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Quietness and Assurance —Ps xi ,

XV.

QUIETNESS AND ASSURANCE.

1 In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your

mountain?

2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the

string, .

That they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

4 The Lord is in his holy temple! the Lord's throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

5 The Lord trieth the righteous;

But the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth.

6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares; fire and brimstone, and an horrible

tempest: This shall be the portion of their cup.

7 For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness ; his countenance doth behold

the upright.—Psalm X1.

VIEWED in the light of the Spirit, nothing can appear more strange to us than the carnal suggestions of the men of this world. It is, perhaps, at this point that the two ways most markedly diverge. Surely their counsel is not ours. They have omitted one element in their reasoning, and the absence of it vitiates all their conclusions. 'In the Lord put I my trust' (ver. 1). Our wondering rebuke of their advice, our triumphant challenge and calm confidence (ver. 1), spring not from ignorance of the number or the object of our enemies (ver. 2). Nor are we insensible to our impotence under circumstances such as those supposed by them (ver. 3). 'If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?' He can wait upon the Lord, and in his patience possess his soul. There is often more accomplished by stillness in God than by what seems to the world the most active and successful work. Besides, stillness is often the needful preparation for highest success. At any rate, such are not times for withdrawing, far less for desponding, but for all the more earnest exercise of faith and prayer. It is a very common suggestion made to Christians to hold their views but to abate their testimony. Many reasons, satisfactory to the carnal mind, may be urged for not preaching in 'the King's chapel and the King's court.' Yet prudence is not always prudent. Therefore, so far as I am personally concerned, 'How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?' How many—not only avowed enemies, but professed friends —would bid us withdraw or desist! The same lying spirit who, in the mouth of the false prophets, urged Ahab to 'go up and prosper,' would, in the mouth of Peter, have kept the Saviour Himself from going up to Jerusalem to accomplish His decease. Such matters must be decided on far other principles. Granting that I am surrounded by apparent impossibilities, and that all palpable hope of deliverance or of usefulness is gone. But what have I to do with the future —except in the exercise of 'good hope?' Faith busies itself with the present; it is its nature to leave all the rest; it looks straight up to God in Christ, and away from what men call possibilities and probabilities, either in the way of encouragement or discouragement. All things are possible to him that believeth. My answer to every objection is, 'In Jehovah put I my trust' Mark, it is not only that I go to Him, but that I trust in Him; not only that I ask, but that I expect; not only that I have some requests, but that I have Himself, who is far above all requests. I have committed myself entirely to His keeping; His word is sufficient warrant, and His character sufficient surety for me. I will not prescribe either the time or the way of deliverance, but simply trust, not doubtingly, but assuredly. It is the safest, the best, and the most blessed course. Thanks be unto God, who always giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ. The result is uniform, and always of His own achieving. I must have unlimiting faith; I must not seek to know the end from the beginning. This is His province, mine it is to trust Him for it. In this absolute trustfulness are bound up, as in a threefold cord, my joy of faith, my holiness of heart, and my real safety. But what misery, were we to be always afraid of the arrow by day, or the pestilence by night, or of evil tidings!' He that believeth shall not make haste.' Then, even if the foundations were destroyed, and the righteous unable to achieve anything!' Jehovah is in His holy temple;' He hath not forsaken His heritage. 'Jehovah's throne is in heaven ;' all power is given unto our King. His presence implies knowledge and government (ver. 4). The cause and kingdom are His, and full well He seeth all the plans of men, and readeth their inmost thoughts. One greater than Elisha is in the Syrian council-chamber, and knoweth their purposes. It is the assurance by faith of this Divine fact which gives such intense rest to the children of God in their seeming distress. Anon He will interpose. Ours it will be, like Israel of old, to 'stand still and see the salvation of God' (ver. 6). Is not this enough, both so far as our persons and our work are concerned? The storm which rages all around has not reached heaven. Let us await the issue. Let us anticipate nothing, nor judge before the time. Lastly, we have the unspeakable comfort of this as an ultimate principle: 'The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.' We will not trouble ourselves with matters which are too high, nor burden ourselves with those which are too heavy, for us. We will look away from all, and rest on Him. And in the midst of all, 'His countenance doth behold the upright.' The light of His countenance shines on our hearts, and gives us peace; its presence directs us by the way; its glory is our reward. And this light is in the face of Jesus Christ.

1. O my soul, lay firm and lasting hold upon the Lord. My danger, like that of Peter, lies in looking to the wind and the waves, instead of looking to the Lord. How dare I burden my mind and heart with the administration of His providence? Nay, what have I to do even with present dangers and entanglements? If I trust him fully, I can assuredly leave all in His hands. It is enough for me to know that the Lord is in His holy temple; that He is; that He is in the place 'where prayer is wont to be made,' and always accepted; that He is on the mercy-seat, sprinkled with blood, and between the cherubim. But if I would have full trust in the Lord, let me not take counsel with men— friend nor foe—nor with mine own heart. My weakness lies in what the world calls strength. There are always many, of all classes and professions, that say, 'Who will show us any good?' Too often and too long have I repaired to broken cisterns. Let me not murmur, when I am now entirely shut up to God. Let me rather rejoice in it, and expect signal triumph. Yet, come what may—seeming victory or apparent defeat, joy or sorrow, life or death—I will not quit my hold. This day, even now, and with my present difficulties and my present work, I will trust in the Lord. If He gave His own Son for me, what will He deny ?' We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.'

2. Fear not, only believe. My defeat is only possible through want of faith, not of resources. 'Only be thou strong, and very courageous.' This is the sole condition of success. The righteous Lord will establish righteousness, by whom and as He willeth. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If night gathers around, let me come in for shelter and for rest; let me nestle under the shadow of His wings, till these calamities be overpast.

3. Am I now fully trusting, not doubtingly groping; quietly waiting, not impatiently looking out; leaving the matter with Him, not taking it into my own hands? What burdeneth, distresseth, disquieteth my soul? In respect of these things, and not in a general or vague sense, will I trust in the Lord. I will dismiss all fears, by making Him my dread. Nor let me forget that it is mine to glorify God both by inward calm and by outward profession. He may well wait who waiteth for the Lord. So giveth He His beloved sleep. Consider then, my soul, what thou owest to grace, and who is thy Saviour, and still trust in Him; 'for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God!