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Hosea 2:18-19 -

The sublime privileges of the good.

"And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea,! will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies." These words present to us a few of the many surpassing privileges which all men might enjoy.

I. INFERIOR CREATURES MIGHT BE DIVINELY RESTRAINED FROM INJURING THEM . "In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field," etc. There are creatures that have both the power and the inclination to devour man. Prowling beasts of the field, and ravenous fowls of the air, and creeping scorpions of the earth, have at once the power and passion to put an end to the human race. Who restrains them? God's hand is on them. He holds them hack. Sometimes he withdraws his hand and men are devoured. Will not a lion devour a saint as well as a sinner? It depends upon whether the saint has committed himself to the Divine protection, and has received into his own heart an assurance of Divine guardianship. Daniel was safe in the presence of the ravenous lions; and in modern times, instances have occurred where savage beasts have been restrained from inflicting injury on godly men. "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder" ( Psalms 91:13 ). I have an impression that were man to possess and manifest the moral majesty of goodness, the wildest and most savage creatures would stand in awe of him.

II. HUMAN ENEMIES MIGHT BE MADE TO SUBMIT TO THEM . "I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth." Those who trust in the Lord need not be afraid of war. The potsherds of the earth might strive with each other, but they would not harm the good. The man who would never strike a blow is not likely ever to be struck. The spirit of the good man is to overcome evil with good. Imagine an army drawn up to attack a body of truly Christly men—men who prayed for their enemies, and did good to them that despitefully used them, and who held no weapons in their hands, They would look calmly on their assailants while they were brandishing their swords and shouldering their bayonets. What would be the result? Why, a moral force would go forth from the unarmed multitude, which would break the" bow, the sword, and the battle." As a rule, bad as human nature is, it will not intentionally injure the unquestionably good and unoffending. It is the moral power of goodness that can alone break "the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth."

III. THEY MIGHT ENJOY A PERFECT SECURITY . "Will make them to lie down safely." Every man might have God as his Refuge and Strength, as his Shield and Buckler. "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous shall flee thereto and be safe." "Who shall harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" "If God be for us, who can be against us?" What is the true safety? Not the mere safety of the body. The body is not the man; it is his—not him. The body may be in safety when the soul is in peril, and it might be in danger when the soul is secure. Soul-safety is the safety of the man; and soul-safety means protection from all that is unholy in thought, impure in feeling, unrighteous in volition. Blessed is the man that feels his spirit safe!

IV. THEY MIGHT ENJOY VITAL UNION WITH THE EVERLASTING FOUNTAIN OF GOODNESS . "I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies." Here is a union! the closest union, one represented by that of a husband and wife; a union formed by immutable ties. Righteousness, judgment, loving-kindness, faithfulness,—who can break these bonds? "The mountains shall depart, the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed."

CONCLUSION . Learn the supreme importance of moral goodness to man. With godliness man has everything. All things are his, and he is Christ's, and Christ is God's.—D.T.

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