Hosea 14:5
I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like the lily and take root like the cedars of Lebanon.
Sermons
The Heavenly DewfallA. Rowland Hosea 14:5
Repentance, or ReformationD. Thomas Hosea 14:1-7
Return to God: its Immediate EffectsC. Jerdan Hosea 14:4, 5
God's Response to the PenitentJ. Orr Hosea 14:4-8
The Bedewed ChurchA. Rowland Hosea 14:5, 6
A Fertilized ChurchI. K. Jackson.Hosea 14:5-7
Abiding Beauty of the Godly LifeE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
As the DewHosea 14:5-7
Christ is as the DewPhilip Henry.Hosea 14:5-7
Dew to IsraelE. B. Pusey, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
Dew unto IsraelOriginal Secession MagazineHosea 14:5-7
Dew Upon IsraelJoseph Halsey.Hosea 14:5-7
Divine InfluenceJohn Dunlop.Hosea 14:5-7
Divine RefreshingsPreacher's Assistant.Hosea 14:5-7
Divine Relationship and Human ResponsivenessW. H. Tetley.Hosea 14:5-7
Five Good MarksJ. M. Gibbon.Hosea 14:5-7
Fragrant InfluenceA. A Ramsey.Hosea 14:5-7
God Does Everything BeautifullyHosea 14:5-7
God Promises to Restore Fruitfulness to EphraimMoses Margoliouth, B. A.Hosea 14:5-7
God's Mission and ExpectationJ. W. Bray.Hosea 14:5-7
God's Silent BlessingsH. C. M'Cook, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
Grace Reviving IsraelAnon.Hosea 14:5-7
Improvement in Religion the Fruit of a Divine InfluenceS. Stenner, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
Like the Olive and LebanonHosea 14:5-7
Lily, Cedar, OliveAnon.Hosea 14:5-7
National ProsperityJ.R. Thomson Hosea 14:5-7
On Divine InfluenceJohn Hunt.Hosea 14:5-7
Sacred SimilitudesA. Roberts, M. A.Hosea 14:5-7
Soul RevivalE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual BeautyE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual Blessings for the True Israel of GodR. H. Whitworth.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual FragranceE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual GrowthWesleyan MagazineHosea 14:5-7
Spiritual Growth by Dependence and PruningE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual ProgressE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual ProsperityHosea 14:5-7
Spiritual RestorationE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
Spiritual StrengthE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
The Believer's Growth in GraceRichard Burgess, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
The Blessings of the Church of Christ to OthersSamuel Eyles Pierce.Hosea 14:5-7
The DewA. Raleigh, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
The Dew and its EnergiesG. J. Proctor.Hosea 14:5-7
The Dew and the PlantsA. Maclaren, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
The Dew of God's Grace, and its ResultsClergyman's MagazineHosea 14:5-7
The Dew of Israel and the Lily of GodF. W. Krummacher.Hosea 14:5-7
The Dew of the Holy SpiritJoseph Jowett, M. A.Hosea 14:5-7
The Dew unto IsraelJ. Robinson Gregory.Hosea 14:5-7
The Divine Dew and its ResultR. Finlayson, B. A.Hosea 14:5-7
The Grace of God Like the DewJames Kidd, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
The Holy Spirit as the DewCanon Morse.Hosea 14:5-7
The Lord as the DewD. Davies.Hosea 14:5-7
The Measure of Blessing in Spiritual Influence Determined by Human DispositionE. Aubrey.Hosea 14:5-7
The Metaphor of the DewSamuel Eyles Pierce.Hosea 14:5-7
The Progressive ChristianG Brooks.Hosea 14:5-7
The Uses of the OliveA. Maclaren, D. D.Hosea 14:5-7
What God Will be to His PeopleW. H. Ridley, M. A.Hosea 14:5-7
Return to God: its Ultimate ResultsC. Jerdan Hosea 14:5-8
These are like the effects of the dew of heaven upon garden and landscape. They are, in fact, the results of the Divine influence which God the Holy Spirit bestows upon returning penitents. The imagery of the passage is borrowed from the vegetable kingdom, and reminds us of that of the Song of Solomon. The prophet employs a combination of emblems - the lily, the cedar, the olive, the corn-field, the vineyard, because it requires them all to furnish an adequate picture of the blessed outcome of religious revival. This representation shall yet be realized in the spiritual future of the Hebrew nation. "Ephraim," now so sadly blighted, shall be dowered with "double fruitfulness," and thus verify the presage of his ancient name (Genesis 41:52). The promise is fulfilled also, even now, in the case of every Christian Church, and of every gracious heart, which "returns unto Jehovah," and receives a fresh baptism of his Spirit. The rich and blessed results of revival are -

I. GROWTH. "He shall grow as the lily" (ver. 5). There are various plants of the lily species found in Palestine which are remarkable, not only for their beauty, but for their rapid and luxuriant growth. The tall lilies, to whose brilliant colors the Lord Jesus pointed his disciples (Matthew 6:28, 29), possess also much vitality and productiveness. So is it with the Church that has been watered with the copious dews of God's good Spirit. How rapidly the infant Church grew after the outpouring on the day of Pentecost! What multitudes turned to the Lord in the times of the Reformation! What numbers do still in every season of revival! And so also is it with the individual soul when the garden of its graces is daily wetted with the heavy heavenly dew. It makes rapid progress in its upward growth. Each of us may profitably ask himself, "Am I growing in grace? Are my Christian faith, and love, and patience, and diligence, and holy zeal larger than they were ten or twenty years ago?"

II. STRENGTH. He shall "strike his roots as Lebanon: his branches shall spread" (vers. 5, 6). The lily both grows and multiplies rapidly; but it is not an emblem of stability, for its stalk is frail and its root slender. To find an image of fixedness and forceful reserve, the prophet goes to the cedar of Lebanon. This tree is far-famed for its strength and stateliness. It is very deeply rooted; and from its main trunk numerous branches spread out horizontally, tier upon tier, until the diameter of the compass of ground which the tree covers is even greater than its height. In like manner, spiritual solidity and expansiveness are secured by striking our roots well down into the hidden life of faith, and prayer, and communion with God, and fidelity to conscience. The moral robustness which is proof against whatever "tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word" (Matthew 13:21) is always the result of a deep sense of sin, a thorough apprehension of the gospel, and a profound love to the Savior.

III. BEAUTY AND FRAGRANCE. "His beauty shall be as the olive tree" (ver. 6). There is doubtless a natural glory of its own in the slender grey-green foliage of the olive; but to the Oriental the attractiveness of this tree consists largely in its capacity of yielding that oily matter ("fatness," Judges 9:9) which is so essential to health in the dry and hot climate of the East. "His smell as Lebanon" (ver. 6); the reference being to the fresh breezes of the mountain, laden in early summer with the fragrance of the vines and the balsamic odor of the cedars and aromatic plants. "The scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon" (ver. 7), which was celebrated for its fine flavor and its rich aroma. These emblems are suggestive of the beauty of holiness, and the fragrance which proceeds from the renewed heart and life. The Divine dew is sent to make one nature bloom as the lily, and to clothe another with verdure like the ever-green olive. It should impart to every child of God some healthful fragrance or sweetness of disposition which shall lead others to "take knowledge of him, that he has been with Jesus" (Psalm 45:8). How many Christians, unhappily, lack this blessed aroma! How many are morose and moody, rather than sunny and joyful; thereby giving countenance to the impression that religion is a melancholy thing, instead of being "cheerful as the day"!

IV. FRUITFULNESS. This is the most important of the results, and Hosea's mind dwells on it in vers. 7 and 8 as the prevailing thought of the passage. Fruitfulness is the ultimate test and the final end of every revival In ver. 7 the restored Israelitish nation is spoken of as a wide spreading tree, under whose grateful shadow its people also shall be individually restored from their backslidings. The corn "falls into the ground and dies," and may seem to be killed a second time by the storms of winter; but when spring comes it revives, and at length yields an abundant harvest. The vine, when its fruit-bearing branches have been carefully pruned, sprouts again with new vigor and bears choicer fruit. So is it with a Church or with an individual believer at the close of a long winter of declension, and after experience of the pruning-knife of affliction. With the blessed consciousness of sin forgiven, and of the restored favor of God, and under the fertilizing influence of the dew of the Holy Spirit, the revived Church ripens like a waving harvest-field, and hangs with luscious clusters like a fragrant vineyard. The purpose of the gift of Divine grace is fruit-bearing. The dew of the Spirit is sent with a view to "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22, 23). The scheme of redemption is God's plan for the promotion of morality. The Savior says to his disciples, "I have chosen you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8, 16). It is true, of course, that in different lives spiritual fruitfulness varies in character. One believer has the beauty of the lily; another, the stability of the cedar; a third, the fatness of the olive. But in the communion of the saints, and even within each separate Christian congregation, all the forms of strength, beauty, and usefulness should meet. A revived Church, watered with the Divine dew, should be garden, orchard, vineyard, fruitful field, and forest, all in one.

CONCLUSION. In ver. 8., Jehovah joyfully anticipates the permanence of Ephraim's reformation. He "hears" him resolving to put away idols forever, and "observes" him bringing forth fruit meet for repentance. The backsliders have returned, and have repented from sin as well as for it. Those who were "joined to idols" are now joined to the Lord. And the Lord reminds them, in a closing word, that all their "springs ' are in himself. Jehovah is "like a green cypress tree; ' he is "the Tree of life," and the Giver of "fruit' to all who dwell under his shadow. May the good Lord incline our hearts also to abjure every idolatry, and to seek our "fruit" in himself only, that he may with joy address us as "Ephraim," because he finds in us "double fruitfulness"! - C.J.







I will be as the dew unto Israel.
Through the picturesque forms and utterances of Hebrew .prophecy there breaks a very deep and generous sympathy with the world of nature. For Israel itself, fallen and debased by grievous backslidings, smitten as with a plague of shameless apostasy and spiritual corruption, yet sorrowful, repentant, and growingly responsive to the exhortations of Jehovah's servant, no simile could more vividly illustrate the effect of Divine influence on the degenerate nation, or the restoring impulses it would give to its better life, than that to which Hosea turned. "I will be as the dew unto Israel."

I. I WILL BE AS THE DEW UNTO ISRAEL. A more tender and beautiful comparison for God's association and fellowship with His people is not to be imagined. The points of correspondence are very obvious, and can scarcely be invested now with any sense of novelty. The silent stealth of the dew to its resting-place, its reviving and invigorating effect on fields and gardens, its plenteous supply of moisture for the bosom of the earth, and its most beneficent adaptation to needy physical conditions, are all so many well-worn and widely accepted lines of interpretation. What a sense of impenetrable mystery there is about the dew! Who shall make plain to us the process of its generation? And yet how mild and familiar this mysterious economy of nature has become, inspiring no dread, arousing no suspicion, creating no fear, but simply accepted as a gracious providential arrangement that, despite the fact that it is so incomprehensible, may be safely left to its close and constant contact with our earthly life! What marvellous combination of force and gentleness there is in the dew! It does not strive nor cry, nor lift up any contending voice among the powers of nature. See again the service of the dew in replenishing nature's waste of fertilising power. The very existence of the dew indicates a loss sustained by nature, and a pro vision in nature for repairing that loss.

II. FERTILITY IS BEGOTTEN OF THE DEW. Where it was given it was natural to expect growth. The response of fields and vineyards to its productive presence was fruitfulness and plenty: and so, in a figure, the result is applied to Israel in this splendid picture of human responsiveness to God's gracious influence. "He shall grow as the lily." There will be growth, stability, breadth, usefulness, and fragrance — the pervading sweetness of the holy life, a characteristic of our growth before God, which must ever be most pleasing to Him.

(W. H. Tetley.)

I. TO WHOM THE BLESSING IS PROMISED. To Israel. Not Israel only after the flesh. The name Israel brings before us Jacob, concerning whom there are two remarkable circumstances recorded.

1. God's special choice of him.

2. His power with God in prayer.

II. THE NATURE OF THE BLESSING SET FORTH. "As the dew."

1. Dew is refreshing and fertilising.

2. Dew is, in many Eastern lands, the only means for producing these effects.

3. Dew is mild and grateful in the manner of its influence.

4. Dew is generally imperceptible in its approaches.

5. Dew comes only in the night.

(Joseph Jowett, M. A.)

Before, He had said, "his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up." Now again He enlarges the blessing; their supply shall be unfailing, for it shall be from God; yea, God Himself shall be that blessing. "I will be the dew; descending on the mown grass," to quicken and refresh it, descending, Himself, into the dried and parched and sore hearts of men, as He saith, "We will come unto him, and make our abode with him." The grace of God, like the dew, is not given once for all, but is day by day waited for, and day by day renewed. Yet doth it not pass away, like the fitful goodness of God's former people, but turns into the growth and spiritual substance of those on whom it descends.

(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)

(a talk with children): — When there are clouds to lessen the heat of the sun, there is less need of the dew at night, and so God ordains that if clouds cover the heavens, there is little dew to be found. The clouds prevent the escape of heat from the earth, and therefore it does not get cold so rapidly, and thus the evaporated moisture that is in the air does not so readily condense into dewdrops and settle on the grass. When there has been a burning sky all day, and it continues clear even at night, the heat escapes rapidly from the earth, and the moisture that is in the warm air when it touches the colder earth condenses rapidly, and so the dews are generally profuse. Thus there is a very wise provision made by God. According to the burden and heat of the day, as a rule, is the amount of dew at night. The dew does not descend upon all things equally. The moisture does not condense to rapidly upon the gravel paths as upon the grass. The grass needs it most. The dew in descending makes no noise. It is a gracious blessing that comes silently without trumpeting of any kind. It visits every bud and blade of grass. It does not visit the big trees and forget the tender little plant. God provides for the little ones as well as the great ones. The dew comes so gently that the feeblest blade can bear it. It takes hours to develop a dewdrop. No blade can be injured by the dew. Even the most beautiful bloom on the fruit would not be damaged by it. I want you to feel that as God is so gentle and loving and kind, your sin against Him is all the greater for that. But even when you sin, He comes gently still, so patient and long-suffering is He. He comes to refresh your strength when you get tired and sad and impatient. God is constantly coming like the dew: not once, but time after time. It is according to the need that the dew comes. So the Saviour comes to us even in the darkening hour when no one seems to expect the blessing; comes and refreshes our strength so that we may be the better able to bear the heat and burden of another day. As you grow up to be men and women you will have special need of strength: you will have new cares, new duties, new sorrows. But if God refreshes your strength and fits you for every duty as it shall come, all is well. Your duty and privilege is just to wait upon God, and trust in Him for every needful blessing.

(D. Davies.)

The dew is the emblem of Divine grace.

I. DIVINE INFLUENCE, LIKE THE DEW, IS UNSEEN. The greatest things we know of are unseen.

II. IT IS SILENT. The most delicate ear cannot hear the descent of the dew. So is it with the coming of Divine grace.

III. IT IS GENTLE. It falls upon the weakest flower without hurting it. Gentleness is a property of Divine grace. Every true believer is ready to say, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."

IV. IT IS REVIVING. The source of many and great blessings. So Divine grace, upon a soul withered up by sin, imparts a freshness and a beauty to its faded life.

V. IT IS ABUNDANT. It bespangles all the fields, forests, and gardens of our beautiful world. The humblest flower has its own drop of dew. In Christ there is grace to enlighten, to pardon, to strengthen, to comfort, to glorify every human spirit.

VI. IT IS FREE. It falls as freely on the barren rock as on the fertile soil; as sweetly upon the rough fern as upon the delicate rose. The most precious temporal blessings we possess are free to all. Even so Divine grace is universally free. The jewel of Divine grace is as free to all as the light, the air, the water, or the dew.

(John Dunlop.)

Dew is but very sparingly deposited on hard metals, while on glass, straw, grass, cloth, and similar substances it forms abundantly. The nature of the substance determines the amount of moisture that rests upon it. And the nature of our feelings towards God, and the disposition of our spirits towards holy things, determine the amount of God we are privileged to enjoy. Too often men blame their surroundings and accuse others of being responsible for their spiritual poverty. But our environments are not so responsible as are our own dispositions. The callous, unbending, resisting spirit is but little blessed, while the soul that is submissive to the Divine will, lovingly disposed towards God and His ways, and possessing a sympathetic affinity to the Divine, is saturated with rich and satisfying blessings.

(E. Aubrey.)

I. THE DEW IS A TYPE OF THE SILENT BLESSINGS OF GOD. He descends with spiritual graces, coming silently even as the dew falls upon the tender grass. God works no less mightily because He works in silence. This mode of Divine working is profoundly effective. There is something strangely impressive in perfect silence. Man's heart is a tough and stubborn piece of mechanism. Nevertheless it is susceptible to the influences of gentleness, persistingly and lovingly laid upon him, and by these influences God is constantly working.

II. THE DEW TEACHES THE TIMELINESS OF THE DIVINE BLESSING. The dew comes in just where and when it is most needed, adding greatly to its benefits by the timeliness of its coming. And this is in accordance with the modes of Divine working among the children of men. The souls who most need the Master's tender care are those whom He most seeks to bless. God does not seek us because we are saints, but to make us saints. Human sorrow is small attraction to men, but is the lodestone that draws to us the Spirit of God.

III. THE DEW TEACHES THE TRANSIENT CHARACTER OF MUCH HUMAN GOODNESS. "As the early dew it goeth away." Of how many persons may this sad complaint be spoken? How many resolves made since this year was born have already been dispelled as dew by the morning sun! The dew vanished and left a blessing. These broken resolves, do they leave the heart any better? Nay, the heart is harder and the mind more perverted because of these failures to fulfil vows.

(H. C. M'Cook, D. D.)

This comparison of the dew is made use of for illustration in sundry places of Scripture (Hosea 6:4; Psalm 110:3; Micah 5:7; Psalm 133:1, 3).

I. WHAT LIKENESS IS THERE BETWEEN JESUS CHRIST AND THE DEW? The dew has six properties, all fitly applicable, without straining, to the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. The dew is Divine and heaven-born.

2. The dew descends, comes down.

3. The manner of the descending of the dew is not observable. It descends silently, makes no noise.

4. It is the nature of the dew to soften as far as it goes.

5. The dew moistens.

6. The dew makes fruitful.

II. WHO IS THE ISRAEL TO WHOM HE WILL BE AS THE DEW? There is a twofold Israel spoken of. Israel the person, Israel the people: this includes Israel according to the flesh, and Israel according to the spirit. Understand this latter.

1. Of the Gospel Church in general, and

2. Of particular believing souls.

III. WHEN ESPECIALLY HAVE WE NEED OF THIS DEW?

1. We have all need of it while we are in an unconverted state and condition.

2. When the conscience is parched at any time with the sense of guilt, through some wilful omission or commission.

3. Under the withdrawings of the light of God's countenance.

4. When a fit of barrenness prevails, through the stirrings of some corruption, the success of some temptation, or through the want of quickening means and ordinances, the Word, sacraments, Sabbaths, solemn assemblies.

5. In a time of outward trouble and calamity.

6. When we come to die.

7. When we go to an ordinance. The dew is necessary to prepare the ground for the plough.

8. When we have been to an ordinance.

IV. WHAT IS OUR DUTY IN REFERENCE TO THIS?

1. Mix faith with it, as a Divine truth; that there is certainly such a thing as this dew, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is in it.

2. Be more sensible of your need of it every day in everything.

3. Ask it of God; and having asked it, expect and wait for it, in the use of appointed means.

4. Observe whence all your spiritual refreshments come, and all your fruit. It is from Christ as your dew; and let Him have the glory of it.

(Philip Henry.)

God has so framed mankind, and so disposed the affairs of human life as that, on the one hand, our dependence on Him should not at all lessen our obligations to diligence; and that our diligence should not preclude our regards to the influence of Divine providence. No inference is to be drawn from the belief of a providence that is the least unfavourable to industry. But he acts a part equally foolish and sinful who builds his future prospects wholly upon his own prudence and labour. It is an undoubted truth that the concurrence of an external influence, which is not under our control, is absolutely necessary to secure success. Let a man be as industrious as he will, if he pays no regard to the providence of God, his conduct is as unreasonable and criminal, as if through a pretended reliance on that providence, he were to abandon himself to sloth and indolence! In vain do we profess faith in the influence and operations of the blessed Spirit, while we live in the slothful neglect of appointed duties. The text is the gracious assurance of God to penitent and returning Israel. By the blessing here promised we are to understand the influence of Divine grace.

I. WHY ARE THE DIVINE INFLUENCES COMPARED TO THE DEW? The dew is a mist, or thin small kind of rain, which falls upon the earth morning and evening in a very gentle, gradual, imperceptible manner, and so refreshes the ground and makes it fruitful. It has always been esteemed a great blessing. It is a natural emblem of the Spirit.

1. As to its origin. The dew comes down from above. It is called the "dew of heaven," and the heavens are said to "drop down dew." It is no effect of human art or power. So the influences of the Spirit come down from God They are absolutely at God's disposal, and under His direction and control. Who shall question this? To deny that there is a secret invisible mighty influence, which at some seasons especially quickens the heart of a good man and animates him to his duty, is in effect to deny all religion. The means of religion are manifestly adapted to produce the effects which have been mentioned, just as the sowing and cultivating the ground to make it fruitful. But these means are not alike successful with all who enjoy them. The benefits which some reap from the means of religion must be owing to the kind and seasonable influences of Divine grace which accompany them.

2. As to the manner in which it falls upon the earth. It descends gradually, imperceptibly, seasonably, and some times very plentifully. So do the influences of the Holy Spirit descend upon the Christian. They were given richly to early Christians who had to establish Christianity and to endure persecutions. These early disciples were filled with the Spirit.

3. As to its use. These are the effects of the Divine influences.

(1)Divine comfort and refreshment.

(2)Establishment and confirmation.

(3)Fruitfulness.

(4)Beauty and glory put upon the real Christian.What ornament so fair and beautiful as that of a meek and quiet spirit — a mind endued with patience and contentment, with benevolence and love?

II. TO MAKE SOME SUITABLE IMPROVEMENT OF THE WHOLE.

1. Does this dew come down from God; of Him then let us earnestly seek it, and to Him let us offer our humble thanks for it.

2. Though we receive this dew from above, let us not expect it but in the way of duty. If we do, it is not to be wondered at that we are disappointed.

3. How vain are all their pretences to a large experience of these dews of Divine grace who bring forth no suitable fruit in their lives!

4. Let the humble, serious, and timorous Christian be comforted — the Christian whose concern it is to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, though through many discourage ments he is sometimes ready to question whether he is the happy subject of Divine influence.

5. How unspeakable will be the bliss and glory of the heavenly world, where the effects of these Divine influences shall be enjoyed in their utmost perfection.

(S. Stenner, D. D.)

These sweet promises in their order follow immediately upon this, that God would freely love them, and cease to be angry with them: then He adds the fruits of His love to their souls, and the effects of those fruits in many particulars.

1. God's love is a fruitful love. Wheresoever He loves, He makes the things lovely. Our hearts, in regard to themselves are barren and dry, wherefore God's grace is compared to the dew. The dew falls insensibly and invisibly. It falls very sweetly and mildly. Grace is compared with dew in regard to its operations. It cools the air when it falls, and then with coolness it hath a fructifying virtue, for falling especially on tender herbs and plants, it soaks into the root of them and makes them fruitful. So it is with the graces of God's Spirit.

2. Notice the unresistibleness of the dew and of God's grace.Christians grow like lilies —

1. For beauty and glory.

2. In regard of purity and whiteness.Let us then labour that the dew of God may prove the dew of grace, and that God would make us lilies. Remember that there is a growing upward; a growing in the root; and a spreading and growing in the fruit or sweetness.

( Sibbes, Richard, D. D.)

I. OPEN AND EXPLAIN THE DECLARATION AND PROMISE HERE GIVEN. The fountain and spring of these words originates from the former. Some interpret as a promise of the Holy Ghost. The expression, "I will be as the dew unto Israel," is indicative of Divine sovereignty. Here is the will of God expressed in a promise. In Scripture, things very delightful and refreshing are compared to dew. Unity amongst brethren is compared to the "dew of Hermon." Afflictions and sufferings are like dew and drops of the night. The metaphor as now before us is designed to show how the Church of God and the saints of the Most High are refreshed by the love of the Father, the salvation of the Son, and the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost. He falling gradually and insensibly on the souls of the elect, they are most blessedly revived and refreshed; so as to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and made fruitful in every good word and work.

II. THE SUDDEN CHANGE PRODUCED BY THE FULFILMENT OF THE PROMISE. "He shall grow as the lily." The expression is used of spiritual growth. This can only be by the grace and Divine influences of the Holy Spirit.

III. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THIS FLOURISHING CONDITION. "He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon." The strength of Christ's Church, and the fixation and firmness of the same, will be such as cannot be moved. The whole of these words are an absolute promise. God's "I will" runs throughout them.

(Samuel Eyles Pierce.)

This is a gracious promise to a penitent and returning people. Dew is of the greatest value to all who are engaged in agricultural pursuits. It assuages the fierce drought of the season. With its nightly baptism it invigorates the languid vegetation, and renews greenness and growth over the whole landscape. Give some analogies between the descent of the dew upon the ground and the gracious comings and manifestations of God to His people.

I. THE DEW FALLS VERY QUIETLY AND GENTLY. On the tempestuous night there is none. It is distilled beneath serene heavens. Its crystal drops are formed under the wing of silence and in the bosom of the night. So God does not usually come to bless and revive His people amid agitations and excitements, in the stress of life, in the hurry of affairs, in the crash of startling events. Times of recruiting and replenishment will probably be times of silence. Elijah heard the "still small voice." There are times in the Church's history when God comes graciously near amid agitations and alarms. But such comings of God have hitherto been exceptional. God's gracious work has gone on in sublime quietness. Many a true religious revival has been accomplished in much quietness, without any tremendous agonies or sublime raptures, without swift alternations of hope and fear — just by a growing sense of the nearness and importance of Divine things. God is waiting for the opening of your heart in the hour of quietness, that He may distil over all its affections the sweet baptism of His grace.

II. THE DEW FALLS VERY COPIOUSLY. In the land of Israel much more abundantly than it ever does in this country. Travellers tell us that after a still night, when the dew has been falling, they find their baggage and their tents dripping as though it had been heavy rain during the night. God's grace to a Church in a time of spiritual quickening is very copious and full. God's dealings are with the whole soul of a man. A man can find this engagement of his whole nature only in religion. The copiousness of Divine influence is seen not only in this wholeness of effect upon the individual, but also in its diffusion over the whole Christian community. God's dew does not come in streams; it is distilled from all the air. It lies clear and cool on every growing thing. And God's grace in like manner comes to many hearts. It runs from heart to heart by the chain of sympathy.

III. THE DEW IS VERY REFRESHING. It makes dying nature live. The husbandman looks despondingly over his fields, and fears for the safety of his growing corn. But then begins the silent, copious baptism of the dew. And the farmer can think with hope of the coming harvest day. When God comes in fulfilment of the promise of the text, there is a recovery of sinking strength, a rekindling of dying graces, a returning to first love, a doing of first Works. To those who are so visited there is a newness of religion every day.

IV. THE DEW IS FERTILISING. This silent, copious, refreshing agent works fruitfulness nut of all growing things. They are thus aided in the accomplishment of the very end of their existence. And God's final end with His people is that the plants of His right hand's planting may become fruitful. Our Divine Master speaks much and very solemnly on this subject of fruitfulness. And Christian fruitfulness is a manifold and various thing. It is not all of one kind. Let each "planted" soul rejoice to feel rooted in Him! And then let each grow freely according to His will — not fearing, but gladly daring to branch and blossom and fructify according to the law of individual life. Lily, olive, corn, vine, cedar, all are growing in God's garden; and there is room and dew for them all.

V. There is yet another analogy IN THE NEARNESS TO US IN BOTH CASES OF THE REVIVING INFLUENCE. God does not fetch the dew from stars or from fountains in the skies. He condenses and distils it out of the atmosphere. A little change in temperature does it all. This reminds us how we are surrounded by a very atmosphere of grace, which holds all precious things in readiness to be dropt upon us when God shall command it so. May God give us His Holy Spirit to work so on our hearts that we shall become quickly and largely receptive of the unsearchable riches of Christ.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

Here is a continuation of Jehovah's answer to Ephraim's prayer, especially to the second part of it. "Receive us graciously," or, "Receive good gifts, both temporal and spiritual. Ephraim shall once more realise what his name signifies, even fruitfulness, not only in earthly things, but in every good word and work. The outpourings of all these blessings spring from the dew of God's mercy, and from no other source. How infinitely more abundant is God's grant than Israel's request. God answers our petitions more than we think or ask. The reasons are two.

1. God knows our wants far better than we do. We, in spiritual things, resemble children in temporal things.

2. God answers prayer consistently with His majesty. Man answers his fellow-man, like the treacherous echo, only by halves. "As the dew." Ephraim, on account of backsliding, was cursed with barrenness and bleakness; but the gift of dew shall restore his blessings. Dew embraces several significations, comfort, refreshment, encouragement, fecundity, and suchlike. Dew, in a spiritual point of view, means Christ. What dew is to the earth, that is God's grace to the soul. We are naturally heart-hardened, and therefore barren, as regards the fruit of righteousness; but the dew of God's grace disposes our hearts, by softening them, in the first place, for the purpose of receiving the seed of the Word; and, in the second place, to make that seed fruitful. Many are the reasons why the grace of God should be likened to dew.

1. Because none can give it but Jehovah-Jesus.

2. Because it is the fruit of a serene, clear, and tranquil heaven. The grace of God is not given to a soul which is scorched or frozen, but it is granted to such an one as looks peacefully and steadily towards heaven for it.

3. Because it is abundant and immeasurable.

4. Because it is silent, and falls imperceptibly.

5. Because it is of a gentle and benign nature, and therefore sinks — though slow yet sure — deeply into the earth. So is the Spirit of God.

6. Because it is of a quickening nature. It causes the earth to bring forth her increase. When the Sun of Righteousness melts the moral frost from man's heart, and the Spirit breathes upon the parched soul, it is then that both heart and soul open to the reception of Christ.

(Moses Margoliouth, B. A.)

The prophecy of Hosea may be likened to a tempestuous summer's day. Here we have peace after storm. Consider the comparison Jehovah here employs.

1. Dew is refreshing. A godless soul is like a rainless, dewless, desert land — everything is dead or dying. There are noble faculties and Divine capacities. but they have no life. Seek, I beseech you, the benign presence of your God and Saviour.

2. Dew is beautifying. What more delightful than to go forth into the fields with the sunrise and see them lit up with millions of sparkling diamonds, and sown with myriad pearls! And how beautiful have been the characters of those in whose hearts God has dwelt. And the presence of God is the true beauty of a Church.

3. Dew is fertilising. Regions where the dew falls copiously are remarkable for their fertility. Fertility implies two things — luxuriant growth, and abundant fruit.

4. Dew is gentle. In its descent it does not break the tenderest filaments; it does not wound the most fragile blossom. And so God deals tenderly with His children.

5. Dew is impartial in its distribution. It descends upon the evil and the good, upon the just and unjust. It falls alike on the poor man's plot and on the broad acres of the rich. So impartial is the love of God, so impartial are the benefits of the Gospel.

(Joseph Halsey.)

The symbolism of the Bible is unrivalled for beauty and suggestiveness. The text suggests —

I. THE MINISTRY OF THE DIVINE TO THE HUMAN. God's influence comes as close to men as the dew to the flower. It is inspiring to know that ours is not a God who lives only in the light of His own majesty, but dwells with the humble everywhere. He not only rides in the rolling chariot of the stormy skies, or sits in silence above the crested billows of the heaving ocean; but He stoops to earth, and kisses the face of the flowers with His presence, and touches the weak and the weary with a tenderness that surpasses that of the dewdrop as it rolls into the heart of the lily, and becomes there a hidden fountain of strength and refreshment. What is God to the soul that trusts in Him? Is He not, as the dew to the flower, its unseen source of strength? Men need to realise, above everything else, the readiness of God to help them. Why does the dew come to the flower? To bless it, of course. When the dew is on its petals, it breathes its whole sweet fragrance in response. It is for this that the Lord approaches humanity, that we may become better men, or, to put it in the words of the text — "He shall grow as the lily."

II. THE DIVINE EXPECTATION. It is only natural for the Lord to expect us to "grow," when He has nourished us. We know how the "lily grows." Its first endeavour is to growl.

1. Strong. We are to "grow" like sturdy Christians. It is the stunted growths, the dwarfs of Christianity, that bring it most discredit. But it also grows —

2. Beautiful. We are to "grow" in the beauty of holiness. The Lord wants all His servants to be giants, but He does not want them to be clumsy. We are to develop symmetry as well as strength. Next, the "lily" grows —

3. Useful. It has medicinal as well as floral uses. Our characters can never be complete until we "grow" after this order — strength, beauty, service. APPLICATION. The Lord is waiting to fill every life, as the dew fills every flower. And when He enters, and not till then, will our lives burst into blossom, and fragrance, and fruit.

(J. W. Bray.)

In the text, the Lord is introduced as promising the copious and refreshing influences of the Holy Spirit, in the most unrestrained and engaging manner.

I. THE PROPRIETY AND FORCE OF THE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE DEW AND THE GRACE OF GOD. As natural philosophers are not agreed as to the source whence dew is formed, so neither can, we discover what is the cause of the grace of God. The love of God in Christ Jesus procures it for us; but how that is effected we know not; nor why, in the Gospel, it is offered so universally, and yet received so indifferently. As the dew is diffused during the night, in a silent and imperceptible manner, after the sun has withdrawn its shining; so the grace of God has been extensively diffused since Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, left this lower world, and the sweet operations of the Holy Spirit are, in a silent but powerful manner, carried on, without our notice or our help. As the dew is regular in its returns, at the seasons when the earth is most in need of it, so the grace of God is regularly granted to His chosen people in every time of need, and is, in general, accompanied with the use of appointed means. As the dew is the free gift of a bountiful providence, so grace is the free gift of our most merciful Father. The dew nourishes and refreshes the whole vegetable creation, and when the grace of God descends upon men by the saving influences of the Holy Spirit, they are refreshed and revived, quickened and made alive to God and holiness. As the dew causes all things which grow out of the earth to advance to maturity, so the Spirit of God works upon the hearts of His people, making them fruitful in good works, obedient in every duty, and wise unto eternal life. It Is said, "he shall grow as the lily." The lily is by nature delicate and weakly, but by the repeated visitations and refreshings of the dew, it puts forth its tender buds, and by degrees assumes strength and increases in size. The grace of God, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, enables the soul to go on towards perfection. Observe concerning the growth promised, that God will not only supply the believer's wants, but will Himself be to him all that he needs. "I will be as the dew upon Israel." The grace of God in the soul is an active principle.

II. THE EFFECTS OF THE GRACE OF GOD UPON HIS PEOPLE'S HEARTS AND LIVES. Various similitudes are employed in Scripture. It is likened to "seed fallen in good ground," to being "made willing," to being "raised from the dead," to being transformed into another likeness, etc. Then remember that when we profess faith in the Divine promise, we should give evidence of it by our sincere repentance, and our obedience to the holy law of God. Application. Through faith and patience the believer shall at last inherit the promises in their fullest acceptation. "What shall we then say to these things." If God be for us, who can be against us?"

(James Kidd, D. D.)

The text is part of a description of the flourishing condition of the chosen people when returned to God. It may be accommodated to the Church of Christ among the Gentiles.

I. THE PROMISE. "I will be as the dew unto Israel." We know the value of dew, but in Eastern lands much more vivid ideas are called up by it. In Palestine little or no rain is known during the summer. Were it not for the cool nights and the heavy dew all vegetation must perish. The bestowal of the dew has been accounted one of God s especial blessings — and the withdrawal of it a curse. What the dew is in the natural world, causing the earth to soften, to bring forth, to fructify, that is the Holy Spirit of God to the soul of man. It softens the heart, implants the principles of grace, sows the seed of eternal life, and puts forth all the evident tokens of a new creation within. As the dew is essential to the production and preservation of herbs and plants, so is it every way necessary to the reviving of the heart of man, that the Spirit of God work in it, because left to himself man could never change one feature of his original corrupt and unfruitful nature. As the dew descends on every plant, leaving not one leaf unwatered, in silence refreshing even the smallest blade of grass, so does the Holy Spirit work silently, warning, teaching, convincing, in the hearts of all. When in the text it is stated that Israel shall grow as a lily and cast forth his roots as Lebanon, of course it is implied that an earnest and faithful reception of the good Spirit has been given.

II. THE EFFECTS WHICH ARE TO FOLLOW GOD'S SPIRIT BEING AS THE DEW UNTO ISRAEL. Whatever effects may be expected from any future outpouring of the Spirit, the same in their measure and kind are to be looked for in our immediate dispensation. "Grow as the lily." This is a beautiful emblem of the loveliness and purity of a truly Christian character. The chief attributes of the lily of the East are beauty, fragrance, and certain medicinal qualities. These qualities, morally considered, should be found in every Christian. We read of the beauty of holiness. St. Peter speaks of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The Christian should be noted among his brethren for the excellence of his principles, for conscientious behaviour, and for a display of love and sympathy in all his actions. Like the fragrance of a beautiful flower, the name of the Christian ought to be acceptable to all men. There should be a loveliness, a seriousness in his manner, an habitual holiness evincing everywhere that he is a disciple of Christ. Such graces can only flow from constant communion with his God. As the lily is endued with medicinal properties, so is the Christian to be as the "salt of the world." He must be jealous of God's honour. Sin must never be unreproved in his presence. He, by his principles and practice, placed as he is in a wicked world, must preserve it from corruption. The margin says, "He shall blossom as the lily." This is precisely what God expects from us. Too many forget the truth that a Christian should be a marked man. If any of you feel your shortcomings, flee to the Saviour for grace and pardon. Copy the example of your Master; learn of Him; emulate His innocence, His purity, His fragrance, His faithfulness. He compares Himself to a lily, and thus condescends to show us His humility, His love, His "oneness" with His Church and people. "He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon." This figure shows the stability which true religious principles impart. It is a forcible image of the security of him whose heart has yielded to the strivings of Divine grace. Here is found an argument for the necessity of progress in religion. Seasons of trouble, sorrow, inquiry; the hour of death, the day of judgment, are before us. It is needful, therefore, to have some settled principles, some well-ascertained and surely laid foundation upon which we may then rest. "It is a good thing that the heart be established by grace."

(R. H. Whitworth.)

I. THE SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE WHICH GOD PROMISES TO HIS PEOPLE. It is like the dew —

1. In its source.

2. In its silence.

3. In its seasonableness.

4. In its abundance.

II. ITS BENEFICIAL RESULTS.

1. Growth.

2. Stability.

3. Beauty.

4. Fragrance.

5. Fertility.

(G Brooks.)

I. CHRIST, AS SET FORTH BY THE DEW UNTO ISRAEL. Jehovah Himself is the dew. This promise implies that there is a dry and withered field somewhere. This field we are, in so far as we are not yet partakers of His life. As the dew falls in the sultry nights of summer, when the fields thirst and languish, so does the dew of God descend only upon thirsting and fainting souls. As the dew fans from heaven in the stillness of the night, so is the way of Christ. The manner and way of His coming to the soul is a mystery hidden in night; and who can unveil it? The dew of the field has a bright lustre within it, for it has communion with the light of heaven. When once Christ has come in unto us, all is bright and pellucid in the depths of our disordered nature. But Christ covers all our misery with His own self, with His own righteousness. How fructifying is the dew I And what a life does Christ impart to the soul!

II. CHRIST COMPARES HIS BRIDE THE CHURCH, AND HEREIN EVERY BELIEVING SOUL, TO THE BEAUTIFUL LILY. The people of Palestine knew of no flower more truly sweet and lovely than the noble lily. The lily is often found growing among thorns. Thorns represent the many spiritual and temporal troubles with which the chosen of God are encompassed. Observe by what means the lily thrives and flourishes. It toils not, neither does it spin. It passively waves in the sunshine, and opens its cup to the morning dew. May, then, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus come upon each of us as dew!

(F. W. Krummacher.)

Clergyman's Magazine.
I. THE INFLUENCES OF THE SPIRIT, "AS THE DEW."

1. Dew is never far off (humidity of atmosphere); waits around; makes itself felt at proper season by whatsoever thirsts for it. So the Giver of life is ever present with His own; ready to refresh, cleanse, strengthen. He is round about us (Psalm 139.) the atmosphere of His promises, His providences, His presence.

2. Falls in quiet of evening, and believers specially realise God's presence in quietness. "Commune... and be still." Eventide experiences; "cool of the day." Do you serve with quiet mind? Too much excitement, worldly or "religious"; bustling, mechanical? Troubled souls, be comforted.

3. Falls in due measure; never in excess: grasses, flowers, olives, cedars; each receives in proportion to need. Similarly, the workings of the Spirit, infinitely wise, gracious. Dew of "youth," babes, elders. Class, condition, character; our responsibilities,... "the grace that is given to us," — given abundantly, tenderly.

4. Falls silently; not see or hear. So with the ordinary operations of the Spirit. Stillness, secrecy of reception; gradual formation of habits; transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18); growth, "grace for (upon) grace"; renewing of the hidden life with energy invisible; loving influences, mighty, mysterious, silent, but sure (Mark 4:27).

5. Regularly: to-day's dryness, to-day's dew. Even so we pray for "the continual dew" of God's blessing; fresh joy and vigour from the "healthful Spirit" of His grace (Job 29:19). Daily hallowing. Not spasmodic.

II. THE RESULTS OF THE SPIRIT'S INFLUENCES. "He shall grow... They that dwell..."

1. Believers blessed. Notice first the position: lilly, cedar, olives, herbs; and grasses; mountain crest, slope, clefts, and rich soil; exposed, admired, hidden. Each plant its own place. So each member of the Church his own vocation: what we are, where we are — of God. The poor and unlearned may as truly, though not as widely, glorify God, as the high-placed and greatly gifted. Notice second, perfection; in all bedewed vegetation, luxuriance and beauty of vigorous life. Special services and pleasantnesses; purity and loveliness — the lily; strength and expansion — the cedar; fruitfulness — the olive; fragrance ("smell") of herbs, and scented tufty "Lebanon." "Diversities of gifts" and "of operations" (1 Corinthians 12:4). A Conway, a Living stone, a Monod, a Lyre, a Selwyn, a Hedley Vicars; "stewards of the manifold grace of God." What variety! Humility, sweetness, purity, fervour, fruitful ness, self-sacrificing patience, courage, steadfastness, etc. But be not contented with some special grace: pray to "worthily magnify" His name in full orbed holiness.

2. Believers a blessing. "They that dwell under His shadow shall return." The influence of consistent Christian living; it wins, helps, warms, comforts. Try thus to be, more and more, a means of grace.

(Clergyman's Magazine.)

God promised to be as dew to His chosen people. He was so. Their entire history proves it. He was the beauty of their character, their strength in battle, the wisdom of their counsels, the giver of food — as the dew. God is as dew to His people now by the operations of the. Holy Spirit. Dew is a type Of spiritual influence because it is essential. Nature pro vides no substitute. Its operations are mysterious, unlike rain. Its workings are silent. It is one of God's many quiet workers. Its influence is beautify ing. It feeds flowers. It is fertilising. No drink of vegetation is more grateful.

I. THE GROWTH OF A GOD-WATERED CHURCH. In nature, stability is never reached rapidly. Strength is always crowned with hoary years. This law affects also the works of man. A new kingdom is feeble; an old one strong. In the growth of a God-watered Church we have a beautiful exception to this law of nature. In it the peculiarities of the lily and the cedar are blended. It has beauty that is not fragile. It has strength that is not of tedious growth.

II. THE POWER OF A GOD-WATERED CHURCH. Preachers often say that but two classes of persons inhabit earth — the saved and the unsaved. But the unsaved divide into those who have never known God, and those who have apostatised from Him. A God-watered Church has power with both classes.

1. It has power with the world at large.

(1)This power is the power of law.

(2)Of loveliness.

(3)Of love.

2. It has power with relapsed Christians.

(1)They revive as the corn from apparent death.

(2)They grow as the vine rapidly.

(3)Their growth is towards the fragrance of mature Christian life, holiness, and love.

(I. K. Jackson.)God as the dew: — The comfortable, fruitful, sanctifying grace of God is compared to dew.

1. The dew doth come from above. It cannot be commanded by the creature.

2. The dew doth fall insensibly and invisibly. So the grace of God. We feel the comfort, sweetness, and operation of it, but it falls insensibly, without observation.

3. It falls sweetly and mildly, not violating the nature or course of anything, but rather helping and cherishing the same.

4. Grace is compared to dew, in regard of the operations of dew. What effects hath dew upon the earth?(1) It cools the air when it falls, and with coolness it hath a fructifying virtue.(2) The soul is not only cooled and refreshed, but it is also sweetened and made fruitful with comfort to the soul.

5. Dew is irresistible. Nothing can hinder the dew from falling. Use. Let none be discouraged with the deadness, dryness, and barrenness of their own hearts, but let them know that God doth graciously promise, if they will take the Course formerly set down, to be "as the dew unto them." Therefore let them come to the ordinances of God, with wondrous hope, confidence, and faith that He will bless the means of His own ordaining and appointing, for His own ends.

( Sibbes, Richard.)

The Holy Ghost came down on the day of Pentecost. He comes down now also, though not in any extraordinary manner, or with any remarkable manifestation. Quietly, calmly, but mightily, now as then He comes, the Lord, the Giver of Life, to quicken the dead soul and to revive the drooping, The manner of His ordinary coming is likened to the falling of the dew, and the various effects of His coming are likened to the luxuriance of the most beautiful plants of an Eastern climate. —

I. THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT IS AS THE DEW.

1. As the dew all day long hangs suspended in the atmosphere waiting only for the fitting moment to form itself into sensible drops upon every blade of grass which is thirsting for its fall, so is the blessed Spirit of God ever moving on all sides around us, unseen indeed, but not altogether unfelt, waiting for the hour when the glare of this world shall have gone down, and man's heart, as in the coolness of the evening hour, be prepared-to receive Him. The Spirit is ever in contact with our hearts, gently yet strongly, inclining them to receive Jesus as their Lord, and to live for Him. Above, beneath, around, within you is God the Spirit, and every moment He is striving with your conscience to lead you on to God.

2. There is a likeness in the seasons when the dew falls, and when the Holy Spirit most sensibly comes. The dew settles in drops upon the herbs at evening. The Spirit's seasons come when the gathering night-clouds of sickness or of sorrow, or the calm still hours of Sabbath meditation, have shut out the glare of earthly things and cooled down the heart. You were still and calm in your own spirit, and so inclined to receive the impressions of the blessed Spirit of God.

3. The manner in which the dew falls. Gently, and again and again. So while the Spirit humbles the heart of the stoutest sinner, He does not overwhelm the spirit of the most timorous and feeble disciple. He settles on our hearts, and shows us the things of Jesus.

4. The dew falls much more fully on the grass which thirsts for it than on the stones which have no longing for it. The Spirit is about us all, but His fulness of grace comes to those who really need.

II. THE EFFECT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS PICTURED BY THE GROWTH OF PLANTS WHEN WATERED BY THE DEW. The prophet illustrates by the beauty of the lily, the fruitfulness of the olive, and the deep-rooted strength and far-spreading sweetness of the cedar of Lebanon. Each one has its own peculiar properties, but each of these properties is nourished and brought to perfection by the dew. To Jesus the Spirit was given without measure; and therefore in Jesus all graces and all gifts are combined; each is in perfection, and no one clashes with another. In meekness alike and in firmness, in depth of thought and in activity of work, He stood alone, the perfect man, and in Him alone the words of the prophet are completely fulfilled.

(Canon Morse.)

s: — We think of God as being the dew in connection with the influences of His Spirit. These influences of the Spirit descend in consequence of the. work of Christ.

I. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DIVINE DEW AND ITS RESULTS.

1. It is a gentle influence, but has great results. The dew is never anything but gentle. It does not seem a force at all. And yet it is an arrangement by which some of the greatest effects in nature are produced. To those whose backslidings have been healed, and from whom God's anger has been turned away, there is no storm influence, there is only the influence of the dew. God is gentleness itself, and His Spirit falls on our life with no violent action, yet accompanied with the greatest results.

2. It is a silent influence, but has visible results. If plants were always in the glare of the sun they would soon wither and die. But at nightfall, after the heat of the day, the dews noiselessly descend. Every blade of grass has its own drop of dew. There has been no sound of anything going on, and yet when morning comes the effects are plainly visible. Drooping plants have revived; nature comes forth refreshed. The Divine workings cannot be traced, but the fruits of the Spirit are manifest.

3. It is a Divine influence, and yet its results are entirely human. The dew is a pure ethereal influence. It is not like the fogs or pestilential vapours from swamps, which rise only a little from earth. It is the dew of heaven. And yet it has an affinity to all forms of vegetable life on the earth. So the influences of the Spirit come from above, from a source high above us; and yet they have an affinity to us. There is that which is foreign to us, namely, sin. To that the Spirit has no affinity. As dew, He mingles with and brings out all that is truly human.

II. THE RESULTS BY THEMSELVES AND IN THEIR MUTUAL CONNECTION. It requires three things to set forth the excellence of the Christian life. The lily, the cedar, and the olive-tree are brought together to give us, in their combination, a conception of what our life should be under the clews of the Spirit.

1. The results of rapid growth, and yet solidity. "He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth His roots as Lebanon." There must be solidity as well as rapidity of growth. The cedar is especially deep rooted in the soil. We strike our roots down when we wrestle with God in prayer, when we read God's Word so as to take firm hold of it, and when, in temptation, we steadfastly adhere to principle.

2. The results are breadth of growth and fertility. "His branches shall spread," etc. It belongs to the idea of a perfect tree that while it grows upward it grows all round, and at the same time. The cedar especially is widespreading. And so while we have heavenly aspiration we are always to be broadening in our human views and sympathies. But trees that grow to breadth do not grow so much to fatness. So one tree does not suffice to complete the idea. The olive is superior to the cedar in one respect — in fruitfulness. It spends its strength, not on spreading but on fruit-bearing. So we are to combine the cedar and the olive, and, while keeping up our breadth, we are to increase in the rich elements of our life.

3. There results a variety of beauty. There is the beauty of the lily, and also of the olive-tree. There is always a dignity and stateliness about the lily. Whatever belongs to us, whether it be more of the lily or of the olive, will be brought out under the dews of the Spirit. The results are healthfulness, and pleasantness of influence.

(R. Finlayson, B. A.)

I. THE PROMISE OF GRACE MADE TO ISRAEL, NOTWITHSTANDING ISRAEL'S SIN. "I will be as the dew unto Israel." The Christian is here compared to a plant which cannot be watered by any water that is to be found on earth, a plant which needs heavenly watering, even the dew from above. The Eastern figure of the dew has in it several beauties.

1. Grace, like the dew, often comes down imperceptibly into man's heart. Who ever heard the foot steps of the dew coming down upon the meadow-grass?" And Christianity is very often imperceptible in its operations. Do not despise spiritual things, because thou hearest not a sound thereof.

2. The dew is always sufficient. If God waters the earth with dew, foolish would be the man who should go after wards to water after his Maker. God's grace, when it comes upon a man's heart, is all sufficient.

3. The dew, when it is required, is constant. As thou wantest the dew of grace, so shalt thou find it.

II. THE INFLUENCES OF DIVINE GRACE IN THE SOUL ARE HERE SET FORTH IN METAPHOR.

1. It makes us grow upward. "Grow as the lily." This refers to the daffodil lily, which on a sudden, in a night, will spring up. That is what grace does in a man's soul. Its first operation is to make us grow up.

2. After they have been growing" upward they have to grow downward. "Cast forth his roots as Lebanon." God will not have His people all flower and foliage; He wants them also to take deep root, and throw out strong fibres. Growing down is quite as good as growing up. We should be rooted in humility, and growing in zeal; but usually the two do not come together. Growing downward is a very excellent thing to promote stability. Perhaps that is the exact meaning of the passage.

3. The Christian must next make a profession. "His branches shall spread."

4. The next effect of grace is, the Christian must be beautiful, as "the olive-tree." Its beauty lies in its fruitfulness. And the olive-tree is an evergreen.

5. A good report must go forth about the Christian. "His smell as Lebanon." Wherever the Christian goes he will cast a perfume about him.

II. THE BENEFITS OF GRACE TO OTHERS. "They that dwell under His shadow shall return." You will not wish yours to be a selfish religion. I like an expansive religion. By a godly conversation the Christian man shall spread the sweetness of perfume wherever he goes.

(Anon.)

I. WHAT GOD WILL BE TO HIS PEOPLE. It is not what God does For His people, but what He is. What does the dew do?

1. It nourishes the growing plants; All along the course of life God comes Himself to our hearts, to keep alive and nourish the good which He has planted there.

2. The dew refreshes the drooping plant. How often have we been drooping and withering, but then God in His love draws near to us, and whispers kind thoughts of His love and pardon and help. Or perhaps we have been treated unkindly, or have been much tempted to sin. Then God comes like the gentle dew from heaven. The dew comes softly; and without being seen; and day by day.

II. WHAT GOD'S PEOPLE SHALL BE THROUGH HIM. The character of the true Christian shall be likened —

1. To the lily. This plant is used to signify the beauty and purity of God's sanctified ones. God will make us pure in heart and life, afraid of what is wrong, with a tender conscience, disturbed at little sins, and that we shall be continually striving after greater holiness.

2. To the cedar of Lebanon. Which has deep roots, a strong trunk, great height, and spreading branches. God will make us to be so firmly fixed on God's truth and love that we cannot be turned away from it by false teaching or temptation to evil.

3. To the olive-tree. Which is always fresh in appearance and abundant in fruitfulness. God will add to His other gifts, continued joy from continual intercourse with Himself. As God leads us on, nearer to Himself, dropping His grace and Holy Spirit more unceasingly into our hearts, He makes to spring up within us an overflowing well of joy and peace in believing. And He will make us abound in all good works. He will make us do good things abundantly, acts of kindness, and forgiveness, and helpfulness to others.

4. To the smell of Lebanon. The country immediately around this mountain smells sweetly of the many fragrant flowers which bloom at its foot. God by His grace makes us to do what is right in His own sight, and He condescends to be pleased with it; and other Christians are pleased with the good they see in us — so that to God and man we are pleasing, like the delicious scent which rises up in our faces from fragrant flowers. How does God do His work of grace? As the dew He comes — not like the noisy, violent thunderstorm. The dew comes very gently, stealing softly and unobserved. Its work is very gradual, but it is continuous, day by day. It is in secret unobserved ways that God works His great work in our hearts. Then use all your opportunities diligently. Do not seek for excitement. Seek to draw near to God in all the ordinary and even little ways. He will surely come to you to do you good.

(W. H. Ridley, M. A.)

The figure here is borrowed from one of the finest and most efficient operations of nature. The promise was made to Israel, not at a time when God had reason to commend, but to reprove them. We would not lessen in your estimation, the evil of sin; but it must not be concealed that the spirit, burdened and oppressed width guilt, may derive from this fact abundant consolation.

I. THE ORIGIN OF THE DIVINE INFLUENCE. "As the dew."

1. This influence cometh from God. Hence we call it Divine influence. Of all the operations of nature, there is nothing more independent of human agency than the dew.

2. This influence cometh from God as reconciled in Christ. The dew is the offspring of an unclouded sky, the benediction of a placid atmosphere. Is not God a consuming fire? How then can He be as the dew? Inspiration answers the question: "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." Brought into a state of unity, and having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, there descends upon our souls that influence of His Spirit which is here beautifully compared to the dew.

3. This influence comes from God, as a sovereign and distinguished blessing to His chosen people. It is not a common, but a peculiar blessing. It belongs not to the world, but to the Church.

II. THE PROPERTIES OF THIS DIVINE INFLUENCE. It is like the dew, which is silent, copious, penetrating, irresistible, and fertilising.

III. THE RESULTS OF DIVINE INFLUENCE.

1. Growth; as the lily: spiritual increase, — rapid progress in knowledge, in faith, in zeal, in love, in hope, in confidence, in whatever adorns the Christian character.

2. Stability. Lebanon is, by a figure of speech, put for the cedars which grow there. The stability of the Christian refers to three things — the security of his state, the firmness of his principles, and the perpetuity of his character. His faith, the root of his profession, takes firm hold of the holy covenant. Holy principles, like so many fibres of that root, by adherence to the truth, give a stability to His Christian profession, like that of the majestic cedar. This stability distinguishes the real Christian.

3. Expansion. "His branches shall spread." Spreading branches may denote the extended and extending influence of the Church. There is a celebrated oak which casts its shadow and sheds its acorns upon four counties of England.

4. Corresponding beauty. The beauty of the olive was as proverbial as the strength of the cedar. The proportion of its branches, the perfection of its symmetry, the perpetual freshness of its verdure, and the beauty of its colours constitute that which in nature we call beauty. It may indicate the glory which is put upon the Christian, by imputation of the Saviour's righteousness. It sometimes refers to that moral and spiritual beauty which consists in conformity to the image of Christ. It is the concentration and exhibition of all the graces of the Holy Spirit.

5. Moral fragrance. This expresses the happy effect, the delightful influence, of Christian feeling and Christian character. Two things are intended by this fragrance.

(1)That which is acceptable to God.

(2)That which is agreeable to men.

6. Universal excellence. The enjoyment of sacred repose. A gracious revival. The earnest of abundant fruitfulness. "Blossom as the vine." Grateful commemoration.Learn —

1. The absolute necessity of Divine influence. Be solicitous to obtain a copious effusion of the Holy Spirit.

2. The end for which Divine influence is given, and for which it should be desired.

3. The ground on which Divine influence is hoped for, and the exercises with which its attainment stands inseparably connected.

(John Hunt.)

Hosea is eminently the prophet of repentance and pardoning love. He has also a poet's eye with which he looks on nature. The text comes from a fervent and tender appeal to Israel to come back to its God. We have here, with lovely symbolism, the various aspects of the Christian ideal of character, and the productive energy which makes them all possible.

I. THE SOURCE OF FRUITFULNESS. The dew in Palestine is peculiar. The strong summer sun carries on evaporation with great activity over the surface of the Mediterranean, and the prevailing summer winds bring masses of vapour, which are condensed by the cold when evening falls, and wrap the land in a moist veil which refreshes the drooping vegetation, and saves many a little floweret. It is that moistening mist, not properly "dew" as we know it, which the prophet picks out as being a fitting emblem of the secret, silent, refreshing, quickening, life-giving influences which God will bestow upon the spirit that comes back to Him in lowly penitence. Is there no fierce sunshine blazing down on us, which needs in like manner that our inward life should be moistened and refreshed by the visitations of that silent guest that will come and bring the moisture we need? The deceitful ray of prosperity is full of danger to the spiritual life, and no less cruel are the fervid beams of fiery temptation with which we have all to be tried. And where is our strength? I know but of one source of it, — that we shall receive the communications of that spiritual life, the gift of which is the central blessing of the Gospel; the impartation of the life of God to our hearts and spirits, mediated by the indwelling in us of the Spirit of God which is the Spirit of Christ.

II. THE PROFUSE BEAUTY WHICH WILL FOLLOW THE FALL OF THE DEW. The lily is most probably identified as the scarlet anemone. The idea conveyed in the figure "He shall grow as the lily " is twofold profusion, or what gardeners call freedom of growth and beauty. A profusion of grace ought to match the profusion with which the dew comes from God. The real beauty is goodness. That beauty of goodness will come wherever a man keeps himself in touch with God and Christ. We are all bound to try and make our Christianity attractive. A great many very good people are repellent and not attractive. There ought to be the beauty of holiness where there is the dew from the Lord.

III. THE STRENGTH WHICH SHOULD GO WITH THE BEAUTY. "He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon; his branches shall spread." To the beauty of the fragile lily we must add the strength of the stable cedar. There must be strength conjoined with beauty in a world like ours, full of conflict and strife.

IV. THE FRUITFULNESS WHICH SHOULD CROWN BEAUTY AND STRENGTH. The olive is not a beautiful tree. It has a gnarled, often twisted and distorted, sometimes a monstrous stem and mean branches, and insignificant, pointed, pale leaves, with a silvery grey underside. Its beauty lies in its fruit, and in nothing else, and that fruit produces the oil which sustains and soothes, and smoothes and gives light. Our deeds, which are our fruit, are important, not in themselves so much as because they are the outcome and manifestation of what we are. Our fruit is the test of our Christianity.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. GOD HAS HERE A SIMILITUDE FOR HIMSELF. "I will be as the dew unto Israel." The dew steals down softly, unheard and unobserved by men. So silent and so secret are the operations of the blessed Spirit on the soul. It is an inward work He carries on which the world seeth not and knoweth not. The very men He condescends to visit are, for a while at least, unconscious of His presence, and are often praying for His visitations when He is actually dwelling in their hearts and helping them in their petitions. Though the dew comes softly, it comes not in vain. It brings a blessing on the fields. It is with an especial view to these kindly influences of the dew upon the ground that the Lord makes it an emblem of His own blessed influences on the soul. It is as if God said, "I will refresh the heart of a penitent and humble sinner as the dew refreshes and revives the thirsty land." It is said of the natural dew, that it "tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." It does not depend on man's making places ready for it. So is the grace of the Divine Spirit free and sovereign in its operations. It falleth where it listeth.

II. MORE THAN ONE SIMILITUDE FOR THE PEOPLE ON WHOM GOD'S GRACE IS BESTOWED. When the natural dew has fallen plentifully on the ground we expect to see a growth there — a growth among the herbs and flowers. "He shall grow as a lily." This is a quickly growing flower: and so the man on whom the dew of the Spirit is plenteously diffused is a quickly growing Christian. He is no idle, sluggish, dull professor, but is constantly gaining ground in the blessed life which is begun in him. His faith groweth exceedingly. But the lily has only a feeble footing in the soil. Nothing more easy than to take and pluck it up. Not so with the Lord's Israel, with those who have the Spirit's dew upon their souls. This emblem, therefore, does not altogether suit them. The text resorts to another emblem in order to express the firmness and stability of the child of grace. "Send forth his roots as Lebanon." The cedar trees are vast in height, and they are as vast in depth. So is it with those spiritual trees who have the dew of grace upon their branches. They are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, as those mighty trees of Lebanon are rooted in the soil. The cedars of Lebanon are spreading trees; and so it is said of him who is watered with the dew of grace — "His branches shall spread." This refers to the useful ness and profitableness of the Christian. The man who hath the dew of heaven in his heart is a blessing to the neighbourhood in which he lives. As far as his power or influence extends it is exerted on behalf of all around him. It is also said, "His beauty shall be as the olive-tree"; a tree fair and fruitful to a proverb, and employed to set forth the spiritual beauty and fruitfulness of true believers. He who has the dew of the Spirit in his heart has "the beauty of holiness" in his life and conversation. There is a comeliness and consistency in his behaviour which even the enemies of godliness must needs admire. The last similitude alludes to some sweet-smelling shrubs with. which Lebanon abounded. "His smell shall be as Lebanon." There is a fragrancy, as it were, in the character of him who hath the dew of grace within him. He is acceptable to his brethren. His graces, like a sweet perfume, endear to them his company, and make his communications precious to them. I am afraid that to find a suitable emblem for many of ourselves we must look not to the garden, but the wilderness. It would not be the lily, or the cedar, or the olive, but the "heath of the desert," or the prickly bramble. By the grace of God's Spirit you may become trees of righteousness, lilies, cedars, and olives, in the garden of the Lord. Learn, as Christians, what trees and flowers we should resemble in the garden where our God hath planted us. We should be as lilies in growth, as cedars in establishment, as olives in beauty, and as the sweet smelling shrubs in the odour of our lives.

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

These words follow immediately the healing of the backsliding and the proclamation of God's free love. With us the dew is little noticed. We look to the clouds to supply all that grows upon the earth with sufficient moisture. In Judaea the great heat and little rain make the dew as important as it is beautiful. Three circumstances render the dew a peculiarly appropriate symbol of God's sustaining care for His .people.

1. The dew falls regularly, in summer as in winter, in autumn as in spring.

2. It comes quietly in the night, when no one perceives its advent.

3. There is a mystery connected with it, — at least in popular thought. Thus watered from on high, Israel "shall grow as the lily (or blossom)." With the lily is associated the idea of purity. The tall lily, elegant in shape, gorgeous in colouring, prolific in growth, sending forth leaves and flowers freely, forms a choice emblem of Christian beauty and fertility. But the lily is extremely fragile and short-lived. Another comparison must exhibit Israel s strength and stability. What type can better set forth firmness than the cedar of Lebanon! It retains its vigour for centuries. The roots clasp themselves around the rock, and therefore the tree stands unshaken. So the Christian is strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. "His branches shall spread." The flourishing tree sends out new suckers continually, which take root, and themselves grow into trees, to repeat the process again and again. Israel multiplies as well as grows. "His beauty shall be as the olive-tree." To an Oriental eye the olive-tree is actually beautiful. To us it is an emblem of usefulness. The very character of a true Christian renders him useful. He is ever ready to render to all men kindly service and help. "His smell as Lebanon." Travellers say that the smell of Lebanon extends to a considerable distance from its mountains and valleys, owing partly to its cedars and partly to various sweet-smelling plants which are produced profusely. The metaphor may illustrate the influence exerted by the Christian ceaselessly and often unconsciously. "They that dwell under his shadow shall return." The figure represents Israel as a widespreading umbrageous tree. It may refer to the protection the Church affords. Or it may allude to the teaching and instructing power of the Church. "They shall revive as the corn." Even prosperous Israel may have his seasons of depression and apparent feebleness. The green stalk of corn may lie seemingly lifeless upon the parched earth, stricken by the sun. But the night mists and morning dew enwrap it, so that it drinks in the blessed moisture, and once more it erects its head and recovers its greenness. Thus tribulation, or persecution, or the assaults of insidious sin may render the Christian feeble, and may cause him to fall; but the dew of Divine grace descends upon him. He who restoreth the soul vouchsafes His Holy Spirit to him, and again he rises strong in humility and trust. Through the merciful communications of God to him he may revive when his disease seems desperate and recovery hopeless. "And grow as the vine." The preceding metaphors imply power to stand alone. The vine must lean on something else. And the Christian must ever rely on a strength beyond his own. "The scent (memorial) thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Travellers speak enthusiastically of the manifold virtues of the wine of Lebanon, of its invigorating qualities, etc. Can a more appropriate illustration be conceived of the abiding influence of a Christian's life, example, work after he has left this world? His memory is an inspiration. His good deeds live after him.

(J. Robinson Gregory.)

God is no less with us day by day, in the calmer moods of our soul, than in the experiences in which we seem with more or less of terror to apprehend His awful presence. We speak of the thundercloud as His dark chariot; let us none the less think of the floweret and the dewdrop as telling of Him.

I. THIS IMAGE OF GOD'S CHARACTER — THE DEW.

1. You see the herbage languishing under the heat of the scorching sun. What hope is there for the languishing, thirsty flowers? Penetrating copious dews will bathe the dying vegetation with liquid life; and in the morning, when the sun looks forth, from myriad leaves shall flash the reflection of God's own light and glory, and upon every petal shall rest the spangled dewdrop to tell how the most blessed offices of nature are wrought in silence and secrecy. Observe that God does not always come as the dew. It is to bruised and moaning penitents God appears as the dew. God comes often, like the dew, without observation. A restoration of religious life may be unaccompanied by great startling signs. We may scarcely know by what means our spiritual pulses are quickened from their languor, so silently and stealthily comes the grace of God into our hearts. And the dew represents to us the penetrativeness of God's grace. God's Spirit works beyond escape. A shower might miss the tender life overgrown by widespreading leaves; but the dew carries its blessing to the tiny flowerets that lie concealed beneath the broad cover of the more regal growths. To lowly, humble spirits God's blessing comes, diffuse and copious, refreshing and life-giving; as well to them as to the more observed and outstanding. Many millions, in ways we know not, shall be reached by God's gracious penetrative Spirit.

II. THE THREEFOLD PICTURE OF THE RESULTS OF GOD'S GRACIOUS ACTIVITY.

1. The beauty of vitality. Growth with rapidity and beauty. Some of the earlier stages of the Divine life have about them an apparent rapidity which finds its image in this growth of the lily. This lily is fitly chosen to represent the idea of beautiful, vital growth; no plant more redundant. This picture tells how, by a mighty force, our life should begin to be a prosperous life; we should grow as the lily, and become plants of the Lord, beyond all doubts, by the very rapidity of our growth and enlargement of our activity.

2. Forceful reserve. There is a hidden life, as we call it, a life away from general observation. With the change of figure, rapidity of development gives place to steadfastness, and the more tedious processes of the spiritual life — steadfastness of will and purpose — all that goes to make character. Some of the processes of Divine life, some of the most needful processes too, are out of sight, and not for observation. I pity the man who has no reserve force in him. He will endure but for a season, and then wither away.

3. Varieties of usefulness. There will be fruit and fragrance, and shelter and refreshment. Its branches will spread, and leaf and fruit in all their manifoldness will abound. Some trees are so beautiful that they utter no apology for their existence. So of the Divine life; it ought never to need an apology. It should be self-assertive; it should command admiration, not pity, never contempt. Fruitfulness and usefulness may command admiration, where even beauty and sublimity may fail. By all our systems we may fail to measure the effects of a truly productive spiritual life. The indirect blessedness flowing from a true life, who can calculate it? The "odour of sanctity" is a phrase which has come to mean some thing not pleasant, but the odour of real goodness and worth — think of this. And let your smell be that of Lebanon.

(G. J. Proctor.)

I. GOD'S REFRESHING COMMUNICATIONS TO HIS PEOPLE. The communications of God to His people are fitly compared to the influence of dew, which —

1. Distils silently and almost imperceptibly.

2. Yet insinuates itself into plants.

3. And thus maintains vegetative powers.

II. GOD'S REFRESHING COMMUNICATIONS ARE ATTESTED BY GRACIOUS FRUITS AND EFFECTS.

1. Growth. The quickness of the growth of the lily often excites admiration. Its stability defies the assaults of earth and hell. While it spreads its branches and displays its vigor in every good word and work.

2. Beauty. Peculiar grace and beauty in the olive-tree. And such there is in the soul that communes much with God. How is the lively Christian beautified with salvation!(1) His outward conduct is rendered amiable in every part.(2) His inward dispositions of humility and love are ornaments which even God Himself admires (1 Peter 3:4). He is transformed into the very image of his God (Ephesians 4:23, 24).(3) Nor shall his beauty be ever suffered to decay (Psalm 1:3). The olive an evergreen.

3. Fragrancy (twice mentioned in text). Lebanon was no less famous for its odoriferous vines than for its lofty cedars.(1) And does not the Christian diffuse a "sweet savour of Christ" all around him? See him fresh from the presence of God before the sun has exhaled the dew, or the world abated the fervour of his affections. How refreshing and delightful his conversation (Proverbs 16:24).(2) How pleasing are his character and life also to his God and Saviour! "The Lord hearkened," etc. (Malachi 3:16). "Awake, O north wind," etc. (Song of Solomon 4:16). "Let your speech," etc. (Colossians 4:6). The nearer you live to God the better will you fulfil that duty.

4. Fruitfulness. The corn and the vine are just emblems of a Christian's fruitfulness.(1) They often wear s most unpromising appearance.(2) Yet they are "revived" by the genial influences of sun and rain. Thus the Christian may be reduced to a drooping or desponding state. But the renewed influences of the Holy Spirit will revive him.(3) They make him "fruitful in every good word and work," he yields the "fruits of righteousness." Note especially the beneficent influences a Christian exerts. They who "dwell under his shadow" are most nearly connected with him, and feel the influences of his character, will participate his blessings. e.g., Master: he is considerate, gentle, wise, in relation to his dependants. Parent: Christianity sweetens family life, and blesses the children. Minister: he sheds a sacred and elevating influence — strengthening, solacing, saving. Infer —

1. How honourable and blessed is the Christian state! Often is he favoured with visits from above. Glorious are the effects produced by God upon him. The whole creation scarcely affords images whereby his blessedness may be adequately represented. Who, then, is so honourable? Who so happy? Let all endeavour to maintain a sense of their high privileges; and to "walk worthily of the calling wherewith they are called."

2. How hopeful is the state of those who wait on God! The promises in the text were given as an answer to prayer. And they are made to all who, like Israel, plead with God.(1) If the dew" be withheld from others, it shall descend on them. e.g., Gideon (Judges 6:37, 38).(2) The Spirit's descent shall accomplish the utmost, wishes of their souls.(3) They shall soon experience the fulfilment of that word: They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).

(Preacher's Assistant.)

I. THE LILY MARK. A good life is like a lily; it is a fruitful life, it does more good than anybody knows but God. Everything carries seeds about — birds and bees, roaring storms and whispering breezes. Well, so it is with a good life; it is very fruitful. Anything that touches it is the better for it.

II. THE MOUNTAIN MARK. "Cast forth his roots like Lebanon." The lily is fruitful, but very soon uprooted. It is a very weak thing. Well, a good life is not only like the lily, it is also like Mount Lebanon — that is, strong, firm, and steadfast. Now, there are some people who are good by fits and starts; they are very good in the morning, but before dinner-time their goodness has gone away. They have little bits of goodness that look very nice at the time, out when a strong wind arises — that is, when they are tempted in any way, crossed or provoked — the nice little bits get blown clean away. But a really good life is like Lebanon. It has roots. Winds. come and go. It remains unmoved.

III. THE SHADOW MARK. "His branches shall spread." Just think of a hot day in a tropical country. A weary traveller comes trudging along, and he says to himself, "Oh, for a bit of shade! I feel so tired, the sun will kill me." And then he sees in the distance a great tree that seems to say to him, "Come here to me; I will shade you, and stand between you and the heat, and you shall rest and sleep and be refreshed." Well, now, a good life is like that, it does good to others, and it spreads its branches so that others may be benefited. The shadow mark means usefulness.

IV. THE BEAUTY MARK. "And his beauty shall be as the olive tree." What is the beauty of the olive tree? Why, it is "ever green," it is beautiful all the year round. Some trees are beautiful for a few months, but the olive tree is ever green; it is beautiful all through the seasons of the year. That is another mark of a good life. You boys will grow up to be men — old men, perhaps — and you will lose a great deal of the outward beauty you have to-day, and so will you girls, for the body will decay; but if you believe in Jesus Christ, and are like Jesus Christ, every year will be like a painter's brush adding to your beauty, every day will make you more and more beautiful to the very end.

V. THE WILDFLOWER MARK. "And his smell shall be like Lebanon," — that is, a good life gives joy and pleasure to others. Lebanon was a mountain; it had great trees growing on it, and a great many beautiful flowers too, and these had a beautiful smell; and when the wind blew over Lebanon, and people were coming up the valley towards it, and came round a certain corner, there came a beautiful spicy breeze from Lebanon, and they drew it in and said, "What a sweet smell! the smell of Lebanon on the breeze!" Well, now, a good life is like that. It gives other people pleasure, it makes the earth a better place to live in, and makes people happier.

(J. M. Gibbon.)

Original Secession Magazine.
This is one of the exceeding great and precious promises which God has given to His Church, in which every true believer has a special interest, and for the fulfilment of which to himself and to others he is to look, and long, and pray.

I. AS TO THE ANALOGIES.

1. As natural dew in ordinary language is spoken of as descending from heaven or from above, so is the spiritual. In the blessing of Moses to Israel before his death, His heavens, it is promised, shall drop down dew; and Solomon speaks of the clouds as dropping down dew (Proverbs 3:20); and the Spirit, in His gracious influences, comes down from the highest heaven. In waiting for the promise of the Spirit, Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry in the city of Jerusalem till they should be endued with power from on high; and the prophet Isaiah declares, that on the land Of God's people will come up thorns and briars until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high" (Isaiah 32:13-15).

2. As the natural dew comes down freely, so does the spiritual. The husbandman has generally to pay a large rent for his land; he has also to expend much in manuring and preparing the ground, and replenishing it with appropriate seed; but the dew, which contributes so largely to the return which he reaps in harvest, costs him nothing. It is also distributed over his field in the best possible way, without any labour on his part. And this is still more emphatically true of the gracious influences of the Holy spirit. I, says Jesus, "will pray the Father, and He shall GIVE you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever"; and again — "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father GIVE the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" This is an unspeakably precious gift, which no money could purchase, and without which men would labour in vain in trying to cultivate the field of their own fallen nature and the heritage of God.

3. As the natural dew comes down seasonably, and sometimes very copiously, so does the spiritual. It is after the heat and drought of the day that the dew descends during the night, to refresh and invigorate the herbs and plants of the field; and in warm, eastern countries it often descends so plentifully as not only to water the herbs and plants, but also to moisten the soil, and drench the raiment of those exposed to it. And it is in this world, in which His people are exposed to the scorching and withering influences of manifold temptations, that God sends the refreshing dew and rain of the Spirit's benign influences. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and dry land springs of water." God is pleased to give His people the most abundant enjoyment of the gracious influences of the Spirit in the season of deep adversity.

4. As the natural dew descends very extensively, so does the spiritual. It is thus diffused not merely over all the hills and valleys, mountains and plains of one country, but of many countries in the four quarters of the globe. And the spiritual dew is also widely diffused. On how many living souls is this falling from day to day and night to night? On every living soul over the habitable globe. In respect of constancy, the analogy between the natural and the spiritual dew fails — the natural dew falls only during the night, but the spiritual descends day and night. The natural dew does not fall amidst storm and tempest; but it is when the storms and tempests of life rage most fiercely in the experience of the believer that the dews of the Spirit's influence fall most plentifully on his soul. The natural dew only falls from a serene and cloudless sky, but the spiritual comes down when the sky of the people of God is most deeply overcast.

5. The natural dew comes down very gently, and almost imperceptibly, — and so does the spiritual.

II. THE VARIED EFFECTS OF THE FULFILMENT OF THIS PROMISE AS HELD FORTH IN THE FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE HERE EMPLOYED. The effect of this is —

1. Revival and growth, — "He shall grow as the lily." "They shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine." There are few more pleasing sights than a field of young corn, every blade of which stands erect with its drop of dew, as if it rejoiced in drinking in the cold moisture by which it is rendered healthful and vigorous. And such are the delightful effects of the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit on the Church and people of God. This produces health of the most precious kind — soul health. This renders the plants of grace in the believer healthful and vigorous, constituting a leading part of the beauties of true holiness.

2. The effect of this is stability and strength, — "He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon." It is generally known that the taller a tree grows the deeper do its roots sink into the soil. The cedars of Lebanon were distinguished for the loftiness of their stature and the extent of their boughs, and consequently for the depth to which their roots were struck into the soil, and the breadth to which they extended under the ground. This figurative language intimates very impressively the strength and stability which the influences of the Holy Spirit give to the people of God, preventing them from being driven to and fro as the chaff, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, or laid prostrate by assaults of temptation like uprooted trees of the forest after the hurricane.

3. Another effect of this is, an increase of the Church's genuine members. He shall not only grow as the lily, but as the vine, which, when in a prosperous state, abounds with branches; and "his branches shall spread." Such was the effect of an abundant effusion of the Spirit in the apostolic age, when thousands of true converts were added to the Church in one place in one day, and when there was a fulfilment of the prediction of such rapid increase to the Church as is indicated in the question, "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows?"

4. Another effect of this is, beauty: moral and spiritual beauty. "His beauty shall be as the olive tree." Any tree richly clothed with leaves is a beautiful sight. But the olive tree, with its verdant leaves, either when adorned with its gorgeous blossoms or loaded with fruit, excels in beauty. And to this the beauties of holiness with which the saints of God are adorned, when richly replenished with the Spirit, are likened. However delightful the beauties of the landscape are to the natural, such spiritual beauty spread over the heritage of God is unspeakably more precious and delightful in the sight of God, and in the esteem of His people, in proportion as they have been made like Him.

5. The effect of this is, the diffusion of a delightful spiritual fragrance. "His smell shall be as Lebanon"; and again, "tire scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." God, in His amazing beneficence, as displayed even in nature, is pleased to furnish men with what gives pleasure to every sense — to the eye, to the ear, to the taste, and to the sense of smelling. Lebanon, doubtless, in the days of its glory, excelled in such richly garnished spots; and to this the savour of the holy, consistent lives of the people of God to the spiritual sense are compared; and such, we are assured, shall be the lives of Christians and their heavenly conversation, when God fulfils the promise largely in their experience. This last word, here rendered "scent," has reference to memory. And of the righteous it is testified, that they shall be had in everlasting remembrance. The examples of the saints in ancient times, which have been embalmed in the inspired record, and the fragrant reminiscences of the excellent of the earth in subsequent ages, which have been preserved in authentic uninspired history, are special means by which, through the Divine blessing, the power of godliness has been perpetuated in our fallen world. Let us, then, seek to be enabled, by the Holy Spirit, so to bye from day to day, and from Sabbath to Sabbath in particular, that our example and our counsels shall exert a benign influence on children and children's children, and on posterity generally. Let us try to unite in praying earnestly for an abundant fulfilment of this promise to ourselves, as individuals, as families, as congregations, and to the Church in all her branches. With what beauty of the best kind would this adorn her! What stability would this impart to her! What a blessing would this make her among the nations, yea, to the whole world!

(Original Secession Magazine.)

He shall grow as the lily
We have here —

I. THE SECRET OF SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. "I will be as the dew unto Israel," therefore "he shall grow as the lily." Not the mere outward, but the outward as it grows from the inward. The dew may wash the dust off the fine petals of the lily, but it is not this that makes it grow beautiful and causes it to unfold its grandeur, but by going down its capillaries and saturating its roots. It is, in the language of modern science, first an involution, and then an evolution. First it takes in and then gives out. Not the amount of God's blessings that rest upon us promote our spiritual beauty, but the amount of God that we absorb into our souls. If the former will, as it were, wash our faces, and it does this, as it makes national customs more pure and humane and beautiful, as it promotes a clean morality, as it gives sweetness to our habits and modes of living, yet it is the blessings that we take into our very being that make beauty a growth, a living product of the Divine within. There is a beauty of art, the result of the magic pencil or chisel of the artist, but it is not a growth; it is still, cold, and lifeless. It is a decoration and external addition, but not a production. It is the difference between the decorated Christmas-tree and the living, fruit-laden tree of the orchard. Spiritual beauty is the result of Divine blessings appropriated and converted by the Divine life within into outgrowing grandeur. The addition of external decorations is sometimes mistaken for this. Spiritual beauty is a living product, the natural outgrowth of the life within. A life dependent upon the nourishment that the Fountain of Life supplies. Be beautiful without God! Yes, when nature can wear her gorgeous apparel without the blessings and the light of heaven.

II. THEN THE FIGURE SUGGESTS THE PRONOUNCED CHARACTER OF TRUE SPIRITUAL BEAUTY. "Blossom as the lily." Blossom like this. Changed into the plain prose of the New Testament it means Christians growing like Christ; beautiful with His beauty, grand with His grandeur. For as He is the unchanging standard of spiritual beauty. Making no pretensions, it frequently hides half-buried among more obtrusive and gaudy blooms, yet is known when seen. To grow as the lily is to have a beauty inseparable from real quality. The disciples in the council and Stephen before the court were too real and beautiful to be ignored, and we read that men took note of them. Such men are the living yet unconscious preachers of the nature and grandeur of the Divine character. It is unnecessary to be anxious about our appearance, about being demonstrative, about showing our character and piety; we need be anxious only about being real and the character will show itself. See that the inner life is Christ in us, filling our spirits, and the outer life will be a natural, agreeable product requiring no effort on our part to produce it.

III. AGAIN WE LEARN THAT OUR SPIRITUAL BEAUTY IS GOD'S CONCERN RATHER THAN OURS. Be not concerned about your beauty, but be concerned about your goodness; not about what you are to become, but about what you are, about doing your duty to God, and He will see to your beauty. He does not bid us chisel our own beauty; it would certainly be very inferior work. The fashioning of the spiritual beauty of the Christian character is in the hands of the Master Artist of the universe, and we can profitably leave it to Him.

(E. Aubrey.)

Wesleyan Magazine.
Coleridge defined genius as "the faculty of growth"; goodness belongs to the same order, and may be similarly defined. It is ever "becoming," changing into a more complete and Diviner thing.

1. There is growth in purity. Wesley said, "I believe this perfection is always wrought in the soul by faith, by a simple act of faith; consequently in an instant." But I believe a gradual work, both preceding and following that instant. The gift received in faith was preceded by a gracious preparation, the gift received in faith is slowly realised in its fulness of meaning in after years. We must look for growth in clearness of insight, for increasing freedom from pride and self, for new blossomings in purity of thought and motive and life.

2. There is growth in depth. How little many of us read, or meditate, or pray. And this is the reason that our branches are bare, that we wither at the top. We want more pondering in our heart, more of that secret assimilation which takes fast, hold of the eternal grounds of reason and righteousness. The plants which grow in the Alps are, as a rule, firmly and largely rooted. It is much the same with the Christian character. Whenever we find strength or beauty of character, we may be sure that it springs from depth of soul, that the fibres have struck deep in the everlasting truth and love. And when we gain this depth we enjoy a blessed stability and peace. The Christian life is strong and stable, hidden with Christ in God.

3. There is growth in breadth. Spreading of roots, and spreading of boughs. Not unusually we commence the spiritual life with narrow and ignorant views of the Divine character and government; but justly cultured, the soul expands in the knowledge and love of God. We sorely need to grow out of all narrow and unworthy misconceptions. There is also a growth in charity — a growth in heart. The growth in kindness, sympathy, catholicity, is the Divinest growth of all.

4. There is growth in beauty. Mount Lebanon is decked with loveliness, and it has an abundance of aromatic things and odoriferous flowers. The olive is a tree with a charm of its own. The olive is by no means a picturesque tree, it even sometimes looks stunted and shabby. But the soft, delicate beauty of the olive grows upon you, until, stirred by the wind, the shimmering silver of its leaves makes a picture. So Christian character is often not in the least brilliant, not heroic or striking. The noblest men and women living are modest, homely, simple souls; but they are marked by a mild and serious grace which is in truth the perfection of beauty. In this unconscious winsomeness we ought to grow unto our lives' end.

5. There is a growth in useful ness. What corn and wine are to men, the children of God are to the world they diffuse life and gladness. Usefulness is the very glory of the Christian. The glory of the Christian is that he lives to bless. And we are reminded that every thing is possible in the power of grace, as all beauty and fruitfulness are possible in the dewdrop. God says, "I will be as the dew unto Israel."

(Wesleyan Magazine.)

These words contain the gracious promise of God's favour and blessing upon Israel converted. The Lord gives refreshment to His people, which produces in them the firmness of the tree that is deeply rooted, the beauty and spotless purity of the lily, the fragrance of an odoriferous plant, the smell of Lebanon. The dew which is promised is grace, grace which justifies, as well as grace which sanctifies. This grace is given in order to produce certain fruits. The beauty of holiness may be fitly represented by the purity and comeliness of this flower. Then spiritual growth is not all outwards, it consists mostly in growth of the root, which is out of sight. The more we depend upon Christ, and draw our virtue from Him, the more we act from principle, the more steadfast we are in faith. Another blessing, following the operation of grace, is the increase of God's Church. There is one metaphor more. The Christian plant is pleasing to the sight; it is pleasant also to the smell. The olive-tree has the advantage of being always green. And the spiritual sacrifices, like the smell of Lebanon, are as a sweet savour unto God. The Church of Christ is compared to a garden of spices. The fragrance of true piety is felt where it is not acknowledged.

(Richard Burgess, D. D.)

The cause of all which follows is this, God by His gracious Spirit will be "as the dew unto Israel." Upon that note of the prosperous success this dew of God's Spirit hath in them. "They shall grow as the lily." Objection —

1. The lily grows but hath no stability. Then "they shall cast out their roots as Lebanon." With growth they shall have stability; not only grow in height speedily, but also grow fast in the root with firmness. Objection —

2. As everything that grows in root and firmness doth not spread itself, he says "his branches shall spread," making him more fruitful and comfortable to others. Objection —

3. Everything is not fruitful, therefore he shall be as the olive-tree for fruitfulness. Objection-

4. The olive hath no pleasant smell or good taste. Therefore he adds another blessing. They shall, in regard to their pleasantness to God and man, be "as .the smell of Lebanon," which was a wondrous, pleasant, and delightful place.

( Sibbes, Richard.)

And cast forth his roots as Lebanon
The lesson here directs attention to spiritual strength, not in its manifestations so much as in its invisible secret growth and power, agreeing with the New Testament expression, "Strengthened with might in the inner man."

I. THAT SPIRITUAL STRENGTH IS PRIMARILY AN INVISIBLE GROWTH. We see the stem of the tree coming to view, its branches spreading, its foliage budding and opening; but this is secondary. Previous to this the roots have spread themselves and absorbed nourishment, and fastened themselves to the hidden rocks. And our life in its visible beauty, in its vigour, in its fruitfulness, will be just in proportion to the extent that our desires and affections and motives grow towards God, and cling to Him and draw their nourishment from Him. A man is really outwardly what he is really inwardly. Root principles are not conveniences but necessities. Faith is first a conviction and then an effort. Trees without deep roots have been seen sprouting and bearing leaves, but they have soon withered. Virtues without principle, tim result of training or environment, or even imitation, may in their bearings upon mankind prove beneficial. The man may act or give to satisfy another, or to obtain applause, or from some other selfish motives; but the virtues of the truly religious spring from a deep invisible principle that is rooted in and gathers its strength from God. And one of the results of absorbing abundantly God's blessings is that it develops righteous principles and convictions in the soul, bringing the invisible in us into living and growing contact with the invisible Eternal.

II. THAT SPIRITUAL STRENGTH IS OURS IN PROPORTION TO THE GROWTH OF OUR INTERNAL PRINCIPLES. We may have a laudable ambition to be strong, vigorous Christians, having resisting power to fight manfully and successfully all alluring temptations, persisting power to pursue with firm step our godly course, maintaining a large measure of devoutness whatever may be the hindrances and difficulties "in our way, and possessing conquering power whereby we may overcome self as well as Satan. Then our desires and anxieties and ambitions must move towards God, to settle themselves in Him, and derive their strength from Him, and become "strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son."

III. A STRENGTH THAT SHALL BE SEEN IN UNWAVERING STEADFASTNESS. Storms sweep over the Lebanon forests in mad fury, but they only help to consolidate the roots of the cedar, and help them to strike themselves deeper among the rocks, to have a still firmer hold, and then to stand in stately grandeur. The powers of our soul are capable of expansion, and don't try and tie them down to any circumscribed rule of your own, and sinfully stunt their growth! Give them scope, being careful that they ever move in the direction of God and eternal realities. Why the wavering and vacillating on the part of so many? Why the painful unrest so generally apparent? The answer is not far to find. The roots are not deep. Conviction is at a discount, and principle is not the sacred and important concern that it rightly should be in the estimate of large numbers of professing Christians. How different they who are rooted and grounded in God, with convictions firm, and principles a guiding rule! Compromise and expediency find no countenance with them, Such men were Moses, Job, Daniel, and others in Old Testament times, and Peter, Paul, John, and others in apostolic times, and the martyrs and others in later years.

(E. Aubrey.)

I. THIS EXPRESSION IMPLIES A SAD AND PAINFUL TRUTH. A truth, alas! only too evidently confirmed by our own experiences, namely, that there lies in us a possibility to err from the ways of God. Among the many causes that contribute to this is —

1. Too large a measure of self-confidence. There is a confidence that is legitimate and necessary, the confidence that has God for its foundation. But if in exalting self our trust rests upon our own powers, and we reason confidently from an exaggerated conception of the ability of those powers, then do we sin both against God and ourselves. Self-confidence is false confidence, and like all things false, it must wither and decay. The chequered career of Israel as a nation is a striking object-lesson that illustrates this truth. Its several declensions are preceded by unmistakable evidences of a growing self-confidence, that leads to ignoring God, and eventually makes them the captive slaves of their victorious enemies. And history in its recital of the careers of individuals bears testimony to the operation of the same law here. Self-confidence has proved the sure harbinger of declension. It was so with Peter.

2. Another cause of spiritual declension is the neglect of the means Divinely appointed to ensure our stability and progress. This naturally follows the other. An exalted self means a belittled God. Self-satisfaction means despised Divine provision. We cannot live and grow and prosper without God. And so are His appointed means.

3. Again, too close a tie to the world in its enervating influences conduces to declension. We cannot live in the miasma and fever swamps of sin without being spiritually affected for ill. Indications of such declension are also present in our own spirits.(1) There is a low tone to our spirituality. And matters are looked at not in the light of revelation under the illumination of God's Spirit, but with eyes dimmed and vision darkened by too close a contact with the world.(2) Relish for the spiritual is lost.(3) To which may be added as a further indication the harassing sense of unrest that rains us.

II. VOICES A CONSOLATORY TRUTH. "They shall return." Recover the ground lost by their declension, on condition that in quiet, trustful receptiveness they dwell under God's shelter. It is our comfort to know that God works our restoration. Have we asked, "What shall I do to win back the joys of former days"? We may have vowed and planned and promised and striven in our own strength away from God, but all in vain. How shall we compass again the experiences of a brighter day? Here is the answer, "They that abide under His shadow shall return."

(E. Aubrey.)

The figure implies —

I. THE POSSESSION OF A LIVING ENERGY.

II. THE FIGURE AGAIN SUGGESTS THAT SOUL REVIVAL IS PROMOTED BY COMING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE NECESSARY AND ADAPTED MEANS. The grain to germinate and grow and produce must be placed in congenial soil, be watered by the clouds of heaven, and warmed by the abounding rays of the sun Israel's revival is ensured by being in God's presence, with His fertilising blessings resting upon them and His gracious favours awakening their sleeping powers. Prayer, the Word of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit are a necessity.

III. SOUL REVIVAL SHALL MEAN THE INCREASE AND MULTIPLICATION OF LIFE. "Revive as the corn." How? To grow? Yes, and to multiply. When God is ours, He multiplies life through us. We live to-day, when God is ours, to live to-morrow, not only in ourselves, but in others, and become immortal both in heaven" and on earth. Immortality is inseparable from the life lived in God and nourished by Him. Its very nature, for it is Divine, ensures its perpetuation. The saints that have gone before never lived as they do to-day. They fill a larger circle, and sway a greater influence than when in the flesh. When filled with God we produce what becomes seed for greater harvests. What magnificent possibilities belong to us!

(E. Aubrey.)

And grow as the vine
I. IT IS GROWTH BY DEPENDENCE UPON SUPERIOR STRENGTH. While all the trees and plants of forest, field, and garden in many ways evince their dependence, in none, perhaps, except the ivy and its class, is it manifested more openly than in the vine. Growth by clinging to superior strength seems to be the primary lesson that it teaches. "The Lord was my stay," says David. "Who is among you that feareth the Lord let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." It is no dishonour to our devout character, no disgrace to our virtues, no disparagement of our powers to acknowledge our utter dependence upon God, and to exhibit it. "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe." It was no empty platitude, or mere figure of speech, that exhortation of Barnabas's to the brethren in the Church at Antioch: "That with full purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord." Clinging to the Lord is not only weakness laying hold of strength, but life gathering force and finding support to expand and grow and be fruitful. This is not merely a wise policy, but an absolute necessity.

II. GROWING IN AN ELEVATED SITUATION. We are told that "the elevation of the hills and tablelands of Judah is the true climate of the vine." This natural fact suggests a parallel in Christian history and experience. The souls that have dwelt in the heights of God, above the world in their desires, affections, and aims, standing on an elevated platform in the principles that they have ever acted upon, and the methods which they have adopted, have ever proved the most fruitful, and the product of their life most wholesome and rich. As the vine is indigenous to an elevated position, and grows best there, so our souls are indigenous to a higher mode of life than the worldly, and meant in that higher position to breathe a holier and purer atmosphere, and grow best in our native soil, which is God and the Divine.

III. THAT OUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS PROMOTED BY NECESSARY PURGING AND PRUNING. To grow is one thing; to grow pure, strong, healthy, and fruitful is another thing. And the latter is ensured by the wise arrangement that ordains a measure of trial and sorrow and suffering. To grow as the vine is to grow to the sharp, necessary touch of the pruning knife as it lops off the superfluous, and as it bleeds by skilful incisions to draw off the infected sap, which being allowed to remain would work destruction. Conscious as we are of the presence in our spirits of much that is injuriously superfluous, it is a loving hand that in affliction comes to purge, since it makes the zeal stronger and the soul holier. "It was good for me that I was afflicted," is a confession that has often been. endorsed. Is it not a privilege to be helped to grow strong and healthy? Is it not a favour to be assisted to greater purity and more abundant fruitfulness?

IV. IN WHICH FRUITFULNESS IS ITS PURPOSED END. The vine that grows to a purpose, being advantageously situated, carefully and skilfully tended and trimmed is the one that repays the attention bestowed upon it with rich clusters of luscious fruit. And it is this that explains the attention. "That ye may abound in every good work" is the key that unlocks the mysteries of our life, and explains the trying dispensations through which the believing soul is made to pass.

(E. Aubrey.)

His branches shall
First the growth of our inner virtues, then the growth of our outer graces. First deep-rooted convictions, pure desires, holy affections, honest motives; then manifest activities, wide sympathies, and powerful influences, the natural and irresistible outcome.

I. TO THE MANIFEST AND VISIBLE IN SPIRITUAL GROWTH. Grace, which is the New Testament term for the Divine blessings, cannot be concealed. Besides, we cannot absorb more unless we produce with what we have. We must give God out in our life, if we would take in more of God into our spirit. God has not meant that we should be reservoirs to store, but channels to communicate. It is as false as it is selfish to suppose that, God being ours, He is ours to conserve for ourselves, as if the ideal of religion consisted in getting as much from Him for our own aggrandisement aa we can contain. Then verily would our portion be small. Not how much of enjoyment can we derive in the sanctuary makes us religious, but how much of God can we exhibit in our homes and its duties, in the workshop, in the office, and in the street. Religion is not personal enjoyment so much as a relative blessing. The ideal is not our own enriching as being blessed in being means of enriching others.

II. A TRUTH NOT LESS APPLICABLE TO OUR INFLUENCE THAN TO OUR ACTS. Society has mistakenly joined the epithet "influential" to mere worldly position and material wealth, and calls him the influential man who possesses these. But the standard is a low one, and neither true to history or experience. True influence, an influence that lives and elevates the race, is that which emanates from goodness and is joined to disinterested piety. Caesar, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and others are but mere names in history as compared with the living influence of the disciples. Their branches spread and are spreading still.

III. THEN, AGAIN, PROGRESS IS CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR VISIBLE GRACES WHEN GOD IS OURS. This sentence in its literal form presents to us a complex figure, seemingly contradictory — "His branches or sucking offshoots shall go on." And having God as ours even now progress is characteristic of our life as we go "from strength to strength," adding virtue to virtue. Our life's history is a "going on." From grace to grace; from effort to effort; from experience to experience; from achievement to achievement. The branches are going on. Desires are becoming more holy, devotion's fires burn brighter and stronger, zeal becomes increasingly fervent, and religion is more transparent.

(E. Aubrey.)

His beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon
"His beauty shall be as the olive-tree," which though fruitful and excellent, yet hath no sweet smell; therefore it is added, "His smell shall be as Lebanon." The olive is a very fruitful tree, and the oil which comes and distils from it hath many excellent properties, agreeing to graces. It is a royal kind of liquor, that will be above the rest: so grace commands all other things, it gives a sanctified use of the creature, and subdues all corruption. And then it is unmixed, it will mingle with nothing: light and darkness will not mingle, no more will grace and corruption. And it is sweet, strengthening, and feeding the life. It is the excellence and glory of a Christian to be fruitful in his place and in his particular calling. Every one that is fruitful, God hath a special care of. A Christian by his fruitfulness doth delight others. Note the figure, "dwell under His shadow." What is the use of a shadow? It is for a retiring place to rest in. It is for defence against the extremity of heat. It is for delight, if the shades be good and wholesome. What solace and rest do men find under the shadow of the Church? There is rest and peace. God is about His Church as a wall to protect it.

( Sibbes, Richard, D. D.)

— So the, beauty of the pious life is by this figure set forth.

I. As being UNINTERMITTENT. A striking contrast to the ever-changing and short-lived so-called beauty of the world. Dressed in the charm of novelty and breaking upon the world at certain seasons, the beauty of much that society boasts of, or even nature presents to our view, is thereby deemed especially attractive. But true spiritual beauty is an ever present quality. Not the cold beauty of a statue or of a finely painted picture, the result of human skill and artistic manipulation, but the living production of a healthy, God-filled soul. The strength within counteracting the destroying forces without, and triumphing over them. The winter of life no less than summer witnesses its continuance. As sure as it is the result of the God-life in us, so sure will it abide and live unintermittently. The unbelieving observer will occasionally complain that it is not sufficiently apparent, and some, because they cannot see it, deny its existence, forgetting that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Besides, the pious man's surroundings occasionally prevent the world from seeing his real character.

II. That it is beauty COMBINED WITH UTILITY. The olive-tree, while symbolical of beauty, stands none the less noted for its wealth, with its proverbial fatness, combining with its abiding vigour and beauty the virtue of being pre-eminently serviceable — its stock, branches, sap, leaves, and fruit being all of the highest value. And that is the truly beautiful which is preeminently useful. The beauty of an object to the pious mind is that it awakens gratifying spiritual sensations, and so far is subjective; and, moreover, is ever fresh with unfading glory, serves a useful purpose, harmonises with the grandeur of the Divine creation, and stands in due order and rightful proportion to the universe in its symmetry and forces. The spiritual theory, as one puts it, is that it is "the expression of the invisible and spiritual under sensible material forms," or, in theological phraseology, it is the inner life manifesting itself in holy fruitfulness and blessing, glorious with the attraction of felt benefits. Such is the really beautiful life — a life of positive activity and blessing. Speak we of spiritual beauty? We ever associate it with self-sacrificing labours. We view the representatives of the truly beautiful in the gallery of Scripture; and inquire wherein does their beauty lie? And we find it consists in the manifestation of this self-sacrificing spirit and effort. They found their beauty by distributing their powers and blessings, regardless of self.

III. It is beauty of AN EVER-ENDURING CHARACTER.

(E. Aubrey.)

I. SUCH FRAGRANCE IS THE PRODUCT OF INTERNAL GRACE AND DIVINE FAVOUR. Vain is the hope to be able to diffuse a sweetening and hallowing influence unless God is in us in His sweetening and sanctifying life. The botanist tells us that the perfume of flowers depends upon the volatilisation of an essential oil which they secrete in their most hidden recesses, whether a sweet oil diffusing rich fragrance or a nauseous oil that exhales itself in repulsive smell. Still the possession of this oil is one thing, its volatile character another. Turning from the figure to the lesson it embodies, it manifestly suggests two things: first, the necessity of possessing internal graces, being filled with the fulness of God, and then, that these graces should become external influences, as they dispose themselves in pleasing and effective forms. Such influences are the holy fragrance of the devout life, arresting attention, awakening inquiry, and inspiring fondness, being neither heard nor seen but powerfully felt. Appearance and sweetness do not always go together. To the eye the richly-hued dahlia is more fascinating than the spray of mignonette, which can scarcely lay claim to be regarded as a flower. But which is it that gives the greatest sense of sweetness? True spiritual influence is more a felt than a seen power. There are parallels in human life to the dahlia and the mignonette: the beauty that expends itself in colour — not to be despised — and that still greater beauty that touches us with pleasing and arresting force, though still unseen — the subtle, penetrating, and captivating influence whose presence is a felt reality. It is so in the life of many a humble, modest, retiring disciple of Jesus Christ's, who dread nothing more than conspicuous publicity, who would blush to find themselves famous, and yet whose presence gives a healthy, fragrant character to the workshop, warehouse, office, or in whatever circle they are found. Their life is a diffusion of Divine sweetness. To scatter a Divine aroma in the community, to diffuse a holy fragrance in our life, grace must be obtained from God, and our virtues must be of a diffusive nature.

II. SPIRITUAL FRAGRANCE MEANS AGAIN THE HARMONIOUS BLENDING OF CHRISTIAN VIRTUES. As the fragrance of Lebanon was the blended odours diffused by the various fragrant plants that grew on that mountain range, so the spiritual fragrance of the Christian Church is the harmonious unity and co-operation of its members, and in the case of the individual believer it is the union of the several virtues that go to make up Christian character. There is a spiritual deformity that hinders the diffusion of spiritual influence, where only one grace, or set of graces, is cultivated to the neglect of all the test, and symmetry is lost and beauty and sweetness consequently absent. Christian character, to. prove an influence, must be symmetrical and complete. "Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge," etc. Men may admire bold. ness, revere meekness, take pleasurable notice of sturdy faith, applaud charity, speak of kindness, and trust honesty when beheld singly; but it is when they are joined together in one character that men are afraid of committing evil in its presence, and are inspired by it to holy effort.

III. THE EMBLEM SUGGESTS AGAIN UNCONFINED EXPANSION. Lebanon loads the passing breezes with a rich profusion of flagrance to be carried anywhere and everywhere — a fragrance that defies the artificial limitations of men's erecting. A high wall may shut in the colour, but the fragrance will overleap it and scatter itself in ever-widening directions.

(E. Aubrey.)

Look at the picture of what the dew does, that we may claim the promise and drink in the blessing.

I. THE DEW MAKES BLOOM. When God heals the backsliding of Israel, "he shall blossom as the lily." God comes as the dew to dower us with eternal bloom. His secret influences are meant to urge us to an open and increasing beauty. God promises in this figure, to give us, not merely the lily lines, but also the lily glow. He shall lead us not only to do the right, but to do it from a noble motive, and in a noble manner. He aims at colour as well as form.

II. THE DEW MAKES ROOT. "Shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon." The famous rid is known the world over for its groves of cedar, and the cedar-tree is remarkable for its deep, strong grip of the soil. It takes its name indeed from the way in which it "coils" its roots about the rocks. It is the very figure of immovability. Our faith roots itself in truths as sure as the changeless, tremulous rock. We lay hold of the eternal love, and we know that we must shake the universe and wreck all existence before we can move that. Therefore our hope rears itself ever nearer heaven, and fears not the blasts of temptation nor the tooth of time.

III. THE DEW MAKES FRUIT. God promises the luxuriant growth of the olive. Here is the symbol of a life that is visible in open majesty and usefulness. It bears an ever fuller harvest of fruit. It shows a constant freshness. The spiritual olive-tree, weighted with its berries, is God's secret benediction to the soul given forth again as an open blessing to the world.

IV. THE DEW MAKES SCENT. The lily, when it has much colour, has little fragrance. The cedar and the olive are sweet-smelling trees. Thus the three foregoing figures not only represent gracefulness, steadfastness, and usefulness, but also imply the virtue which is typified by scent. God would have His Church fling far beyond its borders a pleasant savour. As we send our own special sweetness into the air we make a fragrance which woes the world to think well of God's work. Popular opinion as to godliness is not formed from the aroma of one saintly life, but from the general experience of men in their dealings with saintly people. How necessary then that every plant of the Lord, however lowly, should be richly fragrant. The dew, which is God, nourishes the continual incense that ascends to God. Sweeter than our songs, truer than our prayers, our godly spirit is a delight to God, and a worship ever waited for.

(Anon.)

(for children): — Lebanon is the name of two great ranges of mountains on the northern border of Palestine. Travellers who have visited the place tell us that when you enter the valley between these mountains there meets you at once "a perfect gust of fragrant odours." It tomes from the flowers, from the aromatic shrubs, from the fig-trees, mulberry-trees, vines and cedars which abound in the valley. The perfume is delightful, and cannot easily be described. Hosea must have passed that way and caught some of the exquisite fragrance, else he could not have written about it so forcibly. But what can the prophet mean when he speaks of Israel — God's people, men, women, Children — having a "smell as Lebanon"? Was the smell in their clothes, or in their bodies? No. Clothes may smell of grease, of smoke, of scent; and vulgar persons are sometimes vain enough to make themselves known in a company by means of their favourite perfume. He was a silly little boy who, after nurse had washed his face, removed his pinafore, put some sweet pomatum on his hair and a drop of scent on his handkerchief, came strutting into the drawing-room among his mother's guests, and, looking all around, proudly said, "Now, if anybody smells a smell, that is me." We shall do well to shun that kind of folly and vanity. If good people have a "smell as Lebanon," it is not in their clothes, or in their bodies, but in their character — their influence is what the prophet refers to as fragrance. Influence is not an easy word to define, yet we all know what it is. Influence is like the scent Of shrubs and flowers; you cannot see it, touch it, hear it, but it never fails to make its presence known. The fragrance of a plant is part of itself — that part which it gives forth in minute particles, in atoms so small the eye cannot see them, yet they float in the air, and reach the organs of smell. And influence is something going forth from us in little, almost imperceptible ways; in looks, tones, gestures, tempers, actions. It is the outcome of our inner self. It may be good, or bad, sweet or foul, wholesome or noxious; and like the magnet, it has power to draw or repel. Every one of us has influence. No hair is so small that it is without a shadow. No violet is so hidden that it yields no scent. No child is too young, too lowly, to sweeten daily life in home and school. If boys and girls live for Jesus, in the sunshine of His love, and under the dew of His Spirit, theirs will be a fragrant life. They will bring joy into the family, love into the playground, good temper into every quarrel, happiness and gladness into many hearts. The missionary who settles among strange people in a foreign land may not be able, at first, to speak their language, or say a word to change their bad habits. Yet there is something he can do. He may live a life of kindness, goodness, compassion, truthfulness, purity; and, so living, the influence of his character will be sure to "impress the heathen favourably, and do them good. Of King Jesus it Is said, All Thy garments smell of myrrh." Keep company with Jesus, and He will give you of His sweetness, wherewith to influence others. The Chinese have a wood which, however deeply buried underground, fills the air with fragrance; and in the higher peak of Teneriffe, far above the clouds, in a dry, burning waste, grows a plant which in summer emits a delicious odour far and wide. Let me so live, that, whether my lot be in the vale or on the hill-top, others may find some good and gracious influence proceeding from me, like that in Israel of which the prophet testified, "His smell as Lebanon."

(A. A Ramsey.)

Everything that God does is beautifully done. His stars are jewels set in velvet; His flowers are sapphires set in emerald. Everything of His creation, in shape and colour, as it lies bathed in the sunlight, has upon it the touch of the beautiful. And this teaches us to do beautifully everything that we do. Especially in our conduct towards each other ought there to gleam the beauty of star and breathe the fragrance of flower.

Anybody that has ever seen a grove of olives knows that their beauty is not such as strikes the eye. If it were not for the blue sky overhead, that rays down glorifying light, they would not be much to look at or talk about: The tree has a gnarled, grotesque trunk, which divides into insignificant branches, bearing leaves mean in shape, harsh in texture, with a silvery under side. It gives but a quivering shade and has no massiveness nor sympathy. Ay! but there are olives on the branches. And so the beauty of the humble tree is in what it grows for man's good. The olive is crushed into oil, and the oil is used for smoothing and suppling joints and flesh, for nourishing and sustaining the body as food, for illuminating darkness as oil in the lamp. And these three things are the three things for which we Christian people have received all our dew, and all our beauty, and all our strength — that we may give other people light, that we may be the means of conveying to other people nourishment, that we may move gently in the world as lubricating, sweetening, soothing influences. The question, after all, is, Does anybody gather fruit of us, and would anybody call us "trees of righteousness the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified"?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn
1. Who are those that are under his shadow, and what is their return? What is the shadow? Is it Christ, or is it the visible Church? A shadow is literally the representation which any solid body, interposing between the sun, or light, and another body makes of itself. Christ, and God in Him, are the shadow and protection of the Church. But the Church of God seems to be the shadow meant in the text, to which those who dwell under the shade of the same return.

2. Their revival on their having returned, and being under his shadow. This is described as the growth of corn. Corn, in this metaphor, includes wheat, barley, oats, rye, etc.

3. Set forth the growth of these converts, thus returned to the Church, Who, being received into it, and protected by it, and being hereby under the shadow of the same, "are revived as the corn, and grow as the vine."

4. The spiritual fragrancy of those who thus return to the Lord. "The scent, or memorial (see margin), shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Thus we have the Church of Christ in the open, visible state in which she will shine forth in all her gifts and graces.

(Samuel Eyles Pierce.)

Links
Hosea 14:5 NIV
Hosea 14:5 NLT
Hosea 14:5 ESV
Hosea 14:5 NASB
Hosea 14:5 KJV

Hosea 14:5 Bible Apps
Hosea 14:5 Parallel
Hosea 14:5 Biblia Paralela
Hosea 14:5 Chinese Bible
Hosea 14:5 French Bible
Hosea 14:5 German Bible

Hosea 14:5 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Hosea 14:4
Top of Page
Top of Page