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« beareth them on her wings ; so the “Lord leadeth his people.”
« I will “ bring the blind by a way that they know “ not,” says he ; “ I will lead them in “ paths that they have not known; I will “ make darkness light before them, and “ crooked things straight. These things
will I do unto them, and not forsake « them.” To the same purpose is that gracious promise, “I will instruct thee, “ and teach thee in the way thou shalt go.
I will guide thee, and mine eye “shall be upon thee.”
But how does the Lord guide his people? In general he guides them, as we are informed in the text, " by his coun“ sels ;" by which we may understand, in the first place, his Providence. I say,
First, The Lord guides his people in the way to heaven by his Providence.
“ All the paths of the Lord are mercy “ and truth unto such as keep his cove“nant and his testimonies.” Wonderful and mysterious indeed is the conduct of Providence. It baffles our deepest researches, and far transcends our feeble and narrow comprehensions.
6. His way is
“ in the sea, his path in the mighty wa“ ters, and his footsteps are not known.” But though the depth of the divine counsels cannot be fathomed by the line of human reason, yet to a careful and devout observer of Providence, so much will
appear as to excite the highest wonder, gratitude, and praise. “ Who66 so is wise, and will observe these “ things, even they shall understand the
loving kindness of the Lord.” In the exercise of his providence, the Lord never fails to lead his people in the way that is right. All the events that befall them,—the different changes in their lot, -their prosperity and adversity,—their health and their sickness,—their mercies and their trials,-all conspire together for their good, and are rendered subservient, by a wonder-working Providence, to make them holier here, that they may be happier hereafter. Sometimes their outward path is smooth. cious Shepherd makes them to “ lie “ down in green pastures, and leads “ them beside the still waters.” They are made to rejoice under the smiles of his countenance; and in the outward
bounties of his providence, they receive the tokens of his love, and pledges of better and nobler blessings. But, my friends, this will not, this cannot be always the case. It is the invariable
appointment of God, that through much tribulation the righteous are to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is the path to glory, marked out by Infinite Wisdom, in which all the saints of former times have trode, and which has been consecrated to his followers by the glorious Captain of Salvation, who was himself made perfect through suffering. Trials, therefore, of various kinds, are the common lot of those who are travelling onward to Zion. they are generally led, as being the safest and the best, the surest and shortest unto glory. They walk by faith, and “not by sight." By the various vicissitudes of their lot, they are continually reminded that this is not their rest. Oftentimes their way is fenced about with thorns. They are brought into difficult and perplexing circumstances, disappointed in the object of their earthly pursuits, and bereaved of their dearest
In this way
and most valued earthly comforts ; "SO that, with Jacob of old, they are ready to say,
“ All these things ate against me. But he that ruleth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of this lower world, is carrying on, by these seemingly opposite means, one great and uniform plan. By these changing dispensations of his providence, he steadily consults the best interests of his people. In this he humbles and proves them, weans their affections from this world, and lets them see what is in their own hearts, that he may do them good in the latter end. He brings them through fire and through water to the place he has provided for them. His choice and will, in every period of their lives, appear infinitely better than their own. They therefore resign themselves wholly to the direction of their heavenly guide, and are willing to acquiesce in all the disposals of his providence, however dark and inexplicable these may sometimes appear ; convinced, that in all of them he is consulting and furthering their everlasting happiness, and qualifying them
for the enjoyment of a more exceeding weight of glory on high. But, in the
Second place, The Lord guides his people by his word.
“ This is a light unto their feet, and a lamp unto their path.” Without the light of God's word, the conduct of his providence could in most cases afford them but little comfort. They would often be at a loss what course to pursue, did not the light of divine truth shine
upon their path, and a voice behind them point out the road of duty, saying, " This is the
in it." Thy testimonies are my delight,” saith the Psalmist,“ and
counsellors. 6 How sweet are thy words unto my “ taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my “ mouth; through thy precepts I get “ understanding, therefore I hate every « false way.”
In every situation and circumstance of life, the word of God affords direction; and if we apply to it with minds free from prejudice, and with a humble and teachable disposition, there is every rea