« PreviousContinue »
THE BRITISH PULPIT..
THE WALK OF FAITH A WAY OF PLEASANTNESS AND PEACE.
REV. J. H. EVANS, A.M.
" Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”—PROVERBS, iii. 17.
The wisdom of God plainly shows itself in the consideration of those ways which he has marked out in his word, and in which he leads his people to walk ; even his own ways—wisdom's way, so called, because they are designated and marked out by infinite wisdom and because they who walk in them, are they who alone are wise in God's sight.
You remark in this passage, that they are termed, “ ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace.” “ Her ways"--wisdom's ways" are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” It is not said, “Wisdom's way is a pleasant way,” but “wisdom's ways”- various ways; and not merely that “ her paths are peace, but “ all her paths are peace.” Blessed truth! none of wisdom's ways but are the ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace.
In the consideration of this subject, I shall regard it in a threefold point of view. I shall, in the present sermon, speak of wisdom's ways more immediately referring to the way and walk of faith. If I am spared for two Lord’-days to come, I shall then, on the first, speak of the way of repentance as a way of pleasantness ; and, lastly, the way of filial obedience as
a way of
pleasantness and peace also. In this sermon, I shall confine my mind and your attention to one point, namely, that the way and walk of faith is a way of pleasantness and a path of peace. May the Holy and Eternal Spirit graciously lead us into such a holy contemplation of his truth as shall be for our edification, the manifestation of the divine glory, and the exaltation of our beloved Lord who is our only hope.
In considering this subject, I shall, in the first place, observe, why it is that all the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace; and, secondly, I shall endeavour to show (and this will more peculiarly and especially refer to faith) why it is that the walk of faith is pre-eminently a way of pleasantness, and a path of peace.
With regard to the first point, if it be asked, why we should think that the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness and peace, it is because they are the appointment of an infinitely tender Father for his covenant children to walk in. Surely if infinite love has originated it, and infinite wisdom has devised it, and infinite power has achieved it, then the way must be a way of pleasantness, and a path of peace.
It might have been that all the path-way of the traveller towards Mount Zion might have been full of bitterness; it might have been devoid of comfort, peace, joy, delight: and even if it were so, we reduce the world to a low point when we say, we should have been worse than fools not to walk in the way of safety : for if our path be a path of safety—if there be no other safety but in this path-yea, if all others be paths of inevitable ruin and destruction, then the true wisdom which God imparts would induce them to walk in these paths, even if there had been no pleasure in them-if all had been bitter, if all had been dark, if all had been cheerless—if there had been no rest, no quietness, no enjoyment in them. But infinite wisdom has designed it otherwise ; for the ways that begin in this world, are ways that shall never end ; they are openings of what shall be, the commencement of eternity.
My dear hearers, hell has its buddings in this world. We live in such soft days, that for a man to speak much of hell offends many. Why are not such ashamed of God's word, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself? for this I will say-never did I hear
or read such awful statements as came from the lips of Jesus, and never so much in any sermon on the subject as in some of his sermons.
Hell, I say, with awe on my mind, and, I trust, with some feeling of compassion towards those of you who see not the tendency of your own ways-hell has its buddings here; the aching heart, the restless mind, the perpetual disappointment, the dread of the soul, the misgivings of the conscience, and the anticipations at times of what shall be, the fear of looking into it-that awe on the mind that sometimes makes a man who can smile in health, look very pale when he is upon his sick-bedthat state of mind which can make a man, who can trifle and laugh in the midst of a laughing world, tremble in the very anguish of his soul, when he looks eternity in the face : these things, I say, are the beginnings of what shall be. They are like the faint distant flash, so indistinct and feeble as scarcely to be noticed at the first ; but by and bye it lightens up every object; and then comes the thunder, deep, awful, and terrible. There is such a thing as the commencement of what shall be in the midst of a poor dying world.
And heaven has its openings too. This at once detects you whose religion just lies on the surface. The peaceful mind, the heart that rests in the love of God, the conscience sprinkled with the precious blood of atonement, the will that lies passive in the hands of the Father, or would desire to do so: these form some little openings of what shall be--foretastes of what shall be; these are the little beams of the future day of glory, where night shall never come.
Now infinite wisdom hath designed this, and infinite power accomplished it: and if conscience were faithful, every one at this moment would have the witness at this moment whither he is going. I say not as to the dark unfoldings of what the mind of God shall be ; I speak not of the mysteries of his secret counsel ; because not one of his redeemed shall be left in Egypt- not one of his ransomed ones shall be lost. But, I say, in yourselves there is enough at this present moment to assure you whither you are going, if the light of heaven shone in upon your consciences, and made you faithful as before God. The infinite wisdom of Jehovah has given his saints some little commencements in this poor world : and, therefore, I say, if infinite love could conceive it, and infinite wisdom could devise it, and infinite
power could achieve it, we might well expect that “wisdom's ways" would be “ ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace."
There is another point of view in which I would consider it. It is pleasant to walk in those ways which those who have tried and walked in them before us have found pleasant. Could we have the testimony of God's saints on earth, could we collect their testimony into one, could we concentrate their witness, could we bring them all to one focus and one point, they would all give us this one testimony:-I found the ways often mysterious, dark, and painful; I found them often a great deep: but this I say still, the real happiness of my soul is in them, and no real happiness is out of them. And when we think of the pure spirits made perfect; when we think what their testinomy would be—clear, lucid, direct, without the least infringement or diminution—with one voice bearing testimony to this truth, we may, indeed, believe that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace.
Did not the apostle Paul find it so when he was on earth? “I know in whom I have believed :” “I know it." "O how I love thy law,” says David; “ “ thy testimonies are my rejoicing more than fine gold.” What did Jeremiah say? " Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and they are the rejoicing of my
If we could look at those who are gone, if we could look at those who are present, if we could collect the testimony of all into one point, we should have but one evidence, that “wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Perhaps, some of you have parents who walked in this way before you. They knew what it was to “water their couch with their tears ;" they knew what it was to plead with God on your behalf; they knew what it was to walk closely with God, and to realize the power and substance of truth in their own hearts. My dear young friends, you who are just rising into life, it is a happy thing if you are led to walk in ways which you find to be pleasant, and in paths which you experience to be peace.
But, above all, there is this consideration : Those paths must be pleasant and peaceful in which the Lord Jesus Christ has
gone before us.
Of course he has not taken out trial and chastisement from the path ; he has not taken out affliction, and poverty, and sickness from the path; he has not taken out death from the