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"Against thy holy child Jesus…both Herod and Pontius Pilate,...were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:27-28). The sentence ends just in the opposite way to what we are prepared for. We expect it to read thus: "Against Thy holy child Jesus both Herod and Pilate were gathered together to circumvent the course of Thy Divine will." Instead of that, we read, "Against Thy holy child Jesus both Herod and Pilate were gathered together to do whatever Thy counsel had determined to be done." The idea is that their effort of opposition to the Divine will proved to be a stroke of alliance with it. The measures they took to wreck the ship became the very means of keeping the ship afloat. They met together in a council of war against Christ; unconsciously to themselves they signed a treaty for the promotion of Christ's glory. They thought they were making a will in favour of His enemies; they were really bequeathing all their wealth to the Man of Nazareth. They decreed that He should die; that decree was their contribution of palm-leaves. My brother, God never thwarts adverse circumstances; that is not His method. I have often been struck with these words--"He rideth upon the wings of the wind." They are most suggestive. Our God does not beat down the storms that rise against Him; He rides upon them; He works through them. You are often surprised that so many thorny paths are allowed to be open for the good--how that aspiring boy Joseph is put in a dungeon--how that beautiful child Moses is cast into the Nile. You would have expected Providence to have interrupted the opening of these pits destined for destruction. Well, He might have done so; He might have said to the storm, "Peace, be still!" But there was a more excellent way--to ride upon it.

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