Exodus 14:15
The LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.
Sermons
Christian ProgressJ. Vaughan, M. A.Exodus 14:15
Christian Progress in the Face of DifficultiesWilliam Jones.Exodus 14:15
Don't Halt; Go ForwardT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Exodus 14:15
Effort Needed as Well as PrayerSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 14:15
Encouragement in DifficultiesT. Kidd.Exodus 14:15
ExcelsiorJ. Higgins.Exodus 14:15
ForwardR. Ann.Exodus 14:15
ForwardSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 14:15
Forward, the True DirectionT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Exodus 14:15
Go ForwardN. L. Frothingham.Exodus 14:15
Go ForwardBp. Magee.Exodus 14:15
Go ForwardG. Gilfillan.Exodus 14:15
Go Forward -- a New Year's Sermon for the YoungW. H. Grey, D. D.Exodus 14:15
Going ForwardWilliam Jones.Exodus 14:15
On Going ForwardW. M. Statham, M. A.Exodus 14:15
ProgressJ. Legge, M. A.Exodus 14:15
Safety in ProgressArchbp. Seeker.Exodus 14:15
Self-HelpJ. B. Brown, B. A.Exodus 14:15
Speak unto the Children of Israel that They Go Forward!J. Orr Exodus 14:15
The Christian's WatchwordJ. Burns, D. D.Exodus 14:15
The Flight from EgyptG. Weller.Exodus 14:15
The Journey Through LifeJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.Exodus 14:15
The Memorial Charge to the IsraelitesW. Jay.Exodus 14:15
The Pilgrimage of the SaintsJ. Parsons.Exodus 14:15
Unseasonable PrayerSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 14:15
The DeliveranceJ. Orr Exodus 14:10-23
God Completes the Deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh and Removes Their TerrorD. Young Exodus 14:13-31
Obedience Necessary to SalvationJ. Urquhart Exodus 14:15-18

I. FORWARD! - GOD'S CONSTANT INJUNCTION TO HIS CHURCH. The law of Christian life is advance. God never brings his Church or people into positions from which retreat is necessary, or in which advance is impossible. We may bring ourselves into false positions of this kind, but God never leads us into them. In proportion as we surrender ourselves to his guidance, we may depend on being conducted always "forward." There is no instance in the whole history of the Old or New Testament Church in which, while God's guidance was followed, retreat had to be made. Forward!

(1) In Christian attainments.

(2) In holy living.

(3) In labours for the advancement of Christ's kingdom.

(4) In missionary enterprise.

(5) In doing good to our fellow-men.

II. FORWARD! - IN CONTRAST WITH VAIN LAMENTATIONS, AND UNBECOMING EXPOSTULATIONS WITH PROVIDENCE. These do no good, but much harm. They betray an unbelieving spirit. ]f God brings us into situations of trial, the fact that it is he who brings us into them is of itself a pledge that with the trial, he will make also a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). When the foe bears hard upon us, we should, instead of losing heart, rather feel that the time has come for getting everything in readiness for advance - the "great door and effectual" must be on the very point of opening.

III. FORWARD! - BY THE WAY WHICH GOD MAKES FOR US. At the same moment that he is saying - "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward," he is doubtless commissioning some Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea, to open up the way for us. God never says "Forward," without at the same time opening the way.

IV. FORWARD! - WITH GOOD HEART, STRONG HOPE, AND FIRM ASSURANCE OF BEING PROTECTED ON THE JOURNEY. Going forward at God's word, the Israelites were assured of God's protection. They were certain of reaching the further shore in safety. No fear of the waves rushing back, and burying them. Pharaoh pursued, but he was not permitted to capture them, and was himself overthrown. We may confront any perils, if duty calls, and God goes with us. Cf. Luther at Worms. - J.O.







Wherefore criest thou unto Me?... Go forward.
Men are more ready to cry out for help than to help themselves. They are more ready to call for more light, means, privileges, than to use faithfully what they possess. They are more ready to complain than to exert themselves; to wonder at what the Divine Providence has done, or to speculate on what it intends to do, than to observe its will, and stand in the line of their duty, and "go forward."

1. And first, when we are confused with uncertain speculations as to points of religious doctrine and the designs of Providence, let us rest from the questions that are beyond mortal solving, from the debate and from those who would pretend to settle it for us, and obey the practical exhortation of the text. What we can discover and know may not be much; but what we have to do is plain enough, and deserves the chief place in our attention. Theories are many, and the counsel of the Lord is hid; but what He requires of us there needs but singleness of heart to discern and follow. The absolute truth may often be beyond us; but the right, as distinct from the wrong, is in the sentiment of every one's conscience and in the power of his hand. The present age is remarkably bent upon a prying kind of research into the deep things of religious faith. Let me not find fault with this tendency, so long as it is reverent, and not presumptuous; so long as it is humble, and not disputatious; so long as it is neither carping, nor over-anxious, nor neglectful of nearer claims. But it has its dangers. Sometimes it distracts the thoughts with fears and unprofitable conjectures; and sometimes it absorbs them in cares that are intense, but stationary, holding back the mind from a manly progress and impeding the cheerful diligence of life. Do not gaze backward, nor pause to contemplate anxiously what is in front, but move. If you are faithful, God will carry you through. Work and you shall believe. Do and you shall know. You shall learn more that is worth the learning through your conscience than through your researches. You will be guided to the best convictions, by being heartily engaged in an obedient service.

2. Thus, duty is better than speculation; and this is the first lesson that our subject teaches. But the mind is troubled with other things than the doubtful aspects of truth. There are afflicted and dejected hours, when we hardly care to inquire about anything. A feeling of discouragement hangs about the heart. Now, sorrow is naturally sluggish, selfish — as indisposed to strive for anything as to be thankful for anything. It chooses to sit. It looks upon the ground. It nurses its gloomy meditations. When it is caused by losses and disappointments, it is apt to make men think that there is nothing that deserves their winning, or at least that it is not worth while for them any longer to try. No doubt it makes many a man better. It brings the thoughtless to reflection. Sorrow is a holy thing when it is rightly accepted. It gives a consecrated turn to the experiences and affections of our humanity. And yet it has a power of an opposite kind; and they who come under that power are rendered worse instead of better by it. They lose their usefulness, as well as give up their own good. Others add the sin of murmuring to that of supineness. Why have they been thus distressed? What have they done to be so hemmed in? They complain of the very prophets and guiding messengers of God, because they show them no more mercy, and will encourage them in no other way than one that they refuse to follow. They want to be relieved just where they stand. They want to be delivered without any thought or effort of their own. But it is not so that God will have it. "Speak unto them," is His word still, "that they go forward." The best consolation is in your tasks, with their straining toil or their steady and quiet occupation.

3. But it is perhaps the labour imposed upon your unwilling strength that most disconcerts you. The apprehension of coming calamities has fastened its terrors upon you. The fears of a faint heart form the chief trial of your lot. Not an arrow has reached you yet from the pursuing host of your enemies, but you hear their trumpets, and you are dismayed at the trampling of their approach. You have not yet wet your shoes in the waves of the intercepting sea; but you look at its broad flow, and are dismayed at what seems to you its unfathomable and impassable depth. You are afraid of what you may be compelled to do; or you are afraid of what you may be appointed to suffer. What is so depressing as this dread, when once it settles down upon a man? How it paralyzes his resolution 1 But no power can assist him, at least not in the manner he would choose — by interfering to change his whole situation, and that without any step of his own taking. He must stand in his lot. He must march at command. There will be always something like a chase in the rear. There will be some gulf crossing his advanced post. He will not be listened to, if he sits and prays that all this may be otherwise. At the same time the help that was refused to his complaint and his supplication awaits his diligence. Let him "go forward." The cowardice that was his worst enemy shall then be vanquished. Beware how you waste in sighs the time that should be spent in exertion. Beware how you look abroad for the succour that you will contribute nothing to bring. Beware how you abandon your own cause. Bear your part, according to the imperfect ability that you have received, in the work of your deliverance. Commit the issues of events to the Sovereign Disposer. They may venture, as long as their trust is in Him. "Speak unto all My people," saith God, "that they go forward." Their prayer is good; but their obedience is better. His grace shall be sufficient for them while they move towards it.

(N. L. Frothingham.)

It points out, with sufficient clearness, the best mode of journeying through life. "Go forward" —

(1)from that point to which God has conducted us;

(2)along the path God bids us take;

(3)by the light which God affords;

(4)with the staff which God provides; and

(5)to the land which God prepares.

I. You are, then, willing to go forward? But whether you will or not, you must. What better starting-point can you discover than that from which Israel began — THE POINT TO WHICH GOD HAS BROUGHT YOU NOW? Stop for a moment, my impatient fellow-traveller; we are not speaking of the point to which you have now brought yourself, but of that to which God has conducted you; and you must very soon, I think, feel that there may be an important difference between these two. God may, indeed, command us to go forward from the point to which He has Himself conducted us, but not by any means to make advance on that wrong path which we have chosen through our own folly and our sin. In such a case, God must have rather asked, "Why do you cry to Me? You are yourselves the cause of your distress and misery; there is no safety on this road, but only death and horror; speak unto the Israelites that they return immediately!" But now, because the Lord Himself has pointed out the place where they were to encamp, between Pi-hahiroth and Baal-Zephon, they are in the position which He bade them occupy; they now are standing in the place where He would have them be: now we may speak of going on. "Advance!" — it is a glorious word; and that which it denotes deserves the application of our noblest powers. But, in advancing, the main question is — not whether we are rising rapidly enough, but simply whether we are really on the right track, and keeping the great end in view. Yes; "Forward" is still a glorious word, but not the first, scarcely the second that we should employ; and you will be in a position to apply it with advantage to yourselves only when, like these ransomed ones, you have an Egypt at your back, and a Canaan before. But what think you? O man of sin, the path you now pursue leads down to death; repentance is the only way to life — regeneration of the soul the first, although perhaps the least felt requisite for entering on the new period. Nay, no advance ere you have first stood still, made full confession of your guilt, sought for deliverance from worse than Egypt's bondage, and cried for blood more precious than the blood of even the spotless Paschal Lamb, to hide your sins!

II. "Advance!" The order may be given easily, but is it quite as speedily performed? Then listen, in the second place, to what is further given in the summons — ADVANCE ALONG THE WAY WHICH GOD COMMANDS. "Which God commands." This, in a certain aspect, makes the thing much easier, but in another much more difficult. You will at once perceive this when you place yourself again in the position of the Israelites. Moses need not, in deep anxiety, inquire, "Whither?" for there is but one path, and not another given him to choose. There is the most peremptory command not to go back; nor would good come of turning to the right or left; moreover, there are mountains rising up to heaven, and rocks, which shut the people in, as if within a fortress. Forward, then! But well may we, also, in spite of not a little difference, find a resemblance to the path on which the Lord once more calls you and me to make advance. That way itself is, in its leading features, quite as plain, as difficult, and yet withal as safe, as that for which the Israelites now looked. If we are Christians, there is only one way possible for our understanding, our faith, our conscience; and that is the way God bids us go. See that the path before you is indeed the way appointed by the Lord; and do not venture on a single step before you bow the knee to Him in deep humility. But if it be quite evident that just this, and no other, is the road which God deems best for you, then act as if you heard His voice from heaven saying, "Why do you cry to Me? Surely you know that I am not a God who says, 'Go forward,' without giving strength wherewith to go." Nay, verily, God has not changed, so that He now should call His people to advance into the sea, and leave them there to perish in the flood. Suppose the Israelites, alarmed at the idea of advancing through the waves, had taken time to think, and then attempted to retreat; or sought, amidst the mountains on each side, an opening by which they might escape approaching death- according to the judgment of the natural man, they would have acted with the utmost prudence, yet they would have but been hastening into the yawning grave. The passage through the sea turns out to be much safer than the path along the quiet shore, as soon as it appears that God is with us. It is precisely when the prophet Jonah seeks to flee from Nineveh, and find a safe retreat in Tarshish, that such mortal danger comes so close on him; and, on the other hand, when Paul, led by the Lord to Rome, courageously defies Euroclydon and every storm, his life is saved, although the ship is lost. Our life is ever free from danger when we risk it in the service of the Lord; because, as has been truly said,we are immortal while God needs us here.

III. "But what avails it me, even though I know the way, so long as, in short-sightedness, I still must grope about under dark clouds?" You are quite right; but you too, just like Israel, are this day summoned to advance UNDER THE LIGHT THAT GOD AFFORDS. YOU can imagine that you now behold the mysterious fiery pillar, scattering its golden rays upon the silvery waters in the darkness of the night, and straightway turning its fierce lightnings on the host of the Egyptians. But say, has not God, in His written word, sent light from heaven sufficient in amount and clear enough to brighten, with its friendly rays, many a gloomy night and many a cloudy day? And have you ever been kept waiting long without an answer, when, with the earnest question: "What will the Lord have me to do?" you took your precious Bible up, in silent solitude, not to consult it, like so many, just as if .it were a kind of heathen oracle — examining the first page that might open up to you — but earnestly endeavouring to find out what the Lord desires? But is it not the case that we are just like that rebellious Israel — constantly inclined to cheese their own way rather than simply pursue the path to which the cloudy pillar guided them? And even after we have been already taught, on numberless occasions, through the shame and injury that have befallen us, we still direct our eyes continually to the ignis fatuus of human wisdom, when we rather should fear God, and give attention to His word. And what should hinder you from choosing that same word of God to be a lamp unto your feet, a light unto your path? Should the obscurities and enigmas that here present themselves to you prove such a barrier? Even the fiery pillar had for Israel its impenetrable and mysterious side; but this much they perceived quite well, that it afforded them more light than a thousand other lights. And there is something wondrous in the fact that this great light illumines everything, although you know not where it has its seat; nor can you find in anything besides a proper substitute when it has been removed. Or — just acknowledge it — are you offended at the vehemence with which the Word of God denounces sin? Yes, verily, the cloudy pillar sent forth dreadful thunderbolts, but they were only aimed at hardened ones like Pharaoh; and that same light of God's unspotted holiness, which is so terrible to sinners, is the consolation of all those who make His mercy the foundation of their hopes. Or has that light no longer an attraction for you, inasmuch as it has lost the splendour of most novelties? Surely the fiery pillar was quite as invaluable in the fortieth year that followed Israel's Exodus, as in the first night when they were redeemed? And should you not be rather cheered by the consideration that, when everything to-day announces instability and change, the word of God endures for aye?

IV. But do you make complaint — not against God, but rather against yourself? And do you fear your strength will fail? We could not urge you to advance, did we not also, in the fourth place, indicate THE STAFF WHICH GOD BESTOWS ON US. Let it suffice to state that, without living faith working within the heart, it is as hopeless to set out upon life's journey as it would have been impossible to march through the Red Sea without the all-prevailing, wonder-working rod. Poor man, you rise up, but you know not whence; you wander here and there, hut do not know how long; you ask for strength, yet know not whence it may be gained! The Lord's words are most true: "Cursed is the man that maketh flesh his arm... Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord." But have you never found that all things are possible to him that believeth, and that even mountains of difficulties seemed to dwindle away into molehills when touched by this wonder-working staff? The time will often come when you shall stand before a task for which your own unaided wisdom will be quite unequal; but the prayer of faith works wonders, and strength comes down from above into the heart which owns, in deep humility, that it is naught hut weakness when apart from God.

V. The Lord arouses us to march on TO THE LAND WHICH HE PREPARES FOR US. You are aware that Israel was called not merely to forsake the land of Egypt, nor even to spend a desert life in peace and liberty, but to march on into a land which God, ages before, had promised to bestow on the posterity of those who were His friends. Not one of all those multitudes who passed through the Red Sea had ever seen that promised land. Upon the ground of credible authority, they were constrained to the belief that it was a reality awaiting them beyond the flood. Not even the wisest of them all was free to choose the mode of access to that land which flowed with milk and honey. But their great Leader ever held Himself responsible for the result, although the moment when the earthly paradise was to unfold its gates was still kept in deep secrecy. Nor are we called to wander aimlessly, and to march on without exactly knowing where we are to go. The Lord from heaven has appeared on this vile earth that we, exiles from Eden, might have an eternal dwelling-place; and though no messenger has come back from the habitations where He has prepared us room, we know, as surely as we live, that what no eye hath seen, what ear hath never heard, what hath not entered into any human heart, is hid with Christ in God for all who know and love Him. Whoever will draw back unto perdition may perceive, in Israel's case, that while God presses upon sinful men His heavenly gift, He will by no means let Himself be mocked. The way that leads to it may not, perhaps, be quite the shortest (and those who, like Israel, are slow to learn require a longer training-time), still less is it the most agreeable, but most assuredly it is the best. And the inheritance itself will only seem more beautiful if we, like Moses, are obliged to wait a long time on God that we may get possession of the whole. Do you know any prospect more inspiriting than that of one day having done entirely with that daily dying which we now call "life"; of our at last, some time or other, breathing with a pleasure and a freedom we have never yet felt here, where every day brought us more than enough of its own ills; of once more hearing there, too, the command, "Forward!" and then advancing through the spacious fields of heaven, but finding nowhere near us any foe, nor seeing any wilderness before? Surely, even though it cost us other forty anxious years, as it cost Israel the Promised Land, what one of us would think the price of such a calling far too dear?

(J. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.)

I. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE VERY UNSATISFACTORY.

1. Because I was brought up to do so.

2. It is a part of my religion. These pray as a Dervish dances or a Fakir holds his arm aloft; but they know nothing of the spiritual reality of prayer (Matthew 6:7).

3. It is a right thing to do. So indeed it is if we pray aright, but the mere repetition of pious words is vanity (Isaiah 29:13).

4. I feel easier in my mind after it. Ought you to feel easier? May not your formal prayers be a mockery of God, and so an increase of sin (Isaiah 1:12-15; Ezekiel 20:31)?

5. I think it meritorious and saving. This is sheer falsehood, and a high offence against the merit and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.

II. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BETRAY IGNORANCE.

1. When it hinders immediate repentance. Instead of quitting sin and mourning over it, some men talk of praying. "To obey is better than sacrifice," and better than supplication.

2. When it keeps from faith in Jesus. The gospel is not "pray and be saved"; but "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Matthew 7:21; John 6:47).

3. When we suppose that it fits us for Jesus. We must come to Him as sinners, and not set up our prayers as a sort of righteousness (Luke 18:11, 12).

4. When we think that prayer alone will bring a blessing.

III. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE QUITE CORRECT.

1. Because I must. I am in trouble, and must pray or perish. Sighs and cries are not made to order, they are the irresistible outbursts of the heart (Psalm 42:1; Romans 8:26).

2. Because I know I shall be heard, and therefore I feel a strong desire to deal with God in supplication. "Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him" (Psalm 116:2).

3. Because I delight in it: it brings rest to my mind, and hope to my heart. It is a sweet means of communion with my God. "It is good for me to draw near to God" (Psalm 73:28).

4. Because I feel that I can best express the little faith and repentance I have by crying to the Lord for more.

5. Because these grow as I pray. No doubt we may pray ourselves into a good frame if God the Holy Ghost blesses us.

6. Because I look for all from God, and therefore I cry to Him (Psalm 72:5).

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Self-help is one of the popular topics of the day, and seems to be commended in the passage which contains the text. Help thyself, and Heaven will help thee, is a proverb which, both in its French and its English form, is widely current; and wisely current, if we understand the Divine principle on which it rests. Read in the light of Scripture, it does not run, Venture, and the Almighty hand will meet thee, the help will come; but rather, Venture, for the Everlasting Arms are around thee, the help is here. Thus read, it is an all-mastering truth. But what is the principle here, the essential principle of the progress? Is it, March, and I will meet you; or March, for I have led you; I, not you, am responsible for these straits; you are here because through them lies the path to victory and glory. Therefore "cry not unto Me"; your being here is My answer to your cry. "Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward."

I. THEIR STANDING THERE AT ALL WAS A MIRACLE OF ALMIGHTY POWER AND LOVE. By a series of the most tremendous miracles recorded in history, God's hand had led them out to that mountain gorge, and shut them in between the moaning sea and their raging foes. Pharaoh drew near, but God was even visibly more near. A great army was gathering behind them; but the angel of God's presence was visibly in the midst of them. They distrusted and despised Emmanuel — God with them, a visible glory over their host.

II. They ought to have accepted God's guidance thither as THE ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE THAT THEIR WAY ON LAY CLEAR BEFORE HIS EYES, and that all the difficulties which beset it were under the firm control of His hand.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

A scholar was remarkable for repeating her lessons well. Her schoolfellow, rather idly inclined, said to her one day, "How is it that you always say your lessons so perfectly?" She replied, "I always pray that I may say my lessons well." "Do you?" said the other; "well then, I will pray, too": but alas! the next morning she could not even repeat word of her usual task. Very much confounded, she ran to her friend, and reproached her as deceitful: "I prayed," said she, "but I could not say a single word of my lesson." "Perhaps," rejoined the other, "you took no pains to learn it." "Learn it! Learn it! I did not learn it at all," answered the first, "I thought I had no occasion to learn it, when I prayed that I might say it." The mistake is a very common one.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I.THEIR DANGER. Foe behind, sea in front, mountains on each side.

II.THEIR DILEMMA. Knew not which way to turn.

III.THEIR DELIVERER. Man's extremity God's opportunity.

IV.THEIR DUTY. "Go forward." This demanded faith.

V.THEIR DETERMINATION. They obeyed.

VI.THEIR DELIGHT. Song of Moses.

(G. Weller.)

I. The story from which these words are taken is A STORY OF NATIONAL PROGRESS. It is also one of supernatural progress. For us the supernatural is, in the highest and truest sense of the word, natural, for it is the revelation of the nature of God. We accept the possibility of the supernatural and miraculous, but all the more for that do we hold that if God interferes in the affairs of men miraculously, He will not do it capriciously, unnecessarily, wantonly. Upon the whole story of these Jewish miracles there is stamped a character which marks distinctly the reason for which they were wrought; that reason was the religious education of the world. By these miracles the Jew was taught that for nations and men there is a God, an eternal and a personal will above us and around us, that works for righteousness. This great fact was taught him by illustrated lessons, by pictures illuminated with the Divine light and so filled with the Divine colour that they stand and last for all time.

II. The lesson that seems definitely stamped on the story of the miraculous passage of the Red Sea is THE LESSON OF FEARLESSNESS IN THE DISCHARGE OF DUTY, of resolute walking in the way that we know to be God's way for us. We find this true —

1. In the case of individuals.

2. In the case of nations.For individuals and for nations God has appointed a law of progress. All we have ever striven to raise the tone of a nation's life, to bring the nation onward on the path that leads to peace and righteousness, have been preaching to mankind this great word of God's, "Go forward where God would have you go."

(Bp. Magee.)

Progress is the great test of a Christian. It is not what we are absolutely, but what we are relatively, relatively to what we were. Religion mast always be "a walk," and the child of God a traveller. Old things get further and further behind, and as they recede look smaller and smaller; new things constantly come into view, and there is no stagnation. The man, though slowly, and with much struggle, and with many humiliations, is stretching on to the ever-rising level of his own spiritual and heaven-drawn conscience.

I. We may be discouraged because of PAST FAILURES. Still we have no choice but to go on. Life is made up of rash beginnings and premature endings. We have nothing for it but to begin again.

II. We may feel ourselves utterly GRACELESS AND GODLESS. The remedy is, at once to determine to be a great Christian. We must aim at things far in advance. We must go forward.

III. Perhaps SOME GREAT TEMPTATION OR SIN BARS THE WAY. Then we must not stand calculating. We must not look at consequences, but simply "go forward" to the new life of self-denial and holiness.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Both the Israelites and Egyptians went forward; but how? and to what? —

I. THE ISRAELITES WENT FORWARD IN OBEDIENCE TO DIVINE COMMANDS; THE EGYPTIANS, IN OPPOSITION TO THE DIVINE WILL.

1. As regards the Israelites — In this particular crisis He commanded them to proceed (ver. 15). The means and mode of their advance were prescribed by Him (ver. 16).

2. The Egyptians went forward in defiance of the will of God.

II. THE ISRAELITES WENT FORWARD HAVING THE PRESENCE OF GOD WITH THEM AS A HELP; THE EGYPTIANS HAVING THAT PRESENCE AS A HINDRANCE (VER. 19, 20).

III. THE ISRAELITES WENT FORWARD IN WISE RELIANCE UPON GOD; THE EGYPTIANS IN INFATUATED DARING OF HIM.

IV. THE ISRAELITES WENT FORWARD HAVING THE FORCES OF NATURE CONTROLLED IN THEIR FAVOUR; THE EGYPTIANS WITH THOSE FORCES USED TO THEIR CONFUSION AND OVERTHROW (vers. 21-27). Nature renders loyal obedience to its Lord. The Most High employs nature's elements and forces for the defence and deliverance of His people, and for the defeat and destruction of His foes.

V. THE ISRAELITES WENT FORWARD TO SPLENDID VICTORY AND SPIRITUAL PROFIT; THE EGYPTIANS TO UTTER DEFEAT AND DEATH.

1. As to the Israelites —(1) Their triumph was complete and glorious (vers. 29, 30).(2) They also derived moral benefit from the event (ver. 31). Reverential fear of God was inspired within them, and their faith in Him and in His servant Moses was quickened and confirmed.

2. But the Egyptians were utterly overthrown and slain (ver. 28).Lessons:

1. Going forward is not always making progress.

2. Going forward is true progress only when it accords with the will of God.

3. The path of duty is often beset with difficulties.

4. Difficulties in the path of duty disappear before believing obedience.

5. Rebellion against God leads to trouble and distress, and if persisted in must end in irretrievable ruin.

6. Faith in God and obedience to Him lead onward and upward to glorious triumph.

7. The deliverances wrought for us by the hand of God should encourage us to reverence and trust Him.

(William Jones.)

I. In the Christian life ADVANCEMENT IS DEMANDED. Forward, upward, heavenward, Godward.

II. In the Christian life advancement is demanded, WITH A FULL RECOGNITION OF THE OBSTACLES IN THE WAY OF IT. We pass from conquest to renew the conflict.

III. In the Christian life, OBSTACLES TO PROGRESS, MANFULLY ENCOUNTERED, MAY BE SURMOUNTED. Difficulties vanish, in the presence of believing obedience.

IV. In the Christian life, obstacles to progress, manfully encountered, CONTRIBUTE TO OUR ADVANCEMENT.

V. In the Christian life we are INCITED TO PROGRESS, NOTWITHSTANDING OBSTACLES, BY A GREAT HOST OF ENCOURAGEMENTS.

1. Believing prayer is mighty with God.

2. Glorious examples encourage us onward.

3. The character of our Leader encourages us onward.

(William Jones.)

Into whatever province of Divine government we look, we find that "Forward" is one of God's great watchwords, onward to that state which is higher, more perfect. On Christian believers is ]aid the obligation to "go on unto perfection," to "press toward the mark," etc.

I. As the children of Israel, in obedience to the command of God, were on their way from A LOWER TO A HIGHER AND MORE BLESSED LIFE, SO are Christians.

II. As the children of Israel were required to go forward FOR THE DISCIPLINE OF THEIR FAITH, SO are Christian believers.

III. As the Israelites were required to go forward IN THE INTERESTS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE WORLD, SO are Christian disciples.

(R. Ann.)

I. IN WHAT THE CHRISTIAN IS TO GO FORWARD. Now this is evident; he must go forward in the path to eternal life. More particularly, he must go forward —

1. In the increase of Christian graces.

2. In the exhibition of Christian virtues. Such as justice, temperance, brotherly kindness, and charity.

3. In the performance of Christian duties. In reading the holy oracles, and in holy meditation, forward. In secret and public prayer, forward. In family worship and discipline, forward. In the services of the sanctuary, forward. In enterprises of usefulness and plans of benevolence, forward. In all the personal and relative obligations of life, forward.

4. In the attainment of Christian privileges and blessings. "Peace flowing as a river, and righteousness abounding as the waves of the sea."

II. WHY THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD GO FORWARD.

1. God commands it, and His authority is imperative.

2. Christ enforces it, and His claims are irresistible.

3. The Holy Spirit moves us to it, and His influences must not be quenched.

4. By the examples of saints with whom we are for ever to be associated.

5. By the sufficiency of the means provided for our progress and safety.

6. By the dreadful and calamitous effects produced by apostasy.

7. By the glorious rewards which God shall bestow upon His persevering people.Application:

1. Let the subject be addressed to all classes and ages of Christian professors. To the young believer, and the aged disciple, the motto is the same — forward. To the illiterate, and the learned Christian. Forward, in prosperity and adversity; in sickness and health; in life and until death.

2. The subject must be reversed to the sinner. He is in the wrong path; far enough already from God and happiness and heaven. Turn from thy evil ways and live.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

I. THE NECESSITY FOR PROGRESS AS A CONDITION FOR HEALTHY LIFE. The advancing tide has no sooner touched its highest point than it begins to recede. In the spiritual life, progress is needful to secure past attainments, as well as to gain fresh victories.

II. THE DIRECTIONS IN WHICH PROGRESS SHOULD BE SOUGHT.

1. Go forward to clearer and higher conceptions of spiritual truth.

2. Go forward in further development of the Church's social life.

3. Go forward in all works of Christian beneficence.

4. Go forward individually in the cultivation of the spiritual life.

(J. Legge, M. A.)

We have been spared to see the beginning of another year, we may therefore think of ourselves as having reached a certain halting-place in our journey.

I. WE SHOULD BELIEVE IN CHRIST, AND ALSO OBEY HIM. Without believing in Christ, we have no true love to God in our hearts; and without love, we cannot give Him the obedience of children.

II. WE ARE TAUGHT HERE ALSO THAT WE SHOULD BOTH WORSHIP GOD AND WORK FOR HIM. I have heard of a heathen king who was wounded in battle, and who, in his dying hours, sending for his trusted servant, said to him, "Go, tell the dead I am come." That soldier-servant, without hesitating for a moment, drew his sword and stabbed himself to the heart, that he might go to the dead before his master, and prepare them for his coming. Oh! that we had this spirit of service and of sacrifice for the King of kings! In His dying hour, He also said to us, "Go, tell the dead, I come." He asks us to go to a world dead in trespasses and sins, to tell them of His coming, and to preach to them glad tidings of great joy. Alas! how many of us are content to worship Him, and say, "O King, rule for ever!" without spending and being spent, that His kingdom may come.

III. THIS PASSAGE FURTHER TEACHES US, THAT, WHILE WE ENJOY RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES, WE SHOULD SEEK TO MAKE YEARLY AND DAILY PROGRESS BY MEANS OF THEM. We should become liker to Christ, and seek to learn more perfectly the language of heaven. Christ's work for us is complete. Christ's work in us is only begun, and God loves to see His believing children growing in likeness to that Elder Brother who is the very image of Himself. If you ask me why you should thus go on towards perfection, I answer —

1. It is the will of God. We are to be perfect as our Father who is in heaven is perfect; and we see, from all that goes on around us and within us, that this perfection is not to be reached by a single effort, or in a single day.

2. But not only should we go forward in obedience to the will of God; we should also feel that it is needful for our own sakes to obey our heavenly Father. For —(1) If we refuse to go forward, it is ruin to our highest interests. On the lake of Geneva, some years ago, I saw a gloomy castle where prisoners used to be confined; and in it there was a dark dungeon, with a dreadful staircase, called the oubliettes. I was told that sometimes the keeper went to a poor prisoner confined in that dungeon-castle, and told him that now he was to obtain his life and liberty, and requested him to follow him. The prisoner was delighted, and left his cell, and went along very thankful and very glad, with hopes and visions of home and happiness. He reached the staircase I have spoken of, and was told to go down, step by step, in the darkness, that he might reach the castle gate, and so be free. Alas! it was a broken stair! A few steps down into the darkness, and the next step he took he found no footing, but fell down fifty or sixty feet, to be dashed to pieces among rocks, and then to have his mangled body buried in the lake. So the sinner thinks that the way of self-indulgence and self-pleasing he takes will give him all he wishes, but it leads to death. And if we willingly and knowingly go back to our sins, as the Israelites might have gone back with Pharaoh's hosts, our last condition will be worst than our first. But, as it is death to disobey, so —(2) It is life to go forward in the way of obedience and persistent service. The pleasures of sin, indeed, we cannot have. But the Christian's is, after all, the better part. "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." We have the light of Christian knowledge, the blessings of religious faith, the hope of a happy immortality, and the blessedness of holy love. Before I conclude, let me give you this one counsel: Do not, as pilgrims of immortality, think lightly of little steps. These Israelites had to go all their long journey to Canaan one step at a time, and so it is with you. And, alas! you may go a far way from the path of duty, and the path of safety, though you only take one step at a time. And, as bad persons become wicked step by step, so it needs many little steps to go forward to the love and likeness of Christ. It was told of a painter, that he had "no day without its line." Every day he added some touches to his picture. So let it be with ours. Thus we shall make it liker and liker to Christ, the perfect image of the invisible God.

(W. H. Grey, D. D.)

I. Let us consider THIS COMMAND IN REFERENCE TO THE JOURNEY OF THE ISRAELITES. It became them, and it becomes us, to obey whenever God commands; and to do whatever He enjoins us, and that for four reasons.

1. Because He has a right to command. He is the Sovereign, we are the subjects. He is the Master, we are the servants.

2. Because none of His commands are arbitrary. We may not be able to perceive the reasons upon which they are founded; but there are reasons.

3. Because all His commands are beneficial. They all regard our welfare, as well as His own glory.

4. Because they are all practicable. They all imply a power to obey. If not possessed, yet attainable — if not in nature, yet in grace. Now, men may enjoin what is really impossible; but God never does.

II. THE ADVANCEMENT OF CHRISTIANS IN THE DIVINE LIFE. For Christians are now on their way from Egypt to Canaan. An old writer says, "A Christian should never pitch his tent twice in the same place," but with every fresh rising sun there should be some fresh advancement.

1. In order to see the possibility, the propriety, the importance, of thus advancing in the Divine life, turn to the commands of the Scriptures, "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." "Add to your faith virtue," etc.

2. Then turn to the advantages of progression in your Christian course; for, as you advance, you will improve, and will rise higher in Divine attainments. As you advance, you are "changing from glory to glory." Every step you take adds to your dignity; every step adds to your usefulness, and enables you more to adorn the "doctrine of God your Saviour in all things," and to recommend His service to those around you. Every step you take adds to your comfort; it adds to the evidences of your state, and to your character; and so far exemplifies the words of the Saviour, "Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples"; appear as such, and exemplify yourselves as such.

III. Let us consider this command in reference to THE PROGRESS OF TIME. Time is always advancing; the hour-glass, the day, the week, the year — all go forward. And do they leave you behind? No; you advance with as much speed as the vessel which bears you along. You are not, therefore, to consider us here as exhorting you to go forward with time, but how to go forward, and in what way you ought to advance.

1. "Go forward" with humbleness of mind, not strutting into the new year, as if you had been acting wisely, worthily and meritoriously, throughout the year that is past; but "clothed with humility," and "walking humbly with your God."

2. "Go forward with gratitude in the remembrance of His mercies." Have they not been "new every morning"?

3. "Go forward" under a sense of present aid, in opposition to complainings and murmurings.

4. "Go forward" also with a firm confidence as to what may befall you in the future.

5. "Go forward" with earnest and constant prayer.

6. "Go forward" with frequent thoughts of your journey's end: for it will have an end, and you are brought one year nearer to it.

(W. Jay.)

I. THE CHARACTER AND COURSE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

I. These circumstances of Israel, illustrating the spiritual character and course of those who form the new-covenant Church, may apply to them as they are redeemed and called out of the world.

2. The circumstances of Israel apply to those who form the spiritual Church of God, as their redemption and calling out of the world are connected with a career of pilgrimage to a state of future happiness.

II. THE IMPEDIMENTS EXISTING TO THE CONTINUANCE OF THEIR PROGRESS.

1. An impediment is found, in the actual presence of adversaries, and the view of the danger which thence appears to exist.

2. An impediment is found also, in the fears excited by the prospect of future perils and opposition.

3. An impediment is found also, in the guilty remembrances of past ease and enjoyments.

III. THE COMMAND UNDER WHICH THEY ARE PLACED, AND WHICH IS CONNECTED WITH POWERFUL EXCITEMENTS TO OBEDIENCE. "Forward," is a word comprehending what must be the exclusive spirit of the Christian calling. Perils, foes, and fears, are not to be regarded; above them all, the mandate sounds its imperious note — "Go forward."

1. Let us reflect on the danger of return.

2. Let us reflect on the sufficiency of the Divine protection.

3. Let us reflect on the value of the possessions, by the enjoyment of which our progress is to be closed.

(J. Parsons.)

I. THE SITUATION OF THE ISRAELITES. It is no uncommon thing for many past mercies to be lost in one present perplexity.

II. THE CONDUCT OF MOSES. We see here —

1. Piety.

2. Meekness.

3. Faith.

III. THE INTERPOSITION OF JEHOVAH. It was most seasonable and beneficial. Conclusion: It is plain that such an admonition as this in the text, must not be indiscriminately urged. It belongs to Christians. To as many as are of this character, we affectionately say, Go forward. More particularly.

1. You are engaged in a high spiritual pursuit. Your object now is, the acquisition of scriptural knowledge; not the knowledge of froth and folly; the cherishing and improving of religious impressions; not to stifle and strive against them. Your object is to vanquish sin in all its various forms, to make progress in the way of holiness; not to sit down at the entrance of the way. Your object is to increase in spiritual consolation. Much of this is yet to be enjoyed.

2. In this pursuit you must expect difficulties. And be not surprised if you meet with them at the very entrance of your religious course.

3. Notwithstanding difficulties, you must "go forward." Backward you cannot go, but at the hazard of life, at the cost of utter destruction. " If any man draw back, My soul," saith the Lord, "shall have no pleasure in him"; and to lie under the displeasure of the Almighty is to be wretched and undone for ever.

4. In your progress there is much to encourage you. What is there?

(1)The command of God is evident.

(2)The example of others is encouraging.

(3)The guidance which God gives is greatly encouraging.

(4)The refreshments of the way must encourage you.The gospel is food, affording the best support; the promises are a cordial, administering the richest consolation. Divine ordinances are wisely adapted to the same end. The Lord's Supper is a feast, a feast for refreshment. And what shall we say of heaven at the end of your course? The Israelites had the prospect of Canaan, and it encouraged them: the hope of the promised land helped them through many trials. But yours is a much better hope, a much more animating prospect!

(T. Kidd.)

The Hebrew life was a camp-life, and as such is the picture of ours. For a while we rest beneath the shadow of Elim's palm-trees, or lie down beside the green pastures; but ere long the bugle-note of our great Leader's voice is heard, calling us to the onward march.

I. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD SHOWS THAT THERE ARE SEASONS FOR SWIFT OBEDIENCE, AS WELL AS EARNEST PRAYER. "Wherefore criest thou unto Me?" says God. Strange language from the lips of Him who has taught us to be instant in prayer. Even prayer must not be a medium for distrust to unveil itself. Prayer must bespeak faith, not doubt. We want brave hearts, as well as suppliant knees. We must fight against distrust. Doubt is defeat.

II. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD WAS ACCOMPANIED BY EXAMPLE. Men crave leaders — in the State, in the senate, in the field, and in the Church. Fix your eye on the unfaltering Moses. "Forward!" says a voice from the better land.

III. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TEACHES US THAT GOD HIDES DIFFICULTIES TILL THEY COME. They had no forewarning of this event. But God keeps the veil down before each life's future hour. We never know what shall be on the morrow: save that grace will be there if we live, and glory if we die. To-morrow, the fairest lamb in the fold may wander, the most loved friend be gone; the thorn may spring from the pillow, and the garden contain a grave.

IV. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TELLS US THAT WE ARE NOT TO LIVE IN THE PAST. Neither in its successes nor in its sorrows. "Let the dead past bury its dead." Piety should be no fossil relic of past experience. Yesterday's religion will not save us!

V. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD ANSWERS TO THE SPIRITUAL INSTINCTS OF THE SOUL. Forward! Not to the grave, but through the grave. The Christian revelation gives us the principles of progress, and opens up the sphere for their exercise, by its unveiling of the immortal state.

VI. THE CALL TO GO FORWARD TELLS US THAT WE HAVE SUPERNATURAL ASSISTANCE TO GO FORWARD. When in our earthly life, God calls us to human progress, what aids He gives us in fellowship, friendship, and love! And when in a spiritual sense God says, Go forward, He does not leave us to ourselves. Go back to your first Communion — to brotherly sympathy and prayer — to tender help from hearts that now rest. What a way it has been!

(W. M. Statham, M. A.)

1. Going forward supposes difficulty. You will find sometimes the path to be steep and uneven, rugged and rough. None but the brave go forward. The way, though right, is not always smooth and pleasant, charmed with music and song and perfumed with the fragrance of flowers, but much of a contrary kind. This is true of every enterprise in which men are engaged where either fame or opulence are sought. Thus, a man will be a successful painter, sculptor, mechanic, or merchant. Napoleon said of Massena that he was not himself till the battle began to go against him; then, when the dead began to fall in ranks around him, awoke his powers of combination, and he put on terrors and victory as a robe. So it is in rugged crises, in unweariable endurance, and in aims which put human sympathy out of question that the angel is shown. Nothing is gained that is worth the having without difficulty. Things easily got readily go.

2. To go forward implies decision and energy. Indecision is relaxing to the moral nature, it weakens, and has often proved fatal to the deepest interests in some of life's most solemn crises. To swing this way and that, like the pendulum of the clock in the plane of its oscillation, without making any advance forward, is most pitiable in a man. A French orator says, "Indecision of movement shows lack, both in mind and heart; to wish and not to wish, is most wretched; he who hesitates, totters, falls back, and is lost." Then, what is needed to secure true advancement is energy, decision of character, force, concentration, the power to will and to execute. And this implies having an aim, a definite object before us, and fixing the mind on that, moving steadily, unfalteringly towards its attainment; to know where we are going, looking to the grand final results, and measuring our steps accordingly.

3. To go forward implies patient endurance. The march sometimes will be slow and weary — you will not always be able to go with "alacrity and delight," nor shall you find it "all glory going to glory." Times will be when the apostle's saying will have a deep significance — "Ye have need of patience"; and when obedience to the injunction — "In patience possess your souls," will be the highest point of heroism. Times when the way is dark and slippery, and adverse forces combine to stop your progress, and when, if you can move at all, it will be but a step at a time.

4. This going forward implies an object. Something before and above us as yet, and that may be attained to and won by diligent toil, application, study, and earnest pressing after. This, then, is the grand end of all going forward — the attainment of glory. It is not now, nor here, but beyond and above.

(J. Higgins.)

I. First, we will contemplate THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AS A FLOCK OF FUGITIVES; and in this light they give encouragement to trembling sinners, flying from the curse of the law and from the power of their sins. You are trying to escape from your sins; you are not, as you used to be, a contented bondsman. You have been flying as best you could from sin; but the whole of your sins are after you, and your conscience with its quick ear can hear the sound of threatening judgment. "Alas!" your heart is saying, "unless God help me, I shall be in hell." "Alas!" says your judgment, "unless God be merciful, I shall soon perish." Every power of your manhood is now upon the alarm. Now, what shall I do for you? Shall I pray for you? Ay, that I will. But, methinks, while I am praying for you, I hear my Master saying, "Wherefore criest thou unto Me?" Tell them to go forward; preach Christ to them, instead of praying any longer, or bidding them pray. Deliver to them the message of the gospel — "Forward, sinner, forward to the Cross!"

II. Secondly, we may view the great company who came out of Egypt as AN ARMY UNDER COMMAND; therefore, they must obey. The command given to them is, "Forward!" "Sir, I have begun to be a Christian, but, if I continue in it, I shall lose my business. My calling is such that I cannot be honest in it, and serve my God faithfully. What ought I to do? Ought I not to give up my religion?" Forward I no matter what is before you. Forward! you are not fit to be a soldier of Christ unless you can count all costs, and still hold fast to the Cross of Christ. "Ah!" says one, "but what is to become of my children, my household?" Friend, I cannot tell thee, but God can. It is thine to trust them with Him, for the only command I have for you is, Forward! forward! "But my husband says, I shall never come into the house again; my father tells me he will turn me out of doors." Be it so, no one pities you more than I do; but I dare not alter my message to your soul. "Go forward!" "Well," says one, "these are hard commands." Yes, but the martyrs had harder still.

III. Let us view these people as ON THE MARCH TOWARDS CANAAN. Many of you are on your way towards heaven, and the Lord's command to you is "Forward! forward!" There are some persons who cannot be persuaded to make an advance in the Divine life. We ought to go forward in —

1. Knowledge;

2. Faith;

3. Fellowship with Christ;

4. Work for our Master.

IV. To CHRISTIANS IN TROUBLE our text is applicable. The children of Israel were in a trial into which God had brought them; and it is an absolute certainty, that if God brings you in, He will bring you out. He never did take a saint where he must of necessity perish. What is to be done now? God's word is — "Forward!" God shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

V. THE ISRAELITES WERE UPON A DIVINE MISSION. They were going up to slay the Canaanites. Preaching is the great weapon of God for pulling down strongholds; it will pull down the hugest blocks of stone the enemy can pile together, I would I could make every member of this Church feel in earnest about doing good.

VI. Soon you and I will stand on the brink of Jordan's river; the deep sea of death will roll before us; trusting in Jesus, we shall not fear the last solemn hour. We shall hear the angel say, "Forward!" we shall touch the chilly stream with our feet, the flood shall fly, and we shall go through the stream dry-shod.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is the first step that costs. When the Israelites came up to the Red Sea, the command of God was: "Speak to the Children of Israel that they go forward," The command is peremptory. It admits of no delay. "Go forward." Death is behind you. Hell followeth hard after you. There is no salvation in retreat, Heaven lies before you, not behind. No man ever saved his soul by relapsing into indifference.

1. Perhaps you say, "I have prayed many a time already, and no blessing has yet come." Will you cease to pray then? Will that bring an answer? How many a soul has quit praying when the door of mercy was just about opening! Go forward.

2. Another one is kept back by fear of ridicule. He cannot stand a laugh. There is a sneer waiting for him at his father's table, or a cutting sarcasm in his countingroom. He wavers before it. Go forward; the sea will open to you, and so will many a heart to cheer you on. You will inspire respect in the very quarters from which you now expect opposition.

3. A third person complains: "I am in the dark; I cannot see my way." Then go forward, and get out of the dark. The determination to do your duty will be attended by a luminous discernment of the path of duty.

4. Unbelief draws back a fourth. There is only one way to conquer doubt. It is, to believe. End the torturing uncertainty by going forward, "looking unto Jesus." The only way to do a thing is to do it. God gives strength to the obedient. He has no promises for cowards, or double-minded vacillating doubters.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

Flying birds are never taken in a fowler's snare.

(Archbp. Seeker.)

And why were they to go forward? Not because there was less danger in the one path than in the other; there was much in both, and apparently more in the advancing than in the retreating path; but because to go forward was the path of duty and the command of God. Certainly advance is the great law of the Christian life, as well as of the universe. All things in nature and history go forward. The stream moves forward, not a wave of it turns back; its every eddy, even, is, in reality, advancing. The winds move forward, pausing, indeed, often on their journey, lingering amidst the locks of the pine, or in the cleft of the rock, but speedily resuming their onward sweep again. The stars — the earth included — move forward, "hasting not, resting not," seeking, it is said, some distant centre. Science, art, philosophy, literature, every species of knowledge, move forward; invention following invention, discovery, discovery; one man of genius eclipsing another, to be in his turn outshone. Time moves forward, oh, how rapidly! and how his vast wings seem to say, as they rush along, "I have an engagement at the judgment seat; I have an appointment in eternity, and I must fulfil it. My King's business requireth haste." Christ Himself never rested. He was never in a hurry, but He was always in haste. The difference between Him and many of His people is, His life was short, and He knew it, and did the most in it; theirs, too, is short, but they know it not, and do not with their might what their hand findeth to do. God Himself even, with all the leisure of eternity, is not losing an hour, but is carrying on His broad plans, with undeviating regularity and increasing swiftness, and surely men should aspire in this respect to be imitators of, and fellow-workers with, God. Christ's religion, too, has been active and progressive; sometimes frozen up for a time like a river, but, like a river, working under the ice, and when spring arrived making up for the time lost by the increased rapidity of its course. And so with the path of the individual; like the river, the winds, the stars, the Eternal Himself, it must advance. Our motto should be "Excelsior." The progress of the Christian, indeed, is often from one difficulty to another; and very idle for him, in this earth, to expect an unvaried course of even moderate peace and happiness. No, no! he only exchanges one difficulty for another. True, there is a difference between the character of the difficulties. In becoming a Christian, a man quits the path of destruction for the Hill Difficulty, midnight for morning twilight, the wrath of a judge for the discipline of a father, the brink of hell for the thorny road to heaven; Pharaoh, the devil's agent, for the Red Sea, which is God's ocean, and through which He cain provide a passage. We are urged forward alike by the command of God, the expectation of rest, and the hope of heaven, Ay! and even there the word of command is to be "Forward!" No more Red Seas, indeed, no wilderness, no battles to be fought, no enemies to be overcome; but still it is an onward course which shall be pursued for ever by the people of God. Heaven would cease to be heaven were this progress to stop. For what is heaven but the fire of the Infinite Mind for ever unfolding itself to the view and reception of God's creatures? We hear of people on earth whose "education is finished." Ah, Christian, thy education shall never be finished! There is only one Being whose education was ever finished, or, rather, whose education never began — God. All others, having entered on their future abode, are to go onwards, pressing toward the mark, punting, running, hoping, believing, loving more and more, throughout the ages of eternity. All difficulties, we should remember, will yield to faith, prayer, and perseverance.

(G. Gilfillan.)

Livingstone, having broken fresh ground among the Bakh-atlas, wrote to the Directors of the London Missionary Society, explaining what he had done, and expressing the hope that it would meet with their approval. At the same time he said he was at their disposal "to go anywhere — provided it be FORWARD." Pushing through obstacles: — What won't, must be made to. On these wintry days, when I cross the ferry to New York, I sometimes see large thick cakes of ice lying across the path of the boat. They will not take themselves out of the way; so the pilot drives the copper-cased bow of his boat squarely against the ice-floes, cleaving them asunder. If they will not get out of the way, they must be made to, and the propelling power within is more than a match for the obstacles without. That is a fine passage in the "Pilgrim's Progress" where Christian approaches the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and hears the howlings of the dragons, and sees the "discouraging clouds of confusion" hanging heavy and black over the horrible place. He does not flinch an instant. Crying out "I perceive not but that this is my way to the desired haven," he pushes his way through the frightful fiends and past the mouth of the burning pit. The road to heaven is full of obstacles. They lie right across every sinner's path, and like the ice-floes around the boat, they will not remove themselves. An energetic young man who starts life with a pile of hindrances at his bow, understands that the battle of life is to smash through them. David Livingstone, when a factory boy, and fastening his school books on his loom to study Latin, was practising this process. You have to contend with a depraved heart. It is just in the condition of a clock whose inner works are a heap of disordered wheels and springs. They can be repaired, and the clock will go. Your soul is dislocated and disordered by sin. The Divine hand that made it can mend it. Sinful habits, long indulged, are obstacles in your way. They are tendencies of the mind strengthened by frequent repetition. If you have not any such horrible habits as swearing, or cheating, or hard drinking, you have formed the habit of refusing all Christ's rich offers of salvation. This has been a hardening process — as the cart-wheels made a hard beaten road across certain fields of my grandfather's farm. Persistent push is indispensable to your salvation. To enter into the strait gate requires striving. To overcome obstacles requires might in the inner man, and that comes from the Holy Spirit. Dr. Spencer tells us of a man who once came bursting into his inquiry-meeting in almost breathless excitement. The poor man had been walking back and forth between his own door and the meeting, until at last he said, "I am determined to go into that inquiry-room or die in the attempt." In that fierce fight with a wicked heart, he not only had to call on God's help, but he said after. wards — "If you expect God to help you, you must be perfectly decided."

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

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