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God made life and power to His people, these Moabites took a wrong meaning out of. That is it now. God is the stumbling-block. You see that, first of all, the Israelites stumbled. They went away to fight without Him. They got right, and God came back, and the symbol of His pleasure with them was that valley glistening with water, and man and beast drinking and becoming refreshed and fit for whatever was before them. That, again, became a stumbling-stone to Moab. When they saw the sign of God's presence they said, “This is blood. They are killing each other;” and on they came, and they were sorry for it. It is the same yet. By this sign we shall conquer;” and by this sign spiritual foes of Christ and of Christ's Kingdom are for ever being overdrawn. What is our great strength they consider to be our weakness. Let us hold to our strength. Let us know that God is with
Let us know and understand how to get Him, and, strong in His strength, let us rise and win the day for God and for His Christ. Oh, what a battle for righteousness needs to be fought at home and abroad! What a tyranny we are under to the powers of evil as individuals, and congregations, and churches, May the Lord come to us to-day. May He fill our hearts with heavenly refreshment. May He take away our weakness. Some of us are parched, barren, and dry. How can we fight? We are so empty and so useless; but let God fill us, and then we are strong in Him. They said,
They said, “This is blood.” Ay, well, they were nearer the truth than they thought. It is blood. The great strength to us, and the great stumbling-block by which the devil himself will be overthrown, is blood. By the blood of the Lamb we are saved, we are strengthened; by the blood of the Lamb we are
misunderstood, we are scoffed at. Moab rises, and thinks that this blood, this gospel of ours of atonement and substitution, is our very weakness, and that by means of it she will destroy us, and she encourages herself to fall upon us. Let her fall! Let her fall! Come on, all the brood of hell! Come on, and you will find that what you think is our weakness and our destruction is the strength of our arm and the very banner of our victory. In God's great name let every soul, and let us as a whole people, run up and display that banner. By it we are saved. By it Christ's cause shall conquer to the very
end. Amen and Amen,
Henderson & Spalding, Printers, 3 & 5, Marylebone Lane, London, W.
" THE LORD SUSTAINED ME.”
PREACHED AT REGENT SQUARE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
REV. JOHN MCNEILL.
TEXT--3rd Psalm : “ Lord, how are they increased that trouble
me !” &c.
We will take for meditation this morning the 3rd Psalm—a Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom, his son. Founding upon the 5th verse, “I slept; I awaked,” expositors have agreed to call this a morning psalm, even as from the last verse of the next Psalm, “ I will both lay me down in peace and sleep," they have agreed to designate it an evening hymn. The 3rd and 4th Psalms seem to form a pair ; one expressive of the attitude of the soul towards God, no matter what the circumstances, simply abiding by the fact that the new day has dawned, and has brought with it. renewed faith in God's presence and protecting care; and the 4th, after a somewhat similar fashion, expresses what should be the attitude of our souls in the evening : “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep,” for the evening crowns the day. Thou, Lord, who hast been with me all
Vol. III.-No. 4.
through the active hours, Thou only makest me to dwell in safety.
We shall meditate now upon this morning psalm, “ Lord, how are they increased that trouble me !” If the Psalm really refers—and the presumption is that in this case the title is true—if it really refers to that morning when David rose to find his kingdom and everything in wreck and ruin, then how fittingly it opens, “ Lord, how are they increased that trouble mel many are they that rise up against me.”. He has no room to give the details—his heart is too full. But, ah! how full it is! Thoughts of Absalom, thoughts of his enemies, who have now got a good chance at him; thoughts, no doubt, of those brave and faithful followers who would have gone with him had he not bade them go back, in order that his deliverance—if deliverance was to come—should come purely and solely from God. Maddening thoughts, also, of treachery and faithlessness on the part of those who had been his friends; perhaps some strange thoughts of those 200 bearded simpletons who, as the narrative says, went with his enemy, “and knew not anything." All these thoughts we can imagine as rushing with the sharp, keen morning breeze that whistled in his ears, and made him shiver to the very marrow.
“Lord, how are they increased that trouble mel many are they that rise up against me.” Are there not still some souls who sometimes come through a morning like that? As the days and years increase upon you, my Christian friends, your skies are not brighter, and your path is not lighter. You are going through, in your own measure, the experience of this much-tried man who wrote the Psalms. Increase of years means for you, humanly speaking, increase of trouble, increase of sorrow.
“Though trouble springs not from the dust,
Nor sorrow from the ground,
In your estate are found.”
Long: ago you looked forward to the age to which you now have come, and you said, “Ah! then, then my battle's by (past). Then I'll have fought and won; then I'll have reached my kingdom.” Like a poor field labourer who used to say, to cheer him in present toil and poverty,“ But, wife, we'll soon have the farm now.” That was his summum bonum. How you looked forward to yours. It was your daystar. “When I reach forty-when I reach fifty-when I reach sixty-and my present raven locks a sable silvered,' how tranquil will all things be round about me then. Land ahead! I shall almost see the white cliffs of Heaven right ahead. I shall feel that I am almost home, that I am almost there only a few more tranquil days, and under sun-lit or moon-lit skies I shall drift across the harbour bar, and drop my anchor in Fair Havens at last.” And what has happened ? “Why," you say, "I never knew what trouble was till I came to fifty. I never knew what care
were getting thin and bent, and my energies less able to bear it. Now, when my strength is weakened, and I have not the integrity of my powers as once I had, now the battle thickens, now I have need to be at my best. Ever, from morning till night, it is one long hurry, and confusion, and trial.” Is there one who has wakened this morning, and who is, as it were, in a cave, instead of under God's bright and over-arching heaven-awakened to blackness, darkness, and tempest? Remember this One, at least, who went through this Valley of the Shadow before you. And