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The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee! The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace!"





JUDGES Vi. 17-24.

And Gideon said unto the angel, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour; the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth: and he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-shalom.

THE former part of Gideon's history, which has already been considered, shows not only his pious desire for the welfare of his country, but his humility when called upon to become the deliverer of it. He

says, "Wherewith shall I deliver Israel?" and when the angel, in order to convince him that it was Jehovah himself that sent him to that work, says, "Go in this thy might, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man ;" Gideon cannot believe that it is so, until he have some token of his power: "Give me a sign that thou talkest with me." It may be said, that this hesitation was Gideon's infirmity. Connecting it, however, with the circumstance of its being himself that was called forth to the mighty work of Israel's deliverance, I cannot but consider it as an evidence of his humility. And would to God, dear brethren, that all our scruples, with regard to engaging in the service of God, arose from the same cause! Surely it is not to be wondered at, if those whose work is still more arduous than Gideon's, (I mean the ministers of the everlasting Gospel,) should pause and hesitate before they enter upon it. It is not to be wondered at, if a man entertain many secret misgivings as to the call of God to him,

when he considers how mighty an undertaking it is, viz. to rescue perishing sinners from the bondage of sin, immortal souls from the captivity of Satan; and if he should say, under a sense of his incompetency to such a work, as Gideon did, "What am I, that I should deliver Israel?" On the contrary, let a man scrupulously examine himself as to his motives, and so let him enter upon the all-important duties of the sacred office, that he may be able to give "the answer of a good conscience towards God," when that heartsearching question shall be put to him, "Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon you this office and ministration, to serve God, for the promotion of his glory, and the edifying of his people?" Oh that "a live coal from off the altar" of a Saviour's love might touch the heart and lips of every prophet in our day, before he ventures to say, "Here am I, send me !" If he depend on his own strength, he will never "deliver Israel;" if he rely on any

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