy you catch some of its rays, and reflect its glory.

(J. Vaughan.)

I. AN EVIL PRACTICE PROHIBITED. "Fear not their fear, neither be afraid." Sinful fears are apt to drive the best men into sinful compliances and indirect shifts to help themselves. Their fear may be understood two ways —

1. Subjectively. A fear that enslaved them in bondage of spirit, a fear that is the fruit of sin, a sin in its own nature, the cause of much sin to them, and a just punishment of God upon them for their other sins.

2. Effectively. Let not your fear produce in you such mischievous effects as their fear doth; to make you forget God, magnify the creature, prefer your own wits and policies to the almighty power and never-failing faithfulness of God.

II. AN EFFECTUAL REMEDY PRESCRIBED. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself," etc. The fear of God will swallow up the fear of man, a reverential awe and dread of God will extinguish the slavish fear of the creature, as the sunshine puts out fire, or as one fire fetches out another. When the Dictator ruled at Rome, then all other officers ceased; and so, in a great measure, will all other fears, where the fear of God is dictator in the heart.

III. A SINGULAR ENCOURAGEMENT PROPOSED. "He shall be for a sanctuary."

( J. Flavel.)

I. THE BEST MEN ARE TOO APT TO BE OVERCOME WITH SLAVISH FEARS IN TIMES OF IMMINENT DISTRESS AND DANGER.

II. THE FEAR OF GOD IS THE MOST EFFECTUAL MEANS TO EXTINGUISH THE SINFUL FEAR OF MAN AND TO SECURE US FROM DANGER.

( J. Flavel.)

There is a threefold fear in man, namely —

I. NATURAL, of which all are partakers that partake of the common nature. It is the trouble or perturbation of mind, from the apprehension of approaching evil or impending danger.

1. To this natural fear it pleased our Lord Jesus Christ to subject Himself in the days of His flesh (Mark 14:33).

2. This fear creates great trouble and perturbation in the mind; in proportion to the danger is the fear, and in proportion to the fear, the trouble and distraction of the mind; if the fear be exceedingly great, reason is displaced.

3. Evil is the object of fear, and the greater the evil is the stronger the fear must needs be; therefore the terrors of an awakened and terrified conscience must be allowed to be the greatest of terrors, because in that case a man hath to do with a great and terrible God, and is scared with apprehensions of His infinite and eternal wrath, than which no evil is or can be greater.

4. Yet evil, as evil, is rather the object of hatred than of fear. It must be an imminent or near approaching evil that provokes fear.

5. All constitutions and tempers admit not the same degrees of fear.

II. SINFUL. Not only our infelicity but our fault. The sinfulness of it lies in five things.

1. In the spring and cause of it, which is unbelief (chap. 30:15-17).

2. In the excess and immoderacy of it; for it may be truly said of our fears, as the philosopher speaks of waters, it is hard to keep them within bounds.

3. In the inordinacy of it. To exalt the power of any creature by our fears, and give it such an ascendancy over us as if it had an arbitrary and absolute dominion over us, or over our comforts, to do with them what it pleased — this is to put the creature out of its own class and rank into the place of God. To trust in any creature as if it had the power of a God to keep us, or to fear any creature, as if it had the power of a God to hurt us, is exceedingly sinful (Matthew 10:28).

4. In the distracting influence it hath upon the hearts of men, whereby it discomposes and unfits them for the discharge of their duties. Under an extraordinary fear both grace and reason, like the wheels of a watch, wound above its due height, stand still, and have no motion at all.

5. In the power it hath to dispose and incline men to the use of sinful means to put by their danger, and to cast them into the hands and power of temptation (Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 57:11). There is a double lie occasioned by fear, one in words and another in deeds; hypocrisy is a lie done, a practical He, and our Church history abounds with sad examples dissimulation through fear.

III. RELIGIOUS. This is our treasure, not our torment; the chief ornament of the soul; its beauty and perfection. It is the natural passion sanctified, and thereby changed and baptized into the name and nature of a spiritual grace. This fear is prescribed as an antidote against sinful fears; it devours carnal fears, as Moses' serpent did those of the enchanters.

1. It is planted in the soul as a permanent and fixed habit; it is not of the natural growth and production of man's heart, but of supernatural infusion and implantation (Jeremiah 32:40).

2. It puts the soul under the awe of God's eye. It is the reproach of the servants of men to be eye servants, but it is the praise and honour of God's servants to be so.

3. This respect to the eye of God inclines them to perform and do whatsoever pleaseth Him and is commanded by Him; hence, fearing God and working righteousness, are linked together (Acts 10:35; Genesis 22:12).

4. This fear engageth, and in some degree enableth, the soul in which it is, to avoid whatsoever is displeasing to God (Job 2:3).

( J. Flavel.)

If fear did not clap its fetters upon the wild and boisterous lusts of men, they would certainly bear down all milder motives, and break loose from all bonds of restraint. Men would become like the fishes of the sea (Habakkuk 1:14), where the greater swallow up a multitude of the smaller fry alive at one gulp; power and opportunity to do mischief would measure out to men their lot and inheritance, and consequently all societies must disband and break up. It is the law and fear of punishment that keeps the world in order; men are afraid to do evil because they are afraid to suffer it. If the severest penalties in the world were annexed to, or appointed by, the law, they could signify nothing to the ends of government without fear. This is that tender, sensible power or passion on which threatenings work, and so brings men under moral government and restraint (Romans 13:3, 4).

( J. Flavel.)

The Lord knows how to overrule this in His providential government of the world to His own wise and holy purposes. And He does so —

1. By making it HIS scourge to punish His enemies. If men will not fear God they shall fear men. There is scarce a greater torment to be found in the world than for a man to be his own tormentor, and his mind made a rack and engine of torture to his body. It is a dreadful threatening which is recorded in Deuteronomy 28:65-67. When fear hath once seized the heart, you may see death's colours displayed in the face.

2. By fear God punishes His enemies in hell.

3. Providence makes use of the slavish fears and terrors of wicked men to scatter them, when they are combined and confederated against the people of God (Psalm 78:55, and Joshua 24:11, 12. See also Psalm 9:20).

( J. Flavel.)

1. By this fear the people of God are excited to and confirmed in the way of duty (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Jeremiah 32:40).

2. Another excellent use of this fear is, to preserve the purity and peace of our consciences by preventing grief and guilt therein (Proverbs 16:6; Genesis 39:9; Nehemiah 5:15).

3. A principal use of this fear is, to awaken us to make timely provisions for future distresses, that whensoever they come, they may not come by way of surprise upon us (Hebrews 11:7; Proverbs 14:16).

( J. Flavel.)

I. The sinful fears of most good men spring out of their IGNORANCE; all darkness disposes to fear, but none like intellectual darkness. You read (Song of Solomon 3:8) how Solomon's lifeguard had every man his sword upon his thigh, "because of fear in the night." The night is the frightful season, in the dark every bush is a bear; we sometimes smile by day to see what silly things those were that scared us in the night. So it is here; were our judgments but duly informed, how soon would our hearts be quieted! There is a fivefold ignorance out of which fears are generated.

1. Ignorance of God. Ignorance and inconsiderateness lay at the root of the fears expressed in Isaiah 40:27.

2. Ignorance of men. Did we consider men as they are in the hand of our God we should not tremble at them as we do.

3. Ignorance of ourselves and the relation we have to God (Isaiah 51:12; Genesis 15:1; Nehemiah 6:11). O that we could, without vanity, but value ourselves duly. according to our Christian dignities and privileges, which, if ever it be necessary to count over and value, it is in such times of danger, when the heart is so prone to sinking fears.

4. Ignorance of our dangers and troubles. We are ignorant of —

(1)The comforts that are in them. Paul and Silas met that in a prison which made them to sing at midnight, and so have many more since their day.

(2)The outlets and escapes from them (Psalm 68:20; 2 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13).

5. Especially ignorance and inconsiderateness of the covenant of grace.

II. Another cause of sinful fear is GUILT UPON THE CONSCIENCE. No sooner had Adam defiled and wounded his conscience with guilt, but he trembles and hides himself (Proverbs 28:1; Isaiah 33:14). To this wounded and trembling conscience is opposed the spirit of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). An evil conscience foments fears and terrors three ways.

1. By aggravating small matters. So it was with Cain (Genesis 4:14), "Every one that meets me will slay me." Now every child was a giant in his eye, and anybody he met his over-match.

2. By interpreting all doubtful cases in the worst sense that can be fastened upon them. If the swallows do but chatter in the chimney, Bessus interprets it to be a discovery of his crime; that they are telling tales of him and saying, Bessus killed a man.

3. A guilty conscience can and often does create fears and terrors out of nothing at all (Psalm 53:5).

III. No less is the sin of UNBELIEF the real and proper cause of most distracting fears (Matthew 8:26). Fear is generated by unbelief, and unbelief strengthened by fear, as in nature there is an observable circular generation, vapours begetting showers and showers new vapours.

1. Unbelief weakens the assenting act of faith, and thereby cuts off from the soul, in a great measure, its principal relief against danger and troubles (Hebrews 11:27).

2. Unbelief shuts up the refuges of the soul in the Divine promises, and by leaving it without those refuges, must needs leave it in the hand of fears and terrors.

3. Unbelief makes men negligent in providing for troubles before they come, and so brings them by way of surprises upon them.

4. Unbelief leaves our dearest interests and concerns in our own hands; it commits nothing to God, and consequently must needs fill the heart with distracting fears when imminent dangers threaten us (1 Peter 4:19; 2 Timothy 1:12; Proverbs 16:3).

IV. Many of our fears are raised by THE PROMISCUOUS ADMINISTRATION OF PROVIDENCE in this world (Ecclesiastes 9:2; Ezekiel 21:3; Habakkuk 1:13). The butcheries of the Albigenses, Waldenses, etc.

1. We are apt to consider that the same race and kind of men that committed these outrages upon our brethren are still in being, and that their malice is not abated in the least degree. Cain's club is to this day carried up and down the world, stained with the blood of Abel, as Bucholtzer speaks.

2. We know also that nothing hinders the execution of their wicked purposes against us but the restraints of providence.

3. We find that God hath many times let loose these lions upon His people. The best men have suffered the worst things.

4. We are conscious how far short we come in holiness of those excellent persons who have suffered these things, and therefore have no ground to expect more favour from providence than they found. The revolving of such considerations in our thoughts and mixing our own unbelief with them, creates a world of fears, even in good men, till, by resignation of all to God, and acting faith upon His promises (Romans 8:28; Psalm 91:15; Isaiah 27:8; Revelation 7:17), we do, at last, recover our hearts out of the hands of our fears again, and compose them to a quiet and sweet satisfaction in the wise and holy pleasure of our God.

V. OUR IMMODERATE LOVE OF LIFE AND THE COMFORTS AND CONVENIENCES THEREOF may be assigned as a proper and real ground and cause of our sinful fears, when the dangers of the times threaten the one or the other (Revelation 12:11; Acts 20:24, 25).

1. Life is the greatest and nearest interest men naturally have in this world, and that which wraps up all other inferior interests in itself (Job 2:4; Genesis 25:32).

2. That which endangers life must, in the eyes of the natural man, be the greatest evil that can befall him.

3. Though death be terrible in any shape, yet a violent death by the hands of cruel and merciless men is the most terrible form that death can appear in.

VI. Many of our sinful fears flow from THE INFLUENCES OF SATAN upon our phantasies. By putting men into such frights he weakens their hands in duty, as is plain from his attempt this way upon Nehemiah (Nehemiah 6:13), and if he prevail there, he drives them into the snares and traps of his temptations, as the fisherman and fowler do the birds and fishes in their nets, when once they have frighted them out of their coverts.

( J. Flavel.)

I. DISTRACTION OF MIND IN DUTY (Luke 1:74).

1. Hereby Satan will cut off the freedom and sweetness of our communion with God in duties.

2. So distracting fears cut off the soul from the reliefs it might otherwise draw from the promises.

3. We lose the benefit and comfort of all our past experiences (Isaiah 51:12, 13).

II. DISSIMULATION AND HYPOCRISY. Abraham (Genesis 20:2, 11); Isaac (Genesis 26:7); Peter (Matthew 26:69, etc.) .

1. By these falls and scandals religion is made contemptible in the eyes of the world.

2. It greatly weakens the hands of others, and proves a sore discouragement to them in their trials, to see their brethren faint for fear, and ashamed to own their principles.

3. It will be a terrible blow and wound to our own consciences.

III. THE STRENGTHENING OF TEMPTATION IN TIMES OF DANGER (Proverbs 29:25). Aaron (Exodus 32) ; David (1 Samuel 21:12). It was fear that prevailed with to yield so far as he did in offering incense to the idol, the consideration of which fact brake his heart to pieces.

1. Sinful fear drives men out of their place and duty.

2. Fear is usually the first passion in the soul that parleys with the enemy, and treats with the tempter about terms of surrender. "The castle that parleys is half won" (French proverb), e.g., Spira.

3. Fear makes men impatient of waiting God's time and method of deliverance, and so drives the soul into the snare of the next temptation.

IV. PUSILLANIMITY AND COWARDICE. You find it joined frequently in the Scriptures with discouragement (Deuteronomy 1:21; Deuteronomy 20:3, etc.).

V. APOSTASY. It is not so much from the fury of our enemies without, as from our fears within, that temptations become victorious over us (Matthew 24:9, 10).

VI. GREAT BONDAGE OF SPIRIT. Sinful fear makes death a thousand times more terrible than it would otherwise be (Hebrews 2:16).

1. Such a bondage as this destroys all the comfort and pleasure of life.

2. It destroys our spiritual comforts.

3. It deprives us of the manifold advantages we might gain by the calm and composed meditations of our own death.

( J. Flavel.)

I. A CAUTION (ver. 12).

1. It will be necessary to explain the emotion against which the caution is directed. Taking the caution in its comprehensive import, it is addressed to men, not to submit the government of the soul to the influence of excessive terror, arising from the approach of temporal calamity and distress. It is an universal disposition, among the children of men, in the prospect of evil, to admit such fears and such emotions as these. The thought, for example, of national distresses, such as those which were now about to be poured out on the people of Israel; the thought of personal trials in the common relations of life, from domestic distress, from disease, from bereavement and death, are causes that often inspire the emotion we contend against, as existing in former ages, and which we are aware is often witnessed now.

2. We must consider also, the reasons on which the propriety of this caution is founded.(1) The origin of this emotion of fear is always degrading and improper, proceeding, as it invariably does, from ignorance or forgetfulness, or a disbelief of God as a God of providence and grace.(2) Its workings always fill the mind with unnecessary agitation, alarm, and anguish, and disturb it from, and entirely unfit it for, the right and adequate performance of the existing and the varied duties of life.(3) It opens the way for the entrance of many dark and dreadful temptations, and thus drives men to seek a shelter in those means which are forbidden by God; to propose an alliance, on any terms whatever, with adversaries whom, as idolaters, and the avowed and open enemies of God, they ought entirely to have foiled.(4) It is often directed to means of increased danger and trial, or to resort to those refuges which are but the means of increasing calamity. Thus, when we find that a confederacy of this unholy description, under the influence of slavish fear, had been formed by Israel with the people of Egypt, that very plan was the means of their downfall. God, at the commencement of the thirty-first chapter of Isaiah, exclaims, "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help," etc.

II. A RECOMMENDATION. "Sanctify," or select and set apart, "the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him," so selected and set apart, "be your fear, and let Him be your dread."

1. In this recommendation there is a call upon man to honour Jehovah, by recognising the presence and the action of His perfections in the various calamitous visitations which He permits or sends. His knowledge, His power, His holiness, His justice, His wisdom —

2. Here is a call upon men to honour Jehovah by repenting of their past transgressions, and by devoting themselves to a practical obedience to His commandments. It is remarkable to observe, especially in the Old Testament, how often the fear of God is connected with repentance, and with obedience to God.

3. Here is a call upon men to honour Jehovah by resorting and trusting to His mercy, as that which will grant spiritual blessings, and give final salvation to their souls.

III. A PROMISE. "He shall be for a sanctuary." The ordinary meaning which is ascribed to the word "sanctuary" is simply a place of religious worship; in this case, however, as in many others of the sacred writings, it signifies a place of religious worship, devoted also as a place where endangered persons may receive security. Amongst the heathen, religious temples were places of refuge; and when men endangered by misfortune or even crime ran within the threshold of the place called holy there was no possibility of grasping the offender; so long as he remained in the sanctuary he was safe. So it was amongst the Jews. When it is said that "God shall be for a sanctuary," it is intended that God shall be as a holy building where men endangered by temporal calamity may find shelter and repose. The instances are singularly numerous in which God is presented in the character of a refuge (Psalm 18:1, 2; Psalm 46:1, 11; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 26:1, 3, 20).

1. God shelters those who resort to Him as their sanctuary from the perturbation of slavish fear. The fear of God is strictly what is called an expulsive emotion; it banishes from the mind of man a vast quantity of other modifications of feeling, from which he could derive only sorrow and anguish and pain (Proverbs 14:26).

2. The Lord of hosts shelters those who resort to Him as their sanctuary from temporal judgments. There is provided, on behalf of the righteous, a remarkable exemption from those temporal calamities and judgments which God inflicts upon men directly as the consequence of sin. And if it sometimes does happen that the righteous suffer in those judgments as well as the wicked, it is not because of failure in the promises of God, but because the righteous will not come out and be separate. If a man will stay in Sodom when God has threatened to devour it with fire, the man who so stays must be destroyed. But when there is a separation from all the ungodly confederacies of the world, and a solemn and determinative sanctification to the Lord, by causing Him to be our fear and dread, the Scriptures plainly state that there shall, as the result, be an exemption from all those calamities which fall upon the world for sin (Ezekiel 9:4-6).

3. With regard to those calamities which are the common allotments of life, we are not to say that from these there is an exemption; they must suffer death in its most sudden, and its most awful power. But there is a Spirit that "guides the whirlwind and that rides upon the storm"; there is a hand of mercy in these calamities of providence, transforming them into a new class of blessings.

4. The Lord of hosts shelters those who resort to Him as their sanctuary from the perils and perdition of final ruin.

(James Parsons.)

I. THE DUTY. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts," etc.

II. THE PROMISE. "He shall be for a sanctuary." Consider the preciousness of this promise in the time when all human help will be vain. We refer to the last day, when Christ shall come "to judge both the quick and the dead."

(W. Horwood.)

I. THIS PASSAGE TELLS US WHAT TO DO WITH OUR NATURAL FEARS. God is in the believer's life as He is not in the life of another. He has come to him in the wilderness to be his guide, into the storm to be his pilot, into the battle to be his captain. All difficulties are nothing before Divine wisdom, all opposition nothing against Divine strength. The Christian's great danger is unbelief or unfaithfulness to God, which would make him lose for a time the means of safety and victory. He is like one closely following a guide in the darkness over pathless mountains, whose one concern is to keep him in sight who will thus secure to him a safe and successful journey; and again he k like a child who does not burden himself with any cares, but that of pleasing the father whose love and power have supplied all his need in the past and will supply all in the future. It is thus that the Christian fears his foes, only as the possible causes of the one misfortune of estrangement from his God. The treacherousness of his own heart and the subtlety of those enemies who are ever seeking to break the union which makes him too strong for them, exercise his thoughts and his feelings, but all in relation to God, so that He alone may be truly said to be the fear of HIS people. All this is true for a Church as it is true for the individual Christian.

II. THIS PASSAGE TEACHES US WHAT IS, OR SHOULD BE, TO US TRULY HOLY.

III. THIS PASSAGE OFFERS THE MOST EXALTED NOTION OF A SANCTUARY. Man dwelling in God is the realisation of our happiness and of the Divine glory. It speaks to all of purity, safety, peace, but it speaks of much more, according to the spiritual capacity of those to whom it is made known. But few among the thousands of Israel knew anything of abiding in that house of God, which, whether they knew it or not, represented Jehovah Himself. Most of them visited it at intervals more or less rare, and left to the priestly family the duty and privilege of regarding it as their home. And in this the great mass of professors are aptly represented by the nation of Israel. They seek the Divine sanctuary as a house of defence or a place for pardon, when specially pressed by trouble or a sense of sin; but, if they would be Christians indeed, they should remember that the Church of Christ is the spiritual priesthood; that the members of it are expected to "offer the sacrifice of praise continually"; that to do this they must "dwell in God," they must "abide in Christ"; and that no less close and no less constant union than this can be natural to faith which has learnt that "we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones."

IV. THIS PASSAGE PREPARES US FOR WHAT OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE SEEMED INCONSISTENT WITH THE BLESSEDNESS IT SPEAKS OF — the sight of others stumbling at that which has become our glory, finding Jehovah Himself to be a rock of offence. How is this? A very simple law will answer. We stumble through ignorance. It is not what we know, but what we do not know that offends us. The rock of offence is a thing misunderstood, for which our philosophy had not prepared us. Now nothing is more misunderstood than goodness among the bad, than God among those who have fallen from the knowledge of Him. He Himself has said, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." This stumbling of the natural mind at God may be seen in all His manifestations. Men deny His government because they do not see in it what they think worthy of His hand; they grumble or rage at His distribution of goods; they reject or explain away His revelations of the future; and, above all, they refuse to believe in salvation through His crucified Christ. But in all this they are fulfilling His sure Word of prophecy, and while they continue to exhibit the depravity of fallen man, and so the riches of Divine grace, they do not prevent humble, believing souls from sanctifying God in their hearts and proving Him to be their sanctuary.

(J. F. B. Tinling, B. A.)

relates a very pertinent and memorable story of Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, who was a very rich man both in goods and grace: he had much of the world in his hands, but little of it in his heart; and it was well there was not, for the Goths, a barbarous people, breaking into that city, like so many devils, fell upon the prey; those that trusted to the treasures which they had were deceived and ruined by them, for the rich were put to tortures to confess where they had hid their monies. This good bishop fell into their hands, and lost all he had, but was scarce moved at the loss, as appears by his prayer, which my anther relates thus: Lord, let me not be troubled for my gold and silver: Thou knowest it is not my treasure; that I have laid up in heaven, according to Thy command. I was warned of this judgment before it came, and provided for it; and where all my interest lies, Lord, Thou knowest.

( J. Flavel.)

Mr. Bradford, when the keeper's wife same running into his chamber suddenly, with words able to have put most men in the world into a trembling posture: "Oh, Mr. Bradford! I bring you heavy tidings; tomorrow you must be burned, and your chain is now buying"! he put off his hat, and said, "Lord, I thank Thee; I have looked for this a great while, it is not terrible to me; God make me worthy of such a mercy."

( J. Flavel.)

Sunday School Chronicle.
The following prayer was found in the desk of a schoolboy after his death: "O God, give me courage to fear none but Thee."

(Sunday School Chronicle.)

The rules of fear are not like the rules in arithmetic, where many nothings make nothing, but fear can make something out of nothing.

( J. Flavel.)

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