Psalm 119:165
They are not staggered or perplexed by anything which they meet with, either in Scripture or nature. "When God's Law is loved, instead of being struggled against, the conscience is at peace, and the inward eye is clear; a man sees his duty, and does it, free from those stumbling-blocks which are ever occasion of falling to others." Marginal reading is," They shall have no stumbling-block." Compare our Lord's denunciation of those who "offend" - "put a stumbling-block in the way of" - "one of his little ones." The point is that those who steady themselves by holding firm to God's Word have a sure support in every time of temptation or danger. There are two ways in which the knowledge and use of God's Word steadies us. It braces us up. It gives us something sure to lean upon.

I. GOD'S WORD STEADIES BY BRACING US UP. This may be illustrated by the careers of two youths, who leave their country homes for business city life, and the peril of city snares and town traps." The one is braced up with good principles, and is able to resist temptation, and to throw off morally infecting disease. The principles of the other hang all lax and loose about him; and he has no ready resisting force when the enemy "comes in like a flood." Just what familiarity with God's Word. does is brace up our principles, brace up our moral nature, hold. us together; nourish the vitality in every part of us, so that we are kept in health and energy. Mind braced up with knowledge; heart braced up with right feeling; will braced up with motive. "Let your loins be girded about"

II. GOD'S WORD STEADIES BY GIVING US SOMETHING SURE TO LEAN UPON. Illustrate by the ship-captain who can always fortify his own judgment by appealing to his chart. It is of the utmost importance that we should preserve our sense of the authority of God's Word, as an absolute and final appeal; a trusty staff on which we may lean. This form of the steadying power of God's Word was effectively illustrated in the time of our Lord's temptation. - R.T.







Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
Homilist.
This is the testimony of —

I. PHILOSOPHY. Moral remorse, malign passions, dark forebodings, battling impulses, these are the source of all inner tumult; but, in the nature of the case, where the soul is in a loving ruling sympathy with God's law, such elements of distress cannot exist.

II. SCRIPTURE (Proverbs 3:13; Philippians 4:7; John 14:27).

III. EXPERIENCE. In proportion to the amount of the low of God in the heart of a man is his peace — with his own nature, his conscience, and God.

(Homilist.)

I. A SPIRITUAL CHARACTER. "They which love Thy law."

1. Love lies deep, it is in the heart: it is not a thing of the surface, it is of the man's own self. As a man loveth so is he. To love God's law is to have the very nature and essence of our manhood in a right condition.

2. This inward and spiritual love to God's Word includes many other good things.

(1)A deep reverence for it.

(2)This advances to rejoicing in it.

(3)Further than this, we receive Holy Scripture with emotion.

(4)Great gratitude to God for His Word is formed in the believing heart.

3. This love is productive of many good things.

(1)Meditation on it.

(2)Courage in defence of it.

(3)Penitence for having sinned against it.

(4)Patience under suffering.

(5)Holiness.

4. If in any of us there is a love of the law of the Lord, this is a work of the Holy Spirit.

II. A SPECIAL POSSESSION. When Orientals meet each other their usual salutation is "Shalom" — "Peace be to thee." The word does not mean merely quiet and rest, but happiness or prosperity. Great peace means great prosperity. Those who love God's law have great blessedness in this life as well as in that which is to come. In loving the law of God we have intense enjoyment and real success in life.

1. Great restfulness of the intellect.

2. A pacified conscience.

3. Peace in heart.

4. Peace as to our desires.

5. Peace in resignation to God, acquiescence in His will, and conformity to it.

6. A happy confidence in God as to all things in the past, the present, and the future.

III. A SINGULAR PRESERVATION. "Nothing shall offend them."

1. Intellectual stumbling-blocks are gone.

2. No moral duty shall be a cross to them.

3. They can stand alone. Solitude does not offend them.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Its greatness appears from —

I. ITS BEING THE RESULT OF LOVE TO THE DIVINE LAW.

II. ITS BEING IDENTICALLY THAT PEACE WHICH CHRIST BESTOWS UPON HIS OWN, which He designated His peace, and which none but He can bestow.

III. Whether, therefore, you contemplate the agent or the agency, you behold here a peace so grand and so elevating, that THE POSSESSORS OF IT MUST EMBRACE THE WHOLE LAW WITH THEIR WHOLE SOULS. They can except against none of all the gracious commandments. There is not one thing you can put them on, whether to do or to suffer, which, in the strength of that heavenly love, and by the help of that grace, they will not go into for their Saviour.

(John Bruce, D. D.)

I. WE ARE SURROUNDED BY LAW. The law holds our entire being in its grasp — our heart, our secret acts, our words, our life, and there is no escape: nor is there any breaking of the law with impunity.

II. WE CAN HAVE NO TRUE PEACE WHILE OUT OF HARMONY WITH LAW. The consciousness of wrong-doing brings a weight upon the soul (Psalm 32:4; Psalm 38:4). An unwillingness to submit creates internal strife (Romans 7:12-24): therefore there is no peace to the wicked.

III. HOW CAN HARMONY WITH DIVINE LAW BE ATTAINED? By pardon through the atonement. By the renovation of our nature, so that the law is written on the heart (Hebrews 8:10) — so that the heart delights in that which the law enjoins (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

IV. GREAT PEACE RESULTS FROM THIS HARMONY.

1. Absolutely perfect peace with and in God: the King is now our friend: loyalty is natural — "perfect love casteth out fear."

2. Peace with ourselves — the internal war is ended. Conscience is at rest, duty is a delight.

3. Peace with all mankind so far as lies in our power.

4. Peace with the universe, for when we are in harmony with law we are in harmony with God, and therefore with the whole God-pervaded universe.

(C. O. Eldridge, B. A.)

Loving the law of God, not only with delight in the vehicle of its expression, but with inward submission to its behests, we shall have —

I. THE PEACEFULNESS OF A RESTFUL HEART. Such a heart has found an adequate and worthy object for the outgoings of its affections. Base things loved always disturb. Noble things loved always tranquillize. For our hearts are like the creatures in some river, of which they tell us that they change their colour according to the hue of the bed of the stream in which they float and of the food of which they partake. The heart that lives on the will of God will be calm and steadfast, and ennobled into reposeful tranquillity like that which it grasps and grapples.

II. THE CALM OF A SUBMITTED WILL. If you were ever on board a sailing ship you know the difference between its motion when it is beating up against the wind and when it is running before it. In the one case all is agitation and uneasiness, in the other all is smooth, and frictionless, and delicious. So, when we go with the great stream, in not ignoble surrender, then we go quietly. It is God's great intention, in all that befalls us in this life, to bring our wills into conformity with His. Blessed is the ministry of sorrow, and of pain, and of loss, if it does that for us. And disastrous and accursed is the ministry of joy and success if it does not.

III. THE PEACE OF AN OBEDIENT LIFE. When once we have taken it (and faithfully adhere to the choice) as our supreme desire to do God's will, we are delivered from almost all the things that distract and disturb us. Away go all the storms of passion, and we are no more at the mercy of vagrant inclinations. And as thus we may be delivered from all the agitations and cross-currents of conflicting wishes, inclinations, aims, which otherwise would make a jumble and a chaos of our lives, so, on the other hand, if for us the supreme desire is to obey God, then we are delivered from the other great enemy to tranquillity — namely, anxious forecasting of possible consequences of our actions, which robs so many of us of so many quiet days. "I do the little I can do," said Faber, "and leave the rest with Thee." And that will bring peace.

IV. THE PEACE OF FREEDOM FROM TEMPTATIONS. "Nothing shall offend them." The higher love casts out the lower. Which is best, to overcome our temptations, or to live away up in the high regions to which the malaria of the swamps never climbs, and where no disease-germs can ever reach? That elevation is possible for us, if only we keep in close touch with God, and love the law because our hearts are knit to the Law-giver.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. RELIGION IS APT TO REMOVE THE CHIEF CAUSES OF INWARD TROUBLE AND DISQUIET.

1. Doubt and anxiety of mind.

2. Guilt of conscience.

II. RELIGION MINISTERS TO US ALL THE TRUE CAUSES OF PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY OF MIND. Whoever lives according to the rules of religion, lays these three great foundations of peace and comfort to himself: —

1. He is satisfied that in being religious he doth that which is most reasonable.

2. That he secures himself against the greatest mischiefs and dangers by making God his friend.

3. That upon the whole matter he does in all respects most effectually consult and promote his own interest and happiness.

III. THE REFLECTION UPON A RELIGIOUS AND VIRTUOUS COURSE OF LIFE DOTH AFTERWARDS YIELD A MIGHTY PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION.

(Abp. Tillotson.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHOM THE PSALMIST DESCRIBES. They love God's law. At the outset of religion our thoughts are generally fixed on God as a God of mercy and compassion. We almost lose sight of His other perfections: but this cannot last. And when we come to survey Him as the Just One, the Holy One, the Faithful One, as well as the Merciful One; the more we consider God as a combination of perfections — oh, we shall presently see that there is no safety for us unless and until those perfections are all and each on our side. But when this feeling is engendered, and we are brought naturally to love the law just as we do the redemption, we satisfy the law. The law is not merely admired, not merely reverenced, the law is loved — loved as what it was worthy of God to give — what it was worthy of Christ to fulfil, and what Christ has fulfilled by a Suretyship which leaves not one jot to be exacted from the sinner. And why have they "great peace"? Because there is no attribute of God to which they who love the law cannot find themselves reconciled.

II. TAKE THE CHARACTER THUS DECIPHERED, AND EXAMINE WHY IT HAPPENS THAT THERE ARE NOT STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO THOSE WHO POSSESS IT. Suppose we take certain of the hindrances which men meet with in following Christ, and endeavour to show you in each how, through loving the law, the obstacle is surmounted. For instance, the unequal distribution both of good and of evil in this life is often a perplexing thing to the righteous. But now observe — he who loves the law is exactly equipped for surmounting this offence. In being brought to love the law, a man has been brought into acquaintance with each and every attribute of God. Therefore he is quite assured of the justice of God; he is quite assured of the faithfulness of God. Again, when afflictions come thick on the godly man, they have a tendency to stagger him, or to serve as a "stumbling-block." But it will certainly be the man who loves God's law who is best prepared to meet such impediments; for it is required by the terms of the law that we should know God's attributes, and take delight in them all. Knowing each attribute, loving each attribute, he will be meekly confident that the issue must be. right, though the process may be dark. And there are other kinds of offence, or stumbling-blocks, which may be met with by the Christian. Living, as we all must live, in some considerable degree, in association with our fellow-men, we are necessarily exposed to an influence, direct or indirect, excited by their conduct; for you can scarcely find the man of whom it can be truly said, that he is independent of the behaviour of others; that is, in the sense that his own moral character is not likely to be either advantaged or prejudiced by the deportment of those about him. Look, for example, at the faults and inconsistencies of religious professors. The faults of any one religious professor — covetousness, for example — ambition — the love of show — the ready association with the world — the facility in keeping piety out of sight, when it is likely to keep him out of favour — all these inconsistencies, put forth in the name of one professor of godliness, are calculated to damp the ardour of a hundred others, and bring into disrepute all those realities of religion, which, being removed, there remains nothing but the skeleton of Christianity. Who, we want to know, is best prepared to meet this offence? He who is a lover of the law. If I have reached the point of loving the law, if I love God because He hates sin, if I love God because He will punish sin, if I love God because He requires "holiness in the inward parts" — and all this, yea, and a vast deal more is love of God's law — then I have such an acquaintance with God as puts me far beyond the reach of accidents or contingencies. I know God — if the expression may be allowed — thoroughly; I know Him too well, under those very aspects with which the generality of Christians are least familiar, to render it necessary that I should infer His properties from what is done by others, or from what happens to others; and thus my love of the law gives me practically independence on the conduct or intercourse of my fellow-Christians; and I can overleap the obstacles which their failures may have thrown in my way; and thus I can verify the assertion "Nothing shall offend" those who "love the law of their God."

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. A POSSESSION.

1. There may be peace without great peace. But Christians have great peace. It appertains to a great subject, the soul; it eases great anxieties, those which have to do with our relation to God, and it has an abiding greatness of power, for no man taketh it away.

2. This peace is connected with obedience. The renewed spirit is under the law of the spirit of life. A living Christ rules as truly as a code! He says, "thou shelf not" more successfully. Take the spirit of true love. If I really love, shall I injure in thought, word, look, deed? Not

I. The law will rule me everywhere; it will be the law of the spirit of life.

3. Love will be the affectional bond. Here is the strength of the Christian man l Sin becomes distasteful to him — its bread bitter, its waters brackish. In fact, duty is like drawing a triumphal ear; and wearing the thorn-crown is like bearing some insignia of highest order.

II. AN EXEMPTION. "Nothing shall offend them."

1. Circumstances do not hurt them, or are not a stumbling-block to them. They are not too careless to despise them, or too heartless, in a human sense, to refuse to extract all the honey out of life's flowers that they can. Things present, as well as "things to come," are theirs.

2. Temptations do not hurt them. Arrows glance harmlessly aside from the impenetrable shield of the Christ-filled soul.

3. Death does not hurt them. How can it? They surely have been meetening for it. It is not always longed for, but it is prepared for.

(W. M. Statham.)

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