Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Sermons
Characteristics of the Sacred ScripturesW. Jones Hebrews 4:12
Characteristics of the Word of GodD. Young Hebrews 4:12
SuccessJ.S. Bright Hebrews 4:11-13
An All-Seeing GodJ. Wesley.Hebrews 4:12-13
Conviction by the WordD. Livingstone.Hebrews 4:12-13
Effects of the BiblePasteur Hirsch.Hebrews 4:12-13
God a PersonJ. C. Miller, D. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
God is PresentK. Arvine.Hebrews 4:12-13
God Knows AllGold Dust.Hebrews 4:12-13
God Over AllH. Stowell, M. A.Hebrews 4:12-13
God Seeing All ThingsW. Burnet.Hebrews 4:12-13
God Sees AllHebrews 4:12-13
God with UsBaxendale's AnecdotesHebrews 4:12-13
God's Word to Us, and Our Word to GodDean Vaughan.Hebrews 4:12-13
It Finds MeHebrews 4:12-13
Omniscience IllustratedPreacher's Promptuary of AnecdoteHebrews 4:12-13
Our Relation to GodA. S. Patterson.Hebrews 4:12-13
Quick and PowerfulG. Lawson.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Cry of the Human Heart for a Personal GodC. Stanford, D. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Divine WordA. Saphir.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Mighty Power of the WordW. Jones, D. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Power of the Divine WordF. A. Cox, D. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Power of the Word of GodL. O. Thompson.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Self-Evidencing Power of the BibleH. Melvill, B. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Sword of the LordC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word a SwordC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of GodJ. Slade, M. A.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of GodWilliam Gurnall.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God Likened to a SwordF. Rendall, M. A.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word Self-RevealingM. Henry.Hebrews 4:12-13
Tile Living Word of GodT. C. Edwards, D. D.Hebrews 4:12-13
Watched by GodC. Hewitt.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God DiscoveringC. New Hebrews 4:12-16
For the Word of God is quick and powerful, etc. We take "the Word of God" here as meaning the sacred Scriptures, and the text as presenting to our notice several characteristics of them.

I. THE VITALITY OF GOD'S WORD. "The Word of God is quick," or, "living." Sometimes the written Word is spoken of as a "dead letter;" but with at least equal propriety it may be spoken of as a "living Word." "The Word of God, which liveth and abideth. For all flesh is as grass," etc. (1 Peter 1:23-25). We mention three evidences of the vitality of the Word of God.

1. Its continued and unimpaired existence notwithstanding innumerable, persistent, and powerful assaults. If these writings had not been instinct with a Divine life they would have been destroyed long ere this.

2. Its adaptation to all ages and all peoples. This book is as true and living for us today as it was for the men of the second century of our era; it is as applicable to the European as to the Asiatic.

3. Its inexhaustible interest. Like God's book of nature, it is endless in its significance and undiminishing in its attractiveness. Dr. Payne Smith has well said, "For nearly eighteen centuries men have thought and written upon that one Book, and if for eighteen more centuries men so write, yet will there still remain much that calls for fresh examination and fuller inquiry; new knowledge to be won, old truths to be better and more fully understood. The books of men have their day, and then grow obsolete. God's Word is like himself, 'the same yesterday, and today, and forever.' Time passes over it, but it ages not. Its power is as fresh as if God spake it but yesterday."

II. THE ENERGY OF GOD'S WORD. "Quick, and powerful," or active, or energizing. This power is seen:

1. In the conviction of men of sin. "Is not my Word like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" Its exhibition of infinite mercy has melted many a stubborn soul into genuine penitence.

2. In the conversion of sinners. "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." It is the instrument of spiritual regeneration. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth."

3. In the correction of faults and errors. "Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction," etc.

4. In the consolation of the mourner. "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope." "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and comfort, and consolation." "Comfort one another with these words."

5. In the sanctification of the believer. "Sanctify them in the truth: thy Word is truth." "Ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." "Sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth."

III. THE PENETRATION OF GOD'S WORD. "And sharper than any two-edged sword," etc. The Word of God is frequently compared to a sword. "The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." And to a two-edged sword. "Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." "As it is from the mouth that man's word proceeds; so this sword, not wielded in the hand, but proceeding from the mouth of the Son of God, is his Word (cf. Isaiah 49:2)." Here are two suggestions concerning the penetration of God's Word.

1. It searches the whole of man's nature. The "soul," i.e. man's animal soul; "spirit," i.e. man's religious spirit. By the former he is related to the brute creation; by the latter he is related to angels and to God himself, who is the "Father of spirits." The Word enters the heart and makes an impression there; it pierces through even to the spirit, and works mightily there. It divides "both joints and marrow;" it investigates the most interior and hidden parts of man's being.

2. It searches the whole of man's nature most rigorously. "Even to the dividing of soul and spirit;" not dividing the soul from the spirit, but dividing the soul itself and the spirit itself. This Word is not as an ordinary sword, but is "sharper than any two-edged sword;" and it does not as an ordinary sword cut to the bone, but through the bones and through the innermost marrow. So thoroughly and rigorously does the Word of God search man's moral nature.

IV. THE DISCRIMINATION OF GOD'S WORD. "And is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." It exercises a critical and separating power upon the thoughts and ideas, opinions and principles, of the heart. And it discovers to men the true moral character of their thoughts and intents, their opinions and principles. The Word of God frequently reveals man to himself. "The Bible," says Dr. Parker, "exposes the very innermost recesses of human nature; sets a light where no other hand ever placed a candle; lights up the pathways of our most secret life and thought; and we begin to feel that the book we must shut up when we are going to do evil is God's Book. This is the great hold, the sovereign mastery, which the Book of God has over the ages - that it knows us; that it gives articulation to our dumb reproaches; that it puts into the best words the things we reap against ourselves and cannot fully explain. Esaias knows us; Jeremiah has analyzed and dissected and anatomized us. It any man would know the human heart, he must read the human heart in God's Book."

"The sacred page
With calm attention scan! If on thy soul,
As thou dost read, a ray of purer light
Break in - oh, cheek it not; give it full scope!
Admitted, it will break the clouds which long
Have dimmed thy sight, and lead thee, till at last,
Convictions, like the sun's meridian beams,
Illuminate thy mind."


(Samuel Hayes.) = - W.J.







The Word of God is quick and powerful
It may be most accurate to interpret this passage as relating both to the Word of God incarnate, and the Word of God inspired. Christ and His Word must go together. What is true of the Christ is here predicated both of Him and of His Word.

I. First let me speak CONCERNING THE QUALITIES OF THE WORD OF GOD. It is "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword."

1. The Word of God is said to be "quick." It is a living Book. Take up any other book except the Bible, and there may be a measure of power in it, but there is not that indescribable vitality in it which breathes, and speaks, and pleads, and conquers in the case of this sacred volume. It is a living and incorruptible seed. It moves, it stirs itself, it lives, it communes with living men as a living Word. That human system which was once vigorous may grow old, and lose all vitality; but the Word of God is always fresh, and new, and full of force. Here, in the Old and New Testaments, we have at once the oldest and the newest of books.

2. The Word is said to be "powerful," or "active." The Word of God is powerful for all sacred ends. How powerful it is to convince men of sin! How powerful it is for conversion!

3. Next, the apostle tells us that this Word is cutting, A sword with two edges has no blunt side: it cuts both this way and that. The revelation of God given us in Holy Scripture is edge all over. It is alive in every part, and in every part keen to cut the conscience, and wound the heart. Depend upon it, there is not a superfluous verse in the Bible, nor a chapter which is useless. Doctors say of certain drugs that they are inert — they have no effect upon the system one way or the other. Now, there is not an inert passage in the Scriptures; every line has its virtues.

4. It is piercing. While, it has an edge like a sword, it has also a point like a rapier. The difficulty with some men's hearts is to get at them. In fact, there is no spiritually penetrating the heart of any natural man except by this piercing instrument, the Word of God. Into the very marrow of the man the sacred truth will pass, and find him out in a way in which he cannot even find himself out.

5. The Word of God is discriminating. It divides asunder soul and spirit. Nothing else could do that, for the division is difficult.

6. Once more, the Word of God is marvellously revealing to the inner self. It pierces between the joints and marrow, and marrow is a thing not to be got at very readily. The Word of God gets at the very marrow of our manhood; it lays bare the secret thoughts of the soul.

II. SOME LESSONS.

1. Let us greatly reverence the Word of Cod.

2. Let us, whenever we feel ourselves dead, and especially in prayer, get close to the Word, for the Word of God is alive.

3. Whenever we feel weak in our duties, let us go to the Word of God, and the Christ in the Word, for power; and this will be the best of power.

4. If you need as a minister, or a worker, anything that will cut your hearers to the heart, go to this Book for it.

5. If we want to discriminate at any time between the soul and the spirit, and the joints and marrow, let us go to the Word of God for discrimination.

6. And lastly, since this Book is meant to be a discerner or critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart, let the Book criticise us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. ITS JUDGING POWER.

1. It is living and energetic.

2. It cuts both ways.

(1)With the one edge it corrects and converts.

(2)With the other it condemns and destroys adversaries.

II. ITS DIVIDING POWER.

1. It divides the soul from the spirit, i.e., the lower animal nature from the higher, spiritual and eternal.

2. It divides so closely as to lay bare everything in man's composite nature.

III. ITS DISCERNING POWER.

1. It shows the moral nature of what is interior and hidden in mental operations.

2. It shows the moral nature of what is revolving in desire, and forming itself into volition and action.

IV. REFLECTIONS.

1. The Word of God enters the conscience to convert or to smite.

2. It searches out what has hitherto lain buried in the heart, and uncovers the false and transient from what is true and eternal.

3. It opens a man to himself, so that he may know himself in his moral actions and accountability.

4. Since its powers are so peculiar, let us not resist the Word of God.

5. No one can for ever despise it with impunity.

(L. O. Thompson.)

We may affirm of the Bible, that he who reads it with attention, will find his own portrait given with so much accuracy, his heart so dissected and laid bare for his inspection, that there will be nothing left for him but to confess that the Author of the Bible knew him better than he knew himself; knew him better than he would have been known by any being who could not read the thoughts and search the spirit. Is there any one of you who has read so little of the Bible, or read it with so little attention, that he has never found his own case described — described with so surprising an accuracy, that he felt as though he himself must have sat for the portrait? When Scripture insists on the radical corruption of the heart, on its native enmity to God, and on all its deceitfulness, is there any one of us who will fail to allow that the affirmations are every way just, supposing his own heart to be that of which the affirmations are made? And when over and above its more general statements the Bible descends, as it often does, into particulars; when it speaks of the proneness of man to prefer a transient good to an enduring; the objects in sight, however inconsiderable, to those of faith, however magnificent; when it mentions the subterfuges of those whose conscience has been disquieted; when it shows the vain hopes, the false theories, the lying visions with which men suffer themselves to be cheated, or, rather, with which, they cheat themselves, who is there amongst us who will venture to deny that the representation tallies most nicely either with what he is, or with what he was — with what he is, if he have never repented and sought forgiveness of sin; with what be was if his nature has been renewed by the operations of God's Spirit? If there be anything like honesty in the mind of the student of Scripture, he must, we are persuaded, be continually startled in his pursuit, in finding his ,own thoughts and motives and designs set in order before him. And if this be true, then, as is very evident, there belongs to the Bible the character which is assigned to it in the words of our text. And though it may seem somewhat extraordinary that notwithstanding the confessed diversity in human character, we should thus make a simple description serve as the moral portrait of countless individuals, you will remember, that practically, all men are alike; the differences are only superficial, so that Solomon could affirm that — "as in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man." The face in the water is not a more accurate copy of the face of the beholder, than is the heart of one man a copy of any other man's. And, therefore, with all the differences which there may be amongst men, differences in dispositions and tempers, partly from nature and partly from education, we still take the Scriptural characteristic as actually belonging to every one; and holding up this characteristic, we affirm that we hold up the perfect image or likeness of each man or each woman, without a solitary exception; and we boldly make our appeal to every hearer of the Word, and demand of him whether the preacher do not morally affect such an exhibition of him to himself, that that Word may most justly be described as — "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"? But, now, there remains a most important question — how comes it to pass that if the Word of God possess this dissecting power, so that it lays man bare and exposes to his own eye all the secrecies of his soul — how comes it to pass that so little effect is actually produced? This is only because the hearers are utterly inattentive; because they give no heed whatever to the statements of the preacher; but go through the business of the sanctuary as a matter of form, in which they have no interest. It is no marvel if to such as these the Word of God should not be as a "sword." They may be said to clothe themselves in that thick armour, the armour of indifference, and though dissection may be going on all around, they ward off from themselves the knife of the anatomist. But there is another class of hearers on whom considerable impression is often made by the preaching of the gospel, who, while they remain in church, and are actually hearkening to the solemn truths of religion, feel an interest in what is said, feel its power, and wish to use it for their guidance; and in whom there seems the best moral promise presented of such an attempt at amendment of life, as would issue in genuine conversion. Are there not some who would be ready to own that sermons have occasionally had on them a mighty and almost overcoming effect; so that they have felt constrained to give full assent to the truths uttered in their hearing, though these truths have convicted them of heinous offences, and proved them placed in terrible danger. If the man thus exhibited to himself, startled with the moral deformity which he has been forced to behold, would strive at once to act on the disclosure, and set about procuring a renovation of his nature, he would be immeasurably advantaged by the spectacle of his own sinfulness — soul and spirit will have been divided by conviction of sin, only to the becoming united in the blessed hope of forgiveness through Christ. But if he contents himself with having heard, and do not immediately and intently strive to act on its requirements, what is to be looked for, but that he will speedily lose all those feelings which have been excited within him, as the process went forward of dissecting the inner man? And then there will be no conversion, though there have been conviction, and that, too, through his own listlessness, his own indifference, and not through any want of truth in this emphatic declaration — "The Word of God is quick and powerful," &c. Now, let us recur again to that very important and interesting matter, the self-evidencing power of the Bible. We send a missionary to a barbarous tribe; he settles down amongst the savages; but he can employ no miracle; he can work no wonders to fix the attention, and win the confidence of his wild auditory. You would think there was no chance of his making any way with these barbarians. He seems to have nothing at his disposal by which the pretensions of Christianity may be substantiated. If he could heal the sick; if he could hush the elements; if he could raise the dead; then, indeed, the wild denizens of the distant land might be expected to give ear to him as a messenger from heaven; but just standing as a defenceless stranger on their shores, what probability is there of success when he proceeds to denounce their ancestral superstitions, summoning them away from idols that they had invested with all the sacredness of Divine, and declaring as the alone Saviour of mankind, a Being who died centuries back as a malefactor? But experience is all against you when you would conclude that Christianity cannot make way without miracle. The simple preaching of the sinfulness of man, and of the sacrifice of Christ, has proved a mighty engine in the hands of the missionary; and though he have done nothing but faithfully deliver his message, making no attempt at supporting its authority by an appeal to external evidence, yet have converts flocked in from the mass of idolators, and a moral regeneration has gone out over the long degraded territory. And what account do we give of this phenomenon? Shall we say that Christianity has been admitted without proof? The matter of fact is, that the gospel of Christ carries with it its own credentials. Wherever it is preached, there is a conscience to act upon; amid all the derangements of humanity, a sense of right and wrong is never wholly extinguished, but even where that nature is most sunken, the principle is in action which applauds the cause of virtue and utters a protest against vice; and which, stirring up forebodings when the mind looks onward to death, witnesses powerfully to our living under a retributive government. Conscience is everywhere man's attribute; therefore Christianity has everywhere an evidence.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

The Word of God may here mean the gospel revelation in all its fulness, especially as contrasted with that under the law; the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ.

1. "The Word of God is quick." This is an ancient expression that signifies living: it occurs in our Creed and in our Advent Collect, "the quick and the dead." This use of the word is frequent in Scripture (see John 5:21; John 6:63; Romans 8:11). Stephen, in Acts 7., describes the ancient Scriptures as "the lively (or living) oracles," those testimonies from God, by which at that time the means of life were communicated. We now inquire, what is the meaning of the Word of God giving life. And clearly it relates to an operation upon the soul of man, to some new state of being generated and produced. A new store of knowledge is brought to the understanding; a flood of light is poured in which arrays every object in a new colour; an influence works upon the affections by which they are refined and changed, made to delight in new purposes and pursuits, to flow in a new channel, and raised from earth to heaven. The Word and its accompanying grace, with its doctrines, and promise, and ordinances, with the manifold ministrations of the Spirit, brings the mind altogether into a new condition. And by the hearing of the Word, and the deep study of the Word, and by the willing and faithful acceptance of all that it reveals, this life of God in the soul is maintained; renewed as it languishes from its corrupt communication with earth, and daily carried on to further advancement and strength. The Word is "quick and powerful": energetic, active. It has the power because it has life. The life is such as to exert a perpetual energy within us: we might say, powerfully alive. It will move upon the mass of corruption; it will convince of sin; it will change the love of sin into the love of holiness; and will, if applied and carried out by the Church's wisdom, bring the wayward and ungodly affections into a stale of self-denying discipline, into humble submission to the Divine will.

2. The text moreover declares that the Word "is sharper than any two-edged sword." This figure seems to be borrowed from the prophets (Isaiah 49:2; Hosea 6:5). St. Paul in Ephesians 6. speaks of "the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God." The Word of God has always been found, from the beginning, capable of penetrating deeply into the heart of a sinner; of producing a sudden and terrible alarm in the conscience, of striking conviction into the trembling frame, and lowering the rebel to the ,lust. To the humble, pious, faithful disciple also the Word of God is a sharp instructor, a penetrating sword; often bringing truths to remembrance, which in mortal weakness had been forgotten; often giving a new colour and force to truths already in the mind. And how quick, and mighty, and prevailing are the truths of the gospel for the furtherance of grace, and the increase of heavenly comfort in the soul; depths of wisdom newly discovered; rays of consolation beaming forth; lights of unearthly brightness successively rising to the eye of faith.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

I. THE QUALITIES OF THE WORD.

1. Divine.

2. Living.

3. Effectual.

4. Cutting.

5. Piercing.

6. Discriminating.

7. Revealing.

II. THE LESSONS WHICH WE SHOULD LEARN THEREFROM.

1. That we do greatly reverence the Word, as truly spoken of God.

2. That we come to it for quickening for our own souls.

3. That we come to it for power when fighting the battles of truth.

4. That we come to it for cutting force to kill our own sins and to help us in destroying the evils of the day.

5. That we come to it, for piercing force when men's consciences and hearts are hard to reach.

6. That we use it to the most obstinate, to arouse their consciences and convict them of sin.

7. That we discriminate by its means between truth and falsehood.

8. That we let it criticise us, and our opinions, and projects, and acts, and all about us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE MIGHTY EFFECTS OF THE DIVINE WORD AS THEY ARE HERE DESCRIBED.

1. The characteristics of the Divine Word, as "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," are illustrated by its effects upon the intellect of man. The carnal mind rebels against, and, by subtle sophistries, attempts to deny its truth; but it has a powerful influence upon the understanding, spiritualising that understanding, and enabling it to discern spiritual things. It carries with it undoubtable credence, and forces the reluctant will and judgment. Its doctrines, how heavenly! its precepts, how holy!

2. The effect of this Word upon the conscience, in convincing of sin and producing godly sorrow, is an illustration of the description in this passage. It is common to view sin, even when it is acknowledged and condemned by the transgressor, in the light simply of its effects on society, or the injury it inflicts on a man's own reputation, property, or health; but when the Divine Word penetrates the soul with a convertine power, it is no longer regarded with reference only to its personal or temporal consequences, but as an atrocious violation of the law and an insult to the glory of God. "Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight." Then again, with regard to the conscience, the Word of God is quick and powerful, for it annihilates the spirit of self-defence, extenuation, and apology, together with those self-righteous principles which exist in the unregenerate man.

3. The characteristics of this Divine Word are manifested in the effects of it upon the heart, in producing sanctification. This, too, is a severe progress, involving much struggle and self-denial. Hence the Word of God is not only a two edged sword in respect to conviction, but in respect to its operations in perfecting religion and preparing us for eternal glory.

4. The operation of truth is sometimes remarkably " quick " as well as "powerful." A remarkable instance of its quick and mighty operation is recorded in the conversion of Paul.

5. The potent influence of the Word is often for a long period concealed from the outward world in the depths of the soul. It is thus a "discerner of the thoughts."

II. THE CONCLUSIONS TO BE DRAWN FROM THESE STATEMENTS.

1. The representation of the text ought to enhance our estimation of the Divine Word. It is doing what all the philosophy in the world could never do. How ought we then to estimate it?

2. We should be induced to employ the most zealous efforts for the circulation of the Divine Word by means of printed copies, and the support of Christian ministrations, both at home and abroad.

3. The characteristics of the Divine Word as given in the text, which we have endeavoured to illustrate, should induce the individual inquiry, What am I doing to obstruct or to sustain its influence in my own soul? You must by the very necessity of the ease, having heard the Word, either receive or reject it.

(F. A. Cox, D. D.)

The same illustration is used by St. Paul, by Philo, and in the Book of Wisdom, but with a different application in each case. St. Paul likens the Word of God to the sword of the warrior, used as a weapon of the faith (Ephesians 6:17); the Book of Wisdom compares the almighty Word of God to a sharp sword, but uses a different word for "sword," evidently designating the sword of the destroying am, of, which executed God's mandate on the first-born of Egypt (Wisd. 18:16). Philo dwells on the searching and penetrative power of the Word as that which severs all things. In this passage the ideas of the two last authors are combined by way of warning to the disobedient; the Word of God is compared to the sword of the executioner, piercing with its double edge the very heart of the victim. Like the sword, it searches out evil and destroys it; but it is sharper than the sword, because it penetrates into the region of spiritual life, whereas the sword can only divide joints and marrow, and its power is limited to the animal life. The images are borrowed from a court of justice, where the guilty is brought before his judge, convicted, and executed:

(F. Rendall, M. A.)

The latter word explains the former; for those things that are living are said to be active in opposition to such things which are dead, which have lost their power; and to be lively and very active are many times the same; and this signifies the efficacy and active power of this law. This active vigour and efficacy is illustrated by a similitude. For the law is compared to a two-edged sword, which, being used by a powerful and skilful hand, doth manifest how sharp and cutting it is; for it pierceth quickly into the inward parts, and divideth between soul and spirit, and the bones and marrow, which are most nearly united, and more hidden and secret in living bodies. So that in the similitude we have two acts of a sword, or any such cutting instrument. The first is, dividing things most nearly united. The second, discovering things most secret. There cannot be any more perfect division or discovery in any dissection or anatomy than is here expressed.

(G. Lawson.)

"The Word of God is living," because He who speaks the Word is the living God. It acts with mighty energy, like the silent laws of nature, which destroy or save alive, according as men obey or disobey them. It cuts like a sword whetted on each side of the blade, piercing through to the place where the natural life of the soul divides from, or passes into, the supernatural life of the spirit. For it is revelation that has made known to man his possession of the spiritual faculty. The word " spirit" is used by heathen writers. But in their books it means only the air we breathe. The very conception of the spiritual is enshrined in the bosom of God's Word. Further, the Word of God pierces to the joints that connect the natural and the supernatural. It does not ignore the former. On the contrary, it addresses itself to man's reason and conscience, in order to erect the supernatural upon nature. Where reason stops short, the Word of God appeals to the supernatural faculty of faith; and when conscience grows blunt, the Word makes conscience, like itself, sharper than any two-edged sword. Once more, the Word of God pierces to the marrow. It reveals to man the innermost meaning of his own nature and of the supernatural planted within him. The truest morality and the highest spirituality are both the direct product of God's revelation. But all this is true in its practical application to every man individually. The power of the Word of God to create distinct dispensations and yet maintain their fundamental unity, to distinguish between masses of men and yet cause all the separate threads of human history to converge and at last meet, is the same power which judges the inmost thoughts and inmost purposes of the heart. These it surveys with critical judgment. If its eye is keen, its range of vision is also wide. No created thing but is seen and manifest. The surface is bared, and the depth within is opened up before it. As the upturned neck of the sacrificial beast lay bare to the eye of God, so are we exposed to the eye of Him to whom we have to give our account.

(T. C. Edwards, D. D.)

We are here at the end of a long argument. Close attention is required to follow the steps of it. But the general idea is simple. There is a rest of God which is the goal of the long race of the human creation. It has been so from the beginning. It was realised by the old patriarchs as their true city and country, while they lived the tent-life here. It was typified in the promise of Canaan — typified, but certainly not fulfilled — more certainly not exhausted. Long ages after the entrance of Israel into Canaan, a psalmist speaks (by clear implication) of God's rest as still open, still liable to be forfeited, therefore still capable of being attained. Nothing certainly has occurred since the psalmist's day which could be supposed to have cancelled promise by performance. The rest of God is still in reserve for His true people. Let us give diligence to enter into it. Let us not forfeit it, as one whole generation forfeited Canaan, by unbelief. Thus we reach the double text, which tells of the impossibility of eluding God's judgment by any differences of circumstance, or by any counterfeits of character. "The Word of God," His utterance in judging, His discernment of character, His estimate of conduct, is no dead or dormant thing; it is living and active; it is sharper than any two-edged sword; it divides and discriminates where man sees only the inseparable; " soul and spirit," the immaterial part of us in one aspect and the same immaterial part of us in another aspect, it can cleave in twain; thoughts and feelings, exercises of intellect and exercises of affection, it is apt and quick to distinguish between and to pronounce upon. No created being can wear mask or veil in that Presence; all things are bare and naked, all things are exposed and opened; the head that would bend and bow itself, in conscious guilt and shame, before the fierce light of the Presence, is lifted (such perhaps is the figure) and thrown back in full exposure before the eye of the Examiner and the Judge, "unto whom," so the sentence ends, "our word is"; " with whom" — according to the beautiful paraphrase which no later version will wish or dare to improve away — "with whom we have to do."

I. "THE WORD OF GOD." There are many such words. There is a Word of God in Nature. Order diversified, which is a true description of Nature, tells of a power which is no brute force; in other words, of a mind at work in its exercise. There is a Word of God in Providence. Consequence modified, which is a true description of Providence, tells of a power working which is no mechanical agency; in other words, of a mind purposing, and realising that purpose in ceaseless processes of adaptation. There is not sound only, but voice in both these — a voice implying a personality, and a voice presupposing an auditor. The Epistle from which the texts come carries us beyond this vaguer and more general Divine utterance to another of which the very "differentia" is the personality. God, it says, having of old time spoken in the prophets — utterers of His truth in sundry modes and manifold particulars — spoke to us at the end of "these days" — at the dividing line, as it were, of present and future, of time and eternity — in One, of whom the title — the unique, incommunicable title — is "Son." "The Word of God," if not a person, is yet a personal communication, as much in the voice that utters as in the ear that hears. This Word was a voice before it was a Book. The living Life wrote itself upon other lives; they in their turn wrote it upon others, ere yet a page of Gospel Scripture was written — on purpose that the distinction between ,' letter" and "spirit" might be kept ever fresh and vital, on purpose that the characteristic of the new revelation might never fade or be lost sight of, how that it is God speaking in His Son, God speaking, and God bidding man to make reply. But where would the Word have been by this time, left to itself — left, I mean, to echo and tradition? It pleased God by His holy inspiration to move and to guide the pen of living men; and it pleased Him by His Providence wonderfully to watch over the thing written; and it pleased Him in days when there was neither scholarship to revise nor machinery to multiply the writing, to put such love into hearts for those perishable fugitive scrolls of rude, almost hieroglyphic, manuscript, that they were treasured up in cells and churches as the most precious of heirlooms; and it pleased Him at last to stimulate into a marvellous inventiveness His own gift — grace we might well call it — of human reason, so that the completed volume of the once scattered "Biblia" was multiplied by the new miracle of the printing press into the myriad "Bibles," which are now sown broadcast over the surface of the inhabited globe. "There are," St. Paul says, "so many kinds of voices in the world" — say a hundred, say a thousand — "and no one of them is without signification." Even the Divine voices are many. There is a word of God in nature, and there is a word of God in providence; there is a word of God in science, and there is a word of God in history; there is a word of God in the Church, and there is a word of God in the Bible. And yet all these are external, as such, to the very "spirit of the man that is in him." The Word of God, which is the real speech and utterance of all these voices, comes at last to the man himself in conscience. I speak not now of that more limited sense of conscience in which it is the guiding and warning voice within, saying, "This is the way of duty, walk thou in it." The word of God in conscience is more, much more, than this. It is that of which our Lord said, in reference to the volume of His own evidences, "Yea, and why even of yourselves," without waiting for sign or portent, "judge ye not what is right?" You can discern the face of the earth and of the sky; you can infer from certain indications the approach of shower or heat. Bow is it that ye cannot infer Deity from the Divine — the Emmanuel presence from the Emmanuel character? The appeal was to conscience, not so much in its sensitiveness to right and wrong, as in its appreciativeness of the false and the true, of God speaking this and God not speaking that. Thus it is that the Word of God, as it at last reaches the spirit and soul of the man, is the net result of a thousand separate sayings, no one of which by itself is the absolute arbiter of the being. It cannot become this till it has made itself audible to the conscience. Till then it is suggestive, it is contributory, it is evidential, it is not the verdict, nor the judgment, nor the sentence, nor the "Word.'" There is no encouragement to the dallying, to the procrastinating, to the fastidiousness and the waywardness, which is characteristic of the generation. On the contrary, it is a trumpet call to decision. It says, there is a word of God somewhere. The Word of God is a personal word — it speaks to the personal being, as God made and as God sees him. We seem yet to lack one thing. The Word speaks in con-science — speaks to the consciousness — but who speaks it? The "Word" itself, to be audible as such, must have become the Spirit's voice; then it takes of the things of God and speaks them into the conscience, which is the consciousness of the man.

II. THESE IS ALSO A WORD OF OURS TO GOD. "Unto Him our word is." The particular point in the view of the holy writer was that of accountability. God speaks in judgment, and we speak to give account. The first readers were on the eve of a terrible crisis. They had to choose between Christianity and Judaism, between religion and patriotism, almost therefore between duty and duty. It was reasonable to speak to them of the Word which is a two-edged sword in discriminating, and of the word which pleads guilty or not guilty at the bar of judgment. We also are passing through a great crisis. You will think that I speak of some political or national crisis. But I do not. I speak of a crisis greater even than these — greater (shall I dare the paradox?) because less great — greater because individual. The crisis of which I speak is that life-long trial, in which each one of us is standing before God's judgment-seat, and upon the decision of which depends for each one a future not to be measured by years, and not to be told in terms of human speech. The text says of this crisis, of this trial, that it is the interchange, so to speak, of two "words" — the dialogue, I had almost said, of two speakers — the word of God judging, and the word of the man making answer and giving account. "With whom we have to do." Our word of account is to God. Oh, if we could take the thought home, what an effect would it have upon the life! What an independence, what a dignity would it give to it! How would it put an end to that running to and fro to give in our account, which makes so many lives so servile and so contemptible? What pains do we take to please, to give satisfaction, to win applause, to be admired if it may be so, at all events to avoid censure one of another. What haste do we make to explain, to excuse, to apologise for, to daub with obtrusive whitewash, our little dubious acts, our little unfortunate speeches. What a forgetfulness do we see everywhere, and first of all in ourselves, of the great principle of the " Godward Word," of the "with whom we have to do" of this text. What a weight, what an influence, what a sanctity, what an inspiration, would be given to our common words, to our every-day remarks and comments upon men and things, if we carried about us that indefinable something, which says, in tones more persuasive in proportion as they are less obtrusive, "This man knows" and feels that he has to do with God! " And all this sets in strong light the duty of doing it. It shows us what is meant by self-examination, what is meant by confession. "With Him," directly and personally, "we have to do." Just to carry to God Himself, in the nightly confessional where we meet the one Judge, just the very thing itself which we did wrong, which we said wrong, just in so many words, that very day which is now being gathered to its parent days — ""hat is the Christian evensong. So judging ourselves, we shall not be judged. The "Word" of account was the first thought of the text. But it is not the only one. It is not perhaps the most beautiful or the most attractive. The spirit of the man has other words besides this to utter in the ear with which it has to do. The speech of God is to me, and my speech is to Him. Might we but enter into this conception, what an elevation, what a grandeur would it give to the life! The speech of God is to thee — His discourse, His self-disclosure, His mind uttering itself, His Spirit breathing itself in converse. And my speech is to Him — my discourse, my self-disclosure, my uttered mind, my soul expressing itself in audible thought. What is this but to give to the life itself a new Christian name, at the font of a spiritual baptism, and to send it forth afresh into all the relationships and all the occupations of the being, having this for its title — Conversation with God? "As a man talketh with his friend," was God's own account of His communication with the hero-saint of Israel — then it was the privilege of the one or two, now it is the very birthright and citizenship of the promiscuous world of the redeemed. There is yet one condition more — we will end with it. The speech of the man to his God must presuppose and proceed upon the speech of God to the man. The two "words" of which the texts tell are not independent words. The conversation is not between two equals, either of whom must contribute his share to the instruction and enjoyment of the meeting. The incommensureableness, in nature and dignity, of the two speakers, while it forbids not freedom in the inferior, forbids presumption; nay, precludes it as a tone and a feeling which would jar upon, and jangle out of tune, the very melody and harmony of the converse. God speaks, and man makes reply. It is not that on equal terms and with equal rights God and the man meet together to think out and to talk out the thing that was, and that is, and that shall be. "The world by its wisdom knew not God." "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." The Word of God came, and the word of man made reply on the strength of it. This consecrates for him the new and living way, by which, not in hesitation, not as a peradventure, but in calm faith and trust — not forgetting the realities of sin and the Fall, but seeing them at once recognised and overborne by a mightier revelation of love — the " word " of the man meets the "Word" of his God, on the strength of that "Word made flesh," which is the reconciler and the harmoniser of the two.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Goliath's sword not like to this. David said of that, none to it; but none to this. Lord give it to us. This sword can hew in pieces the most stony heart in the world; to see what blindness in the understanding, what frowardness in the affections. It will lay the heart open, and betray the secret filthiness, and all the sluttish corners of sin that be in it. When the preacher is speaking, the Word doth so pierce the hearts of the hearers, as that many in the church imagine that the preacher is acquainted with their sins. You shall find it to be a lively and mighty Word, one way or other, either to save you or to condemn you. It is lively and mighty in the godly, to kill sin within them, to raise them up unto newness of life. Was it not mighty in David, making him cry, "Peccavi"? in Josiah, making his heart to melt? in Manasseh, when, of the most horrible idolator that was ever heard of, it made him a zealous worshipper Of the true God? in Zaccheus, when it made him to forsake his oppression and to restore fourfold? in Mary Magdalen, when it cast out seven devils out of her? in those three thousand souls, when, pricked in their hearts, they went to the apostles? in the city of Samaria, when it made them to abjure Simon Magus and to listen to St. Philip? Was it not mighty by twelve men, over all the world, when it subdued by their ministry all nations to Christ? There may be a dark and misty morning; the sun comes, scatters the mist, clears the air, and makes it a bright day. So the whole world was shadowed with the mist of blindness, and the fog of sin. The Word comes forth like the sun, and introduces the knowledge of Christ and of His gospel into all the world. O mighty Word! Let us all acknowledge the power of this wonderful Word. Who is able to stand before this might, Word? It is lively and mighty too, even in the very reprobate. Sometimes they may be senseless, and have no feeling of the cutting of the Word, as those in Jeremiah; nay, they may even scoff at the Word preached, as the Pharisees did (Luke 16:14); their consciences may be seared up, and feel not the sword when it cutteth; as they that be in a lethargy, they may inwardly fret and fume, be in a pelting chafe with the preacher for reproving sins, as Ahab with Micaiah, and Jezebel with Elias, yet but like mad dogs, that sit biting of the chain wherewith they are tied, but not break the chain. So they may snap at the preacher and the Word, but they themselves have the hurt; yet for all that, at one time or other, God will make them to feel the power of His Word and the strength of this mighty arm of His.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

We are familiar with the Word of God. Like Israel, we possess this treasure in our country, in our families. But, thankful as we ought to be for this great privilege, do we know also the majesty and the power of the Word of God? Do we know that, in possessing, reading, and knowing the Scripture, we are under a mighty, solemn, and decisive influence, and that this Word judges us now, and will judge us at the last day? The expressions which are used here of the Word of God are all applicable to Christ Himself; for He is living, He is the power of God, He came for judgment into the world, He is the Searcher of hearts, His eyes are like a flame of fire. But the reference is to the spoken and written Word. The Scripture, as the written Word, is according to Christ and of Christ; and by it Christ is heard, received, and formed in the soul. Of this written Word, of which Christ is centre and end, as well as author and method, which is inspired by the Holy Ghost and sent by God, the gospel message is the kernel. And hence it is this gospel which especially is called the Word.

1. The Word is living (Revelation 1:18, Greek; John 5:21, 24, 26; John 6:63, 68). God is called the Living One; and Christ the Lord calls Himself the Living One. He is the life, He has life in Himself, and He came to quicken and to give us life abundantly. And the Word which proceedeth out of the mouth and heart of God, the Word of which Christ is the substance, and which is given and watched over by the Spirit, is also living; for God's words are spirit and life. The Word is the seed, which appears insignificant, but which if received in good ground shows its vitality. Hence it is by this Word that souls are born again unto eternal life.

2. The living Word is powerful or energetic. It is compared to the seed which possesses vitality and power. We can see the power or energy of the Word when it fills those that hear and receive it with strong emotions, filling them with fear and terror, with grief and contrition; we can see its power in the sudden and striking changes it produces, when the thoughtless and worldly, the selfish and depraved, are arrested and quickened by its mighty power. But while the earthquake and the fire declare the approach of the Lord, it is in the still small voice that the Lord at last appears to take up His permanent abode. There are the hidden flowers of humility, of forgiving love, of patience and meekness; there are the unseen and unknown daily conflicts and victories; there is the crucifixion of the old man, and the constant renewal of the resurrection-life; and these are especially the triumphs of the power of the Word.

3. The Word cannot be living and energetic without being also a sword, dividing and separating, with piercing and often painful sharpness, that which in our natural state lies together mixed and confused. It comes not to flatter and to soothe; it comes not to encourage us with half-true, half-false encomiums; it does not call the flesh Spirit, but condemns it as flesh and enmity against God. It leads you into the lower Christian life (John 3:30); it discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart, the hidden self-complacency, the hidden ambition and self-will; it enters into the very joints and marrow, the energies and sentiments, the motives and springs of our actions, the true character of our rejoicing and mourning, our elevations and depressions; and then you say with the apostle: I have no confidence in the flesh, in my old nature, in me, body, soul, and spirit, as I am of Adam. I dare not trust the sweetest frame. I cannot call my "holy things" holy, for they are full of sin. The Word of God enters into my inmost soul and heart-life, and as a judge both unveils and condemns; what hitherto was hidden, is uncovered; what was disguised, unveiled; what was falsely called good and spiritual, appears now in the bright light of God's countenance; the thoughts and intents of the hearts are discerned. Thus am I brought into God's presence, as when I first was convinced of my sin and my guilt; but I feel more abased, and with a deeper knowledge and sorrow I exclaim: I am vile, and abhor myself in dust and ashes. On, where is Christ? I wish to be found in Him. I wish Him to live in me. What is there in me pleasing to God? Oh that Christ would sing, pray, love, live in me! When the Word thus dwells in us, we give glory to God, and we are spiritually-minded. We live not on mere notions and impressions; we begin to apply our knowledge to our actual state and to our daily walk: we are delivered from hypocrisy, which is since the Fall the great disease of mankind.

(A. Saphir.)

It was Coleridge, if we remember aright, who, in giving one of the grand internal evidences of the inspiration of the Blade, as derived from his own experience, use t the idiomatic and significant expression, "It flints me."

A dealer in low publications taunted me about the Bible. I begged her to take a copy and read it. She said, "I shall sell it." "That is your affair," I replied. I lost sight of her for three weeks. When I returned to her kiosk all her immoral publications had disappeared. "Oh!" she cried, on seeing me, "I am delivered; this book has saved me from dishonour. No, no, I will not sell it. I and my husband now read it together, and with the children." This morning this dear old woman told me that in two neighbouring families the Holy Bible is read, "And," says she, "it has absolutely had the same effect with them as with us."

(Pasteur Hirsch.)

The Word will turn the inside of a sinner out, and let him see all that is in his heart.

(M. Henry.)

The Bechuanas are excellent patients. There is no wincing. In any operation even the women sit unmoved. I have been quite astonished, again and again, at their calmness. In clotting out a tumour, an inch in diameter, they sit and talk as if they felt nothing. "A man like me never cries," they say; " they are children that cry." And it is a fact that the men never cry. But when the Spirit of God works on their minds they cry most piteously. Sometimes in church they endeavoured to screen themselves from the eyes of the preacher by hiding under the forms, or covering their heads with their karosses, as a remedy against their convictions. And when they find that won't do they rush out of the church and run with all their might, crying as if the hand of death were behind them.

(D. Livingstone.)

The Word of God is too sacred a thing, and preaching too solemn a work to be toyed and played with, as is the usage of some who make a sermon but matter of wit and fine oratory. If we mean to do good we must come unto men's hearts, not in word only, but with power. Satan moves not for a thousand squibs and wit-cracks of rhetoric. Draw, therefore, this sword out of your scabbard and strike with its raked edge; this you will find the only way to pierce your people's consciences and fetch blood of their sins.

(William Gurnall.)

The eyes of Him with whom we have to do
I. We have to do with God fundamently and pre-eminently as our CREATOR Whence came we? How are we? What are we? Who made us? "He made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." Now, if God made us, and not we ourselves, if the faculties of our mind, if the energies of our heart, if the wondrous proportions of our body, are all from Him, then can we ever be separate from God? can we ever cease to have that relationship to Him that the creature has to the Creator, the relationship that a child has to a parent? A parent has a claim upon a child as long as it lives. We have to do, then, with a God of love as our Creator.

II. We have to do with God as our PRESERVER. Strange that men live on year after year and go up and down, sleeping and waking, toiling and resting, mourning and rejoicing, and yet they can forget how it is that they live and continue in life; how it is that reason still holds its seat; how it is that the heart still throbs; how it is that the harp strings are kept in tune; how it is they are not continually tormented with anguish, distemper, and distress: can any man account for this? If we did not make ourselves, if we did not string the harp, we cannot keep it attuned; if we did not form the mechanism we cannot keep it from decay and dissolution. There is no independent life but in the one Fountain of all life, and all other life is a life of dependence — a dependence of the creature on the Creator, of the thing made upon the Maker, of the thing living on Him that gave it life. We have to do with Him as our Creator; we must have to do with Him in sickness and health, in peril and in safety, in life and in death, in madness and in reason, in the lunatic asylum or the house of prayer; we must have to do with Him as our Creator. "Sir," said a poor maniac, that had escaped from bedlam, and was passing along the streets of London, to a gentleman he met at the angle of one of the streets, "did you ever thank God for reason?" The man stared, and said, "I cannot say that I ever did." "Then do so now, for I have lost mine I " said the poor man. And well I remember, when attending the deathbed of one who died of that most fearful disease, hydrophobia, as, in the agony of the spasms of disease, she grasped my hind until it ached, I repeated to her many of those beautiful prayers of ours, in one of which you have, or ought to have been joining, the thanksgiving, "We bless Time for our creation, preservation"; and she said, with a shriek, "Oh preservation, preservation, how we forget it; look at me, and let none who know it ever forget it again!" Yes, preservation.

III. We have to do with Him as our bounteous BENEFACTOR, our gracious Attender, and the Fatherly Provider of all we have. Whether a man is racked with pain all his life, or disordered, as some are, from their mother's womb; whether he is blessed with health and a cheerful mind, or if he has anything that relieves him in this vale of tears, any flower that blooms in the desert, any star that brightens the dark sky of our fallen lot; is it not all from God? It is a terrible thought that men have to do with God in all that they have, and abuse, and prostrate to their own destruction; it is all from God, and they cannot say in one thing they have that it is not from Him. How this should make us reconciled, however He may deprive us; how we should be grateful for anything we have, for anything short of hell is the gift of his grace, to us who are deserving of hell; and, therefore, we ought to say, oh! how often, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name."

IV. We have to do with God as our RULER AND GOVERNOR. Does any man suppose that, because we talk of laws, there is no lawgiver? What is law without the power of enforcing it? What is government without a governor? Without the Divine and mighty Ruler of all, what would take place? Universal anarchy, chaos, and desolation.

V. Ah! we have to do with Him as our LAWGIVER. He has given a law; and all things — the sun, the moon, the planets, the stars — have laws; summer and winter, autumn and spring, have all their laws and appointed times — the clouds have their laws, and the light above — everything has its laws; and do you Suppose the moral world hath no law, that the great God hath left the mind and spirit without anything to control or guide it? I tell you no. In man, at the first, there was a perfect law en-graven on the tablet of his heart, and it is there still; and though shattered the tablet, and blotted is the writing, man knows far more than he fancies; he knows more what he ought to do, and what he ought not to do, than he will admit; he has a conscience within him, and this is from God. And then we Christians — professing Christians — we have the law of God written again, republished by the Divine Registrar; the law so plain and so simple that any man that has a heart can understand it, and so beautiful, and bountiful, and benevolent, and perfect, that no man with any right moral sense can find fault with it or deny it. It is diversified according to circumstances, but the whole is based upon this principle — love to God and love to man.

VI. We have yet further to do with this great God as our JUDGE. A man may refuse to have to do with God in obedience and submission to His will; he may set it at nought and forget it; be may lose all sense of it, by imbruting his moral being and becoming seared as with a hot iron, hut he cannot refuse to have to do with his Judge. And judgment is not all in a future world — it begins here; the conscience of a man passes a kind of judgment upon him as long as he reads it until he blots it out, or drowns it in mirth, in unbelief, in crime, in debauchery, in drunkenness, and so seals it. Not only so, judgment has begun in this world in present punishment, often in present comfort and joy and peace.

VII. We have all of us to do with God as SAVIOUR — "a just God and a Saviour." I believe in the beautiful summary of our Creed, and in the scriptural voice of our Chinch, "first, I learn to believe in God the Father, who made me and all the world; secondly, in God the Son, who hath redeemed me, and all mankind; thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God." I believe, therefore, that God laid on His own Son " the iniquity of us all." He did not become simply the Son of man, but the Son of men — the Son of mankind. He did not take the nature of one race, or of one people, or of one colour, or of one clime; but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham: He took upon Him our nature and became the Son of man, so that none can claim Him exclusively, and say, "He did not die for you"; nor can any one say, "He died for me alone." He is the Saviour of all men, and especially of them that belong " to the household of faith." If any of you perish, you perish, not as heathen, bat as professed and baptized Christians; and how this will turn into a source of remorse and " the worm that never dies," if you perish with the name of Christian, with the Cross of Christ, upon your brow! See to it, "for to whom much is given, of him shall be much required."

VIII. We have to do with God, or, at least, we may have to do with Him — we have if we are wise, we have if we are saved — as OUR RECONCILED FATHER, "the Lord our Righteousness," in whom we are chosen, in whom we are sealed, in whom we are at peace with God. Oh I to have to do with God in peace, and reconciliation, and adoption; to have to do with God, not because we must, but because we would be "made willing in the day of His power," to have His love constraining us so that we yield ourselves to Him as "those that are alive from the dead, and our poor members as instruments of righteousness unto God." We have to do with Him, "groaning within ourselves, and waiting for the adoption: to wit, the redemption of our bodies"; and we are able to testify that it is through His grace that He has made us His children.

IX. Then how sweet to have to do with Him as our SANCTIFIER — Our portion for ever; our Sanctifier, restoring us from the ruins of our fallen race, and raising us again to be a temple meet for His own habitation; beautifying us with grace that shines in the Adam here, and that will shine more brightly in the Second Adam. We have to do with Him in anticipation, that we may be like Him for ever.

(H. Stowell, M. A.)

I. WITH GOD WE PRE-EMINENTLY " HAVE TO NO." We stand in a very intimate connection with Him. To the Being who, in Himself, is infinitely great and glorious, we bear a very close and momentous relation. He is our Creator, Proprietor, Governor, Benefactor, and Judge, and therefore has claims upon us manifold and mighty. In the services of religion, the common business of life, the mysteries of death, the solemnities of judgment, and the issues of eternity, we " have to do with" him. We must have to do with Him, whether we will or not. And oh, surely, we should transact with Him as a Saviour since we shall have to transact with Him as a Judge.

II. THERE IS " NO CREATURE THAT IS NOT MANIFEST IN HIS SIGHT"; yea, "all things are naked and open to His eyes." Angels and men — saints and sinners — are alike the objects of His scrutiny. To Him the actions of all hands and the secrets of all souls are intimately known. The phrase "all things" indicates the universal range which the eye of Jehovah takes. The words "manifest," "naked," "opened," express the intensity and clearness of the vision which He exerts throughout the vast and varied sphere. With what reverence should we think of Him whose eyes are ever fixed on us, and with whom, far more than with father, husband, brother, bosom-friend, "we have to do!" With what vigilance should we guard our hearts! and with what circumspection should we regulate our lives!

(A. S. Patterson.)

Can we indulge in sin since the eye of God is ever resting upon us? It was enough to cause the ancient Roman to be circumspect, if the words" Cato sees you "were whispered in his ear. It is said that when the Doges of Venice had degenerated into imperious and oppressive rulers, if only four of the inquisitors whom the State secretly employed were present at any of the great processions or festivals for which that city was famous, it was sufficient to overawe the mighty throng of people present. How much more guarded and serious should our deportment be, seeing that we are ever watched by Him whose eyes are like a flame of fire!

(C. Hewitt.)

"Mother," asked a child, "since nothing is ever lost, where do all thoughts go?" "To God," answered the mother, gravely, 'who remembers them for ever." "For ever!" said the child; he leaned his head, and drawing closer to his mother, murmured, "I am frightened!"

(Gold Dust.)

Baxendale's Anecdotes.
Horace Bushnell woke up in the night and said, "Oh, God is a wonderful Being!" And when his daughter replied, "Yes; is He with you?" the old man replied, "Yes, in a certain sense He is with me; and I have no doubt He is with me in a sense I do not imagine."

(Baxendale's Anecdotes.)

Preacher's Promptuary of Anecdote.
A few years ago a gentleman in Ireland had a farm there, about a mile and a half from his house. It was situated on the side of a hill, and from his attic window he could get a view of every portion of the land. He would often go to this window with a powerful telescope, and about five minutes every day he would spend in this way, examining what his work people were doing, and whether the work of the farm was being carried on properly or not. The men happened to know this, and it often quickened them in their various duties to know that the master's eye from the little attic window might possibly at that very moment be resting upon them. Our Master's eye is always resting upon us. He sees and knows all we think or do or say, End yet bow many people act as though God were both blind and deaf.

(Preacher's Promptuary of Anecdote.)

The celebrated Linnaeus always testified, in his conversations, writings, and actions, the greatest sense of God's omniscience; yea, he was so strongly impressed with the idea that he wrote over the door of his library, Innocui vivite, Numen adest — "Live innocently, God is present."

(K. Arvine.)

Do not preach about Providence; preach about God. There is no objection to the word "providence" when used in connection with God. But when a man says, "I am very thankful to Providence," "Providence has been very good to me," I always feel disposed to say, "You coward! why don't you say God? You know you mean God all the time."

(J. C. Miller, D. D.)

A leader of thought in Germany, famous as a poet, famous as a man of letters — who had through his long literary career fought against the idea of a personal God — when poor in purse, paralytic in body, and in his last week of life wrote thus to one of his old class-mates, and under its style of banter I detect a pathetic minor of earnest feeling. "A religious reaction has set in upon me for some time. God knows whether the morphine or the poultices have anything to do with it. It is so. I believe in a personal God. To tills we come when we are sick to death and broken down. Do not make a crime of it. If the German people accept the personal King of Prussia in their need, why should not I accept a personal God? My friend, here is a great truth. When health is used up, money used up, and sound human senses used up, Christianity begins."

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

If you believe that God is about your bed, and about your path, and spieth out all your ways, then take care not to do the least thing, nor to speak the least word, nor to indulge the least thought, which you have reason to think would offend Him. Suppose that a messenger of God, an angel, were now standing at your right hand and fixing his eyes upon you, would you not take care to abstain from every word or action that you knew would offend him? Yea, suppose one of your mortal fellow servants, suppose only a holy man stood by you, would you not be extremely anxious how you conducted yourself both in word and action? How much more cautious ought you to be when you know, not a holy man, not an angel of God, but God Himself, the Holy One, is inspecting your heart, your tongue, your hand, every moment, and that He Himself will surely call you to account for all yea think, speak, or act!

(J. Wesley.)

A man who was in the habit of going into a neighbour's corn-field to steal the ears, one day took his son with him, a boy of eight years of age. The father told him to hold the bag while he looked if any one was near to see him. After standing on the fence, and peeping through all the corn rows, he returned and took the bag from the child, and began his guilty work. "Father," said the boy, "you forgot to look somewhere else." the man dropped the bag in a fright, and said, "Which way, child? " supposing he had seen some one. "You forgot to look up to the sky to see if God was noticing you " The father felt this reproof of the child so much, that he left the corn, returned home, and never again ventured to steal, remembering the truth his child had taught him, that the eye of God always beholds us.

When we perceive that a vast number of objects enter in at our eye by a very small passage, and yet are so little jumbled in that crowd that they open themselves regularly, though there is no great space for that either, and that they give us a distinct apprehension of many objects that lie before us, some even at a vast distance from us, both of their nature, colour, and size, and by a secret geometry, from the angles that they make in our eye, we judge of the distance of all objects, both from us and from one another — if to this we add the vast number of figures that we receive and retain long, and with great order, in our brains, which we easily fetch up either in our thoughts or in our discourses, we shall find it less difficult to apprehend how an Infinite Mind should have the universal view of all things ever present before it.

(W. Burnet.)

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