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to protect his people, because he hath promised, that " no weapon that is formed against them shall prosper; and “ he is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent." And thus with regard to the whole character of God, it is brought as a shield and defence over his people: it is their “strong tower"their “munition of rocks"_their “refuge and their strong castle.'

Two thoughts are suggested by this view of our heavenly Father, protecting his people through his name, or his perfections. The first is the perfect safety of those who are thus defended : they are “ kept by the power of God ;" he is a "wall of fire round about them," a wall of salvation, which no enemy can pass over. They are kept safe in the hollow of his hand" from all their enemies, and guarded against all “ the fiery darts of the wicked.” With this gracious assurance, what room is there for lack of confidence ? “ Who can be against us," with any effect, if “ God be for us?” Who can hurl a dart to reach our soul, if God be ever at our right hand to turn it aside, or to quench its flame? Who can penetrate to the “ secret place” within, when the "angel of the Lord is encamped round about?” Who is he " that can harm us," if we are gathered under the wings of the perfect character of Jehovah—if beneath us are laid the everlasting arms ? Oh for more faith to realize his willingness to guard, and his power to defend! Oh for more implicit reliance on him who is the "protector of all them that trust in him!” Oh for the prophet's clear vision that we might behold the hosts of the Lord gathered round his chosen, and hear the assurance of his unwearied care and constant watchfulness ! « Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” “ He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye.”


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But with this feeling of security there should also be associated the deep and lively gratitude of our protected souls. Who is it that is placed within the “walls of salvation and the gates of praise ?”—who is it that is admitted within a fold in which “no lion can be found, nor any ravenous beast ? ” Who but a rebel against God, one of a “ seed of evildoers," one who has “provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger.” Who is it that is housed

“ tabernacle that shall not be taken down"_in an “inheritance incorruptible?” Who but one who is sinful dust and ashes, the creature of an hour, by nature like the grass of the field, flourishing to-day, to-morrow withering, drooping, dying? Who is he that is within the “covenant of peace,” which shall never be removed, but one who has exposed himself to "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish ?" Oh, for words of heavenly power, to tell of the love of him who hath so plucked the brand from the burning, healed its terrible wounds, grafted it on “the true vine,” and guarded it with a hedge of defence which shall not be broken down or rooted up. Oh, for the deep breathings of the inmost soul to rise up, and as fire mingles with fire, to blend and unite with the fulness of his love, who hath so freely promised “there shall no evil befal thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."

We shall leave for future consideration, when we come to notice the twenty-first verse of this chapter, the object to which the Saviour especially refers here in connection with the prayer he was offering, “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

“ While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have kept, and

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none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.” The expression here used does not necessarily imply that Judas, the son of perdition, who was lost, had ever been given to Christ. The repeated declarations of our Lord are all opposed to this view: "of those which thou gavest me, I have lost none; shall pluck them out of my hand.” The meaning of this passage may be cleared by comparing it with the account given of our Saviour's speaking in the synagogue at Nazareth ; the same word which is translated “

save there, is rendered here “but.” Our Lord declared, " that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elias . . . . but unto none of them was he sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” Of course our Lord did not mean that this woman was one of the widows of Israel, for she was a Gentile. He only meant, that while the widows of Israel were passed over, this Gentile widow was visited. And so here, in the passage before us, he did not mean that Judas had ever been given to him; but that as all who were given to him were kept by him, so one was lost who had never been his, otherwise than by name.

I insist the more on this, from the importance of the doctrine implied in it; namely, that none who are ever really the children of God can be lost or cast away. All scripture testifies to this great and glorious truth,—the joy of the troubled soul—the spring of peace to the weary spirit; without this we should indeed be “all our lifetime subject to bondage.” But whilst we dare not hold back this glorious and most comforting truth, we desire to exhibit it with the greatest caution. It is poison to the

. mere professor, while it is life and peace to the true believer. If the consideration of it leads us to rest satisfied with present attainment—if it leads to carelessness or presumption, because we have once tasted and seen that the Lord is gracious, we have just reason to fear that we do not yet know him, and that we are "feeding on ashes,” and "sowing the wind.” But if, on the other hand, it leads to greater diligence, and watchfulness, and prayerif it leads us to press on more earnestly, and strive more faithfully, and suffer more patiently, then let us take it as the heritage and portion of our hearts—let us extract the sweetness of encouragement from it-let it brighten our hope, and soothe our souls, in the midst of the trials and sufferings through which we must pass. If we are true disciples, and are “working out our salvation with fear and trembling,it makes our way a way of life and peace. If we have only the name of disciples, and presume; it makes our way a way of death and hopeless misery.

“The son of perdition.” This expression means one who is exposed, or liable to destruction; and he was lost,“ that the scripture might be fulfilled ;” not that he was the son of perdition and lost, because the scripture had foretold it, but because, having “sold himself to work wickedness," the omniscience of God descried this afar off, and so clearly revealed it, that the crime of the unhappy man became the fulfilment of God's prediction.

Oh! how terrible is the thought, that by nature we are all children “of perdition "—that we are exposed to the everlasting penalty of a broken law—that “everlasting burnings,” are alone the portion we can claim as our own heritage. Oh! what a fearful abyss yawns beneath our feet, a bottomless pit, a great gulph. Beloved, let us flee for our lives—let us not tarry in the city of destructionthe flame of heaven's vengeance is ready to fall, and the smoke of torment to ascend up for ever. Oh! escape to the mountains; the city of refuge is near at hand; and though to the carnal eye it appears but "a little one,” yet there is our soul safe. Oh! when our “ rising soul surveys” the wondrous love of him who has provided an escape for the children of perdition, we are transported with the view, and lost in love, and thanksgiving, and praise. The child of Satan, translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son! The child of darkness, sin, and misery, made an heir of glory, honour, and immortality!

“And now,” adds our Lord, “come I to thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” While filled with his own

” glorious prospect in heaven, he desired to have the hearts of his people filled even on earth with his joy; and therefore had he said these things before them, that their hearts might be encouraged, and that they might be led to put their whole trust and confidence in his mercy.

“I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” It needs not argument to prove, that they who are loved by the Saviour are hated by the world. There are few Christians who do not feel and understand this. What, then, is our comfort in our affliction, when all are against us? What but this gift which our Master has bestowed on Thy word hath quickened me." At the moment when we were ready to say, “all these things are against me,” is it not true that light has broken out from that word, and made us rejoice as one that findeth great spoils: “Greater is he that is with me than he that is against me."

Some may have experienced the opposition of the world more than others; all must find it, to a greater or less

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