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Christ, the Counselor
by Octavius Winslow
"His name shall be called... Counselor." Isaiah 9:6.
How marvelously adapted to the varied and ever-changing necessities of His people are the titles of our Lord. They can find themselves in no new or peculiar position in their daily history, but the Spirit, the Comforter, testifying of Christ, unveils a Name among the many that He wears which exactly harmonizes with it. It is thus we learn in each day's experience that, all fulness dwells in Jesus; and thus, too, we are more deeply instructed in the blessed mystery of that life of faith on Christ, so touchingly and poetically portrayed by the sacred penman in his description of the Church- "Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?"
We now consider a title of Christ strikingly confirmatory of this remark. Who of us has not, at some period of his life, and at some critical stage of his eventful journey, stood in need of guidance and counsel infinitely beyond the human? Our path must necessarily be one of constant and great perplexity. We are often involved in a maze, entangled in a labyrinth, enclosed within the meshes of a web, to extricate ourselves from which we are utterly powerless. Sin has done this. Before Adam fell, to use a nautical phrase, it was plain sailing for the gallant barque God had just launched upon the bright, smooth sea of life.
Not a cloud shaded the sky, not a storm disturbed the atmosphere, not a wavelet ruffled the sea. Its course was straight and radiant to the haven of endless bliss. But our journey now to eternity, whether we cross a desert or plough an ocean, is broken and tempestuous. It is a winding, stormy way to heaven. God leads His people about in the wilderness. The place is often rough and the path is crooked, the valley dangerous and the hill difficult, demanding the skillful guidance and upholding of a Power with whom there is no perplexity, and with whom nothing is impossible. Let two or three examples of this suffice.
The Christian path, just because it is that of the Christian and not the worldling, is a difficult and perplexing one. Our Lord to forearm, forewarned us of this. "Narrow is the gate and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it." The way itself is a broad way, a high way, a royal way, a large place- a place in which the saints walk in holy liberty, going in and out and finding pasture. But indwelling sin makes it difficult, and encircles it with hardship. It is not an easy thing to walk with God.
It is the most blessed, yet the most difficult walk of the believer. Were there no indwelling sin, how easy and how sunny would it be! But when we would do good- earnestly desiring, "whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God"- evil is present with us, thwarting and neutralizing the good. But to walk closely and holily and humbly with God, as it is the highest, so is it the most difficult walk of the Christian in his homeward travel.
The path of truth, too, is a difficult and perplexing one. It is no easy matter to walk in the truth- keeping the strait, narrow, central path, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, lest we fall into error. It is a great thing to hold the doctrines of grace in their right position; to exalt free grace on the one hand, and to avoid its abuse on the other; to maintain the liberty of the disciple of Christ, and yet to set the face as a flint against licentiousness.
Oh how many sincere, anxious minds are pressing the inquiry– "What is truth!" They long, they pant, they pray for a satisfactory reply. Perplexed by the conflicting opinions of men, agitated by books, and excited by sermons, tossed thus from billow to billow in the rough, broken sea of polemical theology, they are perplexed to know what doctrine to believe, what system to adopt. Oh, how much we here need a Divine Counselor!
The path of Church polity, too, is encompassed with perplexity. Amid the many Christian communions throwing wide their portals for the convert- each one possessing some essential feature of Christ's true Church, and holding forth distinctively and prominently some important doctrine or institution of the gospel- the question is often most embarrassing to the earnest Christian- With which branch of the Church of God shall I unite? With a heart expanding with love to Christ, and thus expanded, embracing in its affection and sympathy the one and indivisible Body, yet feeling it right to attach his interests and his influence to a particular branch, it is often a question of painful perplexity- which? Need we not, in this particular, counsel higher than our own?
The path of providence, too, is often paved with difficulties, and beset with perplexities with which we can ill cope. Our way to heaven is through an intricate wilderness and across a circuitous desert. To many even of the Lord's people this is literally the case. Visit their abodes, and ponder the struggle passing within! All is poverty and discomfort. Penury of bread, scantiness of clothing, pining sickness, loathsome disease, excruciating suffering, with no human friends, no soothing alleviation, no earthly comforts. And yet not entirely unrelieved is this dark picture.
Christ dwells in that obscure abode. God's eye is watching over it. The angels of God, ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation, hover around that Christian home, that tried, suffering saint. There is gnawing poverty, and yet boundless wealth; deep need, and yet a rich supply; acute suffering, and yet exquisite pleasure; keen sorrow, and yet unspeakable joy. And why these paradoxes? How are we to understand these strange contradictions?
The apostle gives us a clue in a page of his own history. "As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things." This unravels the mystery. The possession of Christ explains it. He who has Christ in him, and Christ with him, and the hope of being forever with Christ in glory, is not a poor, nor a sorrowful, nor a suffering, nor a lone man. He can say, "I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I am not poor, for all things are mine. My body is diseased, but my soul is in health. I have all and abound."
But apart from this extreme case, how entangled and perplexing are often the dispensations of God's providence in the history of all believers, demanding counsel from God alone. How often are we brought to our wits' end in some mysterious and intricate turn of our affairs, and we know not to what human counselor to repair for the wisdom that shall aid us in our difficulty. It is in this school we learn the need of a Counselor higher than man. And learning thus this lesson, the Lord is but preparing us for a closer acquaintance with Himself, the Divine Counselor of His Church.
We would know but little of Christ, our transactions with Him would be few and distant, could we find anything in the creature that would in any degree be a substitute for Him. So carnal are we, could we find one foothold upon earth upon which we could take our stand, how seldom should we rise to heaven! Alas! what a humiliating confession to make! But it is not less true than painful. Thus, then, God is teaching us our need of a Divine Counselor by all the mysteries and perplexities of our individual history. He will have us love and reverence His Son.
Despised and rejected by the world, He will have His people honor and love Him, even as they honor and love Himself. And when His dealings are dark and mysterious, His footsteps in the great deep, and His ways past finding out, overwhelming the human mind with embarrassment and dismay, He is thus but preparing us to take our place at the feet of Jesus, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.
But, perhaps, it is around the all-important matter of our salvation, that our profoundest and most painful perplexity gathers. As this, of all questions, is the most momentous, so the perplexities and difficulties which attach to it are often most embarrassing and insurmountable. "What must I do to be saved?" would seem a simple question, though the most momentous that man ever propounded; and yet how bewildering and dark every answer but the gospel's!
This, no reader, may be your present and all-absorbing perplexity. Blessed perplexity! May I not state it thus? for what were all the questions of human science and philosophy compared with this one, "What must I do to be saved?" when death stares us in the face? To be awakened, then, to this vital inquiry– to come in contact with the doubts, and perplexities, and difficulties connected with it- to be brought to the conviction that the Gospel only can answer the question, and that Christianity can alone solve the difficulty and bestow the blessing– is a far more blessed and enviable state than could you have squared the circle, or have penetrated the source of the Nile.
Upon this subject, then, you are perplexed. You cannot clearly understand how God can pardon the guilty, or justify the ungodly. You cannot distinctly see how Christ offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for man. You are embarrassed to understand why a God so merciful should not, without the intervention of an Atonement so costly, pardon the sin and save the sinner. The strange and marvellous union of judgment and mercy, of justice and love, of holiness and grace in the cross of Christ, perplexes you. But if the plan of redemption presents no difficulty to your mind, your own sinfulness perchance does? Here, probably, is your great stumbling-block.
You can see Jesus to be the Savior, and faith in Him the way by which you are saved; but your great, your apparently insurmountable difficulty is- the number and vastness of your sins. The question with you is, not that Jesus is the Savior, but "is He my Savior!" Not that He saves sinners, but, "will He save me?" Not that faith is the instrument of salvation, but, "have I faith?" Truly, if ever a poor perplexed soul needed divine counsel, it is you; and if ever a counselor in all respects equal to this and every case of difficulty were provided, that Counselor is Christ. "His name shall be called Counselor." To this part of our subject let us now bend our devout study.
Our Lord's fulness in every respect as the Counselor of His people is found in the existence of His twofold nature as God and man. As God he possesses all the essential qualifications for the office. He could not be the true Counselor of His Church were He not God. The counsel His people demands is superhuman, super-angelic; it is Divine. It must possess no infirmity, no uncertainty, no blindness. It must be incapable of erring. It must not be warped by prejudice, nor perverted by gift. It must be so divine that no difficulty shall embarrass it; so righteous that no bribe shall purchase it; so perfect that no case shall baffle it.
It must be capable of seeing the end from the beginning; in its eye every event must be as transparent as ten thousand suns, and as easy of solution and guidance as the most self-evident problem could possibly be. Moreover, it must embrace as its clients an infinite number of people, living in all ages, dwelling in all lands, in every place, and at the same instant of time. There must be Omnipresence, Omniscience, and Omnipotence. What, I ask, but absolute Deity could be equal to this? And yet Christ by the voice of prophecy is declared to be the Counselor of His Church. Possessing all these divine and essential attributes, it follows that He is equal to Jehovah, yes, that He is Jehovah, and hence another and indisputable argument in favor of His glorious divinity.
In view of this fact, can we reasonably hesitate for a moment in bringing our case to Christ for adjudication and adjustment? It is, perhaps, a case beyond the grasp of all others to solve. It is too profound for man, too high for angels; Deity alone can compass, Deity alone solve and unravel it. To Deity, then, you bring your perplexity when you bring it to Christ the Counselor. Oh, say not that the doctrine of our Lord's divinity is a dry, abstract truth! It is so experimental and so practical a truth that it is interlaced with the everyday life of the believer. There is not, beloved, a circumstance, or event, or incident in the minutiae of your daily walk, but in its occurrence you are encompassed with the divine nature and resources of Jesus. You cannot proceed a step without Deity!
Walking with Jesus, in God you live and move and have your being. Mere created knowledge could not have anticipated that event, mere created intelligence could not have shaped it, mere created wisdom could not have guided it, mere created power could not have controlled it; God alone could meet its need. How often apparently does the most simple question in our life baffle the wisdom of the most astute. And on what trivial matters frequently do we find the most wise and intelligent at fault. Well did our Lord say to His disciples, "Without Me you can do nothing."
But we take another step in the consideration of our Lord's qualification to be the Counselor of His Church, when we contemplate His fitness as man. It was in reference to this part of His nature that the prophet spoke these words- "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." Thus was our blessed Lord, as man, filled with the "Spirit of counsel and wisdom," qualifying Him as the perfect Counselor of His people.
His human judgment knew no infirmity. His wisdom as man was perfect. In Him dwelt "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Was not this tested to the utmost by His enemies? How eagerly they sought by argument to silence, and by sophistry to ensnare Him. With what impiety and hostility they sought to entrap Him into lawlessness and treason; while Satan himself for forty days and forty nights brought all his power to bear upon our Lord's perpetration of sin. But all in vain. They were not able to resist the wisdom, the power, and the holiness, with which He battled, foiled, and overcame them. Such is our wonderful Counselor. Can we for a moment doubt His perfect power to undertake all the cares, to cope with all the difficulties, and to solve all the doubts, and to disentangle all the perplexities brought to Him by His saints in all places and at all times!
The consideration of our Lord's first EXERCISE OF HIS OFFICE AS COUNSELOR takes us back to eternity past. We there find Him as the Second Person in the ever blessed Trinity, acting in consort with the Father and the Spirit in the creation of the world, but more especially in the higher work of its redemption. I would commend to my reader's careful and devout study the eighth chapter of the book of Proverbs, from the twelfth verse to the close. There are few portions of God's word in which the pre-existence of Christ is more fully or strikingly set forth than in these remarkable passages. In the creation of the world, our Lord, privy to the purposes, decrees, and thoughts of the Godhead, was present and essentially concerned as counseling and consulting with the Father and the Spirit.
If language has any meaning, this is clearly the case, from the terms employed to describe it, "And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." And again we find the same terms, denoting a plurality in the Godhead, employed when Jehovah resolved to confound the builders of Babel. "And the Lord said, let us go down there and confound their language." But, as we have remarked, it was in the great work of salvation that the office of Christ as His Church's Counselor the most conspicuously and gloriously appears. The prophet Zechariah says, "And the counsel of peace shall be between them both."
In this divine and eternal counsel the plan of redemption was devised, the Redeemer appointed, and the redeemed chosen; the assumption of flesh by the Son of God, His sufferings and death, his burial and resurrection, were all thus planned and settled "By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." What a glorious view does this present of the everlasting love and overflowing grace of the Triune-Jehovah towards His people. How assuring and refreshing thus to travel back to the eternal source from where flows every sweet and holy spring that quickens, fertilizes and gladdens the believing soul here below.
And although the Eternity and self-existence of God will ever remain an unsearchable and profound mystery of grace and love, yet ever supplying new material for study and for song, still to this infinite source we may trace the streams of that river which makes glad the city of God. Doubt not, then, O Christian, the unchangeableness of God's love to you in Christ Jesus. An essential part of His nature, it is from everlasting to everlasting the same. Your love, like the ocean's tide, may ebb and flow. Sometimes like a flood inundating your whole being; at other times so ebb as to expose to view all the aridness and unloveliness of your soul, as the receding tide reveals the shallows and unsightliness of the shore.
Nevertheless, no dispensation of God, however threatening, and no fluctuations of Christian experience, however painful, can reach the source from where this river of love flows down to your soul, or divert from you a single stream. Do not stay away, then, from Jesus, and restrain not prayer and praise before God, because your spiritual frames are low, and your soul untuned. Since God did not set His heart upon you because He foresaw anything of worthiness in you, so He will not withdraw His heart from you because of any unworthiness He may now observe in you.
Thus are we instructed to regard Christ as Jehovah's Counselor, and as such equal to God Himself; for, in the language of the apostle, "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been His Counselor." If, then, with Christ God took counsel in the great matters of creation, providence, and grace, it follows that He must be equal with the Father, since God could not seek counsel, nor needed it, from any creature- man, though the most perfect and splendid production of His creative power.
I ask not a stronger evidence of the essential Deity of my Redeemer than this single, naked fact that, He was a party in the great council of Jehovah when redemption was conceived, and when the foundations of the earth and the heavens were laid. Truly may Jesus say, "I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
But let us now consider this expressive name of our Lord in its relation to His people. If Christ is Jehovah's Counselor, equally is He the Counselor of His Church. And in the first place, Jesus Christ is the Counselor for His people. "If any man sin, we hove all Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." He is the Great Pleader on our behalf. He espoused our cause in eternity, as we have seen, when He became a party to the eternal covenant of grace between the three people of the Godhead on behalf of the Church. From that moment- if, indeed, a transaction stretching into the unknown and illimitable depths of a past eternity may be so termed- He has ever appeared the Counselor and Advocate "that pleads the cause of His people."
Our circumstances require just such a Counselor as Christ is, ever to appear on our behalf in the high court of heaven. We have a cause of infinite moment, interests at stake of deathless value, lodged in that Court, and entrusted to His hands. The believer is involved in ceaseless litigation. Sin, and Satan, and the world, and his own corrupt and deceitful heart, and an ever wakeful and accusing conscience, are perpetually dragging him into court, and witnessing against him.
But in that court this Great Counselor ever stands, "now to appear in the presence of God for us." He confronts every indictment, meets every charge, and silences every accusation by the appearance of Himself. He exhibits His blood, presents His merits, pleads His resurrection, and demands, on the ground of what He is, and of what He has done, the full acquittal and immediate discharge of every saint against whom sin and Satan and the world bring their accusation and urge their testimony. Thus the accuser of the brethren is foiled, the accusation falls, and the accused acquitted. What vast comfort flows from this view of the advocacy and intercession of Christ for us within the veil! Had He not pleaded, as David expresses it, "the causes of our soul"- for we have many causes to entrust to His advocacy- how quickly and triumphantly would our enemies have prevailed.
You are, perhaps, now in a position demanding just such an Advocate as Jesus. You have a cause for Him to plead. It is an anxious, baffling, urgent one. It demands the best and the most skillful and powerful advocacy. Behold your Counselor! In the prayer of faith commit your cause, entrust your case to Christ, and doubt not the successful and happy issue. Does sin grieve you? does conscience condemn you? does Satan accuse you? does man oppress you? Enlist your Advocate in heaven in your behalf, place it confidently in His hands, for "He ever lives to make intercession for us."
But not only is Christ a counselor for His people, but He is also a counselor to His people. He gives them counsel. Many are the doubts and perplexities in the course of the believer's life, which his own skill fails to meet. In a single day, some unexpected and untoward event has plunged us in a sea of difficulty, baffling all human wisdom to guide, and distancing all human power to control. At such a moment how helpful and soothing to realize the presence and have the guidance of One who sees the end from the beginning, who can be surprised by nothing unforeseen, and who can Many are the doubts and perplexities in the course of the believer's life, which his own skill fails to meet.
In a single day, some unexpected and untoward event has plunged us in a sea of difficulty, baffling all human wisdom to guide, and distancing all human power to control. At such a moment how helpful and soothing to realize the presence and have the guidance of One who sees the end from the beginning, who can be surprised by nothing unforeseen, and who can be baffled by nothing present. This was the joy of the Psalmist. "I will bless the Lord, who has given me Counsel: my heart also instructs me in the night season." Such, my reader, may be your present case. You are, perhaps, perplexed to know the path of duty.
Some event has transpired, some stone of difficulty has landed upon your path, which baffles your wisdom to guide, and exceeds your power to remove, and you are brought to your wits' end. Do you remember the command of Moses to the judges whom he appointed to adjust the difficulties of the Israelites? "Bring me any cases that are too difficult for you, and I will handle them." A greater than Moses is your judge and Counselor. Listen to His words– "I will instruct and teach you in the way which you shall go; I will guide you with my eye." Listen yet again to His command addressed to the distressed and baffled parent whose child the disciples were powerless to relieve– "Bring him to Me."
Now, act faith in Christ, your Divine, unerring Counselor. The cause which has proved too hard for the wisdom, experience, and skill of man- the perplexity which has baffled your utmost intelligence and ingenuity to guide- bring to Christ. Why should you sit down beneath your difficulty, discouraged and despairing? In the lanbuage of the prophet would I ask, 'Has your Counselor perished? No! this cannot be, for Jesus ever lives as your Advocate. Then why yield to despondency or despair? Why succumb to your difficulty, and sink beneath your load? Your perplexity is nothing with Christ. What is all dark to you, is all light to Him. What to you is an entangled skein, is to Him a perfect mosaic. He can bring you out of all your difficulties, opening a way for your escape from all your troubles, make the crooked path straight and the rough place smooth. "Commit your way to Him, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
But, perhaps, your greatest perplexity is the salvation of your soul. "What must I do to be saved?" is the great question which, in its present and far reaching importance, absorbs every other. But who can counsel you in this great difficulty as Christ can? Your salvation is a matter in which He is personally and deeply concerned. He undertook it, embarked in it, accomplished it, and is prepared to guide you by His Spirit, and teach you through His truth how you may be saved. Since Jesus is personally interested and concerned as no other being in the universe can be, not excepting your own self, in the great matter of your soul's salvation, bring your doubts, difficulties, and anxieties to Him.
The everlasting happiness of your awakened and anxious soul is a matter bound up with every purpose of His eternal counsel, every thought of His mind, and feeling of His heart. He embarked His whole being, gave Himself body, soul, and spirit to save you from endless woe. He sorrowed in Gethsemane even unto death; suffered unknown agonies on the Cross; poured out His last drop of blood; and breathed His last breath to save you from going down into the pit.
Then, in the face of all this love, grace, and mercy to poor sinners, hesitate not to bring the difficulties, perplexities, and anxieties respecting your soul's salvation to Jesus for instruction and adjustment. He will remove every impediment. By one drop of His blood the mountain of sin will dissolve; by one touch of His hand the huge difficulty shall vanish; by one word of His mouth the perplexing doubts and agitating fears which throng and assail your anxious soul will disappear, and you shall exclaim, "I have found it! I have found it! I have found salvation, and pardon, and peace in Christ, and my soul expands with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
And if there is one on earth to whose difficulties, perplexities, and anxieties Christ is prepared to give counsel and help, it is he who, through sin, and doubt, and darkness, is working and struggling to find his way to Himself. To such an one He says, "Poor soul! do you inquire after me? Am I the object of your desire, your search, your love? Are you perplexed with doubts, trembling with fears, struggling with difficulties, and yet through all, though faint, still pursuing the one great object of your soul- salvation? then I will help you, I will strengthen you, yes, I will guide you, and bring you into my kingdom of grace here, and finally into my kingdom of glory hereafter."
And what, as such, is the counsel Christ gives to all anxious, sin-burdened, Jesus-seeking souls? Oh, it is counsel like Himself, loving, gracious, free. "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich, and white clothing that you may be clothed." Oh, heed then His gracious counsels; approach Him, though with burthened mind, and anxious heart, and trembling faith, for He has promised, " Him that comes unto Me, I will in no wise cast out."
What a precious Counselor is Christ in seasons of deep affliction! If, in the course of the Christian's life, he feels the need of one to feel for him, to think for him, to act for him, it is when the hand of God is heavy and sore upon him. Your calamity has, perhaps, stunned, paralyzed, crushed you. Your mind seems to have lost the faculty of thought, your heart the power of feeling. You find yourself, through overwhelming grief and sin, totally incapacitated to think, to decide, to act for yourself.
Oh, uplift that eye, swimming with tears; that heart crushed with woe, to Jesus, your promised, faithful, present Counselor! Place your case in His hands; He will undertake and accomplish all for you now. He sees your affliction, and in it He is afflicted. He knows your sorrow, and by it is touched. He is acquainted with the difficulties and embarrassments with which this calamity has surrounded you, and stands prepared, gently, skillfully, and safely, to lead you through them all.
What though death has smitten the loved one of your heart; or the sweeping storm of adversity has scattered the treasure and earnings of years; or chilled affection and changed friendship has left your heart to bleed, unstanched by human hand, your grief to weep in secret, unsoothed by human sympathy? Yet you are not alone; for Christ, your Counselor and Friend, is at your side, and bids you unveil your sorrow, and commit your way, and make known your need to Him, and He will hide you under the shadow of His wings until the calamity be overpast.
Nor is it less the office of Christ, as His people's Counselor, to defeat with His wisdom the plots of ungodly and designing men, who, like Ahithophel, seek by wicked counsel to injure the righteous, to pervert the truth, and to dishonor God. Who but such a divine Counselor as Christ could thus thwart the stratagems, foil the arts, and disappoint the purposes of Satan and his emissaries, turning to foolishness the wisdom, and bringing to nothing the subtlety of the enemies of Christ and the foes of His faith?
Let the persecutors of the saints, and the emissaries of evil "take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us, He that sits in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision." Do not be afraid, then, Christian, of those who, by fraud and falsehood, by malice and rage, seek to injure you, and through you, wound the Savior and His cause. They shall fall by their own counsels, and in the pit they have dug for you they shall themselves be entombed; for Christ is your Counselor, and "the Counsel of the Lord, that shall stand."
Oh, you who are walking after the devices of your own hearts, beware lest God give you up to your own Counsel, and you perish in your folly and your sin! "Destruction is certain for those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who try to keep him in the dark concerning what they do! 'The Lord can't see us,' you say to yourselves. 'He doesn't know what is going on!'" Remember, you have interests at stake more precious and undying than the universe. An eternal heaven or hell tremble in the balance.
Away, then, to Christ, and engage His counsel on your behalf. Entrust your soul to His advocacy, commit its eternal safety to His hands. Jesus only can save you. But He will not save you in your sins, but from your sins- their power, guilt, and condemnation. Thus saved, thus cleansed by His blood and robed with His righteousness, you will go and sin no more as once you sinned. You will live for God, and testify for Christ, and labor for man, and strive after that holiness without which no man can see the Lord.
Child of God, yield yourself- the affairs of your family and the perplexities of your calling in life- to the supreme government and guidance of your heavenly Counselor. Commit yourself unto Him, acknowledge Him in all your ways, and seek light to know, and strength to do, and grace to suffer His will in everything. Let your heart and Christ's heart, your will and God's will, be one. And whatever mystery and darkness may shroud from your view the path by which your heavenly Father is leading you, let the filial trust and the cheerful hope of the Psalmist be yours– "Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You shall guide me with Your Counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory."
"Wherever I go, whatever my task,
The counsel of my God I ask,
Who all things has and can;
Unless He give both thought and deed,
The utmost pains can never succeed,
And vain the wisest plan.
"For what can all my toil avail?
My care, my watching, all must fail,
Unless my Savior's there;
Then let Him order all for me,
As He in wisdom shall decree;
On Him I cast my care.
"For nothing can come, as nothing has been,
But what my Father has foreseen,
And what shall work my good;
Whatever He gives me I will take,
Whatever He chooses I will make
My choice with thankful mood.
"I lean upon His mighty arm,
It shields me well from every harm,
All evil shall avert;
If by His precepts still I live,
Whatever is useful He will give,
And nothing shall do me hurt.
"But only may He of His grace,
The record of my guilt efface,
And wipe out all my debt;
Though I have sinned He will not straight
Pronounce His judgment, He will wait,
Have patience with me yet.
"When late at night my rest I take,
When early in the morn I wake,
Halting, or on my way,
In hours of weakness or in bonds,
When vexed with fears my heart desponds,
His promise is my stay.
"To those I love will He be near,
With His consoling light appear,
Who is my shield and theirs;
And He will grant beyond our thought
What they and I alike have sought
With many tearful prayers.
"Then, O my soul, be never afraid,
On Him who you and all things made
Do you all calmly rest;
Whatever may come, wherever we go,
Our Father in the heavens must know
In all things what is best."
Let me, in conclusion, exhort you not to lose sight of the accessibility of your Heavenly Counselor. In a moment you may place your case in His hands, and in a moment find a solution to all your difficulties. The divine promise is, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
Seek in uprightness of heart to know only the Lord's mind and will in the matter, and He will teach you His truth, and lead you in His paths. "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright 'in heart." Thus divinely guided and upheld, none of your steps shall slide; and when traveling days are over, He who thus guided you with His counsel will bring you into His glory.
"Your counsels, Lord, shall guide my feet,
Through this dark wilderness;
Your hand conduct me near Your seat,
To dwell before Your face."