Judges 5:31
The triumph of Israel after the overthrow of the Canaanites is an illustration of the ultimate triumph of the Church.

I. THE FACT OF THIS TRIUMPH. We have encouragements to think that the Church will not only be saved, but will be saved with honour - will triumph.

1. This implies the destruction of her enemies. We need not look for that in violence, after the manners of the Crusades or of the Inquisition.

(1) Spiritual foes, such as sin, temptation, death, will cease to exist.

(2) Human foes will cease to be foes by the turning of enmity into submission to Christ.

2. It implies the bestowal of honour on the Church. She shall shine like the sun, no longer despised.

3. It implies the enjoyment of great happiness. Darkness represents sorrow; sunlight represents joy.

4. It implies the gift of power. No influence on earth is so powerful as that of the sun. The people of God will have opportunity for noble service and for the exercise of large faculties.

5. It implies the exercise of benevolence. The sun scatters light, warmth, life. He brings new life out of the death of winter, and spreads beauty and glory over the face of the earth. The triumph of the Church will not be like that of old tyrannies, marked by bloodshed and misery, but a source of life and joy and glory to all within its reach. There is healing in the wings of the Sun of righteousness.

II. THE SOURCE OF THIS TRIUMPH.

1. It is accorded by God. Deborah speaks of it in prayer. It was not the courage of the warrior, but the unseen help of God that secured the victory to Israel. We grow fearful as we see the raging might of evil, and compare this with the trembling weakness of our own hearts. But God is with us; he makes the cause of the Church his own. Christ has already conquered, and now he calls us only to meet defeated foes.

2. It is secured through devotion to God. The enemies of God perish. These are not men whom God treats as enemies, but such as set themselves in enmity against him. They who triumph are the lovers of God. The essence of religion is love to God, and this is here the ground of the assurance of victory given by him.

3. It is attained by silent and gradual means. The sun does not burst out suddenly, he makes no noise to announce the coming day. So the triumph of the Church is gradual as the growing dawn, silent as the spreading light. Yet, like the light, it wall be recognised by its visible presence and its bountiful fruits. - A.







So let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord.
I have chosen this verse rather than any detailed utterances from the imprecations that are found in the imprecatory Psalms, because I believe it contains the key that will enable us to solve the inner meaning and the spiritual relations of these imprecations. It is always, I think, a wise thing to get a principle, if possible, where it is clearly stated, rather than where it is hidden by a mass of obscure material. Once we get the principle — the key of the question — we can then use it to bring order into what may appear at first sight to be disorder. I EXAMINE THE MODERN THEORY THAT ASSERTS THAT THESE IMPRECATORY PASSAGES WERE INSPIRED BY UNHOLY PERSONAL VINDICTIVENESS. The recoil from rigid theories of inspiration has caused some to run riot. They make swift work of anything that offends their taste or that they cannot immediately comprehend — they cut it out with the ready pen-knife. This seems an easy way of getting over difficulties. Yet, theory or no theory, there is a living unity and congruity in the Scriptures which demands recognition, and will revenge itself upon indiscriminate mutilation. But, someone may ask, is it not reasonable to suppose that even some of the Old Testament saints, under a fit of provocation, may have indulged in fierce imprecations, in such curses as these. I hesitate even to answer that in the affirmative. But that is not all you have to suppose. You have not only to suppose that one of these saints could lose his self-control and his spiritual sense so far as to indulge in terrible curses, inspired by personal malignity, but you have also to suppose that he deliberately threw that vindictive outburst into a high form of literary composition, bestowing upon it great literary care and skill; that he put it into the form of a sacred psalm, and deliberately designed that that furious outburst of evil and vindictive passion should be preserved and perpetuated. You have yet further to suppose that that man, inspired by the Satanic passion within him, having composed his psalm, was able to induce the elect nation, the people whose religious and spiritual intuitions were so marvellous, whom God was training in such a special manner, you have to suppose that that people adopted into their sacred book some of the most Satanic utterances ever given expression to by a member of their own or any other race. I would have you also note this. The most terrible imprecations occur in the Book of Psalms, and the Book of Psalms reaches the high water mark of spiritual thought and conception among the Jews. Such a supposition reduces the spiritual history of Israel to complete chaotic confusion. There is another consideration that is worthy of notice. These imprecatory Psalms, especially the 69th, are quoted in the New Testament more frequently perhaps than any other passage in the Old Testament Scriptures, quoted as forming a true and legitimate part of the sacred Scriptures of the Jews, quoted, mark you, not by fossilised and prejudiced Jews, but by the apostles of Jesus Christ.

II. PLACE THESE UTTERANCES IN THEIR TRUE SETTING IN THE WRITINGS OF THE OLD SCRIPTURES. You will now understand why I have chosen these words as my text. "So let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord." "Thine enemies." This is the key that unlocks the whole matter. The ancient inspired writers never asked for the descent of judgment on their own personal account simply, but always as a vindication and assertion of eternal righteousness. There are two things we must remember, however, in considering these prayers for the extermination of the ungodly. The first is that these prayers refer primarily, almost, if not altogether, exclusively to the government of God upon this earth. When the psalmist prays that the wicked may be "blotted out of the book of life," he is not speaking in the language of the New Testament, but in that of the Old, and from the standpoint of the earth. He is not praying for spiritual and eternal condemnation; he is praying that the race of the ungodly may be exterminated from this world. We must remember, further, that it is the wicked, as such, upon whom these judgments are denounced. The imprecation has force only in so far as the wicked continues in his wickedness.

III. COMPARE THESE UTTERANCES WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT STANDPOINT. It is easy to see, first, that the New Testament has a clearer view of the eternal scope of God's government. It does not trouble us as it did the Jew when we see the ungodly flourish here, because we know that this life is but a short time in the annals of human life. We know that this earth's history is only a speck in the history of the human race. Then there is another advance. We have larger conceptions of the love and forbearance of God. The ancient Jew could not understand the possibility of salvation for all. The world was divided into two parts for him — the righteous and the wicked; and they stood on each side of the moral line, and there was scarcely any crossing over. And especially did the Jewish nation in its entirety stand out in opposition to the other nations of the earth. The Jew had very little hope of God's loving them, and bringing them into the joy of His grace. The ancient Jew desired righteousness to be vindicated by the victory of the righteous over the wicked; we rather desire that righteousness may be glorified by the victories of love, and that all men may be brought out of the sphere of destruction into the life and glory of God. But do not forget that that old principle of judgment was true. It is still in force, although it is now subordinate to the principle of life and hope; but we must not lose sight of it. Do not spurn these old solemn, terrible denunciations because Christ has set them in a blaze of love.

(John Thomas, M. A.)

What a contrast do these words present to the history which goes before them! Here is the picture of indolence and unfaithfulness leading to cowardice, to apostasy, and to national ruin. On the other hand consider, by way of contrast, the narrative contained in the chapter which ends with the text. Here is a picture of manly obedience to God's will — a short trial of trouble and suffering — and then the reward, peace. What the Old Testament especially teaches us is this: that zeal is as essentially a duty of all God's rational creatures as prayer and praise, faith and submission; and, surely, if so, especially of sinners whom He hath redeemed; that zeal consists in a strict attention to His commands — a scrupulousness, vigilance, heartiness, and punctuality which bears with no reasoning or questioning about them — an intense thirst for the advancement of His glory; a shrinking from the pollution of sin and sinners; an indignation, nay, impatience, at witnessing His honour insulted; a quickness of feeling when His name is mentioned, and a jealousy how it is mentioned; a fulness of purpose, an heroic determination to yield Him service at whatever sacrifice of personal feeling; an energetic resolve to push through all difficulties, were they as mountains, when His eye or hand but gives the sign: a carelessness of obloquy, or reproach, or persecution, a forgetfulness of friend and relative, nay, a hatred (so to say) of all that is naturally dear to us, when He says, "Follow Me." These are some of the characteristics of zeal. Now, it has sometimes been said that the commands of strenuous and stern service given to the Israelites, for instance, those relative to their taking and keeping possession of the promised land, do not apply to us Christians. There can be no doubt it is not our duty to take the sword and kill the enemies of God as the Jews were told to do. But it does not hence follow that the temper of mind which they presuppose and foster is not required of us; else, surely, the Jewish history is no longer profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Man's duty, perfection, happiness, have always been one and the same. What was the holiness of an Israelite is still the holiness of a Christian, though the Christian has far higher privileges and aids for perfection. It is impossible, then, that all these duties imposed on the Israelites of driving out their enemies, and. taking and keeping possession of the promised land, should not in some sense or other apply to us; for it is clear they were not in their case mere accidents of obedience, but went to form a certain inward character, and as clear is it that our heart must be as the heart of Moses or David if we should be saved through Christ. This is quite evident if we attentively examine the Jewish history and the Divine commands which are the principles of it. For these commands, which some persons have said do not apply to us, are so many and varied, and repeated at so many and divers times, that they certainly must have formed a peculiar character in the heart of the obedient Israelite, and were much more than an outward form and a sort of ceremonial service. Let us consider some of the commands I have referred to, and the terms in which they are conveyed. For instance, that for the extirpation of the devoted nations from the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1-5, 16). Next observe this merciless temper, as profane people would call it, but as well-instructed Christians say, this godly zeal, was enjoined upon them under far more distressing circumstances, viz., the transgressions of their own relations and friends (Deuteronomy 13:6-9). Now, doubtless, we at this day are not to put men to death for idolatry; but, doubtless also, whatever temper of mind the fulfilment of this command implied in the Jew, such, essentially, must be our temper of mind, whatever else it may be also; for God cannot speak two laws, He cannot love two characters — good is good, and evil is evil (Psalm 19:7, 8, 10, 11). A self-mastering, fearless obedience was another part of this same religious temper enjoined on the Jews, and still incumbent, as I dare affirm, on us Christians (Joshua 23:6). It required an exceeding moral courage in the Jews to enable them to go straight forward, seduced neither by their feelings nor their reason. Nor was the severe temper under review a duty in the early ages of Judaism only. The Book of Psalms was written at different times, between David's age and the captivity, yet it plainly breathes the same hatred of Sin and opposition to sinners (Psalm 139:21-24). Further still, after the return from the captivity, after the prophets had enlarged the compass of Divine revelation, and purified and heightened the religious knowledge of the nation, still this rigid and austere zeal was enjoined and enforced in all its ancient vigour by Ezra. The Jews set about a reformation; and what was its most remarkable act? Let us attend to the words of Ezra (Ezra 9:3, 4). Now, I do not say that every one ought to have done what Ezra did, for he was supernaturally directed; but would the course he adopted have ever entered into the mind of men of this day, or can they even understand or acquiesce in it, now that they know it? for what did he? He offered a confession and intercession in behalf of the people; then at length he and the people came to a decision, which was no other than this — to command all persons who had married foreign wives to put them away. He undid the evil as well as hindered it in future. What an act of self-denying zeal was this in a multitude of people! These are some out of many instances which might be brought from the Jewish history in proof of the duty of strict and severe loyalty to God and His revealed will. There was an occasion when our Lord is expressly said to have taken upon Him the zeal which consumed David (Matthew 21:12, 13). Surely, unless we had this account given us by an inspired writer, we should not have believed it! To put aside form, to dispense with the ministry of His attendant angels, to act before He had spoken His displeasure, to use His own hand, to hurry to and fro, to be a servant in the work of purification, surely this must have arisen from a fire of indignation at witnessing His Father's house insulted which we sinners cannot understand. But anyhow it is but the perfection of that temper which, as we have seen, was encouraged and exemplified in the Jewish Church. Such is the pattern afforded us by our Lord; to which add the example of the angels which surround Him. Surely in Him is mingled "goodness and severity "; such, therefore, are all holy creatures, loving and severe. We read of their thoughts and desires in the Apocalypse (Revelation 14:7; Revelation 16:5-7; Revelation 18:5, 6), all which passages imply a deep and solemn acquiescence in God's judgments. Thus a certain fire of zeal, showing itself, not by force and blood, but as really and certainly as if it did — cutting through natural feelings, neglecting self, preferring God's glory to all things, firmly resisting sin, protesting against sinners, and steadily contemplating their punishment — is a duty belonging to all creatures of God, a duty of Christians, in the midst of all that excellent overflowing charity which is the highest gospel grace and the fulfilling of the second table of the law. And such, in fact, has ever been the temper of the Christian Church, in evidence of which I need but appeal to the impressive fact that the Jewish Psalter has been the standard book of Christian devotion from the first down to this day. Now I shall make a few observations in conclusion, with a view of showing how meekness and charity are compatible with this austere and valiant temper of the Christian soldier.

1. Of course it is absolutely sinful to have any private enmities. Not the bitterest personal assaults upon us should induce us to retaliate. We must do good for evil, love those who hate, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who despitefully use us. It is only when it is impossible at once to be kind to them and give glory to God that we may cease to act kindly towards them. We hate sinners by putting them out of our sight, as if they were not, by annihilating them, in our affections. And this we must do, even in the case of our friends and relations, if God requires it. But in no case are we to allow ourselves in resentment or malice.

2. Next, it is quite compatible with the most earnest zeal to offer kind offices to God's enemies when in distress. I do not say that a denial of these offices may not be a duty ordinarily, for it is our duty, as St. John tells us in his second Epistle, not even to receive them into our houses. But the case is very different where men are brought into extremity.

3. And, further, the Christian keeps aloof from sinners in order to do them good. A true friend is he who speaks out, and, when a man sins, shows him that he is displeased at the sin.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

I. THE TRUE CHARACTER AND CERTAIN DOOM OF THE UNGODLY.

1. The term "enemies" will apply to all the unrenewed portions of mankind. The heart is positively hostile, etc.. "Carnal mind is enmity against God," etc.(1) There are the daring enemies of God, who sceptically treat His revelation, yea, deny His being. They attack His rule; despise His word; rail at His servants; try to subvert His cause.(2) There are the profane and reckless enemies of God, who defy, contemn the Most High — Pharaoh, Belshazzar, Herod.(3) There are those who are wickedly neutral, and who temporise in religion.

2. Now as to the doom of the enemies of God they will all perish except they repent; all have one condemnation, sentence, woeful abode. It will include —

(1)Utter shame and confusion;

(2)total wretchedness and misery;

(3)eternal ruin and despair.

II. THE ILLUSTRIOUS REPRESENTATION GIVEN OF THE FRIENDS OF JESUS: "Them that love Him." In the enemy we look for hate; in the friend, love. Now love to Jesus is —

1. A Divine principle of God and from God. The result of regeneration.

2. A pre-eminent principle. Above all, it has the centre, it reigns, it subordinates.

3. It is manifest. Lives, breathes, speaks, acts. Moves all the springs of the heart. Affects all the machinery of life. Loosens the tongue, employs the hands and feet. Mark the representation — "Let them that love Him be as the sun," etc. Now, the metaphor will apply —(1) To the exalted station which they occupy. Sin debases, sinks, etc. Religion exalts.(2) To the spiritual rays they diffuse abroad. "Ye were once darkness," etc. Now lights, etc. "Arise, shine," etc.(3) As fertilising and beautifying all around. Now, believers shed moral beauty all around. Holy virtues, heavenly graces, Christ-like feelings, all tend to expel the winter of moral evil and misery, like the sun.(4) Irresistibly advancing in their glorious career.(5) Like the sun setting in celestial radiance and moral splendour. However bright the career, it must cease on earth. See the aged Christian declining, etc.; at last it sets — but watch the scene. No stormy sky, no threatening tempest, no cloud

; all still and tranquil and clear; the whole horizon mellowed with the golden glory.(6) As the sun rising in another hemisphere and shining in fairer worlds. Is that setting sun annihilated? He rises in another land as he sets in this. So with those who once shone here, etc. They are lost to us but they still live, and are more radiant, shine brighter, etc.Application:

1. Let the subject be the test of character. Are we enemies? etc.

2. Learn the supreme excellence of true religion. Godliness leads to honour, usefulness, blessedness, and glory.

3. Let the enemies of God consider. "Kiss the Son lest He be angry," etc.

4. Let the professed friends of Jesus exemplify their principles.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE ENEMIES OF THE LORD.

1. Their character.(1) The idolater. The giving up the throne of our being to any king but God.(2) The forgetful.(3) The indifferent. As God adds to His mercies we subtract from our thanks.(4) The undecided. An insult to God, for He has granted evidence sufficient.(5) The reckless. Those who defile, despise, and disgrace the unutterable goodness of the Lord.

2. Their doom. They perish,(1) As without God, and so cut off from the only source of true life.(2) As without God and so without hope.(3) As fighting against God and so doomed to certain defeat.

II. THE FRIENDS OF THE LORD. "As the sun when he goeth forth in his might." The figure refers not to the period from sunrise to sun set but from sunrise to the meridian of his splendour. It is a striking metaphor as setting forth the glorious ongoing and enlivening influence of the Christian character.

1. Very quiet.

2. Gladdening.

3. Regular and sure.

4. Increasing in brightness.

(H. G. Parrish, B. A.)

Hearing a whole choir of birds chirping merrily together, my curiosity was excited to inquire into the occasion of their convocation and merriment, when I quickly perceived a dead hawk in the bush, about which they made such a noise, seeming to triumph at the death of an enemy. I could not blame them for singing the knell of one who, like a cannibal, was wont to feed upon their living bodies, tearing them limb from limb, and scaring them with his frightful appearance. Over this bird, which was so formidable when alive, the most timid wren or titmouse did not now fear to chirp or hop. This occurrence brought to my mind the case of tyrants and oppressors. When living, they are the terror of mankind; but when dead, they are the objects of general contempt and scorn. "When the wicked perish, there is shouting" (Proverbs 11:10). The death of Nero was celebrated by the Romans with bonfires and plays; birds ate the naked flesh of Pompey; Alexander lay unburied thirty days; but a useful and holy life is generally closed by an honourable and lamented death.

The song closes with an apostrophe or prediction of a similar and sure disappointment and fatal issue for every evil cause; while brighter and brighter must wax the course of God's kingdom on the earth, like the sun shining forth in its strength towards the effulgence of perfect day. It is at once a principle, a prediction, and a prayer.

1. A principle: for there is a Divine cause and interest of God in the world, often obscured by human passion, often clouded with sad disaster, like the sun wading through mist and storm, but destined ever to re-assert itself and establish its bright ascendancy.

2. A prediction. Every inimical interest must and shall give way and succumb to His undying kingdom, with the seed Divine of immortal youth within its bosom —

"And the power of each foe, as if smote with the sword,

Shall melt like the snow in the glance of the Lord."

3. A prayer. So is it, so it shall be: and so says the singer, let it be.

(A. H. Drysdale, M. A.)

Let them that love Him be as the sun
Helps for the Pulpit.
I. THE CHARACTER OF GOD'S PEOPLE: "They love Him."

1. This love has been implanted in their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Formerly they hated Him and His service.

2. Their love is sincere. It must be so if the Spirit has created it in the heart (Ephesians 6:24). The love of many, however, is merely professional.

3. This love is supreme: "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" etc.

4. This love is practical. It dwells in the heart and shows itself in the life.

5. It is self-denying.

II. THE SIMILITUDE BY WHICH THE CHARACTER OF GOD'S PEOPLE IS ILLUSTRATED.

1. The sun receives its light from the creative energy of God (Psalm 136:8). So Christians have derived their light from God Himself (2 Corinthians 4:6).

2. Christians resemble the sun in beauty: "Truly light is sweet, And a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." So Christians are beautiful in their individual spiritual character — in their associated character.

3. The sun is a visible object; it excites attention and inspires admiration. The course of Christians is not hidden; they are lights of the world, cities set on a hill, living epistles (Matthew 5:16).

4. The Christian resembles the sun in usefulness. What a dark world this would be if the natural sun were to cease its shining? What would the world be without Christianity?(1) As the rising sun dispels clouds and darkness, so the believer rises above the changes and calamities of life — he dispels the mists and darkness of prejudice; proves that religion does not tend to licentiousness, that it is not a system of melancholy.(2) Like the sun, the Christian spreads the most salutary and delightful effects around. The sun is the great spirit of the world, in the light of which all things are made to rejoice. So the life of the Christian and the benevolent efforts of the Church, in conjunction with Divine power, are calculated to make the desert blossom as the rose, etc. (Isaiah 35:1, 2).(3) The influence of the sun is very extensive, reaching to every creature. The charity of Christians would save the whole world.

5. The light of the sun is irresistible. Who can say to it, "Hitherto shalt thou come"? etc. No one can stop the work of the Church, for it is God's work (Isaiah 55:11). O Christians, like the sun, shine more and more unto the perfect day. They grow in grace, in knowledge, purity, peace, joy, till their course terminates in the meridian noontide splendour of heaven.

(Helps for the Pulpit.)

If we think of the singer, of the age, and the occasion of the song, such purely spiritual, lofty words must seem very remarkable.

I. Note, first, how here we have A PENETRATING INSIGHT INTO THE ESSENCE OF RELIGION. This woman had been nourished upon a more or less perfect edition of what we know as the "Mosaic law." Her faith had been fed by forms. She moved amidst a world full of the cruelties and dark conceptions of a mysterious Divine power which torture heathenism apart from Christianity. She had forced her way through all that, and laid hold of the vital centre. And there, away out amidst cruelty and murder, amidst the unutterable abominations and terrors of heathenism, in the centre of a rigid system of ceremonial and retaliation, the woman's heart spoke out and taught her what was the great commandment. Deborah had got as far, in a moment of exaltation and insight, as the teaching of the apostle John, although her thought was strangely blended with the fierceness of the times in which she lived. Her approval of Jael's deed by no means warrants our approving it, but we may thankfully see that though she felt the fierce throbbing of desire for vengeance, she also felt this — "Them that love Him; that is the Alpha and Omega of all." Our love must depend on our knowledge. Deborah's knowledge was a mere skeleton outline as compared with ours. Contrast the fervour of emotional affection that manifestly throbbed in her heart with the poor, cold pulsations which we dignify by the name of love, and the contrast may put us to shame.

II. Further, note THE GRAND CONCEPTION OF THE CHARACTER WHICH SUCH A LOVE PRODUCES: "Let them be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might." Think of the fierce eastern sun, with "sunbeams like swords," that springs up from the east and rushes to the zenith, and "nothing is hid from the heat thereof" — a sun the like of which we, in our cloudy skies, know little about, but which, to the Oriental, is the very emblem of splendour and of continuous victorious power. There are two things here — radiance and energy, light and might. "As the sun when he goeth forth in his strength." Deborah was a "prophetess," and people say, "What did she prophesy? "Well, she prophesied the heart of religion in reference to its essence, and, as one sees by this phrase, in reference to its effects. What is her word but a partial anticipation of Christ's saying, "Ye are the light of the world"; and of His disciple's utterance, "Ye were sometimes darkness, and now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of the light"? "Is Deborah's aspiration fulfilled about me? "Let each of us ask that. "As the sun when he goeth forth in his strength" — would anybody say that about my Christian character? Why not? Only because the springs have run low within is the stream low through the meadows. Only because the love is cold is the light feeble. There is another thing here. There is power in sunlight as well as radiance. On that the prophetess especially lays a finger. "As the sun when he goeth forth in his strength." She did not know what we know, that solar energy is the source of all energy on this earth, and that, just as in the deepest analysis "there is no power but of God," so in the material region we may say that the only force is the force of the sun, which not only stimulates vegetation and brings light and warmth — as the pre-scientific prophetess knew — but in a hundred other ways, unknown to her and known to modern science, is the author of all change, the parent of all life, and the reservoir of all energy. And so we come to this thought: the true love of God is no weak, sentimental thing, such as narrow and sectional piety has often represented it to be, but it is a power which will invigorate the whole of a man and make him strong and manly as well as gentle and gracious; being, indeed, the parent of all the so-called heroic and of all the so-called saintly virtues. If you love God you will surely be a strong man as well as an emotional and affectionate Christian. That energy is to be continuous and progressive. The sun that Deborah saw day by day spring from his station in the east and climb to his height in the heavens and ray down his beams, has been doing that for millions of years, and it will probably keep doing it for uncounted periods still. And so the Christian man, with continuity unbroken and progressive brilliance and power, should shine more and more till the unsetting noontide of the day.

III. Here is A PROPHECY OF WHICH THE UTTERER WAS UNAWARE. There is a contrast drawn in the words of our text and in those immediately preceding. "So," says Deborah, after the fierce description of the slaughter — "so let all Thine enemies perish, O Lord! but let them that love Thee be as the sun when he shineth in his strength." She contrasts the transiency of the lives that pit themselves against God with the perpetuity that belongs to those which are in harmony with Him, because the livers are lovers of Him. The truth goes further than she probably knew; certainly further than she was thinking when she chanted these words. Let us widen them by other words which use the same metaphor and say, "They that be wise" — that is a shallower word than "them that love Thee" — "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Let us widen and deepen them by sacreder words still, for Jesus Christ laid hold of this old metaphor and said, describing the time when all the enemies shall have perished and the weeds have been flung out of the vine-yard, "Then shall the righteous blaze forth like the sun in the kingdom of My Father." A brilliancy that will fill heaven with new galaxies, bright beyond all that we see here, amidst the thick atmosphere and mists and clouds of the present life!

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE OBJECT: "Them that love Him."

II. THE REQUEST: "Let them be as the sun." I think the chief doctrine here intended is that of infallibility. First, the sun is a faithful witness in heaven. The sun has never failed yet, and never can fail. "When He goeth forth in His might." The Scriptures are clear that the people are all predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ; that what He is they are to be. Did not Jesus Christ go forth in His might in His humiliation; and doth He not also go forth in His might in His exaltation?

III. THE REPOSE HERE MENTIONED: "The land had rest forty years." How is it that they had rest forty years? Well, they had rest, liberty, and quiet, enjoying all the privileges of the promised land during these forty years, by one of the most simple things. It was by simply rejecting all false gods, and abiding by the God of Israel, and just bringing up a little of past history, and learning that this God, who had delivered them from Egypt, this God, who had sustained them through the wilderness, this God that brought them into the promised land and planted them there, He, and He alone, was God; and the consequence was that their liberty remained, their harvests were good, their vintage was good, their flocks and their herds increased, and they were every way happy. Just so now; if we would have spiritual rest, spiritual settlement, and real prosperity, it must be by simply abiding by that truth that represents the great God to us as a Saviour, that represents Him in a covenant ordered in all things and sure — simply abiding by that. Now how was it they had rest no longer than forty years? I can hardly tell; but you do not get through the next chapter before you stumble upon an altar, and say, "What altar is this?" This is not the Lord's; no, it is Baal's. And here is a beautiful grove and gardens — everything made pleasant to the flesh, a great display. Well, how in the world Baal got in again I do not know, but I should not wonder if it was either by trade affairs, or else by matrimonial affairs, or else by both.

(James Wells.).

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