Judges 3:12
Jehovah is spoken of here as if he had become the God of heathen nations. He takes the side of the enemies of Israel, and strengthens them for the subjugation of his own people.

I. THE INSTRUMENT OF CHASTISEMENT IS SPECIALLY PREPARED BY GOD.

II. A VISIBLE SIGN OF DISGRACE EXISTED IN THE CONQUEST OF JERICHO.

III. THE PERIOD OF OPPRESSION WAS MORE THAN DOUBLED. - M.







The Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel.
I. NEW SIN ADDED: "Again"

1. A painful surprise.

2. Deeper guilt. It showed more deliberation in the act of rebellion, more stubborness of will, and greater defiance of the Divine authority. It also implied the heavy guilt of despising all the argument involved in the close and faithful dealing God had with them, in the terrible chastisements He had already brought down on their heads.

3. A perplexing problem to solve. Why should the children of such holy men as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become such incorrigible rebels? This is the puzzle that meets us everywhere in the history of God's Israel.

(1)The people had lost their leader.

(2)Apostasy was due in part to the universal bad example.

(3)Idolatry was their easily besetting sin.

(4)A new generation had sprung up.

(5)The inveterate depravity of the human heart.

II. NEW CHASTISEMENT INFLICTED.

1. The Lord chastises in faithfulness.

2. He makes use of a new rod.

3. He sends a more severe token of His displeasure.We do not know, indeed, that the oppression of the Moabites was heavier than that of the Mesepotamian hordes. Probably there was not much to choose between them. But it was certainly much longer continued. Now it is eighteen years of servitude, whereas formerly it was but eight years. In this respect, the scourge was much more severe, not only because the lash was longer applied, but also because God showed that His ear was more heavy to hear their prayer. It was also a deeper humiliation to be trodden upon by a people whom till now they had despised, from their birth onwards, and who had been accustomed for more than three generations to tremble at the name, and the mention of the God of Israel.

4. He helps His enemies against His own people.

III. NEW EXPRESSIONS OF PENITENCE.

1. In distress they flee to the universal refuge.

2. They had a special plea with God as children of the covenant.

3. Their temporary apostasy did not shut them out from the privilege of prayer.(1) They had a mediator to plead for them in their priesthood, and the continual sacrifices were laid on the altar, as the means of propitiating.(2) Their apostasy was not allowed by their covenant God to become permanent.

IV. NEW DELIVERANCES EXPERIENCED.

1. This deliverance came in answer to prayer.

2. It was brought about by a suitable instrument.

(J. P. Millar.)

Ehud the son of Gera
I. A MAN UNDER GREAT PHYSICAL DISADVANTAGES MAY ACCOMPLISH WONDERS. Ehud was left-handed; and the original implies some serious defect in the right hand. So it has often been. Among poets, the three greatest of all times were totally blind, viz.: Homer, Ossian, and Milton. Among sculptors: Gambassio could not see the marble or the chisel. Among authors: Pope, the poet, was a wretched invalid. Among preachers: Robert Hall, Richard Baxter, Edward Payson, Samuel Rutherford, and Dr. McAll were all invalids. These men in the battle of life fought with the right hand tied behind them; but they had something better, viz., the spirit of consecration to a righteous and noble life.

II. EHUD TEACHES US TO MAKE THOROUGH WORK OF WHAT BELONGS TO OUR DELIVERANCE FROM SIN. Some are content to cut down sins which may be ranked as kings, princes, and captains: but Ehud slew the common soldiers as well. It is to work as thorough that each of us is called. This is no easy work. But heaven is not to be reached by easy-going people.

III. GOD MAKES READY IN SOME SENSE EVERY INSTRUMENT OF DEATH, AND IS THE SOVEREIGN DISPOSER OF ALL EVENTS. There are three kingdoms — of Nature, of Providence, and of Grace. Of each and all Jehovah is King. In the kingdom of Providence, some of the instruments of death are common sickness, epidemics, accidents in erecting houses, accidents at sea, accidents on the rail-train. These are no accidents! God has perfect right to slay a man either by malaria or by the instrumentality of man. He alone has the keys of the grave.

IV. NOBODY STEPS OUT OF LIFE AS HE EXPECTS. It was so with the king of Moab. Death to him was a great surprise. There was but a step between him and death; but he knew it not. "The unexpected is the probable!" The manner in which we step out of life is pre-eminently unlooked for. If so, we press an inference: Prepare! Be ready! The accepted time is now!

(W.F. Bishop.)

I have a message from God unto thee
I. Before proceeding to the delivery of this message, I would insist upon THE FACT HERE STATED — namely, that I come to you, as a messenger "from God." One chief reason why mankind hear with so much indifference and with so little effect upon themselves, is simply that they fail to recognise that he who thus speaks to them does come from God. Suppose, however, that yonder heaven should open, and that down through the "everlasting gates" and along the fields of air should come an angel burning with celestial glory and should stand suddenly in your midst. Would not your minds be instantly raised to a fixed and reverent attention? Would you not almost seem to hear in the tones and words of the heavenly messenger the very voice of the Mighty One by whom he was sent? But I claim that I as truly come "from God."

II. We pass on then, to THE DELIVERY OF THIS MESSAGE. It is a message from God; there is no place for argument. It is a message to a soul in imminent danger of destruction; there is no room for the play of imagination.

1. Man of the world, absorbed in the occupations of this present life, whatever those occupations may be, "I have a message from God unto thee." "Riches and honours," He declares, "come of Me alone." "Riches," He affirms, "certainly take to themselves wings, they fly away as an eagle toward heaven." "Riches," He warns you, "profit not in the day of wrath." God declares to you, that if you allow mammon to have a higher place in your hearts than Himself and His service, you must expect nothing else but that He will strip you of all your gains when perhaps you least expect it, and render all your labour of none effect. He reminds you that you "can take nothing out" of this world. And He bids me remind you that after death there is a judgment.

2. Young man and young woman just entering life, "I have a message from God unto thee." God bids me tell you that you have in your possession a priceless treasure which He has committed to you to be used for His glory, and for which He will hold you hereafter to a strict account. You are in the possession of sensibilities not yet dead to the influence of His grace. He has afforded you a perfect knowledge of His will, and He has, moreover, brought to bear upon your hearts the power of His Spirit. He tells you that you may squander and lose all the advantages which you now possess, but He warns you of the result.

3. Lukewarm Christian, "I have a message from God unto thee." God bids me tell you, in few words, just what your religion means, and what it is worth. You profess with your lips to serve God, while you plot in your heart how you may serve God and the world. But God tells you that while you imagine you are deceiving Him, He sees through the duplicity, the meanness of your conduct.

4. Daring and impenitent man, you who can violate God's law without a feeling of alarm or remorse, "I have a message from God unto thee." You have travelled far. If ever you repent now, to the saving of your soul, it must be by a severe and terrible struggle. You have trifled with God's mercy, but His justice has abated not one tittle of severity. God, however, sends me once more, to tell you that if you will even now put forth all your strength to break the cords wherewith sin has bound you, He will still vouchsafe to assist and bless you in your endeavours. But if you are deaf to this message, if you will still go on in impenitence and sin if you refuse to be reconciled to Him, He informs you that He "reserveth wrath to His enemies."

(W. Rudder, D. D.)

I. THE TIDINGS I bring to-day are very different from those which Ehud carried to the King of Moab, and my design in delivering them is very opposite to his. He came, evidently, with an hostile intention, and concealed, under his garment, a deadly weapon. The message he brought was a message of vengeance, and though artfully disguised, was to prove fatal to the King of Moab. But the message I bring is a message of peace and goodwill to men, and my intention in delivering it is the most kind and friendly.

1. In the first place, let me beseech you to awake from that slumber and insensibility in which, perhaps, you have too long remained. If you were hanging upon the brink of a precipice, would you not haste away to some place of safety?

2. A second message which I have from God to you is, to intreat you to be reconciled to Him. Will you persist in your enmity to God when He is willing to become your friend?

3. A third message I have got from God to you is to beseech you to kiss the Son; that is, honour, love, and obey the Son lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way. It was the great object of our blessed Lord's ministry to recommend Himself to the affections of men, and to persuade them to come to Him.

4. A fourth message I have from God to you is, that you be prepared to meet Him.

5. A fifth message which I have got from God to you is, that you set your hearts and your house in order, for you must die and not live.

II. I go on to urge you to comply with the gospel message, by a few MOTIVES AND ARGUMENTS.

1. Reflect first on the authority of the Person who sends the message.

2. A second argument to persuade you to comply with the gospel message, is the vast importance of it. It is not of a trifling nature, like a piece of idle news, to which you may listen or not as you please. It is the most interesting which was ever published to mankind. What is the history of all the arts and sciences, when compared with the life and doctrine, with the sufferings and death, with the resurrection and glory of the Son of God? Are they not mere childish tales? And shall we prefer what tends to amuse and entertain us, to what contributes to enlighten and to save us? S. A third argument to engage you to comply with the gospel message is the encouraging and precious promises contained in it. It is suited to our guilt and depravity as sinners, .and to our weakness and imperfection as creatures.

4. One argument more to engage you to comply with the gospel message is, that your ruin is certain and inevitable if you do it not. Perhaps the message I have now delivered you may be the last you ever shall receive; and is not this a strong argument for complying with it?

(D. Johnston, D. D.)

And perhaps you are ready to say, If we were certain you had, we should hang upon your lips with the utmost attention. Have you, indeed, had any immediate communication from heaven concerning us? No. Have you any new revelation to deliver to us? No: and yet, "I have a message from God unto you": that message is in this book — this book that many of you neglect and despise. "I have a message from God unto you." You are all equally interested in it.

I. To THE YOUNG. It may be you start astonished that I begin with you. You fancy I should begin with the aged who are just stepping into the grave. But how do you know they are nearer death than you?

II. I HAVE A MESSAGE FROM GOD UNTO YOU WHO ARE IN THE MERIDIAN OF LIFE. You who are engaged in its active business — ye merchants, ye tradesmen, I have a message from God unto you: "Be careful for nothing," etc. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," etc. "What shall it profit a man, if he should gain," etc.

III. I HAVE A MESSAGE TO THE OLD AND GREY-HEADED: "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." Is that honour yours? "Though you walk through the valley," etc. But are you an aged sinner, a hoary-headed trifler, scoffing at eternity, with one foot in the grave? Alas! alas! I have a message from God unto you: "The Judge standeth at the door." "Behold, I come quickly," etc.

IV. I HAVE A MESSAGE FROM GOD UNTO THE RICH. I have a message of warning: "Charge those that are rich in this world," etc. It is a message of caution: "How hardly shall they that have riches," etc. It is a message of admonition. What says the wise man, "Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?" "Riches make to themselves wings," etc. Are riches the right soil for piety? No — but the most formidable obstruction to its growth.

V. I HAVE A MESSAGE TO THE POOR. Are you poor and pious? Then yours is the kingdom of heaven. "The poor have the gospel preached unto them." The promises of Scripture are principally applicable to the poor.

VI. ARE ANY OF YOU SCEPTICAL? I have a message from God unto you. Are you sincere? Do you really wish to ascertain the truth? I have a message from God unto you: "If any man will do His will," etc., that is the man who shall ascertain the truth, and be emancipated by its freedom. But it is not the man who comes to speculate — who comes to gratify an idle curiosity — who comes cherishing the love of sin; that is not the man who shall know the truth.

VII. IS YOUR MIND DEISTICAL? You want more evidence to prove that this holy book is the Word of God. Do you want mathematical demonstration? It were madness to ask it upon a moral subject. What evidence do you want? Is it evidence of testimony? You have it; and, I venture to say, there is more evidence of the Scriptures than of any other history on the face of the earth. What evidence do you want? Is it the evidence of prophecy? You have it. The Jews, at the present day, are a living and a mighty argument in proof of the truth of the Scriptures. What evidence do you want? Is it the evidence of miracles? That evidence was given in the first ages of Christianity, in order to establish the Divine authority of the Christian system, and, having accomplished it, it is done away; for if miracles had continued to the present hour, they would have ceased to operate in the way of miracles. There is sufficient evidence to justify the ways of God to men in your condemnation, if, after all this evidence, you reject Him.

VIII. Do I SPEAK TO ANY WHO ARE DESPONDING AND PENITENTIAL? What a sudden change! what a delightful contrast! "I have a message from God unto you." "Come, and let us reason together," etc.

(T. Raffles, D. D.)

I. THE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL ARE GOD'S MESSENGERS.

II. THE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL MUST BE FAITHFUL IN DELIVERING THEIR MESSAGE.

III. IF MEN REFUSE TO ATTEND TO THE MESSAGE THUS DELIVERED TO THEM, IT IS AT THEIR OWN PERIL.

IV. A MORE DIRECT APPLICATION OF THE TEXT: "I have a message from God unto thee."

1. To the careless, thoughtless person.

2. To the ungodly and the profane.

3. To the humble and serious inquirer after Divine truth (Hebrews 10:38; Revelations 2:5).

4. To those who, having once known the way of righteousness, are turned from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

5. To him whose heart now labours under a sense of sin; who, being brought to see his guilt and danger, is full of fear, and trembles for the consequences. How shall he escape the sentence of His righteous law? What shall he do to be saved? "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," etc.

6. To the established Christian; the man who, having fled to Christ for refuge, from the guilt and power of sin, has found peace and joy in believing; and being now professedly devoted to the Lord's service, is living in hope of the glory that shall be revealed. "Be faithful unto death," etc. "Be not weary of well-doing." "Grow in grace," and "Let thy profiting appear unto all men."

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

I. GOD'S MESSAGES ARE OF DIFFERENT KINDS.

1. Reconciliation.

2. Repentance.

3. Faith.

4. Life and salvation.

5. Gospel privileges.

6. Special tokens of Divine favour.

7. Deliverances.

8. Warning and threatening.

9. Calls to duty.

10. Commands.

11. Encouragement.

12. Doom.

II. EVERY MAN HAS DIVINE MESSAGES SENT TO HIM PERSONALLY. In the gospel, in the ordinary providence of God, and in the workings of his own conscience.

1. God individualises every man.

2. The wise thing for every man is to act as if he were the only person dealt with.

3. The messages are framed so as to have always an individual application.

III. GOD'S MESSAGES ARE ALWAYS TO BE REVERENTLY RECEIVED.

IV. IT IS DANGEROUS TO TURN A DEAF EAR TO GOD'S MESSAGES.

V. MESSAGES OF GOOD TO THE RIGHTEOUS AND OF EVIL TO THE WICKED OFTEN COME TOGETHER.

VI. GOD SENDS MESSAGES OF MERCY BEFORE HE SENDS MESSAGES OF JUDGMENT.

VII. IT IS OUR DUTY AND OUR WISDOM TO BE ALWAYS READY TO RECEIVE THE LORD'S MESSAGES. Most men are not ready when the message comes (Luke 17:27-30; Luke 12:20; Luke 16:19, with 23; Matthew 25:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 1 Kings 22:26, 27, with 34-37; Proverbs 14:32; Matthew 7:13; 2 Samuel 18:9). Some are ready (Luke 2:29, 30; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Acts 7:59, 60; Hebrews 11:13-16; 2 Corinthians 5:2, 9; 2 Samuel 15:26; Chronicles 23. 5; 1 Samuel 3:18).

(J. P. Millar.)

Can there be any person to whom God has never sent a message? Is He your Creator? And has He made you to drift on the tempestuous sea of life in solitude without compass or guide?

I. MESSAGES FROM GOD. This Bible is in the house of every Englishman. It is "a message from God unto thee." Other messengers you have had. Ought not the kindness and compassion extended to you in providence to have led you to say, "How can I grieve such a God?" Other messages have come to you draped in black. Can you forget the season when life trembled in the scale, and the physician knew not which way it would turn? Another dark messenger has come to you. Death has bereaved you of friends and comrades. Are there those whom thou didst ensnare who have gone their way before thee to feel their terrible remorse? Let the remembrance of them make you pause and think and turn from your sins to the living and true God.

II. THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD IS IN ITSELF A MESSAGE FROM GOD TO YOU. Be sure of this, let our case be what it may, the gospel preached is a message from God to our souls. The hypocrite cannot long attend upon the means of grace without finding that its doctrines are very heart-searching. They pierce his thoughts; they hold a candle up to him, and if he would but look they would expose his desperate condition. The formalists, the men who delight in ceremonies, cannot long frequent God's hallowed courts, where His true ministers proclaim His name, with out perceiving that there is a message from God to them. The most careless spirit will find in the Word a looking-glass held up to his face in which he can see a reflection of himself.

III. If there be such a message as this from God to us, HOW SHOULD WE TREAT IT?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I.THE BEARERS OF THE MESSAGE.

II.THE NATURE OF THE MESSAGE. Ehud.

III.THE DANGER OF NEGLECTING THIS MESSAGE.

(H. S. Plumptre, M. A.)

I.IT IS A MESSAGE OF TRUTH.

II.IT IS A MESSAGE OF LOVE.

III.IT IS A MESSAGE OF PEACE.

IV.IT IS A MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION.

V.IT IS NEEDED BY THEE. This alone is the message humanity needs; it alone meets the breadth and depth and multitude of its necessities. The light of nature is Cimmerian darkness. It reveals your danger, but reveals no means of rescue.

VI. IT IS SUITED TO THEE.

1. It is suited to your ignorance, "making wise unto salvation."

2. It is suited to man's sin, expiating its guilt by the blood of the Cross,

3. It is suited to man's misery.

VII. IT IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE. No want is there in our being which it cannot fill — no multitude it cannot minister to. VIII. IT IS SENT TO THEE.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Think, first of all, of the feelings with which we should expect such a message to be received. For, consider the scene from which that message comes: from God's throne on high. And consider the Presence from which that message emanates — even from our Creator, our Preserver, in whose presence we may at any moment be called to stand. And think next of the effects which we should expect the delivery of such a message to produce — profound attention, deep gratitude, perfect obedience. "A message from God! "Is such a thing possible? Has there ever come to earth, and to us men, a message from God? Surely. The whole world is full of voices of God. The night wears away — the grey light comes stealing on. And the sweet dawn of early day says, "I have a message from God unto thee." To the sick — "I have a message to thee." "There shall be neither sorrow, nor crying... neither shall there be any more pain." To the mourner — "I have a message to thee." "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." To the secret sinner — "I have a message from God unto thee." "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." The day goes on — a clock strikes. "I have a message from God unto thee," it says: "to thee, O careless one. The sands are fast running out — take heed how you waste time." Men are at work in the fields. Suddenly there comes a booming sound, borne towards them on the breezes, "Hark! that's the passing bell." "I have a message from God" — "It is appointed unto men once to die; and after this, the judgment!"

(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)

D. L. Moody was first awakened to an interest in spiritual things while sitting drowsily in Dr. Kirk's church in Boston, by some one suddenly rousing him and telling him that the sermon "meant him."

Ehud... took the dagger... and thrust it into his belly
According to the Septuagint, Ehud was an ambidexter; that is, a man who could use both hands with equal facility. Hector boasted "Many a Greek hath bled by me, and I can shift my shield from right to left." Of the children of Benjamin we read (Judges 20:16). Plato recommended all soldiers to acquire equal facility in the use of both hands. It is evident from all this, as well as from what is known amongst ourselves, that left-handedness has always been considered peculiar, otherwise it would, not have been pointed out as a feature in any case. We never say of a man that he is right-handed, but we do remark upon any man whom we see using his left hand for purposes which are usually assigned to the right.

I. MANY MEN MAY BE DEPENDENT UPON ONE MAN.

1. The one man may be in a better position than the many, and this may account for his influence. Take the case of a besieged city: one man outside the walls may work out the deliverance of the whole, etc.

2. The one man may be able to move about more quickly than the many. Crowds cannot be hurried to any wise action. They soon lose themselves in confusion. They need leadership to give unity and precision to their movements.

3. Specially is one good man more than all the hosts of evil. For the sake of the one God preserves the many.

II. THE INSTRUMENTS CHOSEN OF GOD MAY OFTEN SURPRISE AND DISAPPOINT MEN. God sent a left-handed man to deliver Israel! It seemed like a mockery. In view of this apparent eccentricity of the Divine method we should remember —

1. A man is not a great man merely because he is left-handed. Bunyan was a tinker, but it does not follow that every tinker is a Bunyan. George Whitefield was cross-eyed, but it does not follow that squinting is a condition of good preaching.

2. No man should be condemned merely because he does not take hold of things in the common way. Give every man an opportunity of proving himself.

III. SOME GOOD USE MAY BE MADE OF THE MOST UNLIKELY QUALIFICATIONS. Many are secretly lamenting some peculiarity of temperament, some defect of body, or some circumstance which seems to shut them off from the general band of workers. Let such persons look at the text and take heart again!

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. THE POWER OF LEFT-HANDED MEN. There are some men who, by physical organisation, have as much strength in their left hand as in their right hand; but there is something in this text which implies that Ehud had some defect in his right hand which compelled him to use the left. Oh, the power of left-handed men! Genius is often self-observant, careful of itself, not given to much toil, bringing increase to its own aggrandisement, while many a man with no natural endowments, actually defective in physical and mental organisation, has an earnestness for the right, a patient industry, an all-consuming perseverance, which achieves marvels for the kingdom of Christ. Though left-handed, as Ehud, they can strike down a sin as great and imperial as Eglon. But! don't suppose that Ehud, the first time he took a sling in his left hand, could throw a stone a hair's breadth and not miss. I suppose it was practice that gave him the wonderful dexterity. Go forth to your spheres of duty, and be not discouraged if in your first attempts you miss the mark. There was an oculist performing a very difficult operation on the human eye. A young doctor stood by and said, "How easily you do that — it don't seem to cause you any trouble at all." "Ah," said the old oculist, "it is very easy now, but I spoiled a hat full of eyes to learn that." Be not surprised if it takes some practice before we can help men to moral eyesight, and bring them to a vision of the Cross. Left-handed men, to the work! Take the gospel for a sling, and faith and repentance for the smooth stone from the brook. Take sure aim, God directs the weapon, and great Goliaths will tumble before you.

II. THE DANGER OF WORLDLY ELEVATIONS. This Eglon was what the world called a great man. There were hundreds of people who would have considered it the greatest honour of their life just to have him speak to them; yet, although he is so high up in worldly position, he is not beyond the reach of Ehud's dagger. I see a great many people trying to climb up in social position, having an idea that there is a safe place somewhere far above, not knowing that the mountain of fame has a top like Mont Blanc, covered with perpetual snow. Oh, be content with just such a position as God has placed you in. It may not be said of us, "He was a great general," or "He was an honoured chieftain," or "He was mighty in worldly attainments"; but this thing may be said of you and me, "He was a good citizen, a faithful Christian, a friend of Jesus." And that in the last day will be the highest of all eulogiums.

III. DEATH COMES TO THE SUMMER-HOUSE. Eglon did not expect to die in that fine place. Amid all the flower-leaves that drifted like summer snow into the window; in the tinkle and dash of the fountains; in the sound of a thousand leaves fluttering on one tree branch; in the cool breeze that came up to shake feverish troubles out of the king's locks — there was nothing that spake of death, but there he died! In the winter, when the snow is a shroud, and when the wind is a dirge, it is easy to think of our mortality. And yet my text teaches that death does sometimes come to the summer-house. He is blind, and cannot see the leaves. He is deaf, and cannot hear the fountains. Gather about us what we will of comfort and luxury, when the pale messenger comes he does not stop to look at the architecture of the house before he comes in; nor, entering, does he wait to examine the pictures we have gathered on the wall.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

1. I daresay you think it was a rash thing of Eglon to receive Ehud in private, when he knew very well that the man who asked to see him was one of a people that hated him and longed to be rid of his oppression. And what is more extraordinary in his rashness is that he suffers Ehud to come to him with that great dagger a cubit long on his thigh. It is true that Ehud had a cloak, but I do not think it could altogether have concealed the weapon. I believe the reason why Eglon was easy in mind was this, Ehud had got his dagger slung on the wrong side. He left the fact of Ehud being left-handed entirely out of his calculation, and that was his ruin.

2. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." We have enemies, temptations without and within, to watch against. It is just when, and where, and how you least expect danger, that a fall may come. Take care! be sober! be vigilant l

(S. Baring-Gould, M. A.)

When you see a man with a gift in his right hand, and his dagger concealed where only his left hand could get at it, that man is worth the watching. There is no preacher in the world worth his salt who is not like that. Like Ehud, have the right hand filled with the gift, with the gospel offer and present, if you like, but for God's sake, and for the sake of everything, hit hard with the left! Preaching that does any good is typified in Ehud. The gift, and the gift in the best hand, and the gift put first; but look out for the left, look out for the blow. It is not to be all coddling, and wheedling, and coaxing, and pleading, "Oh!" and "Ah!" and "Won't you come?" There must be the law, the terror, the close-quarters, the words that are daggers, and the daggers driven home, and that unexpectedly. For that is another element in Ehud. Ehud is what we may call a man who does his work in his own way, and therefore he abounds in what I may call "surprise." In the Church, in all our pulpits, in all our active operations for God at home and abroad, would that we had more of the surprise; more unexpected things happening. More men who can work the left hand when the right hand gets tired, And when God sends a surprise-man to us, don't you turn round and find fault with that man. Encourage him; cheer him on. He doesn't do as you do — he does, it may be, the other way; don't find fault with his methods. The test of all preaching styles is, do they hit? Do they go home? Do they minimise man and magnify God? Then they are all right.

(John McNeill.)

They took a key
There are many different kinds of keys in the world, but I think we might select one or two of them, and try if we can make them keys of wisdom, to open our understandings. We shall, then, begin with a small but a very important key, namely —

I. THE WATCH-KEY. The heart of the watch is the mainspring. The watch will not go unless the main spring is right.

II. THE "SAFE" KEY. Two burglars have been trying hard for hours to break into a merchant's safe. At last they give it up as hopeless and make their escape. In due time the merchant opens his shop, and takes a small key out of his pocket, and in less than a minute, and as if by magic, the heavy iron doors swing open. Then he takes out the gold, silver, and other valuables that he only can reach. The Bible is the "safe" of the Christian. Many people look at it, but only a few possess the key and are able to get at the treasures. Some people are so foolish as to deny that there are treasures in the Word of God because they cannot find them.

III. THE HOUSE KEY. To be presented with the key of a house signifies to have liberty to go in and out of that house. Christ speaks of a house of which He is the door (John 10:9). Faith is the key to open it, for He again tells us that (John 3:19). All who are in Christ are safe from the many dangers that ruin the souls of men. Within the fold there is pasture for the sheep. So in Christ there is refreshing and satisfying pasture. Nothing else can satisfy us.

(John Mitchell.)

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