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angels yet? The Bible comes to us and says, “Now, friend, do you believe this?”
Do you believe this marvellous, miraculous interposition? Do you believe in these heavenly messengers of the heavenly King-angels round about us, having charge given to them concerning us-ministering spirits to salvation's heirs ?
“How oft do they their silver bowers leave,
To come and succour us that succour want!
The yielding skies, like flying pursuivant :
They for us fight; they watch and duly ward,
And all for love and nothing for reward ;
Yes, “He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee.” Many a time Peter had read and sung that Psalm ; but the day came when the promise leaped upon his soul with such life and meaning as it never had before. That day is coming, if not sooner, then certainly on the eternal morning, when we shall see that we had more servants to wait upon us than we took knowledge of, and we were far safer than ever we had allowed ourselves to think. The angels are here still, although we do not
see them. Although they do not come into actual contact with us, and with gracious violence smite our sides and waken us up, and lead us forth past all peril into space and safety, still unseen they stand about us; and still God has a thousand thousand resources at His hand for the marvellous preservation of His people. " We are immortal till our work is done.” Fire shall not burn upon us, waters shall not drown us, plague shall not strike us, until God in His. unerring mercy sees fit—not one of us.
“Not a single shaft shall hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.” We are invulnerable as long as God means us to be here, and as long as we are helping in all our feebleness to carry on His despised and persecuted cause.
Let me interject just here, for we are apt to forget these things. Again I say, the nineteenth century is apt quietly to sneer us out of our faith in them. We feel, the blush inclined to steal upon our cheeks, and “with bated breath and whispering humbleness” we would allow judgment to go by default, for we do not like to say that we do believe in this miraculous story, or in the others in this Book, or in the Old Testament. You remember, my dear hearers, how it was with Peden, our great prophet, in the killing times in Scotland, when King James was the Herod. (No wonder, my Episcopalian friends, that we Scotch take ill with Prelacy. It was badly recommended to us.) Why, you remember in the killing times once, in the seventeenth century, poor Peden, for the faith and fear of Jesus Christ, was being persecuted with a little band of his to lowers to whom he had been preaching in dens and caves of the earth in the south of Scotland. They were alarmed in time, and they made a struggle for existence. They made a rush for safety. Their pursuers, being horsemen, gained upon them; and when Peden and his little band had gone dowu into the hollow of a hill, for want of breath, and for waut of hope, he called a halt, and then he uttered a memorable prayer. “O God,” he said, “ it is the day and the hour of tue power of Thine enemies. They may not be idle, but hast Thou no other work for them than to send them after us? Send them to pursue those to whom Thou wilt give strength to flee; but as for us, our strength is goo. Twine
them," he said, “round the hill, O Lord, and cast the lap of Thy cloak round Sandy and these puir things, and we shall tell to Thy praise and glory what Thou didst for us at sic a time.” As surely as he prayed, one of those sudden, dangerous, blinding mists, for which our Cheviot Hills are famous, came down
them. Their enemies, with curses, thundered past them, through the mist, and never
them. Do you believe that ? Think over it.
“ He went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the augel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past 'the first and second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord : and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forth with the angel departed from him."
May we go forth with him. Commentators and others have dwelt over this part of the story in a kind of mystic way which I think is allowable. They have left the actual, historical treatment of the narrative here, and they have likened this smiting by the angel upon the side of Peter and wakening him, and Peter's going forth, seeing as though he saw not, and hearing as though he heard not, alive, and well, and free, to that heavenly visitation wuich, sooner or later, is coming to you and me. For, after all, what is our earthly life but a prison house, in which we are chained up in this body of the flesh, kept back from full freedom and perfect vision ? Life is the jailor, death the angel sent to draw the unwilling bolts, and set us free. -God bless you, my friend, you with the whitening head---all your tribulations, and all your cramps and hindrances will be removed. The heavenly Jerusalem, the home and
Some day reward of the faithful and true, “ the land o' the leal,” is always near.
“For Sorrow's sel' wears past,
And Joy's comin' fast-
In the land o' the leal." God's last and brightest messenger, in somewhat grim disguise, the angel of death, will come and gently smite you into life; and, lo! you shall rise and leave all your chains and hindrances behind you. Your feet shall stand within the City of the Blessed One, or ever you are aware.
The iron gate shall open of its own accord. You shall be in heaven before you know what struck you. As with Peter, at the first, as he went into the city, there will be a vagueness, a wonder, an astonishment; and then, at last, the breaking of the full, perfect understanding, “O God, I am in heaven! O God, I am saved ! O God, through fire and water Thou hast brought me to the wealthy place! I am redeemed, and disenchanted, and disenthralled. I have risen superior to all those things that sought my life. I-wonder of wonders—even I, noted, and marked, and sealed many a. time by sin and the devil for death and destruction-I, even I, walk abroad at large and in perfect liberty." That is coming. Let us believe it. Let us hold on to it. The best way to show our faith in the great deliverance that is coming is to lay firmer hold on Jesus Christ this very morning, and go out there, outside the camp, bearing His cross, sharing His persecution ; for if we are one with Him in His tribulation, we shall also be one with Him in the eternal triumph.
May God bless this study of His Word !
Henderson & opalding, Prioters, 3 *, Marylebone Line, London, W.
COME! COME! COME !
PREACHED IN REGENT SQUARE PRESBYTERIAN
REV. JOHN MCNEILL.
TEXT—"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—Rev. xxii. 17.
The great purpose of all Gospel meetings and of all Gospel preaching is just to lift up the voice, and to say to those who have never yet done so, • Come to Jesus”; and to say to those who have come, " Come still closer.” For there are none of us, those of us who have known Him longest, and have served Him best, whose ways might not be both mended and ended at the same time if we could stand more four-square to Christ's Word and to Christ's service than we have ever yet done. May the Lord help us to-night, as we take this text, and use it in this twofold way, simply ringing the changes on this note, “Come to Jesus." There is another view of these “ Comes ”—viz., that they are spoken not outward to the human soul, but upward to the ascended and returning Lord. “Come Thou.” Well, be it so; still, don't they ring out very freely towards the
Vol III.-No. 6.