Isaiah 35:8
And there will be a highway called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel it, only those who walk in that Way--and fools will not stray onto it.
Sermons
The King's HighwayAlexander MaclarenIsaiah 35:8
The Lord's HighwayR. Tuck Isaiah 35:8
Weak Hands and Feeble KneesCharles Haddon Spurgeon Isaiah 35:8
Christianity Finally TriumphantJ. Parsons.Isaiah 35:1-10
Christmas BlessingsJosiah Batsman, M. A.Isaiah 35:1-10
Glories of the Messianic AgeE. Johnson Isaiah 35:1-10
Life Out of DeathJ. R. Miller, D. D.Isaiah 35:1-10
NativityW. Jones, M. A.Isaiah 35:1-10
The Blessings of the GospelG. F. Pentecost, D. D.Isaiah 35:1-10
The Desert BlossomingA. Smellie, M. A.Isaiah 35:1-10
The RoseW. Houghton, M. A.Isaiah 35:1-10
The RoseP. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 35:1-10
The Transformative Field and Force of the GospelHomilistIsaiah 35:1-10
The Wilderness Made GladJames Foote, M. A.Isaiah 35:1-10
TransformationJ. Kay.Isaiah 35:1-10
The Way to ZionW. Clarkson Isaiah 35:8, 9
HighwaysSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 35:8-10
Holiness Can be Understood by the UnletteredW. G. Pascoe.Isaiah 35:8-10
Holiness, Under the Old Dispensation and Under the NewW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Isaiah 35:8-10
Simplicity of the Religion of JesusW. H. H. Murray.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Appian Way and the Highway to HeavenT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Highway of HolinessW. Hay Aitken, M. A.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Highway of HolinessM. G. Pearse.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Highway of the King of KingsE. Girdlestone, M. A.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Holy RoadIsaiah 35:8-10
The King's HighwayHomiletic ReviewIsaiah 35:8-10
The King's HighwayW. J. Chapman, M. A.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Pilgrim and His DestinationJ. N. Norton.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Road to the CityT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Way of Salvation PlainIsaiah 35:8-10
The Way to HeavenDavid Russell.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Way to HeavenW. S. Smart.Isaiah 35:8-10
The Way to ZionC. Bradley, M. A.Isaiah 35:8-10
The outward incidents of the Jewish people have a singularly dose correspondence with the inward experiences of human souls in Christian times. The captivity in Egypt and also that in Babylon find their analogue in the state of spiritual bondage which is the constant penalty of sin. The way back to Jerusalem stands for our homeward pilgrimage as we travel to the city of the blessed. As here described, there are several features in which the one answers strikingly and instructively to the other.

I. THE HIGHWAY TO THE HEAVENLY CITY. In all his dealings with man God has been constructing a highway from bondage to spiritual freedom, from sin to holiness, from guilty selfishness to sacred service, from utter ruin to complete salvation, from earth to heaven. He was engaged in this beneficent, Divine procedure when he spake to us through the patriarchs, when he instituted the Law, when he gave to us his prophets. And he completed this "way" when he "sent forth his Son." Jesus Christ had so much to do with preparing for us the highway to the heavenly city that we appropriately speak of him, as indeed he spoke of himself, as actually being the Way itself (John 14:6). He, the Truth, is the Way by which we have a knowledge of God and of his will. He, the Mediator, is the Way by which we ourselves come into close spiritual contact with God himself. He, the Propitiation, is the Way by which we ascend to forgiveness and reconciliation. He, the Life, is the Way by which we rise 'into loving union with, and growing likeness to, and ultimate preparedness for, the Divine Father.

II. THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HEAVENWARD WAY.

1. Here is that which is paradoxical, but true withal; for this homeward way is characterized by breadth. It is the broad "highway," the open road, along which all travelers are free to pass. There is no such exclusiveness about it as is often found in the ways we construct. It is for all classes of society, for all nations and races of mankind, for men who have lived all kinds of human lives, for men of all tempers and dispositions; the "King's highway" has ample room for them all.

2. But it is also, strangely though not inconsistently, characterized by narrowness. "And a way," i.e. a path, an elevated and narrow causeway along which only one or two can walk abreast. About this way of life there is a narrowness of its own (see Matthew 7:13, 14; Luke 13:24).

(1) Its gateway can only be entered by one at a time. Men do not enter into the kingdom of God in regiments or companies, but as separate and individual souls (see Galatians 6:5).

(2) No man can enter in swollen with pride, or carrying his vices with him, or wrapped round with selfishness. It is "the way of holiness," "the unclean shall not pass over it."

3. It is also characterized by directness. A man, "though a fool, shall not err therein." There is no serious difficulty here. Mysteries there are which are insoluble, but these can be left alone - they will keep for a future time. But what the will of God is in Jesus Christ, how he would have us order our life, what manner of men we ought to be in order to please him, - this is as clear and plain as it could be. The little child, the man who is little better than "a fool," need not miss his way in travelling to the heavenly city.

III. THE IMMUNITY AND THE COMMUNION OF THE WAY.

1. Immunity. "No lion shall be there." Not that there is no adversary to be found in the way to Zion. The evil one himself, as a roaring lion, haunts the path of life. But there will be found no temptation which belongs peculiarly and especially to the heavenward way, as is the case with other paths. In the path of financial success is the lion of covetousness or avarice; in the path of fame is that of vanity; in the way of professional success is that of complacency, etc.; but in the way of holiness is no especial "lion" which frequents that road. It is morally and spiritually safe.

2. Communion. There is

(1) fellowship with the holy. "The redeemed shall walk there." And there is also and above all

(2) fellowship with God himself; with the Divine Friend of man. "He shall be with them" (marginal reading); he shall be with them - he "Leader of faithful souls, and Guide of all who travel to the sky." C.







And an highway shall be there.
are among the characteristic features of civilisation in a country, since they are the means of regular and easy communication between the opposite parts, and especially of all with the capital; but in times of foreign invasion they fall first into the power of the enemy, and are most completely deserted by the inhabitants (Judges 5:6); and in Judaea, or any other country where wild beasts still exist, these keep aloof from the roads as long as they are kept open by traffic, but reappear in them if unfrequented, as in the story of the old prophet who met the lion on the way from Bethel. And this highroad shall not only be so well marked and made that the most ignorant and inexperienced shall keep his way there without difficulty, but neither shall it be appropriated by the unclean heathens, nor stopped by any roaring lion, — any Sennacherib, or spiritual archetype of Sennacherib. It shall be called, for it shall really be, "the holy way," the road set apart for the use of Jehovah's own chosen and consecrated people, whom He has redeemed and brought back from bondage; it shall be entirely for those.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

In describing the happiness of the Christian pilgrim, the prophet looks to the natural inconveniences of a wilderness, which are chiefly three — the want of water, the want of proper roads, and exposure to danger, particularly from beasts of prey; and he meets these with corresponding promises of abundance of water, an excellent highway, and complete protection.

I. THE NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF THIS WAY PREPARED FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD, in their journey heavenward.

1. It is a way of Divine appointment, being like the king's highway, established by authority.

2. Like a highway, this path is designed for general use.

3. This way is denominated, "The way of holiness," or, the separated way. "Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate," &c. The path of Christians is not merely a new path, among the many with which the broad way is filled. They have not changed one mode of sinning for another — they have chosen the way of holiness.

4. The prophet says, further, of the way to Zion, "the unclean shall not pass over it." When the Israelites left Egypt, a mixed multitude went with them (Exodus 12:38). This mixed multitude a great snare to Israel.

5. This is a way remarkable for its plainness, and there is also the privilege of a guide (ver. 8, marg.)

II. THE REFRESHMENT AND COMFORTS PROVIDED FOR CHRISTIANS BY THE WAY. "And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water," &c. Give a thirsty man what you may, if you do not give him what will assuage his thirst, you have not relieved him. There must be a suitableness in the object to his state, else it cannot profit him.

III. THE COMPLETE PROTECTION AFFORDED THEM. Is not the pilgrimage of Christians a journey of danger? But though the highway to Zion is through the habitation of the most ferocious of animals, yet those beasts of prey, though on the right hand and on the left, shall not enter on this highway. While the redeemed keep this way, they are safe: it is only when they leave it, that they are in danger. We have no example in Scripture of the Lord forsaking His people while they kept this way. The history of the people of Israel furnishes an illustration of this subject. Their males were required to go up to Jerusalem three times a year, to observe the great festivals of the law. Now, on such occasions, they had to leave their frontiers, their wives and children, and all their property, exposed to surrounding enemies. But God gave them a promise, that no man should desire their land, when they went up to appear before Him thrice in the year (Exodus 34:24). Accordingly, though they were surrounded by the most hostile nations, not a man of them felt the least inclination to touch a thing that belonged to Israel, so long as the law of God was observed. But when Israel forsook the law of their God, and had recourse to the help of idols and of men for their security, then the restraint which had been put upon their enemies was removed, and their land became the prey of invaders.

(David Russell.)

I. This road of the text is THE KING'S HIGHWAY. In the diligence you dash on over the Bernard Pass of the Alps, mile after mile, and there is not so much as a pebble to jar the wheels. You go over bridges which cross chasms that make you hold your breath; under projecting rock; along by dangerous precipices; through tunnels adrip with the meltings of the glaciers, and, perhaps for the first time, learn the majesty of a road built and supported by governmental authority. Well, my Lord the King decided to build a highway from earth to heaven. It should span all the chasms of human wretchedness; it should tunnel all the mountains of earthly difficulty; it should be wide enough and strong enough to hold fifty thousand millions of the human race, if so many of them should ever be born. It should be blasted out of the "Rock of Ages," and cemented with the blood of the Cross, and be lifted amid the shouting of angels and the execration of devils. The King sent His Son to build that road. He put head and hand and heart to it, and after the road was completed, waved His blistered hand over the way, crying, It is finished.

II. This road spoken of is A CLEAN ROAD. Many a fine road has become miry and foul because it has not been properly cared for; but the unclean shall not walk on this one.

III. The road spoken of is A PLAIN ROAD. "The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." That is, if a man is three-fourths an idiot, he can find this road just as well as if he were a philosopher. The pardon is plain. The peace is plain. Everything is plain.

IV. The road to heaven is A SAFE ROAD. "No lion shall be there."

V. The road spoken of is A PLEASANT ROAD. God gives a bond of indemnity against all evil to every man that treads it. "All things work together for good to those who love God." No weapon formed against them can prosper.

VI. THIS WAY ENDS IN GLORY. I do not care how fine a road you may put me on, I want to know where it comes out. "The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion," &c.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

I. THE WAY ITSELF. There is only one way that leads to heaven.

1. Jesus Christ is the way.

2. It is by faith that we enter into, and make progress in this way.

II. THE EXCELLENCY OF THIS WAY. Christ is divinely, infinitely excellent.

III. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO ARE WALKING IN THIS WAY.

1. They are all, by nature, in the same circumstances with the rest of mankind.

2. From this situation they are redeemed by the obedience and death of the Son of God.

3. They are all holy persons.

4. They are constant, regular, and progressive in the way of holiness — they walk there.

5. They are all happy persons. They "come to Zion with songs," &c.

(W. S. Smart.)

Homiletic Review.
I. THE FEATURES OF THE WAY.

1. An open way though narrow.

2. A holy way though gladsome.

3. A safe way though simple.

II. ITS TRAVELLERS.

1. The Lord of the way Himself (see margin).

2. His ransomed ones. Good company, sympathetic, pilgrim songs and converse.

3. Angel-escort. Jacob. "He shall give His angels charge... to keep thee in all thy ways."

III. ITS TERMINATION. Path of just brighter to "completion of day." Heavenly Jerusalem Zion's templed hill. Farewell to pilgrim's staff and worn sandals. Welcome endless rest, wide open gates, greetings of the glorified, the bosom of God, and coronation of joy.

(Homiletic Review.)

Viewed as a description of the way of salvation through Christ, this prophecy calls upon us to consider —

I. THE TRAVELLERS of whom it speaks.

1. They were once journeying along a very different path. They are called "the redeemed," and the term implies that they were once in bondage. This is the natural condition of us all.

2. But these travellers have been delivered from this state of bondage.

3. There are three ways of redeeming a captive — by exchange, by a forcible rescue, or by ransom. It is by the last of these that the people of God are here said to have been liberated.

II. THE WAY along which they are journeying.

III. THE HOME to which it is leading them. To return to Zion implies, in the first instance, to be admitted into the visible Church of God, and to a full participation of all its privileges. But it implies also much more. It directs our eyes upward to that holy hill on which the heavenly Jerusalem is built, the city of the living God.' Of this unseen residence of the just, the earthly Zion was a type; and we may find it a profitable subject of meditation to trace —

(1)The resemblance;

(2)the contrast between them.

1. The hill of Zion was the peculiar residence of God. There His temple was erected, and there the mercy-seat, the visible symbol of His presence, stood. In heaven also Jehovah has a temple, and "the way of holiness" leads to it.

2. The Jews were taught to regard their sacred mountain as the source of all their blessings. When salvation was promised them, it was to come "out of Zion"; when they were to be strengthened and blessed, "the Lord out of Zion" was to strengthen and bless them. Hence we find Daniel turning towards Jerusalem when he prayed in Babylon, and Jonah looked towards the holy temple of his God when he cried amidst the waves for deliverance. And what real happiness is there, which comes not from above?

3. Zion also was the place in which the people of the Lord assembled. And who can describe the blessedness which will flow from the fellowship of heaven?

4. The earthly Jerusalem was a splendid city; "beautiful for situation, and the joy of the whole earth, was mount Zion"; but even in the height of her greatness, when the glory of the Lord rested on her tabernacle, she afforded but a poor emblem of the heavenly city. At the time, however, to which the words of the prophet primarily relate, the contrast was peculiarly striking. The Zion to which the liberated Jews so joyfully returned, was "a wilderness, and Jerusalem a desolation." And where is Jerusalem now? Where is its temple? The heavenly Zion, however, knows no destruction and fears no change. It is "a city which hath foundations"; an abiding city.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

I. THE KING'S HIGHWAY IS A PLAINLY MARKED ROAD. In the Bible we have an accurate map of the country and all its roads. From first page to last, one name is conspicuous — Jesus Christ.

1. There is the great Patriarchal road; travelled by Adam; in bad repair in Noah's time; a broad way of promises to Abram, who travelled along it out of Ur; broader still to his children.

2. Then there is the great Mosaic road. Great pains taken to make it a good road; scores of workmen, called laws, upon it; hedges of immense height to keep people from the dangerous jungles of heathendom. Sign-posts everywhere. Most people murmured at it as rough or steep. But some, like Moses and Aaron, and Caleb and Joshua, saw "Christ" written up all along the way; upon their sacred buildings and altars; upon their religious teachers; even upon the garments of the people.

3. By and by the road widened into the great Prophetical road. David and Solomon, Isaiah and Jeremiah, and others, repaired the road. But after their time the road was sadly neglected. Few were found upon it. The fences were broken, and the people wandered in by-paths, until things became so bad that it seemed as though the road would be shut up altogether.

4. But "suddenly" (Malachi 3:1) the King sent and put it into a thorough state of repair, so that it was like a new road, and it was called "the new and living way"; and though very rugged and narrow at times, it has always,, been kept open until this day.

II. THIS HIGHWAY IS "THE WAY OF HOLINESS." It leads to God. They who travel along it bear His image. Dwelt in, and led by the Holy Ghost, they exercise themselves to have always a conscience void of offence, so that men can see that they walk holily, justly, and unblameably.

III. THIS HIGHWAY IS A SAFE WAY. "The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."

IV. THIS HIGHWAY IS A WAY OF JOY. "The ransomed of the Lord shall return," &c. The captives of Babylon, concerning whom this was primarily written, rejoiced because they had passed through the wilderness, and had survived the dangers of that journey; because they were re-instated in their former home, and the smile of God once more rested upon them. And we, — delivered from wrath, cleansed from sin, returned from banishment, restored to our proper home in the heart of God, dwelling in peace and safety as members of His household, the church, — have not we abundant cause for rejoicing?

(W. J. Chapman, M. A.)

We can hardly make a greater mistake in our theology than to suppose that the gospel dispensation has been designed by God in order to bring down the standard of the divine claims to the level of human infirmity: So far from this being the case the gospel dispensation has been inaugurated and designed specially in order that human infirmity may be raised to the level of the divine claims. The prophet was looking forward, as it would seem, to the glories of the Christian dispensation, and this was the characteristic of this new era that he contemplated with the most complete satisfaction: "An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness." But it may occur to some to ask, "Had there been no knowledge of the 'way of holiness' under previous dispensations? Does holiness of life belong only to the gospel age?" I reply, Undoubtedly there were holy and humble men of heart before the Incarnation — men who lived in advance of their age. These were the bold pioneers of spiritual progress, who made their way through the pathless forest and the trackless wastes ere the King's great highway was opened for our feet. It was with them as with the pioneers of civilisation in our own days. Hardy travellers have made their way right across the continent of Central Africa, exploring in almost all directions the vast and unknown region; but there is no highway across the continent of Africa: and those, therefore, who have crossed it, or attempted to do so, have had to face great and untold difficulties, and endure a vast amount of hardship and privation. By and by, if the world lasts long enough, and civilisation progresses, there may be a grand trunk road right across that continent, and by and by perhaps railways may be laid, and easy communication established, with that remote and barbarous region. It is even so with regard to the highway of holiness. Before the Christian dispensation earnest and devoted men attained to various degrees of holiness, but the King's highway to holiness was not yet open. It was not yet revealed to the world what true and perfect holiness was, nor how we are to rise to it. "Righteousness" rather than holiness was set forth in the law. It needed the Incarnation of the Son of God to reveal it to man. And not until the Word of the Father was clothed in human form, and lived among His fellow-men in fashion as a man, did human eyes contemplate the true ideal of holiness, the standard and type of absolute perfection. In the life and conduct of Christ that standard was embodied and revealed; by the death and resurrection of Christ the spiritual power was secured to us by which it becomes possible for us to rise to the level of conduct so indicated. The highway of holiness was thus opened; and it now becomes possible for "the wayfaring men, though fools," to walk therein. There are two thoughts, then, specially suggested to our minds in this connection.

1. In order to open the high. way of holiness it was necessary that a perfect example should be given to mankind, so that men could understand what perfect holiness means; and that has been presented to us in the human life of Jesus.

2. Christ also imparts to us the secret of all true spiritual power by bringing us into close and blessed connection with God. The same power which rendered it possible for Jesus Christ as a man to be perfectly holy is thus brought within our reach by the Incarnation, and death and resurrection, of Jesus Christ. Thus we may say, not only have we the map and the chart of the highway of holiness placed in our hands, but also the highway itself opened up to us by the communication of a spiritual ability to tread therein. But if those advantages are real, they carry with them enhanced responsibilities.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

Let us consider some of the characteristics of the life of holiness to which the prophet here calls our attention, and the conditions which are attached to the right of way.

I. It is the WAY OF THE PURIFIED. "The unclean shall not pass over it." Until we are cleansed from our "old sins" we are not in a position to pass over the King's highway of holiness. Some people who desire to live holy lives are no better than legalists. They cannot love much, because they have not had much forgiven them; thus they lose the true motive of a Christian life, while they are crippled in their efforts to attain to the proper standard of holiness, both by the weight of unforgiven sin and by absence of that spiritual power which flows to us through reconciliation. We must pass through the gate before we can pass along the way, and that gate is the Cross, where the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Nor is it difficult to find a mason for this necessity. Indeed, this passage gives us a sufficient reason if we are to accept the marginal rendering — "For He shall be with them." It is quite true that Jesus Christ was the Friend of publicans and sinners; but He was their Friend because He saved them from their sins. And it is so now; those only who hate their sins, and who come to Christ to be delivered from their sins, can walk along the highway of holiness, because He is sojourning with those who sojourn there, and He cannot walk with the unclean. But having called attention to this statement as a reason for the necessity of cleansing, let us now dwell upon it as a characteristic of the way of holiness, and of the experience of those who pass along it.

II. The highway of holiness is THE PATH OF FELLOWSHIP WITH THE DIVINE. When Christ was here on earth He ever moved along this way, and He is still to be found there by those who pass along it. Indeed, so closely is His presence and our fellowship with Him connected with true spiritual holiness, that we can scarcely say whether the holiness is the fruit of the fellowship, or the fellowship the effect of the holiness. It is only while we walk in the light, as He is in the light, that we have fellowship with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. These two elements in our experience act and react upon each other.

III. It is THE WAY OF RIGHT DIRECTION. "Wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Here is a promise that may well comfort us in the perplexities of life. The reason why we make such great mistakes as we sometimes do is surely that we get off the King's highway of holiness. We begin to pursue our own pleasure, or to gratify our ambition, or, we seek to please other people, and to avoid the cross. But when the wayfaring man is on the highway of holiness this promise will be fulfilled. He may seem to make mistakes, but God will overrule what appears to be a blunder to His own glory. There is yet another thought suggested by this clause which may serve to explain some of our errors. The prophet here speaks of those who are fools as being assured of right doctrines. May not one cause of mistakes sometimes be that we are not content to take the place of fools? We feel too much confidence in our own sound judgment and commonsense, and so we scarcely regard it necessary to inquire of the Lord. I do not mean to say that we ought not to use our natural faculties. They are a trust from God, and we are bound to use them. But we are warned not to lean to our own understanding, and he who gives us this advice would have been a much happier man and made much fewer practical mistakes if he had only taken it himself. But there is yet another reason why we sometimes err, suggested to us by this clause. And this other reason brings before our minds the fourth characteristic of the way of holiness.

IV. It is only THE WAY OF RIGHT DIRECTION TO THOSE WHO ARE WAYFARING MEN. Do we not sometimes err because we have so little of the wayfaring man about us? Living as we do in a luxurious age, how many of us surround ourselves with luxury, and lay ourselves out for self-indulgence! We are called to use the world as not abusing it; surely it is the abuse of the world when we allow it to take the place of heaven. There is a quaint old Latin proverb which tells us, "The penniless travellers shall sing before the robbers." No wonder; for what can the robbers take from them? And many a Christian might sing defiance of all enemies — even of the great robber himself, if only we made over our all to its proper Owner, and regarded it as a sacred trust to be used for Him.

V. It is THE WAY OF SAFETY. "No lion shall be there," &c. Is Satan, then, really to lose his power to do us harm? He may come to the hedge which fences in the highway from the rest of the world; he may growl and roar, and do his best to terrify you, but so long as your eye is single, and you are moving on the King's great highway of holiness, the lion cannot lay a paw upon you or inflict a single wound.

VI. It is THE WAY OF JOY. VII. It is THE WAY THAT LEADS HOME.

(W. Hay Aitken, M. A.)

I. Isaiah proclaims that this way shall be A HIGHWAY. Not a way confined, as the Old Testament way was, to one particular people. Not a way confined to any particular class of persons, rich in preference to poor, learned in preference to unlearned. Not a way confined to any particular sect, or any particular communion of persons. But a way open and public to all Then, woe to the man who presumes to set up a turnpike upon this highway. And yet this is what is done. Some would even have us believe that we cannot set our feet upon this way except through the help and invocation of saints and angels. Others tell us that we must have a priest at our elbow. Others say that we must belong to some particular sect of Christians. And others say that we must belong to some particular class of persons, such for instance as the learned. Such are the turnpikes, such are the barriers, which men presume to set up upon the highway of the King of kings.

II. Though it is clear that this way is accessible to all sects, classes, and conditions of men, yet THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION, and that one exception is not due to God, but to man himself. "It shall be called the way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those," viz., for the holy.

III. Here is A SPECIAL INVITATION TO THE WAYFARING MEN — men who have not the advantage of learning, education, and accomplishments. It is the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, without which even the best acquirements are nothing, which makes up to wayfaring men for the absence of all the advantages of learning, education, station, and leisure, which are the privileges of those who occupy the higher grades of life.

IV. On this Christmas Day WE CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF THAT WAY which Isaiah describes.

V. AT THE VERY END OF THIS GREAT VIADUCT IS HEAVEN.

(E. Girdlestone, M. A.)

It is impossible to transport ourselves back to a time when the New Testament was not, and when the civilisation which has come forth from the New Testament had not even been hinted at.

1. In that old time the choicest wisdom of the world did little else than puzzle itself over problems which are now known in their solution to the children in our schools. Whether man was anything more than an animal; whether with the death of his body a man did not cease to be, was an undecided question. But the mystery touching fife was almost as great as the mystery touching death. The best impulses of men to do that which was wise and good had no direction. A hundred teachers taught a hundred different ways of living. The interrogation of ages was: What is truth? Men sought it with a patience that would appal a modern disciple; sought it until they died, and died with the infinite sadness of knowing that all their seeking had been in vain — that they were no wiser than they were when they started their career of investigation.

2. The duty of all men that teach or can teach is to make things plain, simple, easily discerned by the popular perception, readily felt by the popular conscience, and easily appropriated by the popular emotion. It was largely because the language of Jesus was easily understood, and hence sympathetic, that the common people heard Him so gladly.

3. Well, the old prophet, looking along the fine of his craving, in which he represented the craving of humanity, the craving for light as to what death meant and of instruction in human duties, saw a happy day ahead. He saw a day when ignorance should give place to understanding, and the fear born of it, and the torment born of the fear, should harass men no more. He saw a day when the way of holiness should be so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, should not err therein; that is, when not only the wise should find it readily, but when those whose intellects were unassisted by education, and whose abilities to discern between right and wrong were not extraordinary, should easily distinguish between good and evil. When Christ was born, the sun arose; when Christ came up from the grave and brought life and immortality to light in His resurrection, the clock of ages struck the hour of mid-day, and the Sun of Righteousness stood full-orbed, armed on all sides with beams, in the spiritual zenith of the world.

4. If you desire to see the fulfilment of the old prophet's prediction, look at your own age, and you behold it. In the fact that the Bible lies waiting perusal in your own homes, see and recognise that the day has come in which all that any man can long for in the way of knowledge as to his duty of life, in the way of the destiny of his soul after death, is realised.

5. The way to judge a system of instruction is not by listening to what men say about it, but by studying what the author of it said and did. If you wish to know what the system of salvation is, as included in the coming of the Christ, go to your New Testament record and ascertain from His own lips what it is.

6. Do not go expecting that His system is mysterious, for we often fail to see the simplicity of a thing, by having a previous impression that it is profoundly complex. This is the old blunder which both Jew and Greek made centuries ago. The ritualists of our day match the Jew, and the man of supreme culture types the aesthetic Greek. If you will go to the Master Himself, and not to His disciples, past or present, you will be struck as much by what is not in His system, as by what is in it.

7. One of the proofs of the fine wisdom of the Saviour is seen in His studiously keeping out of sight whatever would lead the minds of His followers in speculative directions. All questions of casuistry, such as the scribes and lawyers were continually tempting Him to discuss, He brushed aside as incompatible with the object of His mission. He came simply to establish divine connections with men, to teach the race virtues, and implant in their souls the germ of simple piety.

(W. H. H. Murray.)

I. THE WAY to the heavenly Zion, the dwelling-place of God. Zion of old was the place of the one altar of sacrifice and the one mercy-seat, where the Lord in manifest glory communed with His covenant people. Pilgrimage to the holy place was an important part of Israel's religious fife. During the invasions of the land, and especially during the captivity, the solemn festivals were neglected, and there seemed to be no way up to the house of God. Then godly men sighed for the tabernacles of God. How much they longed for a highway by which they could march to Zion! We speak of another Jerusalem which is above.

1. There is a way to God and heaven. It is noteworthy that this road is one, a highway and a way. Many roads lead to ruin, but only one to salvation. Years at the University of Utrecht, several Christian students met together from various nations, and on one occasion it was agreed that four persons, representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, should describe the work of grace upon their hearts. The earnest brother from New England, and the friend from the Cape of Good Hope, and the missionary student from India, all found that their stories agreed with that of a young nobleman of Holland. Scenes and circumstances widely differed, but the joys and sorrows, the struggles and the victories of each, were the same, and one hope filled every heart. We differ in the pace with which we traverse the way, but the way itself is one. Jesus saith, "I am the way." He is not only way, but end to all who put their trust in Him. This way is made through the wilderness: "a highway shall be there" — where the sand is always shifting, where if the traveller once loses his bearings he is doomed to certain death, with the vulture's maw as his only sepulchre. A way is made for us through the deserts of sin, and the wildernesses of sorrow, over hills of doubt and mountains of fear. That way runs close at thy feet, poor wanderer! This way was cast up at great expense; for road-making over a long and rugged country is a costly business. Who could make a way over the mountains of our iniquities but Almighty God? It cost the great God the Jewel of heaven. This road has lasted now these thousands of years; it is still in good travelling condition, nor will it ever be closed till all the chosen wayfarers shall have reached the many mansions of the Father's house. This way, being made by Divine power, is appointed by Divine authority to be the King's highway. Whosoever travels by this road is under the protection of the King of kings. This highway has conducted already to God. It is said to be "a highway and a way": it is not only a highway by appointment, but it is a way by use and traffic.

2. The name of this way. The way of faith is not contrary to holiness, but it is "the way of holiness." If you are ever in a doubt about which is the right path, remember those words of the Saviour: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it." Prefer strictness to laxity. God's way is the way of holiness, for He has founded it upon holy truth. He is not unholy in the saving of any sinner. Those who follow that road do so by a holy trust. We must not believe that Christ will save us in our sins — that would be unholy faith; but we must look to Him to save us from our sins; for that is holy faith. It is also the way of holy living.

3. This way is a select way. "The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those." Literally this may mean, "The uncircumcised and the unclean." These were excluded from the house of the Lord, and here they are excluded from the sacred way of Israel: of this the spiritual meaning is that unless we are washed in the blood of Christ, and renewed in the spirit of our minds by the Holy Spirit, we are not in the way of God. It is a select way, for it is reserved for a select people "it shall be for those." Who are they? Look backward, and you will read of memo who make the wilderness and the solitary place to be glad: of some whoso blind eyes were opened, whose deaf ears were unstopped. You read of the lame men who were made to leap as an hart, and of dumb men who began to sing. This highway is reserved for those upon whom a miracle of grace has been performed. This way is for the ransomed. "The redeemed of the Lord shall walk there." Another fact makes it very select. "He shall be with them" (marg.).

4. It is a plain way. The true Gospel is as plain as a pikestaff.

5. It is a safe way. "No lion shall be there." There is one lion which those who make Jesus their way need never be afraid of: that is, the lion of unpardoned sin. Another lion also roars upon us, but cannot devour us, namely, temptation: you shall not be tempted above what you are able to bear. As for that grim lion of death of which some speak, it does not exist.

II. OUR DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THIS WAY OF HOLINESS.

1. The first thing is carefully to discriminate between road and road. When you see a road which looks broad, smooth, pleasant, and well-bordered with flowers, say to yourself, "There are many ways, but since only one of them leads to eternal life, I must be careful. I will pray, 'Lord, be my guide, even unto death.'" Do not believe that sincerity is enough; you need truth as well.

2. When you know the road, you should scrupulously keep in it, for many ways branch from it.

3. Are we in the way? Then let us be very earnest in telling other people of it. Travelling the other day by a country road the traveller wished to know the way to a certain spot. He inquired of one who sat by the roadside, but all the answer he got from him was a vacant stare, and a shake of the head. A little time after he found that the poor man was deaf and dumb. I am afraid there are many such Christians nowadays: they are spiritually deaf to the woes of others, and dumb as to giving them either instruction or encouragement. All they seem to do is to shake their wise heads, as if they knew a great deal more than they meant to tell. I asked a person, the other day, the road to a certain place, and in the politest possible manner he answered, "I beg your pardon, but I am quite a stranger in these parts." That was a very sufficient reason for not directing me. He could not tell what he did not know. If any of you do not know the way, and are strangers in these parts, do not tell anybody; bat let this mournful reflection go home to your consciences: "I cannot tell another the way to heaven because I am a stranger in these parts." God grant that we may never stretch the arm of our testimony beyond the sleeve of our experience!

4. If you are not in the road, may the Lord help you to get into it this morning.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

You have heard of the Appian Way. It was three hundred and fifty miles long. It was twenty-four feet wide, and on either side the road was apath for foot passengers. It was made out of rocks cut in hexagonal shape and fitted together. What a road it must have been! Made of smooth, hard rock, three hundred and fifty miles long. No wonder that in the construction of it the treasures of a whole empire were exhausted. Because of invaders, and the elements, and Time — the old conqueror who tears up a road as he goes over it — there is nothing left of that structure excepting a ruin. But I have to tell you of a road built before the Appian Way. and yet it is as good as when first constructed. Millions of souls have gone over it. Millions more will come.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

Dean Alford's grave is shaded by an old yew tree in St. Martin s churchyard, and these words are recorded on the headstone: "The Inn of a traveller on his way to Jerusalem."

(J. N. Norton.)

I remember the story of s Swedish king in years gone by who, when he was ill, was greatly concerned about his eternal state. There chanced to come to the palace an old farmer, known to his majesty for his piety; the king called him to his bedside, and said, "Tell me, what is the faith that saves the soul?" The peasant explained it out of his heart in plain language, much to the king's comfort. The king remained ill for months, and again fell into doubt and fear. Those about him urged him to send for the Archbishop of Upsala, as a learned prelate who could allay his fears. The bishop came to the royal couch, and gave his majesty a logical and theological definition of faith in most proper terms. When he was gone the king said, "It was very learned, no doubt, and very ingenious, but there was no comfort in it for me; the peasant's faith is the faith that can save my soul."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

A minister was speaking to a disciple of Jesus, not much versed in the terminology of the schools, on the subject of entire holiness. At last she turned to him and said, "I don't know what you mean in the way in which you speak of it, but if you mean constant readiness for heaven, I've got that." She was a Christian woman, who habitually rested on Jesus for full salvation, and into whose heart there was poured the comfort of conscious readiness to do or suffer God's will, as He might direct.

(W. G. Pascoe.)

is along the commonest road of life — along your very way. In wind and rain, no matter how it beats — it is only going hand in hand with Him.

(M. G. Pearse.)

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