7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy.

These lamentations are deserving of being seriously pondered from this one special point of view, namely, the experience of evil as a corollary of divine service and approval. The natural man is so liable to assume that prosperity must necessarily accompany men divinely used and approved. This assumption is doubtless the natural result of the revealed fact that at the last it shall be well with them that fear God.

The mistake lies in applying the finishing result to the process by which the result was reached.

...Tradition says that Jeremiah was sawn asunder by the Jews in Egypt. That would at least end his sufferings, and prepare him for the joyful release that awaits all the children of God at the appointed time. The sorrows and horrors of the night will all be forgotten when the morning dawns. For the joy of that morning the sorrows are a preparation, grievous while they last, but working a work that cannot be dispensed with.

We may take the prophets as a lesson on the subject that it is eminently profitable to study. In this age our sufferings never can be like theirs, but still to the last it must and will remain

true, that "many are the afflictions of the righteous." They are inseparable from the evil state of things through which the righteous are called to pass, and they are indispensable to the result that God proposes to work in them in preparation for the age of glory. We must, therefore, act on the advice that God gave to Jeremiah, and to many others besides,

"Be strong and of good courage; gird up thy loins. Speak unto them all that I command thee. Be not dismayed at their faces. Set thy face like a flint. Contend earnestly for the Faith once delivered to the saints. Be faithful unto death."

What if you have to wade through a sea of trouble? It is

"that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, may be found unto praise and honour and glory, at the appearing of Christ."

Seasons 2.98

12 He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.

The ''bow'' of God's lips was drawn against Israel by the words of many prophets. The arrows will finally reach their hearts in captivity, but not until the archers have wounded them sorely. Then will they be humbled and brought low in their own esteem,

Or as Hosea pictures them (2:7)-

"I will go and return unto my first husband; for then was it better with me than now."

Again, he says (Hos. 6:1 2)-

"Let us return unto the Lord. For He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight."

What a wonderful prospect! Though the chosen people' experienced a partial restoration to favour under Ezra and Nehemiah, it was but an earnest of the glorious prospect for all God's people.

Yet Israel sank to greater depths when in their pride and jealousy they crucified their Saviour. The archers have wounded them very sorely over nineteen hundred years, which period has witnessed the terrible retribution of Divine wrath. Arrow after arrow has pursued them and driven them homeless far and near, until the Lord's quiver has just about been emptied.

"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

"Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee" (Jer. 30:11).

This was the hope latent in the bosom of Jeremiah. It was the beacon to guide him through the dark night; and it has shone clearly through the long night since that time. The vision begins to take shape in our days. Though the last great arrow of Divine wrath remains to be released against Jeremiah's people, when Russia comes into the land, the Lord will turn again to face their enemies. Then shall the Deliverer stand upon the glorious holy mountain (Zech. 14:3)-

"Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle."

Bro EF Higham

The Berean Christadelphian, Oct 2018

22 It is of Yahweh's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. is but a permitted form of the power of God (a power that assumes such endless forms throughout the universe)...

Nazareth Revisited Ch 41

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The mercy and compassion of God are from everlasting to everlasting. They are chief characteristics of the Creator, and we are exhorted to pattern our individual lives after them. But God in mercy toward all His servants watches over them day and night.

Though we may slumber in the night after energies have been spent during the day of toil and watching, God watches always; He slumbers not nor sleeps.

To our waking consciousness will come the realization that once again the angel of His presence has been with us for good. Mercy and compassion will be manifestly renewed to us every day. Let us never be forgetful, but let us constantly express from our hearts our thanks for these blessings!

Bro EF Higham Snr

25 Yahweh is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

God will bring down all high looks and exalt to the final inheritance of the earth those only who have the beautiful humility that comes from wisdom - which is a very different thing from the dejection of moroseness or the cant of Pharisaical speech.

Paul's chief anxiety about the brethren was that they might know how to please God. It is a wonderful idea that man can yield pleasure to God. It is a revealed fact, so that we have only to note the fact and act on it. We cannot read the Bible regularly and attentively without becoming aware of what is well-pleasing to God. We shall discover a different form of action from what is in force among people who merely know nature (and very little of that) and know not God. It is written in the Psalms,

"Many there be that say who will show us any good?"

This is the universal question in effect. Everyone is desiring and pursuing good in some form or other. Some look for it here, and some there. Some seek it in politics, some in business, some in science, some in art, some in self- cultivation, some in social enjoyments. We read -The Lord looked down from heaven to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God." In the midst of all human seekings here is one thing that God is interested in and that most men have no taste for, the seeking of God. It is a seeking in which good is to be found.

"The Lord is good to the soul that seeketh Him."

The full measure of the goodness can never be apparent in mortal experience, though even now the highest satisfactions are in the way of wisdom. The full measure is indicated in the Voice that speaketh thus:

"I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me, yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold, and my revenue that choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness: in the midst of the paths of judgment that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance and I will fill their treasure...Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord" (Pro. 8:17-21, 35).

Here is a divine light thrown upon the movements of human life upon the earth. By this light alone, we see correctly. By any other light, we look upon a false picture. Man has filled the world with his own contrivances; kindled his own fires, lit his own lights. Society walks in this light, and delights in these contrivances. They seek and obtain honours one of another in a very pretentious paraphernalia of ceremonies and titles. They make a great ado with their ways and have eclipsed God with their own greatness.

We are in danger of being sucked in by the current. We can judge the situation if we are but able to apply the tests that God Himself has given us. How many are there that seek God ã (which is a very different thing from noisy doings in the public gaze).

How many are controlled by a solicitude to realise His will in their lives? How many are there to whom the purpose of God is a matter of interest? His fear a practical motive? His honour a matter of concern? His commandments of a supreme and tender obligation?

Seasons 2.32

33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

He has no pleasure in trouble for its own sake. It is because of what it accomplishes. We may not like it, and we may not always see what it does for us, but it seems impossible to shut our eyes to the need for it, and to the beauty of the results that spring from it where it is effectual.

We have all heard of the people born with silver spoons in their mouths. We all know that prosperity does not conduce to wisdom. Wisdom is an affair of mental discernment in the highest directions. Men who are enjoying themselves don't care to ask what God made them for. They do not care to take into account what may please God.

The idea of man living not for himself is distasteful to them. Duty, obedience, sympathy, worship, affection and reverential subordination to God as a continual attitude, are all outside their purview and foreign to their inclinations.

How is a rational frame of mind on these points to be induced? Obviously, by trouble. The trouble has to be severe sometimes before we are able to realise our true place in creation as the mere products of divine power. Some could not be made to realise this by any amount of trouble, and so they are let alone, but neither could the best endowed know it otherwise.

It is truly said that we are creatures of circumstances; those who know nothing but pleasure, can never know their own insignificance and the fleeting nature of present life, God's terrible greatness, and the reality of His claims and His purpose with man. God requires us to have open eyes on these things before He can have pleasure in us.

Seasons 2.70

38 Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?

We shall make a mistake in looking anywhere for unmixed good till the proclamation is heard,

"Behold the tabernacle of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:3).

Most people will readily admit that we must not look for unmixed good till this time arrives; yet there is a tendency to overlook the constitutional evil of the present order of things, and a tacit assumption that evil cannot be among the experiences of those with whom God is pleased. The fact is that the very best experience at present is only a state of divinely regulated evil, and that the occurrence of evil is one of the necessities involved in the development of saints from a race of unjustified sinners. All are sinners more or less, and,

"Wherefore doth a man complain for the punishment of his sins?"

While all are sinners, more or less, some are forgiven sinners-those who fear and obey God, confessing their sins and forsaking them. All things work together for the final good of this class; but amongst these "all things" evil itself has a place.

God is the judge of when and how much it is needed... and let us rightly interpret our lives and not imagine ourselves God-forsaken if we are called upon to drink perhaps many a bitter cup. In everything consider the end. The end will be joyous and gladness unutterable.

Ways of Providence Ch 7