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His power, my scoffing, sceptical friend. Every time you lie in unconsciousness you are on the edge of a precipice, and how easy it would be for the angel of death just with his foot to roll you over-how easy! Don't dare to.night to lie down-don't dare to do it! There is a kind of blasphemy in a prayerless, godless pillow. There is a something that profanes Him to His face that you should dare to lie down and sleep, and never reckon with Him, who by a touch could usher you in to the roar that lies on the other side of silence!

That is the severe side ; but let us come to the gracious side. “I laid me down and slept," say all true believers, and "I awaked, for the Lord sustained me." Well, now, you might sleep more soundly after that, anyway. I don't know that David ever slept more soundly in his big fourposter in the palace in Jerusalem, surrounded by his lifeguards, and with all appliances and means to boot. I don't know that he ever slept sounder than when his lodging was on the cold ground. When he had nobody to defend him but the Lord God Almighty, he crept into His bosom and got shelter there. You see, if we know God, and if we give all things utterly into God's hands, sleeping or waking, sick or well, young or old, how safe we are ! The Lord sustained me; the Arm that piled the mountains, and “sowed the heavens with stars," sustained me. “I ain poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh on me.' Then, as somebody has said, when night comes, take a sleep, my friend, and allow God to look after his own world. Believe me, nothing will go wrong if you should sleep soundly. It is vain for you to rise early and sit up late if God slumber, not nor sleeps. You may go to sleep; God asks none of us to work upon the night shift. Take your rest, my friend, when the night

comes ; God has sent it to you as one of His best gifts. “He giveth His beloved sleep."

“Of all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward into souls afar,

Along the Psalmist's music deep-
Now, tell me if that aught there is
For gift of grace surpassing this,

He giveth His beloved sleep?”

“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” How time has gone! I meant to have gone through this Psalm, but I must not attempt it. Just one last peep at David. What a blessing sleep is! What a blessing a gracious sleep is! For do you see how the veteran has rallied, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me." Now look at him. “ Richard's himself again.” This giant is refreshed. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people.” Come on! come on! I am fit and well.

“ Now blessed be God,” he says, we will give some account of this day.”

May God give all of us that rally this morning. It is one of the blessings of the Sabbath to tone us up, to recover us, to re-invigorate us, to make us feel that we can say with a shout, in answer to the desponding question, maybe of last night, “Is life worth living ?"-"How beautiful it is to be alive!”

"How beautiful it is to be alive!

To wake each morn as if our Maker's grace
Did us afresh from nothingness derive,

That we might sing, How happy is our case !
How beautiful it is to be alive 1"

“God's right hand was under my head, and His left embraced me. The Lord is with me; how shall I fear? I will not be afraid”—and he is careful to enumerate them, not to under-estimate them—"of ten thousands of the people who have set themselves against me round about.” I am up. Now, arise Thou, O Lord. Save me, O my God! Smite mine enemy upon the cheek-bone ; break the teeth of the ungodly. He gets a vision of himself in his earlier days, when he was a defender of a flock of sheep. When the lion and the bear tried to seize them from him, he remembers how he went straight to the very front of the danger. He smote the lion on the jawbone and the teeth; and something said within him, "Poor, battered old David! that is what God will do. All your troubles will become toothless tigers to you. God will take the teeth out of them, the life out of them, the fangs out of them, the stings out of them."

The Lord's my light and saving health,

Who shall make me dismayed ?
My life's strength is the Lord, of whom

Then shall I be afraid'?”

Henderson & Spalding, Printers, 3 & 5, Marylebone Lane, London, W.


A Sermon




TEXT-Acts xii. 1-10.

In this narrative, as in many others, there are particular texts that look up and invite special treatment, but I rather prefer to go over it in the old way that is familiar to you and to me—the way of connected exposition. Then we may return and take up these texts that invite the sinking of a shaft to find out the riches that lie straight down below. This is a narrative full of meaning for the Church, and full of teaching for the individual. Evidently the intention of the Spirit of God is to give comfort, and help, and stimulus to the Church, and to the individual believer. The whole Church was concerned in Peter's danger.

Prayer was made unto God by the Church for him.” The whole Church was persecuted in his persecution, weakened if he fell, strengthened if he stood fast. And then, of course, although Peter occupied that representative position, as regards the Church, like all of us, he had

Vol. III.-No. 5.

his own personal life to live, and his own individual position and prospects as a believing man; and whatsoever happened to him, happened to him as representing himself, an individual man, who some time before gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore, as representing the struggling, the tried, the indestructible Church of God, look upon this narrative; and let us also, as individual men and women, fighting our own personal battle, having our own peculiar dangers, and our own peculiar vicissitudes, learn for the whole Church, and for each one of us particularly, how true it is that not a hair of our head can perish, if we are Christ's by a simple and a living faith.

About that time Herod the king stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” Is it not written almost a little heartlessly? No note of exclamation; no raising of an epitaph; every word said as coldly as though the narrator had been Herod's own secretary. * He killed James the brother of John with the sword.” It seems as though there is no God—as though there is no Almighty defence. Just as some young communicant, last Lord's Day, came into the open and professed fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ; so, some time before this, this man called James the brother of John gave up the world, and gave up a mere formal religion, and came into living faith and contact with Jesus, the crucified, the glorified Saviour. And this is what it brought him.

This is what came of it, This is all that came out of it—a few short years of trouble, and trial, and contempt, and persecution, and then one fine morning out stepped Herod and ruthlessly cut off his head. As a stranger, strolling along in the country to-day, whisks off the heads of the flowers with his walking-stick,

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