The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.
The secret of the Lord is His sending His Son into the world for the redemption of lost mankind.
I. THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS A MYSTERY. It is not attainable without supernatural revelation. It was undiscoverable by the most exalted powers of human understanding until God, out of infinite mercy, was pleased Himself to reveal it. But even after the clearest revelation that our present state is capable of there must be owned to be, in the Christian religion, mysteries far surpassing the highest pitch of human understanding. To "know in part" is too poor and mean a degree of knowledge for our modern Christian philosophers. To them there must be nothing in Christianity mysterious. Examine their pretensions, and we shall find that they neither speak of faith as becomes Christians, nor of reason as becomes men. How far are we glad to allow the use of reason in Divine matters?
1. Reason is of great use in asserting the principles of natural religion, such as the Being of a God; the obligation to worship Him; the immortality of the soul; and the eternal and essential difference between good and evil, partly discoverable by natural light.
2. Reason is useful, since it is from rational inducements that we first admit even revelation itself. It is by reason we distinguish what is truly Divine from enthusiasm and imposture.
3. Reason is of excellent use in expounding and interpreting the mind and meaning of Holy Writ, as long as it is sober and modest and keeps strictly to the analogy of faith.
4. Reason is usefully employed in stopping the mouths of gainsayers, in enlightening their blindness or subduing their contumacy, in confuting heretics by turning their own weapons upon them, and vindicating Divine truth from all those calumnies which are unjustly brought against it. But in the sublime mysteries of our religion reason has no more to do, when it is once satisfied and convinced of the revelation, but to receive from it those truths which by its own natural powers it never had been able to have found out.
II. THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUISITE IN THOSE THAT ARE TO RECEIVE THIS GREAT MYSTERY. "Them that fear Him." The fear of the Lord is the beginning of that wisdom which alone makes wise unto salvation; and that —
1. By a natural efficiency. Whoever loves the precepts of God, and delights to do what He commands, will meet with little difficulty in believing what He reveals. There is a natural and easy passage from loving to believing. True saving faith requires a devout and humble submission of the mind and heart, a complacency and delight and joy in the truths that it receives.
2. Besides this natural tendency, there are through the whole Scripture many signal examples, as well as positive promises, of faith and heavenly knowledge to a due and sincere practice of what we already know. Inferences —
(1) Since pride and self-concept and a too confident relying upon our own reason have been shown to be so dangerous and destructive of our holy faith, let us strive to attain a deep and true humility of spirit, and a just sense of our own natural blindness and infirmity. Let us avoid all curious and nice inquiries into things that are too high for us.
(2) Let us heartily and industriously and zealously set upon this work, the fulfilling the whole will of our Lord. Then there would soon be no remains of infidelity left in us; we should soon, then, to our unspeakable joy and satisfaction, feel, by a sincere and strict observance of the Christian duties, that we should no longer have any doubts or scruples of the Christian faith.
Parallel VersesKJV: The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.