Sermon 2969. Angelic Protection in Appointed Ways

(No. 2969)




"For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways." Psalm 91:11.

OUR subject this morning was the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb upon the lintel and the two doorposts of thehouses of the children of Israel and Egypt. As soon as that was done and the lamb had been eaten, they had to start upon theirjourney to Canaan. They knew that they had to go and they were prepared to go. They had their loins girt and each man hadhis staff in his hand and his sandals on his feet. After being prisoners so long, they were set free in order that they mightbecome pilgrims to the land which the Lord their God had given to their fathers.

We who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, are in a similar condition to theirs, for the Lord has redeemed us and we cansing the new song, "He has brought us up out of the house of bondage and with a high hand and an outstretched arm He has madeus free." And now we are pilgrims and strangers in this world, for we are on our way to a better land than the earthly Canaanever was-a land that flows with something richer than milk and honey and where there is an eternal and abounding portion appointedfor each one of the redeemed! We are pressing on, through this great wilderness, towards the land into which the Lord willsurely bring us in His own good time. Our text is a promise to pilgrims. It most appropriately follows the text of this morning-"Theblood shall be to you for a token." You have set out upon the road to Heaven. You have entered the narrow way by Christ, whois the Gate at the head of the way, and now you are wondering how you will get on while you are on the road, and whether youwill be proved in the right way so as to endure unto the end. This promise comes to you with much of real heart-cheer-"Heshall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways."

I. My first remark is rather by way of implication from the text than in direct exposition of it. It is this-THERE

ARE SOME WAYS WHICH ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS PROMISE because they are not our ways and they are

not God's ways. They are ways into which we may be tempted by Satan-and which we are to jealously avoid.

You know how, when the devil professed to quote this text to our Lord, he left out the latter part of it, "to keep you inall your ways," because it would not have suited his purpose to mention that proviso. We, however, will begin with the wordswhich the devil omitted since the very fact of his omission of them seems to show how essential they are to a right understandingof the meaning of the text! O Christian, if you keep to the King's Highway, you will be safe! But there are byways and, alas,crooked lanes which you must not go down. If you do go there, you will go at your own risk. He who travels on the King's Highwayis under the King's protection-but he who takes to byroads must protect himself-and the probability is that he will meet withrobbers who will make him rue the day that he ever turned to the right hand or to the left!

So first we must take care that we never go in the ways of presumption. This is what Satan would have had Christ do. "CastYourself down," he said, "for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You." This temptation to presumptionis by no means an uncommon one. I have heard of it from the lips of men who were evidently not the children of God, or theywould have resisted the temptation and not have yielded to it as they did. They have said, "Well, we are God's children, sowe may do as we like. We are saved, therefore we may live as we please"-a dreadful inference from what, to other men, mightbe a precious Truth of God. O dear Friends, beware of tempting the devil to tempt you! Beware, too, of tempting the Lord,your God, as some do who venture a long way into evil company, or into doubtful paths under the mistaken notion that theyare so prudent that they will not be overtaken as others might

be-that they are so sage and withal so experienced that they may go where young people must not venture, and may do a greatmany things which less-instructed Christians had better not do. Where you think you are perfectly safe, there you are oftenmost in danger! Horses frequently fall just at the bottom of the hill, when the driver thinks that it is unnecessary to reinthem up any longer. When you are so foolish as to say, "Now I am out of the reach of temptation," you are in the very midstof temptation! And when you think you are not being tempted at all, you are being tempted the most by the very fancy thatyou are not being tempted!

O beloved Friends, beware of presuming! Some have been so favored in the dispensations of Providence, so prosperous in everythingthey have undertaken, that they have thought they might speculate as far as ever they pleased and, at last-well, they've hadvery shady characters at the end of their lives. They have done once what they never ought to have done and, because it succeeded,they have been tempted to do it again and yet again. But, I pray you, Sirs, never gather from the success of a wrong action,that God is willing for you to repeat it! Rather say, "God was very gracious to me in not punishing me that time, but I willnever run such a risk as that again." I do not believe that Jonah, after having been once thrown into the sea and been castforth upon the shore by the whale, ever wanted to be flung into the sea again. He might not have felt certain about anotherwhale coming along to carry him to land! If you have been miraculously delivered once from the great deep, do not put yourselfinto such a position again. If you do, you may find that the next great fish is a shark-not a whale-and, instead of beingbrought to land, you may be destroyed. In brief, beware of all presumptuous ways, for God has not promised to keep you there.

And, Brothers and Sisters, you scarcely need to be told that you cannot expect to be preserved if you go into sinful ways.I trust that you watch against the more coarse and vulgar sins to which others are prone and that you will not be allowedto fall into them, but there is such a thing as falling little by little. Mind, I pray you, the little evils. A man neverfalls into the great, unclean sins of lust all at once-it is usually by a long series of little familiarities that he reachesthat terrible end. He is indecorous first, indecent next and then, at last, criminal! Oh, keep back, keep back from the beginningsof evil! If you keep back at the very first, you will go no further. But if you slide just a little, you will find that thisworld is such a slippery place that you will surely fall, and fall frightfully, too. I trust that no Christian would practicedishonesty in his business, yet you know that it is very easy for one to do a wrong thing because it is "the custom of thetrade." "They label this 100 yards, though it is only 90-but if I label it so, I will not sell it and in the next shop itwill probably be marked 110-so I must label mine a little more than it is."

Well, if you do, remember that you are a thief! Though it is the custom of the trade, you are a liar if you conform to itand you cannot expect God's blessing upon you in doing it! Do you think that in the Day of Judgment, God will say to men,"You are not guilty, for that deception was the custom of the trade"? By no means! What does the Lord care about the customsof your trade? Do right, at all costs. If you do wrong, you do it at your peril, for you have no promise from God that Hewill keep you in such a way as that. I need not enlarge upon this point because you know as much about such things as I doand, therefore, you can make the application to your own particular case. But, O Christian, do keep altogether clear of everyevil way! May God's Grace preserve you from straying into Bypath Meadow!

The man who professes to be a Christian must not expect God's angels to keep him if he goes in the way of worldliness. Thereare hundreds, and I fear thousands, of church members who say that they are the people of God, yet they appear to live entirelyto this world. The great aim is moneymaking and personal aggrandizement-just as much as it is the aim of altogether ungodlymen. The Kingdom of Christ, the needs of His Church, the needs of perishing souls, have a very slender place in their hearts-theylive wholly for themselves-only they try to conceal it under the plea of providing for their families. "Seek you first theKingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you," is a text from which we need to preachto professing Christians throughout London, and throughout the whole world.

There is also the way of pride which many tread. They must be "respectable." They must move in "Society"-with a big "S"-andeverything is ordered with a view to display. To be great, to be famous, to be esteemed, to keep up a high repute-it is forthis that they live! And some grow very strong, in a Christian sort of way, in that line. They profess to have attained toa "higher life" than ordinary Christians ever reach. I am not at all anxious to get up there, for I do not believe there isany higher life in this world than the life of God which is given to everyone who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ! The highestlife I aspire to is to live as Jesus Christ lived and to walk as He walked-and that is the lowest kind of

life with which any Christian ought to be contented! When we get such fine feathers as these, they do not make us fine birds.

There is also the way of willfulness which I have known some follow. Very grievous is it to see some whom we really thinkto be good men, shift their quarters apparently without any reason. They were doing very well, yet away they rush, for theycannot let well enough alone. Some Brothers seem to be afflicted with a kind of perpetual fidgetiness. They are rolling stonesand gather no moss. They move from one position to another, not because there is any need for them to move, but just becausethey cannot stay still! They go away from their nest and away from their home-and very often act in direct opposition to theorder of God's Providence! Oh, beware of that spirit of willfulness! We may get to be so very strong-headed that we may haveto suffer there! It is often wise, as the old saying puts it, to take advice of our pillow. He who does not sleep upon a thingmay have to weep upon it. Better look before you leap. Always follow the cloud of God's Providence-don't run before it, forif you run before it, you may find it hard work to get back again. Many have acted thus to their cost and, of course, havehad no blessing resting upon them in doing so.

One other way in which a Christian ought not to go is the way of erroneous doctrine. I know some professors who, as soon asa new heresy comes up, want to have taste of it. I confess that I never felt much temptation in that direction. I do not supposeif you went into a chemist's shop, you would say to him, "I have heard of somebody being killed at Norwood by taking such-and-sucha poison-I would like a taste of it." You would not ask him to take down his big bottles and to give you a taste of all thedeadly poisons he had in stock. "Oh, no!" You say, "we are in our right senses. We would not do such a foolish thing as that."Yet I know people who as soon as ever there is any teaching spoken of as being erroneous, say, "We must have a look at that.We must have a taste of that"-never satisfied except when they are tasting poison! There is a period in life when a Christianman should obey Paul's injunction to the Thessalonians, "Prove all things"-but let him get that done as quickly as he canand then let him get to the second part of the injunction- "Hold fast that which is good." Never hold anything fast till youhave proved it to be good-but do not be everlastingly proving it! Some things do not need anyproving-they bear upon theirforefront their character. But others need to be proved, so, having proved the right things to be right, and the true thingsto be true, hold them fast and turn not aside from them!

About every six weeks there is a new doctrine promulgated. Sometimes there is a new sect started. It is simply because thereis somebody away up there in his study who is sorely troubled with bile or dyspepsia. He never went out to try to win a soul.He never did any practical work for Christ. But he edits a newspaper, or he writes for a magazine-and out of that wonderfulbrain of his, which is full of cobwebs, he excogitates a new doctrine! And as there are certain people who are always waitingfor such novelties, straightway they run off with it and spread it wherever they can. These false-doctrine makers and theirdisciples are the curse of the age in which we live! I implore you, my Friend, to abide in the good old paths! What you knowto be true, that hold fast! Forsake not your father's God and your mother's God. As for the Truths of God which God has taughtyou by His own Spirit, grapple them to you as with hooks of steel, for, if you go in the way of error, you cannot expect Divineprotection!

II. Now, secondly, THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH SAFETY IS GUARANTEED. I shall only have time to mention them very briefly.

There is, first, the way of humble faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You know that way, Brothers and Sisters, so walk in it.Oh, to be nothing and to let Christ be everything-to confess our own guilt and to be clothed in His righteousness! Keep tothat safe road, for it is the King's Highway of which it may be said, "No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shallgo up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there."

There is, next, the way of obedience to Divine precepts. Do what God tells you, as God tells you and because God tells you,and no hurt can come to you. The Lord told Moses to take by the tail the serpent from which he fled. He did so and he wasnot bitten, but the serpent stiffened into a wonder-working rod! Obey the Lord in all things. Mind the jots and the tittles,for whoever will break one of the least of Christ's commandments "and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in theKingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven." Oh, to followin the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ, step by step, and to keep closely to His footprints! It is in such ways that angelicprotection will be afforded to us.

There is, also, the way of childlike trust in Providential guidance. Happy is that man who always waits upon God to know whathe shall do-who asks the Lord to always guide him and who dares not lean upon his own understanding. Watch the Lord's Providentialleadings. Wait for Divine guidance. It is far better to stand still than to run in the wrong road. Pause a while and prayfor direction-and do not move until you hear the voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk you in it." In such a roadas that, angels will certainly guard you!

There is, too, the way of strict principle and stern integrity. Travelling along that road will often involve a good manylosses and crosses, much reproach and, sometimes it will even appear to destroy your usefulness. But I charge you-young menespecially-never violate any principle which you profess to hold! I believe that it has been a lasting blessing to some whomI know, that they have scorned to trim their sails, even in the smallest degree, to please any living soul. Do the same. "Bejust and fear not." Keep to a cause that is despised if you believe it is a right one and love it all the more because itis despised! Ask not what it will pay. Care not for the flatterer's smile. Pursue Truth even though she may go along veryrough roads-she will always repay you in the long run. Cling to her and win her smile-then the frowns of the whole world neednot cause you a moment's thought! The way of principle is the way of safety. God's angels will keep you if you keep to thatroad.

And, dear Brothers and Sisters, I am quite sure that the way of consecrated service for God's Glory is another of these safeways. It is well when a man says, "I choose my path by this rule-how can I best serve my God? Having judged whether them isany principle involved and having a fair choice between this and that, I say to myself, 'In which way can I hope to be themore useful? In what course of life can I best glorify God?'" That is your way to Heaven, Christian-the way in which yourMaster can get the most glory out of you! And if you walk in that way, you may depend upon it that you will be protected byHis Sovereign Power!

And once again, there is the way of separation from the world and close walking with God. No man ever suffered any real injurythrough keeping himself aloof from the ways of ungodly men and, on the other hand, no man ever failed to be a gainer by closeand intimate fellowship with God. "Enoch walked with God" and he gained not only escape from the pangs of death, but alsothe testimony that "he pleased God." O Christian, could not more of us choose this blessed path and walk in it continually?If we did so, we "would have the fulfillment, in its deepest meaning, of the promise of our text, "He shall give His angelscharge over you, to keep you in all your ways."

III. But I must pass on to note briefly, in the third place, that THESE RIGHT WAYS WILL LEAD US INTO DIFFERING CIRCUMSTANCES.

Sometimes the right way wiil lead us into very stony places, positions of great difficulty-yet here is the promise to meetthat emergency, "They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone." A way is none the less rightbecause it is rough. Indeed, often it is all the more sure to be the right way because it is so displeasing to flesh and blood.

Sometimes, also, the right way may be very terrible with temptation. If your path is so beset, do not, therefore, imaginethat it is a wrong way, because the Psalmist goes on to say, "You shall tread upon the lion and adder." Lions and adders willcome to you-temptations will threaten to devour you even while you are in the right road-but then, you are promised that aslong as it is the right road that you are in, you shall get the victory over the lion and the adder. The temptation may beof so mysterious a character that you cannot understand it. It may be like a dragon, but, if so, here is your comfort, "theyoung lion and the dragon shall you trample underfoot."

And remember, beloved Friends, that even if the road is not stony and if no lion attacks you, you will be kept from the perilsof the smooth and easy roads. You will always need Divine and angelic keeping, for God would not have charged His angels tokeep His people in all their ways if they did not need protection in all their ways! Some of you are just now prospering inbusiness, but your way is not any safer than the way of the man who is losing his all. Indeed, yours may not be as safe ashis! To you who are in robust health, I venture to say that your path is more perilous than the path of the man who is alwaysailing. And to all of you I say, pray for angelic keeping. Ask the Lord to guard you with His celestial hosts, or else, inany of your ways, be they rough or smooth, you will fall to your serious hurt.

IV. Now we come to the fourth point which is this-WHILE WALKING IN ALL RIGHT WAYS, BELIEVERS

ARE SECURE. "He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways."

O Christian, if you have not violated your conscience. If you have not forsaken the path of communion with your God, thinkwhat high privileges are yours! First, God Himself concerns Himself about you. He charges His angels to take care of you.David, when his soldiers went to battle against his rebellious son, Absalom, specially charged their leaders to deal gentlywith the young man, Absalom, for his sake. But he charged them in vain. In a far higher sense God charges His angels to guardHis saints-but He does not charge them in vain! This is not a mere general command. It is a sort of imperative personal chargethat God lays upon His angels-"Take care of My children. They are on My road-the King's high road of rectitude. Watch overthem and do not allow them to be hurt." So you have God personally charging His angels to take care of you!

Next, you have mysterious agencies to protect you. "He shall give His angels charge over you." We speak of dragons, but wedo not know much about them. And we do not know much about angels, but we feel sure that angels can overcome dragons, forthey are more than a match for devils! And if mysterious temptations come to you, there shall also be mysterious defendersto thrust them back. You have more friends, poor Christian, than you know of. When you are fighting the battles of God, youmay hear a rush of angels' wings at your side if you only have your ears Divinely opened. If all men forsake you, God cansend His angels, though you see them not, to strengthen you in some secret manner that I cannot fully explain. "Behold, themountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha," the Prophet who dared to be true to his God and to serveHim faithfully. God would sooner empty Heaven of all the angelic host, cherubim and seraphim included, than allow any oneofHis people who has walked in His ways, to suffer defeat. He charges all His angels to take care of His saints and to keepthem in all right ways.

And as angels are on our side, so are all things, visible and invisible. Why Believers, the very stones of the field are inleague with you and the beasts of the field are at peace with you! Wherever you go, you have friends ready to help you. Itis true that you have enemies among the wicked, but their weapons shall not prevail against you. And wherever there is a messengerof God-be it wind, or storm, or lightning, or hail-it is your friend! The very stars in their courses fight for you! The forces,terrific and tremendous, which at times shake the world, are only your Father's flaming swords unsheathed to protect you!If we are walking in the ways of God, we can truthfully sing-

"The God that rules on high, And thunders when He pleases, That rides upon the stormy sky, And manages the seas- This awfulGod is ours, Our Father and our love! He shall send down His heavenly powers To carry us above."

Sing then, you saints of the Lord, for everything is on your side! "You shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

What a very sweet thought is suggested by the word, "you," in our text! It teaches us that each one of the saints is personallyprotected. "He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." God takes a personal interest in everytraveler along the right road and charges His angels to keep them. Perhaps you say, "I do not read the text, Sir, as referringto me." Well, I think you should. When you read the precept, "You shall not steal," do you suppose that it refers to you?"Oh, yes!" you say, "I would not like to suggest that it did not mean me. I would not plead exemption from the precept." Well,then, my dear Brother, do not seek to be exempted from the promise! Just as you feel sure that the precept applies to you,so, as a child of God, feel sure that the promise applies to you-"He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you inall your ways."

This protection is perpetual as well as personal. God's angels are "to keep you in all your ways"-in your ups and your downs,in your advancement and your retiring-to keep you when you are asleep and when you are awake-to keep you when you are aloneand when you are in company-to keep you if you have to preach and to keep you if you have to hear-to keep you if you haveto serve and to keep you if you have to suffer. You always need keeping and you shall always have it, for the angels are charged"to keep you in all your ways"!

And how beautiful it is to remember that all this keeping brings honor with it "He shall give His angels charge over you."Notice that-"He shall give His angels"-the very angels that wait upon God and see His face! The very angels that are the bodyguardof the Eternal! "He shall give His angels charge over you," "Mark you," says the Lord to Gabriel, or Michael, or whateverthe angel's name may be, "I charge you to take special care of that poor girl, for she is a daughter of Mine. Take care ofthat poor man whom so many despise, for he is a prince of the blood imperial. He belongs to Me-he is an heir of God and joint-heirwith Jesus Christ." Oh, what amazing dignity this promise puts upon the very least and lowliest of the followers of the Lamb!

Note just one more point, that all these privileges come to us by Jesus Christ, for Christ is that mystic Ladder which Jacobsaw, up-and-down whose wondrous rungs the angels came and went! The commerce between the saints and Heaven is kept up by wayof the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, what joy is this! If Christ is yours, angels are yours, and all the principalitiesand powers in the heavenly places will delight to take care of you!

Now, if anyone here is going home to a lonely room, I should like you to feel that you are not going there alone. Father andmother are away in the country, perhaps, and some of you young people feel quite alone in London. But, if you are believingin the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not alone, for the Lord of all the holy angels is with you and an innumerable company ofblessed spirits is round about you. Take comfort from this glorious Truth of God! God's mysterious angelic agency, which yousee not and hear not, but which is most true and real, will form a cordon round you to protect you in the midst of the temptationsof this great city! And if you are but faithful to Him and keep in His ways, nothing shall hurt you between here and Heaven!There may be many darts hurled at you, but the great shield of faith shall turn them all aside or quench them forever. Youwill have to encounter many temptations and trials, but you will be preserved amid them all. I heard a Primitive Methodistminister speaking last Friday night, make use of a very strong expression while describing what a man could do by faith. Hesaid, "He can not only overcome a legion of devils, but he could kick his way through a lane of devils if he did but restin God." I have had that idea in my mind ever since I heard him use that expression-and I am sure that it is true, for someof us have already had to do it. Those devils are great cowards. So when God once takes entire possession of a man, he neednot fear even though all Hell were let loose upon him! One butcher is not afraid of a thousand sheep! And one man whom Godmakes strong, can put to route all the hosts of Hell-and he need not fear all the trials of life whatever they may be! "IfGod is for us, who can be against us?"

In closing, there are two or three thoughts which I think are worth remembering. The first is this. Dear Brothers and Sisters,we see, from this text, that the lowest employment is consistent with the highest enjoyment. The angels are our nurses-"theyshall bear you up in their hands," just as nurses hold up little children who are not able to stand by themselves. Those angelscontinually behold God's face and live in the perfect bliss of Heaven, yet they condescend to do such humble deeds as these.Dear Brother, be like the angels in this respect-teach an infant class in the Sunday school, yet keep your face bright withthe Light of God's Countenance. Give away tracts, go and visit among the poor, look after fallen women, or do any other workfor the Lord that needs to be done. Never mind what it is, but remember that the employment is all the more honorable becauseit appears to be so commonplace. Never was Christ grander, I think, than when He washed His disciples' feet. Certainly, neverare we more like He than when we, also, are willing to wash their feet, or render any lowly service that they may need.

The next thought is as angels watch over us, how cheerfully ought we to watch over one another! How gladly you who are olderin the Divine life, ought to watch over the younger ones of the Lord's family! If God enables you to have any of the joy ofangels over repenting sinners, mind that you take some of the care which angels exercise over those who walk in God's ways.What can I, the pastor of this huge church, and my brother and all the elders, do by way of watching over 5,000 of you? Youmust pastor yourselves to a large extent! Watch over one another. "Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfill the lawof Christ." Visit each other in their sickness. Seek to bring back to Christ and the church all the backsliders whom you canfind. Labor for the good of one another, for, in only this way can our task be done- and you shall be like the angels if youbear up the feeble ones in your hands lest they trip up and fall to their grievous hurt.

Then next, how safe and happy we ought to feel when we know that God has charged the angels to take care of us! Do not benervous, my dear Sister, the next time there is a little storm, or even a great storm. Do not be afraid, my dear Friend, whensickness comes into your house. Do not be alarmed, as perhaps you are, when you hear that there is fever

next door to you. Remember the promise that precedes our text-"Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even themost High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling." But supposeit should seem right to the Lord to let the plague come to you? And suppose you shall die of it? Well, you will the soonerbe in Heaven! Therefore comfort one another with the reflection that all is well with you as long as you keep in the way ofduty.

And, lastly, how holy we ought to be with such holy beings watching over us If the angels are always hovering round you, mindwhat you are doing! Would you, my dear Friend, have spoken as you did when you were coming in at that door, yonder, if youhad seen an angel standing by your side, listening to what you were saying? Oh, no, you are wonderfully decorous when thereis somebody near whom you respect! How often your glib tongue is checked when there is some Christian man or woman whom youhighly esteem within hearing! How many a thing is done that would not be done under the eyes of one whom you love! It is notonly true that "a bird of the air shall carry the voice and that which has wings shall tell the matter," but it is also truethat there are angels always watching over us. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that a woman in the public assembly ought tohave her head covered because of the angels-a certain decorum was due because of the angels who were there. And I am surethat I may use the same argument concerning all our actions. Whether we are alone or in company, let us not sin because angelsare always watching us. And, remember, the angels' Lord is also watching us!

May He graciously keep us in His holy way. And if we are so kept, we shall be preserved from all evil while we are here and,at last, we shall see His face with joy and live with Him forever! I would to God that all who are now present were in thatholy way. I remind you once more that the entrance to it is by a door that has the blood-mark upon the lintel and the twodoorposts-"The blood shall be to you for a token." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved."


Verse 25. My soul cleaves unto the dust "It sticks to it as though it were glued to it. My soul cannot be lifted up, at leastby myself, out of its sadness and its earthiness." The Psalmist was not one who could boast of perfection. He had to lamentthat the earth which was in him by nature made even his soul cleave to Mother Earth. He did not like it. He was not contentthat it should be so and, therefore, he breathed this prayer-

25. Quicken You me according to Your word. "Lord, there is nothing but life that can bring me up out of the dust, for deathlurks in the dust and the dust tends to death. Put life into me, Lord-Your life, the Divine life. You have promised to dothis, therefore, do it, Lord, 'according to Your word.'" That is a prayer which is always sure to succeed, for it is basedupon the promise of God. Has the Lord promised anything? Then He will surely perform it! And you cannot use a better argumentin prayer than to say to Him, "Do as You have said." Or, as the Psalmist puts it, "Quicken You me according to Your word."

26. I have declared my ways, and You heard me. "I have made a full confession to You, my God. I have acknowledged my faultwherein I was wrong and I have thanked You for your Grace given to me in anything wherein I was right."

26. Teach me Your statutes. "O Lord, let me not have such a sorry tale to tell again. If my copy of Your handwriting has beenbadly written, set it afresh for me, I pray You. 'Teach me Your statutes.'"

27. Make me to understand the way of Your precepts. "Let me know, O Lord, what the way of Your precepts are. Get me into thatway and then, oh help me to keep in it all my life!"

27. So shall I talk of Your wondrous works. A man never talks rightly of God's works till he knows God's ways. And it is idleto talk of them if there is no doingat the back of the talking. So the Psalmist prays, "Make me to understand the way of Yourprecepts: so shall I talk of Your wondrous works." To preach and not practice is very bad preaching! But first to understandthe way of the Lord, then to run in it-and then to speak of it-this is well!

28. My soul melts for heaviness. The Hebrew word is, "drops." The Psalmist's soul was like water dripping from the eaves ofa house in time of rain. There are two sorts of sorrow-the sorrow that rushes like a mighty torrent and the sorrow which is,perhaps, the worse of the two, which goes drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip-like the constant dripping which wears away stones-andwhich makes even the boldest heart to feel the attrition. "My soul melts, dissolves, drops, drips for heaviness."

28. Strengthen You me. The Psalmist does not ask to have the trouble removed. He prays, "Help me to bear it." Whenever thereis a thing that is hard, the right way to cut through it is to get something that is still harder. If God will give us anadequate supply of His Grace, hard times will not wear us away! So the Psalmist prays, "Strengthen You me,"

28. According unto Your word. See how he clings to that expression, "according unto Your word"? He knows the power of thatargument and, therefore, he uses it again and again!

29. Remove from me the way of lying. "Do not let me fall into any untrue habits. Do not let me profess to have had an experiencewhich I have never felt, or talk about holy things of which I know nothing experimentally. Keep me from everything that hasany trace of falsehood in it."

29. And grant me Your Law graciously. "For Your Law is truth, and when Your Grace brings Your Law home to my heart, all thatis false will be banished from me."

30. I have chosen the way of truth. Your judgments have Ilaid before me. "I have laid them before me as a man puts his modelin front of him that he may work to it." It is well for us to have God's way and God's judgments always before our eyes, thatwe may be duly impressed and rightly guided by them.

31. I have stuck unto Your testimonies. Just now the Psalmist said that his soul stuck to the earth, yet at the same timehe was sticking to God's testimonies, for every good man is two men. There is a new-birth man who sticks to God's testimonies,and there is that old carnal nature in us which cleaves to the dust.

31, 32. O Lord, put me not to shame. I willrun the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart. That is, "WhenYou shall give me liberty of heart, then I will run in the way of Your commandments. When the impediments are removed-whenthe sin which does so easily entangle me, is taken away, then will I run with delight in the way of Your commandments!