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confidences were :-Judah had put confidence in Assyria,—that Assyria would do great things for them and would deliver them.

Let us just glance at the portion of Scripture bearing upon this. In the time of Ahaz, it is said in the 28th chapter of the 2nd book of Chronicles, and the 16th verse :-“At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him." “For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.” Judah's troubles are described in the 18th verse. Then in the 19th verse we read that “ The Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel ; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.” Ahaz thought he would get some help and strength from Assyria, but no; there was no help for him. His tempting presents to the king of Assyria failed to obtain the help. See 21st verse : helped him not.The princely confidence of Assyria in which the king of Judah trusted for help and deliverance became his shame and his ruin. In the verse which precedes the text, “Thou shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.” They went to Assyria for help, but Assyria helped them not. Vain, indeed, at its best, is the help of man. They should be ashamed of Egypt, as they had been ashamed of Assyria. Turn to the 30th chapter of Isaiah, and read what the Holy Ghost says in the first few verses- .“ Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of Me; and that cover with a covering, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin : that walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at My mouth ; to strengthen

1 themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.” They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be a help, nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.” “For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose ”; saith the Lord. They shall be ashamed of Egypt. In Egypt they had confided that in their straits and necessities Egypt would arise, come forth and help them and deliver them, but it turned out that Pharaoh and Egypt were rejected confidences, and that Judah should be ashamed of Egypt as they had been ashamed before of Assyria. “ It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.Practically and feelingly, how are your Turkish now? How are your Egyptians now? How are your Spanish now? “ It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. “ Confidence in an unfaithful man ”—saith Solomon, -" in the time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” I suppose that you have no confidence in eating with “ a broken tooth,” nor in walking

a foot out of joint.” But these will serve you just as well as the false confidences of faithless men. You shall be ashamed of them for the Lord hath rejected princely confidences.

We shall now look at another point in connection with our text. There were idol confidences trusted in by this people.

When we examine the whole chapter we find that they had idols which they

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trusted in, and had confidence that they would do something for them in time of need. Turning again to the 28th chapter of the 2nd book of Chronicles, we find that the king of Judah, or king of Israel as he is called, sacrificed to the gods of Damascus in the hope that they would help him. But, alas, it was all in vain. “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help

But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel," as you read in the sequel of the chapter. These idol confidences turned out to be worthless. Now, to the chapter whence the text is taken, and in which we read that Judah’s gods were as numerous as their cities, gods that could not help them, but gods of which they should be ashamed. " As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed ; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, saying to a stock, thou art my father; and to a stone, thou hast brought me forth : for they have turned their backs unto Me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, 'Arise, and save

Where are the gods that they have made for themselves, let them arise now, and save them in the time of trouble, or else, let them say that their idols are vain and that there is no help in them, and that they are ashamed of them. The most sarcastic account of idols is that given by the prophet Isaiah in his 44th chapter. I know of no description of idols equal to the prophet's. There are a great many idols in the world, and a great many idols in the Church, but the prophet reduces them all to ashes. In the 9th verse

—“They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit ; and they are their own witnesses ; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.” Then there is a description following which sets forth the folly of images, of idols, and of the makers of them. The maker of an image or of a god, sees a tree, then he cuts it down, he lights a fire with part of it and warms himself, he makes “roast

" And with the residue thereof he maketh a god.' He falls down to it, saying—“Thou art my god.” Now, what does the prophet say of all these things when he sums them up in the 20th verse ? feedeth on ashes." All these images and idols are false confidences, they are ashes.

Look well into these things, we may have some idols among ourselves. Some in th shape of men, the gods of this world. They are only ashes. Some have their wafer gods and eat them. They feed on ashes according to the prophet's words. How is it that they like to feed on these things ? “A deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand ?'” Look at this, I pray you, a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul nor say, is there not a lie in my right hand ? These idol confidences the Lord hath rejected. children, keep yourselves from idols."

But, again, there are other confidences besides these on which too many persons are resting. What are they you say ? They are fleshly confidences. Now, I shall give you my proof from those Scriptures which speak upon this point. There are those who do, and those who do not profess to bow to a minister's word, but all must bow to the Word

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of the Lord God Almighty. Well, what saith the Holy Ghost, speaking by His servant Paul in the 3rd chapter to the Philippians, and the 4th verse ?—“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.” How could he have this confidence in flesh ? If you


see, “ Circumcised the 8th day,” this was confidence in the flesh : “ of the stock of Israel,” this was confidence in the flesh: “Of the tribe of Benjamin,” this was confidence in the flesh. "A Hebrew of the Hebrews,” this was confidence in the flesh. He then adds a little legal confidence and religious zeal, “ As touching the law a Pharisee."

“ “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” He thought himself so once, but then this was all fleshly or legal confidence. I suppose we all have some of these, and after all these fleshly confidences are not to be confided in. They will deceive us just at the time when we need the most help Well, brethren, I do find, go where I will, that there is such confidence in the flesh, that the flesh can do this and the flesh can do that, yet it is one of those confidences that God has rejected, and that God has declared shall be taken away, and of which the creature shall be ashamed. I think Paul was ashamed of his fleshly confidences, when he said, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” The estimate which the Apostle put upon fleshly confidences is this, “Dung !" Ah! Yes, but Paul became a wise man in Christ Jesus. God


him a new heart and a truthful tongue, and then he could say “We are the true circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

Having now exposed fleshly confidences, we shall proceed to notice other confidences, and those which may be called religious confidences. Why you say it is a right thing to have religious confidences ! and so it

But we must explain to you clearly what we mean by religious confidences. I mean, first, legal confidences, and then secondly, so called Evangelical confidences. Well, with regard to legal, confidences, we have an example in that wonderfully conceited Pharisee in the 18th chapter of Luke. Two men went up into the temple to pray ; the one a Pharisee and the other a Publican. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not as other men, he was not an extortioner, nor an unjust man, nor an adulterer, nor even like the Publican. What negative confidences ! Now, to these he could add some legal confidences in the way of fasting, paying his taxes and tithes, he did what was right to his neighbour, to his teachers, and to his country. How different from the publican who stood afar off, unable to look up, smiting upon his breast, and crying by the power of the Holy Ghost “God be merciful to me a sinner.” What a contrast between legal and gracious confidences. The Lord will sweep away all legal confidences. They will never do for those who go to heaven. Well, but what did our Lord say about those proud and conceited Scribes and Pharisees in His time, who were the professedly religious teachers of the people. Now, what did he say of them and to them ? We read in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, “The

" Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat : all therefore whatsoever



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they bid you observe, that observe and do ; but do not ye after their works : for they say and do not.These were the religious teachers of the people, you see.

What more? “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne.” (in more senses than one), “and lay them on men's shoulders ; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." No, indeed, they would not touch them I suppose, they were building the walls of Jerusalem and could not come down. They were doing great works. “ But all their works they do for to be seen of men : they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” Now, these were legal men, and men who had great confidence in their legal doings. But our Lord said they were hypocrites, fools and blind, a generation of serpents and vipers. How could they escape the damnation of hell. This is the end of legal confidences. Let us now look at the so called Evangelical confidences which some have thought so much of. Turn to the 7th chapter of St. Matthew, and read what our Lord says. He says that there are many who will say to Him in that day—what ? “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils ? And in Thy name done many wonderful works ?” What! Are we to be kept out of heaven ? We have always had great confidence in these things which we have done in Thy name. Notwithstanding, the Lord says, “I never, never knew you.' Then we have another class in the 13th of Luke. What is their confidence? Why, they have eaten and drunk in Christ's presence.

“ We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and we have made a very fair show of our religion in Thy name.' Well, “I never knew you." They thought that the works which they had done and the religious rites which they had attended, in an evangelical sense, would serve to commend them to God. Alas! Alas !! All these false confidences are rejected by the Lord of hosts.

I shall now speak to you about feeling or experience confidences. This will be very practical and very personal. We can never be too searching into these things. I take it for granted that you know something about spiritual things, and about a real religious experience. Well now, what can you say from your own experience ? “Oh !" some one says, “I point out the day, or the night, and the hour when I had a sweet interview with the Lord, and such delightful feelings.”

“I felt to love so much. I am quite sure if I had died then, I should have gone to heaven. I am confident I should.” This seems to me something like resting and trusting in experience, or pleasant feelings in religion. Well, my friends, this confidence which some persons glory in seems to be very little more than confidence in themselves. Whilst I am exposing the depending upon good feelings and experience, I wish you to bear this in mind that I am not speaking against real experience, nor against God's dealings with sinners—nor against the inward workings of the Spirit of God in the saved sinner's soul. No! not one word against any of these things.

But what I wish to expose is this : that any person should trust in his feelings or experience for acceptance. They are false




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confidences before God. Now, you will clearly understand what I

The Apostle Paul fell to boasting. Was he wise in so doing? Let us look at the 2nd of Corinthians, and the 11th chapter. We find there that he was compelled to boast himself a little, and his boasting was of his own experience. He says in the 16th verse, “Let no man think me a fool ; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may

boast myself a little.” He was driven to this, he says. He must give in his experience. Now, look how he goes on.

“ That which I speak," he says, “I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.” “I will tell my

as well as any


person." Read on.

“Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.” Now, do you see? He had his boasting confidence! This charge could be brought against him. He tells of the visions which he had of good things; "how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” The Apostle gloried of the man who experienced these things. He gloried in his infirmities and in his experiences. Now, in the 11th verse of the 12th chapter, he says :-“I am become a fool in glorying ; ye have compelled

He boasted of his past experiences, because he had been compelled to do so. But he here says that he was a fool for doing it. He wanted something better than experience to glory in. Now, if any man will glory, let him glory in the Lord, who is the author and giver of all good feelings and happy experiences.

What, then, shall we say of all these confidences which we have mentioned—Princely confidences, idol confidences, fleshly confidences, legal and evangelical confidences, feeling and experience confidences? Shall we not say of these as it was said of the whole of Jesse's sons, with the exception of David ? Surely the Lord hath not chosen these. Read the account as given in the 16th chapter of the 1st Book of Samuel, When the Lord had rejected Saul from being king, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint David to be his successor. While Samuel was there, Jesse's seven sons passed before him. The first son was Eliab. Oh, he was a noble fellow ! he was a splendid figure! Look at his countenance, and the height of his stature ! “ This is he, said Samuel. The Lord says, No! I have refused Eliab, pass over him.” Well, bring forth the second son, Abinadab, and let him pass before Samuel. And what about him ? The Lord hath not chosen him. Shammah, the third son, passes before Samuel. And what does he say of him ? The Lord hath not chosen this. And what next? All the seven sons of Jesse passed before Samuel. " And Samuel said unto Jesse, the Lord hath not chosen these.” What was Samuel to do now, seeing all his confidences had been taken away? Well, ask Jesse, if he has got another son. “Jesse, hast thou another son ?"

Yes,” he says, " but he is the youngest, and is out as a shepherd taking care of the sheep. Samuel said to Jesse, send and fetch him.” And he sent and brought him. And he had no sooner put in an appearance than the Lord said to Samuel, " Arise and anoint him, for this is he! for this is he! there is not another like him. This is the way David was chosen to be king of Israel. True, David was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful



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