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wind driveth away." All this is meant to show us, my brethren, the very great importance of having settled, firm principles of faith, and then acting upon them steadily-not turning to the right hand or to the left-not listening to the vain reasonings of one scoffer, or the idle ridicule of another. And since it is God who formeth the spirit of man within him, it is to God alone, though the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we can apply to assist us. We cannot stand stedfast in what is right of ourselves, for our own strength is nothing; it is by the Spirit of God that we who are vain and worthless as the chaff, and as easily carried away by the winds of temptation, can receive strength to stand like a rock. Everything around us is liable to change continually. The changes and chances of this mortal life are ever recurring, and full of anxiety, but the faith of a true Christian should be firm, unchangeable, and full of support and comfort. Not, indeed, that it is to be insisted on that we
should be so sure of our future salvation, as to entertain no doubt lest anything should ever deprive us of it: if some may attain to such an assurance, it is undoubtedly denied to very many, and cannot be held a necessary mark of godliness; the tree which standeth most surely and firmly, in the most secure and desirable situation, may, nevertheless, be torn up by the power of a whirlwind; and, in like manner, they who promise most fairly, and seem most sure of their salvation, may, by some sudden assault of Satan, "fall down from their stedfastand "concerning faith make shipwreck." But all our hopes, all our trust, must be firmly fixed upon Christ, the Rock of ages; and He will never suffer those to perish utterly, who have truly and sincerely committed their souls unto Him. Yet who shall be certain that he has thus entirely cast away the false hopes, the self-righteous suggestions of his own evil heart? Let us then, brethren,
* 2 Peter iii. 17; and 1 Tim. i. 19.
be content to live in humble hope. "Happy is the man that feareth always.”*
Having thus considered the character of the ungodly, as described in my textlet us now consider shortly,
II. His future fate. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the rightThis evidently refers to another state of being, because it speaks of a separation between the ungodly and the righteous. Here upon earth we know that sinners do stand in the congregation of the righteous, and that, when they come before a human judge, they are not always detected and condemned. But it assures us that there is a day coming in which their true character shall appear, and shall meet with its fitting condemnation. He who considereth the ways of men does indeed weigh the ungodly in his balances, and find him wanting: but He delays His hand in mercy, and although He findeth him year after year
* Prov. xxviii. 14..
an unfruitful tree, cumbering the ground, He delays His judgment, if haply he may yet return and seek after God. As yet there is no absolute separation between the wheat and the chaff; sinners stand in this congregation, brethren, where they "come as God's people cometh," and to all alike the word of salvation is freely preached, for it is not a minister's duty, blessed be God, to judge His flock, but to feed them with the "word of the truth of the gospel." But hereafter this will cease; as for the ungodly at the day of judgment, "it shall not be so with them." At that awful day they shall not dare to stand, but shall "call upon the rocks to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the
throne."* Often as they have "called Him Lord, Lord," in the midst of the great congregation, speaking" with their lips, while their hearts were far from Him," they shall then have no courage to stand in His presence; then they will
* Rev. vi. 16.
see their own imperfections in the sight of God-they shall then feel how worthless they have ever been: how they have done nothing all their lives but walk in a vain show, and follow their own unstable desires-making a mock of sobriety, godliness, and honesty, and contented with the light and frivolous companionship of these who, like themselves, were worthless as the chaff. But then it will be too late. The Lord will then have taken "His fan into His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather the wheat into His garner,-but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”*
"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Such is the conclusion which David draws from the whole matter of his Psalm. It contains an encouragement and a warning, with which we may profitably end this subject.
1. "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous." This does not at first strike
Matt. iii. 12.