Isaiah 50:10
Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of His Servant? Who among you walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD; let him lean on his God.
Sermons
A Searching QueryW.M. Statham Isaiah 50:10
Counsel for Those Who Walk in the DarkR. Tuck Isaiah 50:10
The Name of GodCharles KingsleyIsaiah 50:10
A Word in Season to the WearyE. Johnson, M.A.Isaiah 50:4-11
A Word to the WearyJ. Parker, D.D.Isaiah 50:4-11
A Word to the WearyE. Mellor, D. D.Isaiah 50:4-11
A Word to the WearyJ. Hamilton, D.D.Isaiah 50:4-11
Christ Speaking a Word in Season to the WearyJ. Matheson.Isaiah 50:4-11
God's Day SchoolH. C. Leonard, M.A.Isaiah 50:4-11
God's Voice Heard in StillnessIsaiah 50:4-11
Morning Communion with GodIsaiah 50:4-11
Noble Gifts for Lowly UsesW. Baxendale.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Gift of ConsolationF. Delitzsch, D.D.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Inspiration of Noble IdeasC. S. Robinson, D.D.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Lord's Servant Made Perfect Through SufferingsProf. J. Skinner, D.D.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Messiah an Instructed TeacherR. Macculloch.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Ministry of PreachingR, Roberts.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Tongue of the LearnedC. Ross M. A.Isaiah 50:4-11
The WearyF. B. Meyer, B.A.Isaiah 50:4-11
The Weary World and the Refreshing MinistryHomilistIsaiah 50:4-11
WearinessE. Mellor, D. D.Isaiah 50:4-11
Weary SoulsW.Birch.Isaiah 50:4-11
Words in Season for the WearyF. B. Meyer, B.A.Isaiah 50:4-11
Words to the WearyE. Mellor, D. D.Isaiah 50:4-11
Signs of Faithful ServiceW. Clarkson Isaiah 50:5-10
A Child of Light Walking in DarknessIsaiah 50:10-11
A Day-Star for Dark HeartsR. Glover, D. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Counsel to Those Who Walk in DarknessIsaiah 50:10-11
Darkness And, Light, and Light and DarknessH. Batchelor.Isaiah 50:10-11
Darkness the Element of TrialR. Scott, M.A.Isaiah 50:10-11
DepressionE. C. S. Gibson, M.A.Isaiah 50:10-11
DesertionH. Verschoyle.Isaiah 50:10-11
EncouragementR. Glover, D. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Encouragement and WarningIsaiah 50:10-11
F.W. Robertson's Experience and CounselIsaiah 50:10-11
Facing GodwardsW.L. Watkinson.Isaiah 50:10-11
Faith Useful in Dark DaysJ. A. Davies, B. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
False and True in CharacterHomilistIsaiah 50:10-11
God in The Thick DarknessH. H. Dobney.Isaiah 50:10-11
God's Message to the DespondingW. M. Taylor, D. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Light and DarknessE. M. Goulburn, D.C.L.Isaiah 50:10-11
Light in DarknessR. Price, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Light in Darkness: True and FalseL. Blackburne, D. D., E. Avriol, M.A.Isaiah 50:10-11
Looking GodwardsH. H. Dobney.Isaiah 50:10-11
Melancholy ChristiansIsaiah 50:10-11
Polish Up the Dark SideThe New, AgeIsaiah 50:10-11
Security in the Darkness of LifeW. L. Watkinson.Isaiah 50:10-11
Spiritual DarknessJ. Wardrop, D. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Spiritual DarknessF. Hastings.Isaiah 50:10-11
Spiritual DarknessJ. Pulsford, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Believer in DarknessJ. Summerfield, M.A.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Child of God in DarknessIsaiah 50:10-11
The Child of Light Walking in DarknessIsaiah 50:10-11
The Cloud Across the SunT. Sanderson.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Duty of Those Who have not AssuranceA. McLeod, D. D.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Fear of the Lord BlendsR. Macculloch.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Prophet's Sublimity and SarcasmL. Blackburne, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
The Want of AssuranceA. McLeod, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Trust in GodJ. Witherspoon, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Trust in the Name of the LordIsaiah 50:10-11
Unwilling DarknessJ. R. Macduff, D.D.Isaiah 50:10-11
Willing and Unwilling UnbeliefC. Voysey, M.A.Isaiah 50:10-11
Who is among you, etc.? What wonderful discrimination of character there is in Scripture! It is "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." And it is ever associated with the Divine remedies. Go to a physician, and you often fear the worst. That never is so with the great Physician. Beautiful idea of trust! We cannot force either conviction or feeling.

1. The position described.

2. The remedy proposed.

I. THE POSITION DESCRIBED. Human life has its terrible side. So has nature. You see the broad Sea in her bewitching and entrancing beauty, and you forget how many boats have been lost in the wild tempest. This is said of a devout man: "one who fears God." Not, of course, strange that a man who does not fear God should feel like this. We may be children, knowing God's will, trying in our poor way to do it.

1. A season of deep distress. Other griefs are great; but we feel the religious life cold and indifferent! Not only at times do we feel weakened confidence in man, but in God! Light is so beautiful. It quickens life- It stirs the pulses of joy. It keeps the home in view.

2. A season of weak faith. Not so much in a Providence as in the ability to lay hold on the promises. To doubt our sincerity. To doubt our love. Given a man of exceeding faith: he will minimize his troubles, according to the extent of his faith.

3. A season of pilgrimage. Still has to walk on. Avocations call him forth. Relationships to others must be sustained. Opportunities must be made use of. Life is a continual forthgoing; and we walk on. What meditations! What regrets!

II. THE REMEDY PROPOSED.

1. A Name. How simple! God is not merely everlasting, or almighty: he is known to us by a Name. Christ has shown us the Father. Well, we cannot understand God apart from intuitions and relationships. I thank God for the lexicon of the family.

2. A trust. Not trying to hurry events. Refusing to judge by appearances. Why should I? Did the Old Testament heroes? Appearances have deceived. Even untoward health and untoward fortune.

3. A stay. This is an old English word. I cannot stay myself on myself - cannot anchor a boat to itself. I can and do stay upon that which I see not. I can rely upon a God whose promise invites me. I may refuse to give up that rest, and say, amid human disappointments, "Beautiful tree, under whose shadow I pasture! Blessed rock, where I have refuge from the heat!" We love to feel that we are in him that is "true." - W.M.S.







Who is among you that feareth the Lord?
its operations with the exercise of every other grace. It intermixes with faith, and renders it fruitful; it co-operates with love, and prevents it from becoming secure; it unites with hope, and keeps it from swelling into presumption; it mingles with joy, and so moderates it that we rejoice with trembling. It extends its benign influence through every department of Divine worship, and so occupies the mind with awful respect for God as excites to caution and circumspection in every situation and service, whilst it cherishes amiable humility in the Divine presence.

(R. Macculloch.)

There is no more intelligible image — none more interwoven into the texture of popular thought and popular phraseology — than that by which light is made to express joy and felicity, while darkness, and other kindred terms, are employed to denote misery and discomfort. So commonly are such words applied in a metaphysical sense, that, in the case of some of them (the word gloom, for example) it is hardly possible to say which of the two they are oftenest used to indicate — a certain state of mind, or a certain state of outward nature.

(E. M. Goulburn, D.C.L.)

(1) See how the Lord inquires for His people. In every congregation He asks this question: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord?" These are the wheat upon the threshing-floor.(2) Observe, how clearly the Lord describes His own people. The description is brief, but remarkably full. Holy reverence within the heart, and careful obedience manifested in the life, these are the two infallible marks of the true man of God.(3) The Lord not only makes an inquiry for these people, but takes note of their condition.

I. WHAT IS THIS CONDITION INTO WHICH A CHILD OF GOD MAY COME? The person described is one that fears the Lord, and obeys the voice of His servant, yet "walketh in darkness, and hath no light."

1. To many who know nothing of Christian experience this condition might seem to be a surprising one.

2. This condition is a severe test of grace.

3. It is also very sorrowful.

4. Perhaps the worst feature of this darkness is, that it is so bewildering. You have to walk, and yet your way is hidden from your eyes.

5. Yet this does not absolve us from daily duty. The walk has to be continued, though the light has departed. When it is quite dark, it is safe to sit down till the day dawns. If I cannot sleep, at any rate I can quietly rest, till the sun is up. He that believeth shall not make haste. But what if you cannot stand still? What if you may not remain where you are? Something has to be done, and done at once; and thus you are compelled to walk on, though you cannot see an inch before you. What but a Divine faith can do this?

II. WHAT IS THERE TO TRUST TO WHEN YOU ARE IN SUCH A CONDITION AS THAT?

1. What is there to trust in the name of Jehovah? It is "I Am," and signifies His self-existence. This is a fine foundation for trust.

2. But we understand by "the name" the revealed character of God. When thou canst not see thy way, then open this Book and try to find out what sort of God it is in whom thou dost trust.

3. By "the name of the Lord" is also meant His dear Son, for it is in Jesus Christ that Jehovah has proclaimed His name.

4. It is also good when you are thinking of the name of the Lord, to remember that to you it signifies what you have seen of God in your own experience. This is His memorial or name to you.

5. But, furthermore, the text says, "Let him stay upon his God." Let him lean upon his God; make God his stay, his prop, his rest. This is a variation from the former sentence. He was to trust In the name of Jehovah, but now he is to lean upon his God. You have taken God to be your God, have you not? If so, He has also taken you to be His own. There is a covenant between you: lean on that covenant. Treat it as a valid covenant in full force.

III. WHY SHOULD WE TRUST GOD AT SUCH TIMES?

1. If you do not trust Him now, you will have cause to suspect whether you ever did trust Him at all.

2. Because His promises were made for dark hours.

3. Here a permit is especially issued for you, to allow you to trust in God in darkness. Thus saith the Lord, "Let him trust."

4. More than this, I understand this verse to be a command to trust in the name of the Lord. It is an order to trust in our God up to the hilt, for it bids us "stay" ourselves upon our God. We are not fitfully to trust, and then to fear; but to come to a stay in God, even as ships enter a haven, cast their anchors, and then stay there till the tempest is over-past.

5. If you do not stay upon God in the dark, it would seem as if, after all, you did not trust God, but were trusting to the light, or were relying on your own eyesight.

6. Remember one thing more, our blessed Lord and Master was not spared the blackest midnight that ever fell on human mind.

IV. WHAT WILL COME OF IT IF WE DO TRUST IN GOD IN THE DARK.

1. Such a faith will glorify God. It does not glorify God to trust Him when you have a thousand other props and assistances.

2. It is very likely that through this darkness you will be humbled.

3. If thou wilt trust God in thy trial, thou wilt prove and enjoy the power of prayer.

4. If in your darkness you go to God and trust Him, you will become an established Christian.

5. By and by we shall come out into greater light than we have as yet hoped for.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCE expressed by the words "walking in darkness, and having no light." This description is properly applicable only to circumstances of the deepest distress. In our darkest hours there are generally some rays of light left. If some enjoyments are withdrawn, others remain. If we suffer in one way, we receive pleasure in another. Seldom does it happen that our condition is so deplorable as to be entirely gloomy and wretched. In such circumstances we are necessarily led to look out for comfort.

II. OUR BEST RELIEF IS TRUSTING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD and staying ourselves upon God. Let us turn our thoughts to the Deity, and reflect on His perfect government.

1. In such circumstances we should consider that the Deity is always intimately present with us, and sees all that passes in the world.

2. We should further consider that this Being stands in the nearest relation to us. He is our parent, we are His offspring.

3. To these reflections, let us add that this Being is almighty, all-wise, and all-benevolent.

III. THE RELIEF DERIVED FROM HENCE CAN BE ENJOYED ONLY BY THOSE THAT FEAR THE LORD. It is in well-doing that we are commanded to commit our souls to God.

(R. Price, D.D.)

I. THE CHARACTER MENTIONED.

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED. He walks in darkness, etc. No spiritual light? No; he who has Jesus Christ in his heart cannot be ignorant. Nor is he miserable. Nor does he walk in the darkness of sin. The text refers to providential darkness.

III. THE DIRECTIONS GIVEN. Trust in the name of the Lord — in His power, benevolence, fidelity.

(J. Summerfield, M.A.)

1. If this were the only word Isaiah had ever written, it, would be cherished as a marvel of sweetest wisdom; just as, were there only. one star, it would be admired with surpassing interest and wonder. But, one amongst many, the brightest star and the richest text ceases to enkindle the enthusiasm or attract the gaze of men.

2. There are many things about this word strikingly suggestive —(1) The Old Testament designation of a saint — "One that feareth the Lord."(2) By linking this verse (ver. 10) to the one that follows, and studying the two as a pair, what lessons do they give — on the superiority of Divine darkness to human light; on the blessedness of rather being under the cloud, patiently waiting God's appearing, than striking sparks of our own light to lead us in the ways of common life. Heaven-sent darkness — say care or affliction, is better than sparks of one's own kindling — say gaiety, mirth, delusive theories of life.

3. The text assumes that, although joy in the Holy Ghost ought to mark every saint of God, yet, as a matter of fact, the truest saints have to endure darkness, gloom, and trial. And it requires that all such should not be dispirited by the clouds which cross their sky, but that even when long patience and earnest gazing fail to perceive the presence of God they should still rely on Him. Many would say: If any among you fears the Lord and walks in darkness, let him suspect there is something wrong; be careful to examine himself whether he is in the faith, etc. But where we would say "Examine," the prophet says "Trust."

(R. Glover, D. D.)

The prophet's word —

I. BIDS THE PENITENT HOPE.

II. BRINGS COMFORT TO THOSE EMBARRASSED BY HONEST INQUIRY.

III. BRINGS COMFORT TO ALL " THE TROUBLED." There are a multitude whose outward or inward troubles produce darkness whatever their character may be. Some, for instance, are troubled by their state of health; it is such as produces a peculiar tendency to gloom. There are others who are troubled with the course of Providence. Others are troubled in soul. Such temptations beset them! Resisted, these renew their attack. Overcome, they rise up afresh to distress them.

(R. Glover, D. D.)

I suppose that there are very few, if any, who reach old age or even middle life without the painful experience of times of depression of spirits. There come, perhaps, days in the life of every one when all things seem against him. Such times are not foreign to the experience of God's greatest saints, and Isaiah appears to contemplate them as times to be expected by the servant of God.

1. Isaiah is not alone in this. There are numberless instances in Holy Scripture which show how true it is.

2. But whatever the cause, if the conscience is clear from wilful sin, what is our duty under such a state of depression? The text sets before us two things as needful —(1) Obedience. The prophet assumes that those to whom he is speaking will, in spite of their perplexity, obey. He would have them acquiesce in the God-permitted darkness, however trying and painful it may be. Better darkness than a light which is not kindled from above. And yet not seldom it is such a time of depression which drives a man to despair, and leads him in the end to give up his faith altogether. In hours of darkness great is the temptation to have recourse to fires of our own kindling — to seek for light elsewhere than from the "Father of Lights;" and so in the verse following that taken as the text, Isaiah turns to those who are yielding to the temptation, and warns them in tones of scornful irony against false lights of their own kindling.(2) Faith.

3. This week we are watching our Lord in His path through the dark vale of suffering and along the way of sorrows. Our eyes are fixed on but one figure. To-day we contemplate those two points which the Epistle especially brings out — His perfect obedience, and His perfect trust. Let us learn a much-needed lesson — "It is sufficient for the disciple that he be as his Master."

(E. C. S. Gibson, M.A.)

I. THE CHARACTER AND STATE OF THOSE WHO ARE EXHORTED TO TRUST IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.

1. They that fear God may signify —(1) Those who have a sincere regard to the commandments of God, and have chosen Him as their portion and hope. Those who desire and deserve to be distinguished from the profane despiser, the secure formalist, or the disguised hypocrite. Those, in a word, who are, and who desire to appear upon the Lord's side in every struggle, and who resolve with Joshua, that whatever others do, they will serve the Lord.(2) But we may explain the words in a stricter sense, and suppose, that by fearing the Lord is to be understood a due reverence for His infinite majesty, a humble veneration for His sacred authority.

2. The next part of the character is, "and obeyeth the voice of His servant;" that is to say is willing to hearken to the message of God, by the mouth of His servants.

3. "That walketh in darkness, and hath no light."(1) Sometimes light signifies knowledge, and darkness signifies ignorance (Ephesians 5:8; Acts 26:18; Job 37:19).(2) Sometimes darkness signifies distress or trouble, and the correspondent signification of light is deliverance and joy (2 Samuel 22:28, 29; Job 19:8; Psalm 97:11; Esther 8:16). None of these senses is to be excluded in the passage before us. Believers may walk in darkness, when ignorant or uncertain as to what nearly concerns them, as well as under distress and trouble. They have also a mutual influence upon, produce, and are produced by one another. A good man may walk in darkness — When he is in doubt or uncertainty as to his interest in the Divine favour. When he is under the pressure of outward calamity. When the state of the Church is such, that he cannot understand or explain, in a satisfying manner, the course of Divine providence.

II. THE DUTY OF TRUST IN GOD AND THE FOUNDATION OF IT. Trust is a reliance or confidence in God, that, however discouraging appearances may be for the present time, yet, by His power and wisdom, our desires and expectation shall take place, whether as to deliverance from trouble, or the obtaining of future blessings. Trust rests ultimately on the promise. It is of the greatest moment to understand the nature and tenor of the promises. For this end, it may be proper to distinguish the promises of God, as to futurity, into two heads, absolute and conditional. By absolute promises I understand only those that are so in the most unlimited sense, that is to say, revealed as a part of the fixed plan of Providence, suspended on no terms but what all, of every character, may expect will certainly, come to pass. Conditional promises divide into three different heads. —(1) Promises made to persons of such or such a character, or in such or such a state.(2) Promises, the performance of which is suspended on our compliance with something previously required, as the condition of obtaining them.(3) Promises, not only suspended on both the preceding terms, but upon the supposition of some circumstances in themselves uncertain, or to us unknown.

III. PRACTICAL APPLICATION.

1. See what judgment you ought to form of inward suggestions, and strong or particular impressions upon your minds. The suggestion of a passage of Scripture of itself gives no title to the immediate application of it, because the great deceiver may undoubtedly suggest Scripture, as we find he could reason from it in our Saviour's temptation. We are, in every such case, to consider the tenor of it, if it be a promise or encouragement, that is, how and in what manner it may be safely applied. If any thing happens to be suggested that expressly suits our present condition, either by setting home the obligation of duty, with particular evidence upon the conscience, or pointing out the grounds of comfort, it ought to be thankfully acknowledged as from the Spirit of God.

2. See what it is that we ought to seek for with the greatest earnestness, and may hope to obtain with the greatest confidence.

3. Adore the wisdom, justice and mercy of God, in the order He hath established, according to the different nature of the promises. That which is of unspeakable value, and radically contains all the rest, is placed first in order, and offered in the most free and gracious manner, without money and without price. Salvation is preached to the chief of sinners, and a Saviour held forth as able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him.

4. Learn what is the plainest, the shortest, and indeed, the only sure way to deliverance from distress or calamity of whatever kind. It is to fly to the mercy of God through the blood of Christ, to renew the exercises of faith in Him, and you will perceive every other covenant-blessing flow clear and unmixed from this inexhaustible source.

(J. Witherspoon, D.D.)

I. THE CHARACTER ADDRESSED is distinctly drawn. It is "a child of light walking in darkness." Poverty, disease, litigation, oppression, perplexity, the loss of intimate friends and relations, doubts, disappointments, errors in religion, actual transgressions, and the temptations of the adversary, working with the corruptions of the human heart, are permitted in the providence of God, to affect Christians in various degrees of perturbation and sorrow, until they "walk in darkness and have no light."

II. THE DUTY RECOMMENDED. "Let him trust," etc.

(A. McLeod, D.D.)

I. DISTINGUISH DOUBTS OF YOUR OWN PIETY, FROM THE SIN OF UNBELIEF.

1. Doubting respects ourselves; and calls in question our having already become subjects of Divine grace: but unbelief respects the Lord, and calls in question, either the reality of Divine things, or Christ's willingness and power to save them that believe.

2. Doubting of our safety does no more than reject the evidence which is furnished by our own minds; an evidence which is often very imperfectly delivered and received: but unbelief always rejects the testimony which God has given us of His own Son, and so, by contradicting God, makes him a liar, so far as the sinner has it in his power.

3. Doubting of one's piety may be at times both reasonable and profitable; for when a man has but a small measure of grace, it may lead him to seek for more: but unbelief, always against the Word and attributes of the God of our salvation, is unreasonable, unprofitable, and impious.

4. Doubting of one's personal piety often includes, not only anxiety to be saved by Divine grace, but also a sincere desire to attain to an assured interest in the everlasting covenant: but unbelief excludes the idea of love to the true God, rejects the covenant of grace, and distinctly relinquishes the mercy which is offered in the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. Doubts are consistent, not only with sincere piety, but also with progress in sanctification: but unbelief is the exercise of an unregenerate heart.

6. Doubting of one's holiness humbles under a sense of sin, and produces penitence and sorrow: but unbelief hardens the heart into negligence or despair; or exasperates the sinner more and more against Divine things.

II. ASCERTAIN, WITH ALL DILIGENCE, THE CAUSE OF YOUR OWN DOUBTS AND UNEASINESS: for it is by understanding your disease, you will be qualified to apply the remedy provided in the Gospel of God.

1. Error causes darkness and doubt. Clear views of Divine truth is the preventive and the cure.

2. Indolence, and consequent inattention to the due improvement of our talents, often occasion spiritual decline and despondence. The remedy is found in vigilance and Christian activity.

3. The passions, through the remaining corruptions of the heart, often cause transgressions, and consequent doubts and despondence.

4. Satan is the principal cause of those doubts and fears; and resistance to his exertions is the means of assurance.

5. In pointing out the duty of Christians, who have not the assurance of salvation, I must not omit, Steadfast continuance in practical obedience to all the commandments.

(A. McLeod, D. D.)

When such an experience comes upon the saint, it will not be always safe to say that it is the shadow of some special sin. The security of the saint is rooted in the fact that God has a hold of him, and not at all in his consciousness that he has a hold of God. His comfort may be affected by the latter, but his safety is due entirely to the former. Hence, they who roundly affirm that if a man be walking in darkness and finding no light he cannot be a Christian, are making salvation depend, not on God's work for a man and in him, but simply and entirely on his Own emotions. Moreover, they are strangely oblivious of some of the best-known passages in the history even of the most eminent saints. But despondency is not a state of mind in which any one desires to remain. And he should be encouraged to get out of it as quickly as possible. For it puts everything about him into shadow. It sets all his songs to a minor key. It gives to all his prayers a wailing pathos. It takes away much of his buoyancy and elasticity for work.

I. THE CAUSES OF SPIRITUAL DESPONDENCY.

1. It may spring from natural temperament. Each of us is born with a certain predisposition to joy or sadness, to irascibility or patience, to quickness of action or deliberateness of conduct, which we call temperament. While conversion may Christianize that temperament, it does not change it.

2. Spiritual despondency may be caused by disease. That which we call lowness of spirits is very often the result of some imprudence in diet, or some local disturbance. See the relief which this affords. It removes from religion the responsibility for the depression of such a man as Cowper, and traces his spiritual gloom to disease of the brain.

3. Spiritual despondency is often the result of trial. Think of Peter's words: "Ye are in heaviness through manifold trials." One affliction will not usually becloud our horizon. But when a whole series of distresses comes on us in succession, the effect is terrible. First, it may be, comes sickness, and we are getting round from that when business difficulties overwhelm us. These are scarcely arranged before bereavement comes; and while we are still in the valley, we are set upon by Apollyon in the shape of some scandalous accuser who seeks to rob us of our good name.

4. Spiritual despondency may be caused by mental perplexity. The old beliefs are once more on their trial, and when a youth reaches the age when he must exchange a traditional piety for a personal conviction, he is plunged for the time into the greatest misery. It seems to him almost as if everything were giving way beneath him.

II. THE COUNSELS TO THE DESPONDING which are given or suggested by this text.

1. The oppressed spirit must keep on fearing the Lord and obeying the voice of His servant.

2. To the desponding believer the second thing to be said is, keep on trusting God.

3. Then, let us not fail to note the deep meaning of that word "stay." It encourages you to lean your whole weight upon God, and to do that continuously.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF HIM TO WHOM THIS COUNSEL IS ADDRESSED.

II. THE STATE IN WHICH SUCH AN ONE IS SOMETIMES FOUND.

1. He may want the light of direction.

2. He may want the light of knowledge.

3. He may want the light of comfort.

III. WHAT SHALL HE DO IN THIS TRYING HOUR

(H. Verschoyle.)

For practical purposes we may make one broad distinction — that between willing and unwilling unbelievers. I turn to the consideration of that class of unbelievers who would believe if they could; who are neither rebels against moral restraint, nor consumed by a morbid pride: who love good deeds and good men and desire only to know and believe what is true. It is strange that some of them should accuse themselves of unbelief, seeing that the very wish to believe is a sign that they do believe already — a proof of loyalty to their Father in heaven rooted deep down in their inmost souls. Their faith is genuine though not strong enough to bear the fruits of love to God or of hope and consolation. There are those to whom the difficulty of believing in God is all but insuperable owing to the constitution of their minds. To such, every conception, to be a conception at all, must be accurate and sharply defined. Reason stands like a sentinel before the door of the imagination and feelings and will let nothing pass that does not carry the passport of clear and absolute definition. They are, therefore, for the time incapable of realizing any of the joys of belief and can no more be blamed for their unbelief than for not being able to fly. I do not think religion is attainable by the mere exercise of the reason. Another source of difficulty is also constitutional. When people are of a desponding and melancholy temperament, they naturally dwell on the darker side of things; and as this is the exact opposite of faith in God, no wonder it should be so much more difficult for them to believe. It is true, and there are numberless instances to prove it, that many a naturally depressed mind has found its only relief from apprehension and despondency in the sense of God's abiding friendliness. It has been said to me more than once: — The next best thing to believing for one's self is to see others believe. So it behoves all who live in the celestial sunshine of faith and hope to reflect by their cheerful and pure lives as much as possible the light that shines on their own souls upon the hearts of others less happy than themselves.

(C. Voysey, M.A.)

(with Micah 7:8): — Isaiah describes the experience. Micah besides that describes himself as being, or having been, in the heart of the experience. The Bible is a many-sided book.

I. DARKNESS AS A FACT OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE, AND THE CHRISTIAN'S PROPER EXERCISE UNDER IT. In the natural world it is not always light, at least with our planet. The sun goes down and darkness spreads. So in the higher life. The spiritual heavens are not always bright. Some sun or other that had been shedding its light on the soul goes down, and the man sits in darkness.

1. It may be the light of faith that is darkened. Spiritual realities are withdrawn into shadow.

2. It may be the light of God's face that is felt to be withdrawn.

3. Darkness may come in the form of the fading away of some Christian hope — personal hopes or hopes for the kingdom of God. This dark experience gives a striking demonstration that God only is man's Comforter.

II. DARKNESS AS A MEANS OF SPIRITUAL DISCOVERY. Perhaps the best explanation of this darkness, and it is a vindication too, is found in the results which it works. In nature the darkness of night lets us see what we cannot see when the sun is shining. It is the same with spiritual night, or may be. The man of God may then get great enlargement of spiritual information and understanding. There need be no mystery why all this is so. The man that sits in darkness is by the pressure of his position made a more diligent searcher into Divine things.

III. DARKNESS AS A DISCIPLINE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. It may secure for it some of its best graces — the mildest, the most mellowed, the most hallowed. There are plants that grow best in a dim light. Amongst those Christian graces that take deeper root in the dark are:

1. Humility.

2. Trustfulness.

3. Self-surrender.Conclusion —

1. The painfulness of this discipline must not be forgotten. They only know the horrors of Divine desertion who have relished the joys of Divine communion. If these things are done in the green tree what shall be done in the dry? If God takes such means to improve grace, what means will He take to punish sin?

2. Sympathize. with the deserted child of' God. God is not angry with him. "Behind a frowning providence," etc. God does earnestly remember him still (Jeremiah 31:20).

3. Ye who sit in darkness beware of two things — impatience and sullen indifference.

(J. Wardrop, D. D.)

I. This DARKNESS may arise possibly —

1. From over-occupation in the affairs of life. The questionable has been acted upon as the admissible.

2. From a disordered state of the body. The brain has not been kept clear by rational living. Late hours, undue excitement have brought on spiritual dyspepsia; or excesses of youth are now demanding their penalty, or an inheritance of evils has caused it.

3. From a non-apprehension of the fulness of the atonement of Christ. We may believe in God's ability to pardon, but do not realize how He leads us into holiness; or whether we have come to Christ in the right way, or about the uncertainty as to the time of our conversion, or fear lest the past neglect to make progress in the Divine life should cut us off from all hope; or the gloom comes from neglecting the Bible and prayer for something less profitable, or from over-religious excitement that has given us a distaste for obscurer and quieter work, or disappointment in hopes respecting the coming of Christ's kingdom, or from seeing much of mystery and pain around, or from trouble how to save the masses, or from the spread of materialistic ideas, and so on.

II. HOW ARE CHRISTIANS TO BE DELIVERED FROM IT? "Trust in the name of the Lord." We know how a name can cheer men. The mention of the name of Caesar and of Wellington had a wonderful effect upon their men. Trust in Him for pardon and sanctification. You are His friend, and are longing for Him. He will work in you. Trust absolutely in Christ; "stay" upon Him. A sufferer of fourteen years said, "I can bear anything, for Christ is with me."

(F. Hastings.)

I. ONE WHO TRULY FEARS GOD, AND IS OBEDIENT TO HIM, MAY BE IN A CONDITION OF DARKNESS, AND HAVE NO LIGHT; and may walk many days and years in that condition.

1. Walking in darkness is taken (1 John 1:6) for living in sin and ungodliness. But so it is not to be taken here; for Christ would not have encouraged such to trust in God, who is light, and there can be no fellowship between Him and such darkness, as the apostle tells us. Nay, the Holy Ghost reproves such as do "lean on the Lord" and yet transgress (Micah 3:11). And besides, the text speaks of such who for their present condition fear God and are obedient to Him, which if they thus walked in darkness they could not be said to do.

2. Neither is it to be meant of walking in ignorance, as in John 12:35. For one that hath no light, in that sense, can never truly fear God nor obey Him.

3. He means it of discomfiture and sorrow, as often we find in Scripture darkness to be taken (Ecclesiastes 5:17); as, on the contrary, light, because it is so " pleasant a thing to behold," is put for comfort (Ecclesiastes 11:7), And that so it is taken here is evident by that which is opposed in the next verse, "Walk ye in your light, yet ye shall lie down in sorrow." But —

4. Of what kind of sorrow and for what?(1) It is not to be restrained to outward afflictions only, which are called man's infirmities, as being common to man; which arise from things of this world, or from the men of the world; though to walk in darkness is so taken (Isaiah 59:9). For, in them also, a man's best support is to trust in God. But yet that cannot be the only or principal meaning of it. He adds, "and hath no light," that is, no comfort. Now, as philosophers say, there is no pure darkness without some mixture of light, so we may say, there is not mere or utter darkness caused by outward afflictions: no outward affliction can so universally environ the mind, as to shut up all the crannies of it, so that a man should have no light. Besides, God's people, when they walk in the greatest outward darkness, may have most light in their spirits. But here is such an estate spoken of, such a darkness as bath no light in it. Therefore —(2) It is principally to be understood of the want of inward comfort in their spirits, from something that is between God and them. Because the remedy here provided is faith. In the foregoing verses he had spoken of justification. But because there might be some poor souls who, though truly fearing God, yet might want this assurance, and upon the hearing of this might be the more troubled, because not able to express that confidence which he did, he adds, "Who is among you," etc. These words have a relation also to the 4th verse, where he says that God had given him the "tongue of the learned, to minister a word of comfort in season to him that is weary and heavy laden;" and thereupon, in this verse, he shows the blessed condition of such persons as are most weary through long walking in darkness; and withal he discovereth to them the way of getting out of this darkness, and recovering comfort again.

II. WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF SUCH A ONE WHO IS THUS IN DARKNESS, AND HATH NO LIGHT?

1. He is said to have no light. "Light," saith the apostle (Ephesians 5:13), "is that whereby things are made manifest," i.e., to the sense of sight and as light and faith are here severed, so sight also is (2 Corinthians 5:7) distinguished from faith, which is the evidence of things absent and not seen (Hebrews 11:1). When, therefore, here he saith he hath no light, the meaning is, he wants all present sensible testimonies of God's favour to him. To understand this, we must know that God, to help our faith, vouchsafeth a threefold light to His people, to add assurance and joy to their faith; which is to faith as a back of steel to a bow.

(1)The immediate light of His countenance.

(2)The sight and comfort of their own graces, unto which so many promises belong. So that often when the sun is set, yet starlight appears.

(3)Though he want the present light of God's countenance, and the sight of present grace, yet he may have a comfortable remembrance of what once before he had still left.

2. He walks in darkness.

(1)To walk in darkness implies to be in doubt whither to go.

(2)Those in darkness are apt to stumble at everything.

(3)Darkness is exceedingly terrible and full of horror.

( T. Goodwin.)

I. THE EFFICIENT CAUSES OF THIS WOEFUL, DESPERATE, DARK CONDITION OF GOD'S CHILD.

1. God's Spirit. The Spirit is not the direct efficient or positive cause of them. The Spirit of God may concur in this darkness that befalls His child.(1) Privatively. He may suspend His testimony, and the execution of his office of witnessing adoption.(2) Positively. He may further proceed to reveal and represent God as angry with His child for such and such sins formerly committed, and make him sensible thereof; not barely by concealing His love, but by making impressions of His wrath upon his conscience immediately, and not by outward crosses only.

2. A man's own guilty and fearful heart.

3. Satan. He works upon(1) carnal reason,(2) guilt of conscience,(3) jealousies and fears.

II. THE CASES WHEREIN GOD LEAVES HIS CHILDREN UNTO THIS DARKNESS.

1. Extraordinary; as —(1) Out of His prerogative.(2) In ease He means to make a man eminently wise, and able to comfort others.(3) In case of extraordinary comforts and revelations.

2. Ordinary.(1) In case of carnal confidence.(2) For neglecting such special opportunities of comforts and refreshings as God hath vouchsafed; as for the neglect of holy duties, wherein God did offer to draw nigh to us.(3) In case of not exercising the graces which a man hath; when Christians are, as it were, between sleeping and waking.(4) In case of some gross sin committed against light, unhumbled for, or proving scandalous, or of old sins long forgotten.(5) In case of a stubborn spirit under outward afflictions.(6) In case of deserting His truth, and not professing it and appearing for it when He calls us to do it.(7) In case of unthankfulness, and too common an esteem had of assurance, and of freedom from those terrors and doubtings which others are in.

III. THE ENDS FOR WHICH GOD LEAVETH HIS CHILDREN UNTO THIS DARKNESS.

1. To show His power and faithfulness, in upholding, raising up, and healing such a a spirit again as hath been long and deadly wounded with reward terrors.

2. As to know the power of Christ's resurrection, so the "fellowship, of His sufferings;" that thereby the soul may be made more "conformable to Him."

3. To put the greater difference between the estate of God's children here, and that hereafter in heaven.

4. To let us see whence spiritual comforts and refreshings come: that God alone keeps the keys of that cupboard, and alone dispenseth them how and when He pleaseth.

5. Other ends God hath, to make trial of our graces and a discovery of them. The same end that God had in leading His people through "the great wilderness, where no water was," where "scorpions stung them," which was to prove them, etc.; the same ends hath God in suffering His people to go through this desert, barrenness, and darkness, where no light is, and where terrors of the law do sting them — for His dealings then were types of God's dealings with His people new — to prove them, and to make trial of their hearts.(1) There is no grace God tries more than the grace of faith.(2) Of all temptations none try it more than desertion of God's countenance.(3) In these conflicts of faith with desertions consisteth the height of our Christian warfare.

6. As it makes for the trial and discovery of graces, so it is a means sanctified to increase them, and to eat out corruptions.(1) It is a means to destroy the flesh.(2) To humble.(3) To bring in more assurance and establishment.(4) It trains you to fear God more, and to obey Him.(5) To set believers' hearts a-work to pray more and more earnestly.(6) It causeth them to prize the light of God's countenance the more when they again obtain it, and so set a higher price upon it, and to endeavour by close walking with God, as children of light, to keep it.

( T. Goodwin.)

1. Take heed of rash, desperate, impatient and unbelieving speeches and wishes.

2. Let the troubled soul make diligent search.

3. Keep and lend one ear, as well to hear and consider what makes for their comfort, as unto what may make against them.

4. Make diligent search into, and call to remembrance what formerly hath been between God and you. The remembrance of former things doth often uphold, when present sense fails.

5. But now if former signs remembered bring thee no comfort in, but the waves that come over thy soul prove so deep that thou canst find no bottom to cast anchor on, the storm and stress so great that no cable will hold, but they snap all asunder, as is often the case of many a poor soul, then renew thy faith and. repentance. .

6. Then, stand not now disputing it, but be peremptory and resolute m thy faith and turning to God, let the issue be what it will be. Faith is never nonplussed.

7. Let him trust in the name of the Lord.

8. Wait upon God, thus trusting in His name, in the constant use of all ordinances and means of comfort. Waiting is indeed but an act of faith further stretched out.

9. Above all things pray, and get others also to pray for thee.

10. Having done all this, you would not rest in ease of conscience but healing.

( T. Goodwin.)

The name of God, that is, God's attributes, and Christ's righteousness do sufficiently, and adequately, answer all wants and doubts, all objections and distresses. Whatsoever our want or temptations be, He hath a name to make supply (Exodus 34:5, 6). Art thou in miser and eat distress "The Lord merciful." The "Lord," therefore able to help thee; and "merciful," therefore willing. Yea, but thou wilt say, I am unworthy; I have nothing in me to move Him to it. Well, He is "gracious;" now grace is to show mercy freely. Yea, but I have sinned against Him for many years; if I had come in when I was young, mercy might have been shown me. To this He says, I am "long-suffering." But my sins abound in number, and it is impossible to reckon them up, and they abound in heinousness; I have committed the same sins again and again; I have been false to Him, broke promise with Him again and again. His name also answers this objection, He is "abundant in goodness;" He abounds more in grace than thou in sinning. And though thou hast been false again and again to Him, and broke all covenants, yet He is "abundant in truth; " also better than His Word, for He cannot to our capacities express all that mercy that is in Him for us. But I have committed great sins, aggravated with many and great circumstances. He forgives "iniquity, transgression, and sin;" sins of all sorts. But there is mercy thus in Him but for a few, and I may be none of the number. Yes, there is mercy for "thousands." And He "keeps" it; treasures of it lie by Him, and are kept, if men would come and take them. Object what thou canst, His name will answer thee. Needest thou comfort as well as pardon? He is both "Father of mercies" and "God of all comforts" (2 Corinthians 1:3). Needest thou peace of conscience, being filled with terrors? He is the "God of peace" (1 Thessalonians 5:23). But I have a heart empty of grace and holiness, and full of corruptions. He is the "God of all grace" to heal thee, as well as of peace to pardon thee. Needest thou wisdom and direction? He is the "Father of lights," as the apostle says. Is thy heart inconstant and full of double-mindedness? He is "unchangeable" also. Thus all objections that can be made may be answered out of His name. Therefore it is all-sufficient for faith to rest upon.

( T. Goodwin.)

One cannot listen to these words without feeling that one needs to distinguish between the appearance and the reality of things. There are peculiarities in the lot of both the righteous and the wicked which baffle our expectations. The sufferings of the godly and the prosperity of the ungodly have always been a puzzle to thoughtful men. However confusing facts of this order may be, they very plainly constitute a most serious part of our earthly test and discipline.

I. THE DARKNESS AND THE LIGHT OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

1. The character of the righteous.(1) He is animated by devout and reverential feeling towards God — he "feareth the Lord." This inward sentiment of reverence is the living root of all practical godliness.(2) He rules his heart and life by the inspired Word of God — He "obeyeth the voice of His Servant." "His Servant" is the Servant of prediction, the Messiah of promise.

2. His trials. "That walketh in darkness and hath no light." It is literally, "darknesses." The shadows which fall upon our path are not one, but many. It is very startling, that men who revere God Himself, and obey His servants, obey even His chosen Servant of all, should ever "walk in darkness and have no light." Yet that is sometimes their lot. They may not only be in darkness for a short while, but may be called to "walk" in it. Walking denotes, not what is occasional, but what is habitual. Be thankful that you walk not in the pitch darkness of many a poor soul in our day, to whom nothing exists but matter and motion and force.

3. The consolations of the righteous.(1) Study the "name of the Lord." His name declares His nature.(2) Have faith in God. Trust.(3) Leave the issue entirely to the Almighty. Let him "stay upon his God." The word is, "lean upon his God." The illustration is, a weak person leaning all his feebleness on a strong one,.and being upheld by his strength.

II. THE LIGHT AND THE DARKNESS OF THE WICKED.

1. The illusions of the wicked. Observe their activity.(1) They "kindle a fire," The fire is kindled for the sake of its light, not for the sake of its warmth. The righteous often "walk in darkness and have no light;" not so the wicked. They know how to make their own light. They have great confidence in their own resources. They ply their abilities to banish their ills, and to provide themselves with satisfactions. Men must have at least the semblance of good, if destitute of the reality. The industry of men in the pursuit of imaginary blessings is very noteworthy, very melancholy, and very pitiful. They "compass themselves with sparks." I am not sure that "sparks" is the exact word that should have been used here. But it seems to be fire in some minute form. The impotence of mail is set forth and the inefficiency of his endeavours. He is very laborious. He surrounds himself with his artificial glimmers, and hopes to compensate their feebleness by their multitude. There are no Divine lights in the firmament of his night, and he fancies that the dim and dusky fiickerings which his own hands have multiplied about him are sufficient for his needs.

2. The seeming success of the, wicked. "Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks that ye have kindled." It is as if the Almighty said to wilful and rebellious creatures: "Take your own way. Pursue your dream, and eat the fruits of your folly." The light of the wicked, like the darkness of the righteous, is not single but manifold. They "walk," too, amidst these lights, they live and delight themselves in "the light of their" own fires, and surrounded by "the sparks that they have kindled."

3. The doom of the wicked. "This shall ye have at My hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.'(1) Men must lie down in sickness. Projects which flashed such alluring brightness grow very pale when health is gone and powers of enjoyment have fled. "Shade me from the lying glare," cries the defrauded sufferer, when the head is sick and the heart is weary.(2) Every man must lie down to die. When that solemn hour arrives, the wasted fingers will enkindle no more lights, and the shrunken limbs move no more amidst them. The whole circle of self-deceptions with which you have encompassed your soul, shall sink and vanish together, like the last glimmer forsakes the expiring wick, and leave only a noisome ash behind. How different are the righteous and the wicked in their darkness! The righteous "leans," the wicked "lies down." "Leaning" is an act of spiritual power; "lying down" in the languors of dissolution, with chilling perspirations crawling on breast and brow, is impotent endurance. The righteous "leans" on God; the wicked sinks helpless and "lies down" to die. The righteous finds succour and salvation; the wicked, sorrow. "Leaning" is the moment of triumph; "lying down," of utter overthrow and ruin.

(H. Batchelor.)

Contrary to the teaching of those who affirm that religion's ways are invariably ways of pleasantness and peace, and that the world's ways are invariably rough and disappointing, it is the religious man who "walketh in darkness, and hath no light," and it is the worldly man whose pathway is illumined and whose prosperity is assured;

I. THE TWO CONTRASTED TYPES OF CHARACTER.

1. By "the fear of the Lord ' in the language of the Old Testament is meant a religious disposition, combining reverence and love. There are two kinds of fear — one wholesome, the other unwholesome; one the offspring of knowledge, the other of ignorance; one which liberates the soul, the other which brings it late bondage. And it is the reverential fear to which the prophet refers as attached to the character under consideration. Then, He obeyeth the voice of His Servant. That is a fuller characterization of the godly man, which takes into account conduct as well as disposition. This twofold description completes the picture. The interior life and the outward walk correspond. The character, then, is not that of an empty religious professor. Nor is he a backslider.

2. The character which comes before us in the second half of the text is not so fully described as is that of the godly man in the preceding verse. Nevertheless, the constrast which is suggested enables us to complete the outline without difficulty. It is not necessary that we should think of one who is outwardly and notoriously immoral. But it is necessary that we should think of one who is uninfluenced by the fear of God, and whose character is lacking in all the root-elements of a sincere piety. And how full of suggestion the words "He kindleth a fire"! That is to say, he warms himself from without rather than from within. He contemplates life on its physical and material side only. He finds himself in a world well suited to his requirements and capable of affording him many pleasurable excitements, and so he proceeds to gather together the materials for a good fire. To the superficial observer the difference between the godly man and the worldly man, especially when the latter happens to be respectable and moral, may not be very striking. Yet the difference is vital. It is a difference in kind as well as degree. They belong to different realms.

II. THE TWO CONTRASTED WALKS — the one in darkness, the other encompassed with sparks. Health and material prosperity are not necessarily signs of the special favour of God. Nor are sickness and adversity any sure indication of the Divine displeasure.

1. It is the portion of a good man sometimes to have to walk in darkness.(1) There is the darkness of adversity.(2) There is the darkness of religious doubt. A good man may find himself in this transition period drifting away from the old moorings — drifting away he hardly knows whither. He has to re-make his creed, and during that period of re-making he is compelled to walk, more or less, in darkness.(3) There is the darkness of spiritual drought. The man whose faith is greatly tried is counselled to exercise a stronger faith.

2. In contrast to all this, there is the "walking" of those who walk in the light of the fires of their own kindling. Is this world, with all its absorbing interests, really empty and unsatisfying? No doubt it is, sooner or later. But for the present the majority of those around us are satisfied with it as a sphere of habitation. And supposing there be no God and no hereafter — then one may almost ask whether the worldly have not the advantage over the unworldly, and whether this life, with all its struggles and efforts, is really worth living. But if there be a God and a hereafter; if the kingdom of the soul is as great a reality as the kingdom of the senses; if character is everything — then we are fools indeed if we accept the creed of the materialist, and live the life of the sensualist. There are only two philosophies of life possible to us; and one of them is not a philosophy. The man who follows the first is he who walks in the light of the Sun — the sun's Sun, the great source and fountain of all illumination. The man who follows the second is he who walks in the light of Chinese lanterns and all kinds of pyrotechnic devices, and who in consequence never arrives at the goal.

III. THE TWO LIVES WITH THEIR CONTRASTED ENDINGS.

1. There can be no real and lasting success in life apart from God. In the domain of literature, science and art; in the field of material enterprise and industry; in the haunts and abodes of pleasure, how brightly the world's bonfires are burning! How the flames sparkle, and dance and leap! What crowds, what gaiety, what laughter! Soon, however, the laughter will die away, and all that will be left of that brilliant human assemblage on this side the grave will be a few brief epitaphs and a few handfuls of dust. "He shall lie down in sorrow," or as Matthew Henry quaintly paraphrases it, "He shall go to bed in the dark." That is a reminiscence of our childhood. And that is what it all comes to sooner or later, if we read Goethe and Byron instead of our Bible; if we worship the beautiful instead of the holy; if we live the life of the senses instead of the life of the soul.

2. Elsewhere we are told that "to the upright there ariseth a light in the darkness." And again it is said, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace."

(T. Sanderson.)

Homilist.
I. THE DARKNESS OF THE TRUE AND THEIR RELIEF.

1. The true have a distinctive principle and conduct. All character is made up of principles and acts. The principle is "fear," not of a crouching serf, but of a loving child — filial reverence; the conduct is, obeying the voice of His Servant — Christ. Here is the true spirit and its true development. Piety may listen to the voice of philosophies, but obeys the voice of Christ. His whole life was a voice.

2. The true have their seasons of darkness — "walketh in darkness." Jacob, Job, Asaph, Jeremiah. The cloud is not spread by a Divine hand over the heart, but rises from the corrupt elements of our moral nature. A dark day is not the sun's fault; he shines in his own great orbit in November as in June; the darkness arises from the vapours of the earth; so with moral gloom — cause not in God, but in us.

3. The true in seasons of darkness have a sure relief — "they trust in the name of the Lord" — in His disposition, and power to help. Christianity a proof of the former, the universe of the latter.

II. THE LIGHTS OF THE FALSE AND THEIR RUIN. "Walk in the light of your fire," etc.

1. The false have their lights. Such as general custom, temporal expediency, corrupt religions, pseudo-philosophies lights are their guides and comforts in their relations to both worlds.

2. The false will have their ruin. "This shall ye have at My hand." The "candle of the wicked shall be put out." All their lamps, however luminous, shall be quenched in a midnight, without a ray of moon or star.

(Homilist.)

What is it that is tried in us? Even the same which, it has pleased God to promise, shall be rewarded in us, if we bold it fast — our faith in Christ. And this consists of several parts; which, however, may be summed up in three heads —

1. Belief in what He has revealed to us.

2. Belief in what He has promised to us.

3. Belief in what He has required of us. But the text calls our attention particularly to the two latter, as arising out of the former; and in the particular shape of obedience to His commands; and trust in His care of us. But it is plain, that if we are thus tried, there must be the possibility of a different result. There must be a choice; a choice between doing right and doing wrong; between the things which we see and the things which we do not sea; between acting for ourselves, and trusting in God to act for us. And accordingly, the text goes on to set before us the other class of persons, who find themselves in the same darkness and perplexity, but seek a different way out of it. "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire," etc. These are the men of the world, the prudent ones; those who will not venture, but will make sure of everything! They will not be kept in the dark!

(R. Scott, M.A.)

As the holy prophet, here, addresses himself to two very different sorts of men, whom he accordingly describes by two very opposite characters; so he varies his manner of expression, in just proportion to the figure which they make. To the one, his style is serious, and sublime, and full of enlivening encouragement; equal to the dignity of the holy rule they walk by: to the other, like their own way of thinking, disdainful, and sarcastical; laughing at their foolish devices, their unsuccessful projects, and mocking at the bitter calamity, which, with all their conceited wisdom, in the end, they bring upon themselves.

(L. Blackburne, D.D.)

In every time of distress or doubt, in every dark, perplexed, and gloomy season, it is as reasonable, as it is natural for every man, who is not wholly lost to all sense or foresight, to cast about, and to look out for any glimpse of light that may suffice to guide him through it. This is a turn which every thinking man will find his mind must surely take in any present misery, or visibly approaching danger. But, here, the righteous and the wicked part asunder; and persevering in the different routes they take, they come no more together.

I. THE ONLY TRUE SECURITY, IN TIMES OF AFFLICTION OR DANGER, IS IN THE WAY OF DUTY.

II. THERE IS NO WILFUL DEVIATION FROM IT, THAT DOES NOT LEAD TO DESTRUCTION.

(L. Blackburne, D. D.) He who endured the hiding of His Father's countenance when bearing our sins, bids you "stay" on Him as your God. What an illustration of Isaiah 42:16!

(E. Avriol, M.A.)

I. COMFORT is here spoken to disconsolate saints, and they are encouraged to trust in God's grace.

II. CONVICTION is here spoken to presuming sinners, and they are warned not to trust in themselves.

( M. Henry.)

The peculiarity of the case of those here stated is, that it is an unwilling darkness.

(J. R. Macduff, D.D.)

Very instructive in this regard is the experience recorded by Frederick W. Robertson, of his striving toward the light, in that terrible spiritual conflict which he fought out among the solitudes of the Tyrol. In one of his letters written there he says: "Some things I am certain of, and these are my Ursachen, which cannot be taken away from me. I have got so far as this: Moral goodness and moral beauty are, realities, lying at the basis and beneath all forms of the best religious expressions. And, generalizing from his own case, he thus addressed the working-men of Brighton: "It is an awful hour — let him who has passed through it say how awful — when this life has lost its meaning and seems shrivelled into a span; when the grave appears to be the end of all, human goodness nothing but a name, and the sky above this universe a dead expanse, black with the void from which God Himself has disappeared. In that fearful loneliness of spirit, when those who should have been his friends and counsellors only frown upon his misgivings and profanely bid him stifle his doubts, I know but one way in which a man may come forth from his agony scatheless; it is by holding fast to those things which are certain still — the grand, simple landmarks of morality. In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever else is doubtful, this, at least, is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet even then it is better to be generous than selfish; better to be chaste than licentious; better to be true than false; better to be brave than to be a coward. Blessed beyond all earthly blessedness is the man who, in the tempestuous darkness of the soul, has dared to hold fast these venerable landmarks. Thrice blessed is he who, when all is cheerless within and without, when the teachers terrify him and his friends shrink from him, has obstinately clung to moral good. Thrice blessed, because his night shall pass into clear, bright day."

Serious Christians are apt to be melancholy ones, and those who fear always to fear too much.

( M. Henry.)

Believe in God — if only by way of experiment, and for a moment — with all perplexing questions imperially commanded for a time into silence; believe, I mean, in One worthy to be God, the Best conceivable, all that a God ought to be; then remember how such a One has all time and all resources at His command; that He must necessarily be working on a vast scale; and then believe that you, as a living part of one living whole, are necessarily cared for and included in His all-perfect plan. The experiment is, at least, a pleasant one, and quits within our power; and I should not wonder if, in the temporary belief, the idea became as light, which evidences itself, and needs no proof but itself that it is light.

(H. H. Dobney.)

Do not fear to draw near, like Moses, even "to the thick darkness," for God is there. Out of the night is born the morning, and chaos comes before the kosmos.

(H. H. Dobney.)

The New, Age.
"Look on the bright side," said a young man to a friend, who was discontented and melancholy. "But there is no bright side," was his doleful reply. "Very well, then polish up the dark one," said the young man promptly.

(The New .Age.)

I remember once hearing a devout engine-driver relate his religious experience. He said: "The other night when I was on duty there was a dense fog; we could not see a yard before us, but I knew that the permanent way was under us, and every now and then we caught a glimpse of some signal or other, and in time came safely to the journey's end; so," he said, "I know if I am true to the great commandments and promises, God will guide and bring me through." In the darkest hours, when reason and experience utterly fail, remember that the permanent way is there; be true to the line of trust on one side, and obedience on the other, and God will vouchsafe you comforting signals, and in due season bring you to the appointed rest.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

The tree that waves its branches so freely in the great expanse and spreads out its leafy surface towards heaven, so eager for light and for heat, struck its root in secret underground, in great darkness and bondage. Take heed that you do not undervalue your time of spiritual darkness and conflict. The joy of eternity often strikes its root in very bitterness of spirit. Meekly fulfil all your groaning and patiently abide your time in darkness, "looking unto Jesus." Do you know that you would not so painfully feel your darkness if the Holy Sunlight did not underlie it? The diviner the sunlight at centre, the pain-fuller is the encompassing night.

(J. Pulsford, D.D.)

On ancient churches we see the dial, the quaint invention of our fathers; but this is the pathetic failure of the dial, it is of use only as long as the sun shines. But what we want is the faith that helps us when it is dark, when disappointment lacerates the soul, when the grave is being dug, when trials lay us low, and when guilt darkens the day and puts the shutters up on the windows of the heart.

(J. A. Davies, B. D.)

In the old myth, Orion whose eyes had been put out whilst he slept on the sea shore, recovered sight by gazing toward the rising sun. If our inner vision has been blinded, and all the grand truths and hopes of life lost to sight, let us turn our blind face toward heaven and keep it there, until He who looseth the bands of Orion turns for us the shadow of death into the morning.

(W.L. Watkinson.)

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