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the record and the inward operation sufficient for their instruction, support, and consolation, and adequate to inspire them with courage and strength to meet every foe, however fully armed with secular power.
And although in many cases their deliverance and victory seemed impossible, yet it never failed.
In those cases in which the conflict was purely human, the victory was obtained in the human sphere; as in the deliverance of David by turning the heart of Saul back again to him. But in those cases in which supreme authority is claimed by the oppressor in the name of his idols, it is no conjectural and indefinite being who appears for the deliverance of His people who trust in Him, but ‘He that made the earth by His power hath established the world by His wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by His discretion,' arises to cause the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth to perish from off the earth and from under the heavens.' And in this controversy, it is evident that the substance, the force, and the life of the world are in His hands, for the vindication of His own honour, the deliverance of His servants, and the calling of the deceived and erring back to Himself. Thus, when Pharaoh supposed that the wilderness had shut Israel between the mountains and the sea, and that he had only to pursue to destroy, the sea fled back for a pathway to Israel, and in its return overwhelmed Pharaoh and his host. When Sennacherib had defied the living God, and had boastfully threatened destruction to His people, a blast from the Lord in one night slew the army of invasion. When Nebuchadnezzar had assumed Divine honours, and had assailed the faith of the saints in its very centre, by claiming to be the Divine Son, and required the godly Jews to deny the hope of their fathers, of their nation, and of the world, by worship ping the golden image which he had set up, although the furnace was heated one seven times more than it was wont to be heated, so that it slew the men who threw the three Jews into it, yet the fire had no power to burn them, or even to singe their clothes. And that there might be no mistake as to the way by which their deliverance came, and that the proud conqueror might be rebuked, and know that he was but a man, there, in the midst of the fire, was a man, who also was the Son of God; showing that He who had given fire its power to burn, could direct or suspend the operation of this as of all the other servants of His will. When Darius had been inveigled into the condemnation of his trusty and favourite minister by the cunning craftiness of his enemies, He who gave the lion his fierceness sent His angel, and shut the lions' mouths, but gave them back their normal nature when the conspirators were cast into the den.
Other cases might be adduced, but these are sufficient to show that the God with whom these men had fellowship was not only the Creator and Upholder of the substance, forces, and life of the universe, and that He chose to use them for the vindication of His own honour and for their deliverance, but that He, and He only possessed them, and could employ them in the ordinary manner, or, when this did not serve His higher purpose, in
any way He saw best. But what all these and similar cases emphatically declare is, that the fellowship between these men and the Creator and Upholder of the universe, so far as His side of the fellowship is concerned, is intimate to almost perfect identity. So that we are warranted in a strict exposition of the declaration, which, without an array of such facts at its back, must have been regarded as hyperbolical, `He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.' In them all we have anticipations and types of that intimate intercommunion of nature which is fully revealed in the Incarnation, which has made our Maker our Brother.
If we examine the influence of these outward and preparatory revelations upon the opinions and character of the people to whom they were given, we shall see that they were most effectual in establishing a real and broad fellowship with God. It is impossible to read the Psalms without perceiving that the writers had correct and comprehensive views of the Divine nature and government.
And it is universally admitted that the experience and the operation of the spiritual life there recorded are instructive to men of the present time, who utter their religious sorrow and joy, their confessions and triumphs, in the form and language recorded by David and the other psalmists.
Foremost in the doctrines which appear in the Psalms is the Divine Personality. Jehovah to them was not an unconscious aggregation of the might and skill and splendour of the universe, but the Maker of it all, who was clothed with honour and majesty,' who 'covered Himself with light as with a garment,' and 'stretched out the heavens as a tent to dwell in.' To the writers of these views such operation was not a new arrangement of chaotic substance; for 'by the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth;' • He telleth the number of the stars,' and because He is great in might, not one of them faileth.' The sun and the moon also *He has ordained.' But the Divine personality was not only seen in creation, but in the entire maintenance and government of the world. · He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst. He watereth the hills from His chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Thy works.