Page images



in suffering work, and perseverance in both; and so is all made pleasant. They are "strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph. vi. 10), and this not only keeps the spirit willing, even then when the flesh is weak, but makes even the "lame man to leap as a hart," and the "tongue of the dumb to sing” (Isa. xxxv. 6). "I can do all things through Christ strengthening me" (Phil. iv. 13).

3. It helps to make a journey pleasant to have daylight. It is very uncomfortable travelling in the night, in the black and dark night. "He that walketh in darkness," saith our Saviour, "knoweth not whither he goes" (John xii. 35), right or wrong, and that is uncomfortable; and, in another place, “If a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him" (John xi. 10). And this is often spoken of as the miserable case of wicked people, "They know not, neither will they understand, they walk on in darkness" (Ps. lxxxiii. 5). They are in continual danger, and so much the more if they be not in continual fear.

But Wisdom's children are all "children of the light, and of the day" (1 Thess. v. 5). They "were darkness, but are light in the Lord," and "walk as children of the light" (Eph. v. 8). Truly the light is sweet, even to one that sits still, but much more so to one that is on a journey; and doubly sweet to those that set out in the dark, as we all did. But this great light is risen upon us, not only to please our eyes, but to “guide our feet into the paths of peace" (Luke i. 79). And then they are indeed paths of peace, when we are guided into them, and guided in them by the light of the gospel of Christ. And all that walk in the light of gospel conduct, cannot fail to walk in the light of gospel comforts.

And it adds to the pleasure of having daylight in our travels, if we are in no danger of losing it, and of being benighted. And this is the case of those that walk in the light of the Lord, for the Sun of righteousness that is risen upon them,

with healing under his wings, shall no more go down, but shall be their everlasting light (Isa. lx. 20).

4. It helps to make a journey pleasant to have a good guide, whose knowledge and faithfulness one can confide in. A traveller, though he has daylight, yet may miss his way, and lose himself, if he have not one to shew him his way, and go before him, especially if his way lie, as ours doth, through a wilderness, where there are so many bypaths; and, though he should not be guilty of any fatal mistake, yet he is in continual doubt and fear, which makes his journey uncomfortable.

But this is both the safety and the satisfaction of all true Christians, that they have not only the gospel of Christ for their light, both a discovering and directing light, but the Spirit of Christ for their guide. It is promised, that He shall "lead them into all truth" (John xvi. 13), shall "guide them with His eye" (Ps. xxxii. 8). Hence they are said to "walk after the Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit" (Rom. viii. 1, 14), as God's Israel of old were led through the wilderness by a pillar of cloud and fire, and the Lord was in it.

This is that which makes the way of religion such a highway, as that the "wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (Isa. xxxv. 8). There are fools indeed, wicked ones, who walk after the flesh, that miss their way, and wander endlessly: "The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city" (Eccles. x. 15); but those fools that shall not err therein, are weak ones; the foolish things of the world who, in a sense of their own folly, are so wise as to give up themselves entirely to the conduct of the Spirit, both by conscience and the written Word; and, if they have done this in sincerity, they know whom they have depended upon to "guide them by His counsel, and afterwards to receive them to His glory" (Ps. lxxiii. 24). These may go on their journey pleasantly, who are promised, that whenever they are in doubt, or in danger of mistaking, or being misled,


they shall hear a voice saying to them, "This is the way, ye in it" (Isa. xxx. 21).



5. It helps to make a journey pleasant to be under a good guard or convoy, that one may travel safely. Our way lies through an enemy's country, and they are active, subtle enemies; the road is infested with robbers, that lie in wait to spoil and to destroy; we travel by the lions' dens, and the mountains of the leopards; and our danger is the greater, that it ariseth not from "flesh and blood, but spiritual wickednesses" (1 Pet. v. 8). Satan, by the world and the flesh, waylays us, and seeks to devour us; so that we could not with any pleasure go on our way if God Himself had not taken us under His special protection.

The same Spirit that is a guide to these travellers, is their guard also; for whoever are "sanctified by the Holy Ghost," are by Him "preserved in Jesus Christ" (Jude 1), "preserved blameless," and shall be "preserved to the heavenly kingdom" (2 Tim. iv. 18), so as that they shall not be robbed of their graces and comforts, which are their evidences for, and earnests of eternal life; they are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1 Pet. i. 5), and therefore may go on cheerfully.

The promises of God are a writ of protection to all Christ's good subjects in their travels, and give them such a holy security, as lays a foundation for a constant serenity. Eternal truth itself hath assured them that "no evil shall befall them " (Ps. xci. 10)-nothing really and destructively evil, no evil but what God will bring good to them out of; God Himself hath engaged to be their keeper, and to preserve their going out and coming in, from henceforth and for ever, which looks as far forwards as eternity itself. And by such promises as these, and that grace which is conveyed through them to all active believers, God carries them as upon eagles' wings to bring them to Himself (Deut. xxxii. 11).

Good angels are appointed for a guard to all that walk in wisdom's ways, to "bear them in their arms where they go" (Ps. xci. 11), and to "pitch their tents round about them where they rest" (Ps. xxxiv. 7), and so to keep them in all their ways. How easy may they be who are thus guarded, and how well pleased under all events, as Jacob was, who "went on his way, and the angels of God met him!" (Gen. xxxii. 1).

6. It helps to make a journey pleasant to have the way tracked by those that have gone before in the same road, and on the same errand. Untrodden paths are unpleasant ones; but, in the way of religion, we are both directed and encouraged by the good examples of those that have chosen the way of truth before us, and have walked in it. We are bidden to follow them who are now, "through faith and patience" (those travelling graces of a Christian), "inheriting the promises" (Heb. vi. 12).

It is pleasant to think that we are walking in the same way with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with whom we hope shortly to sit down in the kingdom of God. How many holy, wise,

good men, have governed themselves by the same rules that we govern ourselves by, with the same views, have lived by the same faith that we live by, looking for the same blessed hope, and have by it "obtained a good report!" (Heb. xi. 2). "And we go forth by the footsteps of the flock" (Cant. i. 8).

Let us therefore, to make our way easy and pleasant, take the prophets for an example (James v. 10); "and being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses," that, like the cloud in the wilderness that went before Israel, not only to shew them the way, but to smooth it for them, "let us run with patience and cheerfulness the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus," the most encouraging pattern of all, who has "left us an example, that we should follow his steps" (Heb. xii. 1). And what more pleasant than to follow such a leader, whose word of command is, Follow me!


[blocks in formation]

7. It helps to make a journey pleasant to have good company. This deceives the time, and takes off the tediousness of a journey as much as anything: Amicus pro vehiculo. It is the comfort of those who walk in wisdom's ways, that, though there are but few walking in those ways, yet there are some, and those the wisest and best, and more excellent than their neighbours; and it will be found there are more ready to say, "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. viii. 23).

The communion of saints contributes much to the pleasantness of wisdom's ways; we have many fellow-travellers that quicken one another by the fellowship they have "one with another, as companions in the kingdom and patience of Jesus. Christ" (Rev. i. 9). It was a pleasure to them who were going up to Jerusalem to worship, that their number was increased in every town they came to; and so they "went from strength to strength," they grew more and more numerous, "till every one of them in Zion appeared before God" (Ps. lxxxiv. 7). And so it is with God's spiritual Israel, to which we have the pleasure of seeing daily additions of such as shall be saved.

They that travel together make one another pleasant by familiar converse; and it is the will of God that His people should by that means encourage one another, and strengthen one another's hands. "They that fear the Lord speak often one to another" (Mal. iii. 16), exhort one another daily, and communicate their experiences; and it will add much to the pleasure of this to consider the kind notice God is pleased to take of it. He "hearkens and hears, and a book of remem brance is written for those that fear the Lord, and think on His name."

8. It helps to make a journey pleasant to have the way lie through green pastures and by still waters; and so the ways of wisdom do. David speaks his experience herein (Ps, xxiii.

« PreviousContinue »