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fail, and our souls should perish for lack

of knowledge, we shall

take deep root downward, and bear fruit upward;" and being "planted in the house of the Lord"* here upon earth, we shall " flourish in the courts of the house of our God" in heaven.

2. To this, the promise which is also contained in the text, especially has reference" His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper. We cannot suppose this promise to refer to anything pertaining to this present life alone. As far as earthly prosperity is concerned, we often see those who delight themselves most in the law of God, and who are most fruitful in good works, are apparently the least favoured. Nay, our blessed Lord expressly tells us, that it is by affliction that God the Father is pleased to perfect and purify the faithful. Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Of earthly things, then, this pro

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mise is not true.

But it is true of

*Psalm xcii. 13.

+ St. John xv. 2.

heavenly things. Although the faithful servant of God be tried with the storms of affliction, yet "his leaf shall not wither," his faith shall not fail, nor shall his hope make him ashamed. He shall "stand strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might:" "the enemy shall not be able to do him violence;" he shall remain rooted and grounded" in the love of God, and nothing shall be able to separate him from it. Whatsoever he doeth, provided he does it after commending it to God, and seeking His guidance and blessing, "it shall prosper;" if not in this world, it shall prosper in the next. If God see fit to disappoint and thwart his designs, it is for some righteous purpose, some merciful intention; for He "doth not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.' "Blessed," then, "is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For," as the prophet Jeremiah says, in nearly the same words as those of my text, "he shall be as a tree planted by the waters,

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and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."* These declarations and promises of holy Scripture, my brethren, are great encouragements to us to take the Lord for our portion. We do not heed them as we ought. We read them often without thinking of them, and very seldom act upon them in faith; and therefore it is that we fail that our strength is weakness-that our good resolutions are "like the morning cloud and the early dew that passeth away." Let us be persuaded, my brethren, to believe them, and prove the Lord by hearkening to His voice, and see whether He will not make His word good. True, we may find crosses, trials, and difficulties; but we may be sure that all is working round for good in the end; all that we do, in dependence upon God's directions, "shall

* Jer. xvii. 7, 8.

prosper,

"if not here, in the furtherance,

and working out, of our everlasting salvation. And since we know that "the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,' how great a comfort, how blessed an assurance is it, to feel that our affairs are all ordered and overruled by the God of love and mercy!

We may not, indeed, blindly trust to Him, and stand idle, thinking we can do nothing for ourselves; we must ever be diligent in "working out our own salvation with fear and trembling;" avoiding the counsel of the ungodly; not standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of the scornful; but delighting ourselves in the law of the Lord, and meditating therein day and night. Then may we hope that our "leaf shall not wither," and that "whatsoever we do shall prosper!"

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SERMON IX.

PSALM i. 4-6.

"The ungodly are not so: but they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

THE former part of this psalm, which I endeavoured to explain last Sunday morning, contained a description of the character and happiness of that man whom Scripture calls "blessed." It gives us a most encouraging view of the privileges and blessedness of one who fears God, assuring us that he is under the protection of the Almighty in time and in eternity;

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