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´╗┐Title: The Cities of Refuge: or, The Name of Jesus - A Sunday book for the young
Author: Macduff, John R. (John Ross), 1818-1895
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE CITIES OF REFUGE.

[Illustration: The Man-Slayer]



THE CITIES OF REFUGE:

OR,

The Name of Jesus.

A SUNDAY BOOK FOR THE YOUNG.

BY

REV. JOHN R. MACDUFF, D.D.,
AUTHOR OF "MORNING AND NIGHT WATCHES," "MEMORIES OF
BETHANY," "MIND AND WORDS OF JESUS," ETC., ETC.

    "How sweet the NAME of Jesus sounds
      in a believer's ear!
    It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
      and drives away his fear."

NEW YORK:
ROBERT CARTER & BROTHERS,
No. 530 BROADWAY.

1865.



MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,

This little book contains, with a few additions, the substance of what
was spoken one Sabbath to a number of hearers of your own age. It may
serve to recall to those that listened to it, and to unfold to those who
did not, some simple and well-known, but precious gospel truths.

May He whose NAME it is designed to exalt, bless you in reading it, and
enable you from the heart to repeat as your own happy experience, the
well-known verse of the beautiful hymn I have put on the title-page.

     "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the
     children of Israel and say unto them, When ye be come over
     Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall appoint you
     cities to be cities of refuge for you."--NUM. xxxv. 9-11.



I.


When travelling lately through the Simplon--one of the great Alpine
passes leading from Switzerland into Italy--I observed, close by the
roadside, at regular distances, a number of plain, square buildings. On
these (sometimes over the doorway, sometimes on the side) were inscribed
the words--"REFUGE No. 1," "REFUGE No. 2," "REFUGE No. 3," &c. I think
there were twenty altogether. I was told, on inquiry, they were intended
as shelters for any hapless travellers who might be overtaken by the
sudden storms which so often sweep down from the snow-white mountains
bounding the prospect. These "_Refuges_," at the time I saw them, were
empty, for it was in the beginning of summer, when everything, even in
that elevated region, was looking bright and green. The Alpine
rhododendron was flushing, with its pink blossom, the mountain sides; or
growing up, along with the lovely blue gentian, close by stray patches
of winter's snow which were still filling the ridges and hollows in the
higher parts of the pass. Seldom at this season are travellers exposed
to any peril from an Alpine storm. It is different, however, in winter
or spring, when the avalanches come tumbling from the heights, or the
snow is drifting in huge masses over that wonderful Road. Many
shivering wayfarers have fled with thankful hearts into these shelters.
Some have been carried thither, in a state of insensibility, by unknown
benefactors, and on gradually awaking to consciousness, have blessed the
kind hearts and hands which have saved them from certain death, and are
now ministering to their necessities. By others, alas! they have been
reached too late. Rescued from the snows of the mountain, they have been
conveyed to them only to die.

As I passed those Alpine "Retreats," I could not help being reminded of
the wonderful _Cities of Refuge_ which God graciously provided of old in
Palestine for the unfortunate manslayer.

It sometimes happened, in the land of Canaan, as in our own country,
that a Hebrew, without any evil purpose, would cause the death of a
brother Hebrew. He did not intend to inflict any injury; it was the
result only of unhappy accident. But, nevertheless, to show God's
detestation of the shedding of blood, he was liable, by the Levitical
law, to be killed by the Avenger, or "Goel,"--the person nearest related
to the murdered man. If he wished to escape with his life, his only
chance of safety was to flee to one of these Refuge-cities. It mattered
not what his age, or name, or station in life was. He might be young or
old, prince or noble, priest or prophet, he was exposed every moment to
death, unless he availed himself of the offered shelter. There was no
time for delay, he must betake himself to instant flight. To linger
might be to perish.

Do you not think with pity of the unhappy fugitive, obliged thus
suddenly to leave his home and all he most loved on earth? If at the
time he caused the death, he was working in his vineyard, the
pruning-hook must be left to rust on the branch. If he was ploughing
with his yoke of oxen, they must be left lowing in the furrow. If he was
busied in his harvest-field, the sheaves must be left unbound, and the
reapers receive their wages from another's hands. If he was returning
home fatigued at evening after the toils of the day, and longing for
grateful repose, he dare give no "sleep to his eyes, nor slumber to his
eye-lids." His child may be lying pining in sickness at his cottage, but
it may endanger him to return to clasp that and his other little ones in
his embrace, and bid them a fond farewell. He may have no time to alter
his raiment or take even his scrip or pilgrim-staff. The Avenger of
blood may be in the adjoining street, or in the dwelling hard by.
Another hour may be fatal;--"Skin for skin, all that a man hath will he
give for his life."[1] Off he speeds in breathless haste--now along the
level road--now up the steep ascent--with his breast heaving, and drops
of perspiration standing on his brow. Friends may meet him, but with a
wave of the hand, and shouting "Goel! Goel!" he rushes on with fleet
footstep. Parched with thirst in the hot noonday, he turns a longing eye
on the ripe grapes that are hanging in purple clusters on the wayside,
or on the water trickling down the narrow ravine. But he dare not pause.
Knowing full well that the Avenger is in close pursuit, he hurries on
with unabated ardor. Happy sight, when he sees at last, on some mountain
slope, the longed-for shelter! Happy, when, weary and footsore, covered
with dust, the portals of the city close him in. A few moments before,
had he been overtaken on the mountain-top by his pursuer, he might have
been heard to cry out, in the bitterness of despair, "Hast thou found
me, O mine enemy?" Now, safe within the secure shelter, he can
rejoicingly exclaim, even with the Avenger standing close by, "O thou
enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end."[2]

These _Cities of Refuge_ form one of the Old Testament PICTURES of the
sinner, and of the coming gospel salvation. This was the way God took to
teach the Jewish people great gospel truths. Just as we know that
youthful readers like a story-book all the better when it has got
pictures in it; so God taught the early church, when it was in a state
of "_childhood_," by means of similar _pictures_ or _types_; and the
present was one of them. It represented, and still represents, the
sinner who has broken the Divine law as pursued by an avenger: JUSTICE
following with drawn sword, exclaiming, "_The soul that sinneth it must
die._"[3] "_Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not escape
unpunished._"[4]

This is a picture, too, which applies to every one without exception,
rich and poor, parent and child, master and servant; "for all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God."[5] But a glorious CITY,
"_salvation_ its walls and bulwarks," opens its gates. The sinner is
exhorted to "escape thither;" to "linger not in all the plain;" to
"flee for his life, lest he be consumed."[6] That city is _Jesus_, the
sinner's Refuge and the sinner's Friend. Once within its walls, no enemy
can touch him,--no sword can terrify him. He can triumphantly exclaim,
"Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?"[7]

Dear young friends, it is because I know this City of Refuge is open for
the youngest of _you_, that I now write these pages. I love to read
about a group of little ones who, eighteen hundred years ago, were
gathered round its gates, asking admission; and when others, with unkind
words, were sending them away, He who held the gates in His hand, "_who
openeth and no man shutteth_,"[8] said, "_Suffer the little children to
come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of
heaven._"[9] It is because I believe and know that many as young as
_you_ have obeyed the Saviour's invitation, and have already entered
this happy City, that I ask you to come and hear while I speak to you
about it. I believe and know that many such have learned to feel that
they are sinners, and that they need a Saviour. They have been taught by
God's own Word and Spirit that they have broken His holy law, and have
thereby exposed themselves to eternal death. But they are now safe
within the Gospel Shelter. The "enemy" is "stilled." The "avenger" has
sheathed his sword. I think I can hear their youthful voices, as they
march through the streets of the City, singing, "_Out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine
enemies, that thou mightest_ STILL _the enemy and the_ AVENGER."[10]
"_Blessed be the Lord; for He hath showed me His marvellous kindness in_
A STRONG CITY."[11]



II.


THE SIX CITIES.

     "And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali,
     and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is
     Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side
     Jordan, by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the
     wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and
     Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in
     Bashan out of the Tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities
     appointed for all the Children of Israel, and for the
     stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever Killeth
     any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by
     the hand of the Avenger of Blood, until he stood before the
     Congregation."-JOSH. xx. 7-9.



II.


It is of these _six cities_ here mentioned, I am now going to speak. The
name of each of the six has something significantly to tell about THE
NAME OF JESUS. They are six pictures of the Saviour, hung up in the Old
Testament picture-gallery. I am going to ask you to take a journey with
me to these towns of old Palestine. Before we enter their gates, I
should like again to repeat the verse of the precious hymn placed at
the beginning of this book:--

    "How sweet the NAME of _Jesus_ sounds
      In a believer's ear!
    It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
      And drives away his fear."

[Illustration: Kedesh]


First City--Kedesh.

If you look far north in the map of Palestine above the lake of Merom,
near the snowy peaks of mount Hermon and Lebanon, you will see where
this Refuge-city lies. Recent travellers describe its ruins as still
standing on a rocky ridge in the midst of green hills, surrounded with
the remains of forts and castles built by the Crusaders in the middle
ages. It was situated within the tribe of Naphtali, and must have been
it great town at the time when the old warrior Barak, who was born
within its walls, marched from its gates to meet Sisera in the plain
below with his nine hundred chariots of iron.

What does its name tell of Christ?

The Hebrew word KEDESH signifies "_Holy_." Jesus was "_The Holy One_."
Not one stain of sin polluted His holy human nature. Angels in heaven,
as they cast their crowns at His feet, cry, "_Holy! holy! holy_!"[12]
Devils on earth were compelled to exclaim, "_We know thee who thou art,
the_ HOLY ONE _of God_."[13] Jewish priests, as they spake of Him of old
by types, took "_a lamb without blemish_."[14] Jewish prophets, as they
spake of Him in their predictions, called Him "_The Righteous_ (_or_
HOLY) _Branch_."[15] Apostles, as they wrote about Him, said "_He was_
HOLY, _harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners_."[16] When He was
Himself on earth, He could challenge His bitterest foes, "_Which of you
convinceth me of sin?_"[17] And when He came down, soon after His
ascension, from His throne in the skies, we find Him proclaiming as His
name, "_He that is_ HOLY, _He that is True_!"[18]

Reader, remember this. Jesus never could have saved you unless He had
been "glorious in holiness." If He had had one sin in Him, you and I
must have been lost for ever. Just as one leak in Noah's ark of old
would have sunk it, so one leak of sin in Jesus, the true Ark, would
have plunged us all in the depths of eternal despair. Let us, then, love
often to walk round the walls of KEDESH, and think of _our_ "City of
Refuge" as "_The_ HOLY _Child Jesus_."[19]

And when you ponder _His_ holiness, seek to be holy, as _He_ was. How He
hated sin! How He loved to do His heavenly Father's will! How gentle,
and good, and kind He was to all! He never was angry, or passionate, or
revengeful. When a youth, at His early home in Nazareth, "He increased
in favour with God and man."[20] Be _like_ Jesus in His _holiness_! Let
_KEDESH_ be a word written on your young hearts! Whenever you are in
trouble or difficulty, or temptation, always ask, "How would the HOLY
JESUS have acted here?" Turn the words of your well-known hymn into a
prayer. While you say--

    "I love the NAME of Jesus,
      Immanuel, Christ the Lord;
    Like fragrance on the breezes,
      His _name_ abroad is pour'd;"--

seek also to add--

    "I long to be _like_ Jesus,
      Meek, lowly, loving, mild;
    I long to be _like_ Jesus,
      The Father's HOLY Child!"


[Illustration: Shechem]


Second City--Shechem.

Shechem was situated at the extremity of a valley among the hills of
Ephraim. The famous mountains of Ebal and Gerizim rose on either side,
from the slopes of which the blessings and the curses of the law were
proclaimed in the ears of assembled Israel. If Jerusalem was the
greatest and the grandest of the cities of Palestine, Shechem was
perhaps the most beautiful. It is still spoken of by travellers as one
of the loveliest spots in the Holy Land, with its orchards of olive,
fig, and pomegranate, and its flocks of singing-birds, which have made
the inhabitants give to the graceful slope on which it looks down, the
name of the "Musical Valley." I don't know if the streets in the olden
time resembled what they are now. The following is the recent
description of a traveller familiar with them:--"The streets are narrow
and vaulted over, and in the winter time it is difficult to pass along
many of them on account of brooks, which rush over the pavement with
deafening roar.... It has mulberry, orange, pomegranate, and other trees
mingled in with the houses, whose odoriferous flowers load the air with
delicious perfume during the months of April and May."[21] You do not
require to be told that _Shechem_ is a very ancient city, and that many
interesting events in sacred story took place in connexion with it. The
earliest mention made of it is when the patriarch Abraham slept under
its oaks, (the Terebinths of Moreh,) when he came to Canaan from distant
Chaldea, and erected his first altar under their shade;[22] and one of
the last Bible notices regarding it, is in connexion with the woman of
Samaria, when Jesus sat with her at "the well of Sychar," and spoke to
her of the better fountain, "springing up to everlasting life."[23]

What does the name SHECHEM tell of Christ?

It is a word which means "SHOULDER."

Jesus, our Refuge, bore a guilty world upon His shoulder. The ancients
had a fabled Atlas, who was supposed to carry the earth on his
shoulders. Jesus Christ is the true ATLAS. "_Surely He hath borne our
griefs and carried our sorrows!_"[24] All the sins of all His people
Jesus bore for ever away. Think of that heavy load which bowed Him down
to the ground in the garden of Gethsemane, and caused drops of blood to
fall from His brow! No other one _but_ Jesus could have carried such an
awful load and burden as this. No angel or archangel could have done so.
Jesus, being God, was alone "able to save unto the uttermost."[25] He is
the only "sure foundation" that could sustain all the building.[26]
With any other, it would have fallen into a mass of ruins.

But I love not only to visit the old city of _Shechem_, and to think of
Jesus bearing the guilt of His people on His _shoulders_, but I like to
think of Him as the true SHECHEM _now_. He is our _Shechem_ at God's
right hand. "The government is upon His SHOULDER."[27] The Church and
the world are upheld by Him. Believers--the poorest, the weakest, the
humblest--are on the _shoulders_ of Jesus. He is bearing the weight of
them all; loving them all, attending to them all, interceding for them
all. All that befalls me, Jesus orders. Food and raiment, health and
strength, friends and home, are gifts from Him. Every tear I shed, He
knows it, He appoints it. If he sends me sorrow and trial, I will go and
enter the gates of this city SHECHEM, and remember, "_Jesus_ (Jesus, who
died for me) bears me on his _shoulder_!"

Moses speaks of God conducting the children of Israel through the
wilderness of old as a kind father carries on his shoulder his weak and
weary child. "_Thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a
man doth bear his son._"[28] And David says in an hour of trouble, "_I
am poor and needy, yet the Lord_ (lit) _carries_ me on his heart."[29]

I like to look at that New Testament picture--Jesus, the good Shepherd,
carrying a bleating sheep or lamb back on His shoulder to the fold. That
poor wanderer had gone astray on the dark mountains; but the great and
gracious Shepherd had gone after it "until He found it; and when He
_had_ found it, _He laid it on His SHOULDERS, rejoicing_."[30]

Young reader, what _perfect_ security and safety you have in Jesus, and
in His Gospel City! Far, far more so than the manslayer had of old in
his. I daresay, even although he was delivered from the Avenger, the
Hebrew refugee could not help at times dreading lest the other might
come upon him secretly. I daresay, at night, on his lonely couch, he
would sometimes dream of the Goel stealing beside his pillow, and he
would start from his unquiet sleep at the scaring vision. Not so in the
case of those who have fled to the "Gospel Refuge." They can say in
sweet confidence, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; because
thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety."[31] He who is their
"_Keeper_" says of them, "_They shall never perish; neither shall any
pluck them out of my hand._"[32]

[Illustration: Hebron]


Third City--Hebron.

Hebron is the most ancient of all the cities of Canaan. It was as old,
if not older, than Damascus, and was built seven years before Zoar in
Egypt. After wandering about from place to place in the land of promise,
pitching their tents and altars, it was here the patriarchs had, for the
first time, a settled home. We need not wonder at their selection of the
old Canaanite city, on the peaceful slope of the southern hills,
nestling amid olive-groves and terebinths, and looking down on one of
the most fertile valleys in Palestine, with its orchards and
corn-fields. On its eastern height is the spot which gives it to this
day perhaps its most sacred interest--the cave of Machpelah, where the
dust of the patriarchs has reposed for four thousand years. It must have
been outside its walls that the angels appeared to Abraham, when he was
seated at his tent door. The adjoining height is pointed out as the
place from which the patriarch saw the smoke of burning Sodom rising
from its own deep valley. It was in Hebron David was anointed king over
Israel. It was amid its vineyards and mountain-slopes that John the
Baptist grew up as a little boy, before he appeared in the wilderness of
Judea, to tell of One mightier than he, "whose shoe-latchet" he was
"not worthy to unloose."[33]

What does the name HEBRON tell of Christ?

In Hebrew it means "_fellowship_," "_society_," "_friendship_." JESUS
has brought guilty man into fellowship with God. On account of sin we
had forfeited this fellowship. We had made God not our friend, but our
enemy. We were cut off from communion with all that is holy and happy.
Angels, in their errands of mercy through the universe, passed by our
world; they could hold no intercourse with those who had rebelled
against their Creator. Can none bridge this wide gulf which separates
between earth and heaven? Can no ladder be let down by which happy
angels can descend once more on their visits of love, and fallen man
once more be raised up to hold "fellowship" with God and holy creatures?

JESUS is the true HEBRON--the true ladder of Jacob let down from heaven
and reaching to earth. Jesus has "reconciled things on earth and things
in heaven,"[34] He hath "raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places."[35] We who were once "afar off" have been "brought
nigh by the blood of Christ."[36]

I trust many who read this will love often to visit in thought the old
city of the patriarchs, and to dwell on its name and meaning,
"_fellowship_." Think of what _you_ would have been without Jesus, your
Hebron-City of Refuge,--a poor outcast in creation, an alien from all
that is holy and happy. But by Jesus all is changed. God is your
Father--Christ is your elder Brother. In Him, God loves you,--angels
visit you,--the Holy Spirit teaches you,--heaven is open for you. You
are enrolled as a citizen of the great _Hebron_ above--"the city which
hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Christ has made you
to be members of the great heavenly family; so that the little child who
loves Jesus, is brother or sister to the archangel before the throne!
You may be deprived of human friendship and fellowship. The brother or
sister, the father or mother, or friend you once dearly loved, may be
laid in some earthly Machpelah--some silent grave. But rejoice! nothing
can separate you from a better friend and more lasting fellowship.
Though all earthly joys were to perish, you can always rush within the
gates of that mighty Hebron of refuge, and say, "_Truly our_
'FELLOWSHIP' _is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ_."

    "Earthly friends may pain and grieve me,
    One day kind, the next they leave me;
    But this Friend can ne'er deceive me--
                          Oh, how He loves!"

[Illustration: Bezer]


Fourth City--Bezer.

BEZER was situated beyond the Jordan, in the tribe of Reuben. Although
its precise site has not been discovered, we may infer that it was
perched on one of the many rocky heights among the mountains of
_Abarim_,--perhaps a spur of the great mount Nebo, from whose summit
Moses was permitted, before death, to get a view of the Land of Promise.
The northern portion of the waters of the Dead Sea would be seen from
it, and the pastoral mountains of Judah in the distance. From its name,
as well as from its being a border town, and subject to attack from the
warlike tribe of Moab, Bezer would probably be strongly
fortified,--similar, perhaps, in this respect to the towns in the
neighbourhood, with which the Israelites were so struck on their first
approach to Canaan, with "their walls great and high, reaching to
heaven."

What does the name BEZER tell of Christ?

It literally means "_stronghold_," or Rock. Jesus is the believer's
BEZER. The sinner is in danger everywhere else, but in Jesus he is safe.
He is invited to "turn to the STRONGHOLD" as a "prisoner of hope," and
once within its gates, "though an host encamp against him," he need
"fear no evil."

What a mighty force _does_ encamp against him! There is _God's Holy
Law_, with all its terrible threatenings and curses. But sheltered in
the true BEZER he can triumphantly say, "It is God that justifieth: who
is he that condemneth?"[37]

There is _Satan_, with his artful wiles and countless temptations. He
was once a bright angel himself. He knows what holiness and happiness
are. But being now a wicked spirit, he would make others as wicked and
unhappy as himself. He is spoken of in the Bible as "a strong man
armed."[38] But Jesus is "stronger" than this strong man. If you have
fled for refuge to this great gospel _Bezer_, seated within its secure
bulwarks you can joyfully exclaim, "_I will say of the Lord, He is my
rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whose
I will put my trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my
high tower._"[39]

There is your own _Wicked Heart_, with its sinful thoughts, and vain
imaginations, and deep corruptions--for a man's worst foes are often
those of his own household. One of these heart-foes will tempt you to
tell a lie; another to swear; another to be dishonest; another to be
selfish; another to be passionate; another to be unkind. But He that is
_for_ you, is greater than they that are _against_ you. Safer than in
any earthly castle, you can take up your warrior-song, "_The name of the
Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is
safe._"[40]

There are the _Trials and Sorrows and Distresses of this world_,--those
things that cause sad hearts and tearful eyes. But that blessed
Saviour--your Rock and Stronghold--"knows your sorrows," for He felt
them. He marks your tears, for He shed the same himself. Fleeing to this
true BEZER in the time of affliction, you can dry your tears and sing,
"_God also will be a refuge for the distressed, a refuge in the time of
trouble; and they that know thy name shall put their trust in
thee._"[41]

And there is _Death_, the last enemy of all. But even over this King of
terrors and Terror of kings, you can shout in triumph from your Divine
shelter, "_O death, where is thy sting?... Thanks be to God, who giveth
me the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ._"[42]

And Jesus is a Stronghold for _all_. I have already spoken of the little
children of old rushing to its gates,--infants smiling fearless in the
Saviour's arms. He combines the majesty of Deity with the tenderness of
man. If He had been the great God alone, you might have been awed at the
thought of going to Him. But what says the prophet Isaiah of this true
BEZER?--"_A MAN shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert
from the tempest._"[43] He Himself says in another scripture, "_I will
turn mine hand upon the little ones._"[44]

In one of the great strongholds that were besieged in our last Indian
rebellion, the Christian mothers were wont to hush their infants asleep
by singing, "_God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble._" My young friends, "_as one whom his mother comforteth_," so
is God willing to "_comfort you_;" and here is His word of comfort:
"_The Lord is good, a STRONGHOLD in the day of trouble; and he knoweth
them that trust in him._"[45] In the old Cities of Refuge no weapons of
any kind were allowed to be made. Those who possessed them had to
surrender them. This is true in a nobler and better sense regarding the
Gospel Stronghold. There can be no deadly weapons forged there. Their
edge is blunted: "_There is now no condemnation to them that are in
Christ Jesus._"[46] Satan's armoury has been plundered; the "Stronger
than he" has "_taken from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and
divided the spoil_."[47]

I have said that the word BEZER means "_Rock_" as well as "stronghold."
"_Trust in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting
strength_," or, (marginal reading,) "THE ROCK OF AGES."[48] May you not
well say, with your eye on this glorious "Refuge"--

    "Dear NAME, the ROCK on which I build,
      My shield and _hiding-place_;
    My never-failing treasury, fill'd
      With boundless stores of grace!"

    "ROCK of Ages, cleft for me,
      Let me hide myself in Thee!"

[Illustration: Ramoth]


Fifth City--Ramoth.

RAMOTH was situated in Gilead, within the tribe of Gad, and somewhere
near the banks of the brook Jabbok, where, you know, Jacob wrestled in
prayer with the angel. It must have occupied a commanding position among
the beautifully-wooded glens of Gilead, and, like Bezer, been strongly
fortified. We infer this latter from the many sieges it had undergone.
Being not only, like the other, a border town of Palestine, but situated
in the direct route taken by the invading Syrian armies, it must have
been constantly exposed to hostile attacks.

You can think of Ramoth, then, among the hills and slopes on the other
side of the Jordan, with their forests of native oak, which the famous
"_bulls_ of Bashan" (herds of wild cattle) roamed at large; while more
peaceful flocks browsed on the meadows which fringed the
mountain-streams.

What does the name RAMOTH tell us regarding Christ?

_Ramoth_ literally means EXALTATION. Jesus is the true _Ramoth_; He is
"_exalted_ to be a Prince and a Saviour!" He was once lowly, despised,
rejected, crucified, slain. He compares Himself to a poor outcast and
exile amid these forests of Gilead: "_Many bulls have compassed me:
strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with
their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion._"[49] But having been
exalted on the cross as a _suffering_ Saviour, He is now exalted on the
throne as a _glorious_ King. "_God hath highly_ EXALTED
_Him_;"[50]--angels exalt Him--seraphs adore Him--saints praise Him--the
Church on earth magnifies Him--the Church redeemed in heaven will
magnify and exalt Him for ever and ever!

Young reader, delight often to walk around the walls of _Ramoth_, and
think of Jesus "exalted at God's right hand." He is there pleading your
cause. Though exalted, He has not forgotten the lowliest or humblest of
His people. He is the Greatest of all Beings, but He is the Kindest of
all too. The first time after His exaltation when He came down to earth
to speak to the aged apostle John, John wondered if the glories of
heaven had altered His love and tenderness. He remembered how often
before he used to lean on His bosom. When he looked, however, _now_,
upon the glorious Being that stood before him in His lustrous garment,
with "His eyes like a flame of fire," "he fell down at His feet like one
dead." But the same gentle hand touched him, the same gentle voice he
was wont to hear so often in past years, said to him, "Fear not!" How
sweet for us to think that we have _exalted_ on the highest throne of
the universe an unchanged and unchanging Saviour, an ever-living,
never-dying Friend.

    "Though now ascended up on high,
    He bends on earth a brother's eye."

JESUS is exalted in heaven, and exalted by all the glorious family of
heaven. But, alas! there is one place where He is often _not_ exalted,
but rather cast down, and that is the human heart. That heart has been
too truly compared to the inn of Bethlehem, where there was room for
every guest but the Lord of glory! Ye of tender years, whom Christ loved
so much on earth--whom He fondled in His arms of mercy; see that it is
not so with you. "My son," He says, "give me thine heart." See that He
is enthroned there as Lord of all. Exalt Him in everything: in your
thoughts, in your words, in your deeds. Welcome Him, as the children of
the temple welcomed Him to Jerusalem of old. Take up their song, and
sing, "_Hosannah to the Son of David! hosannah in the highest!_"

    "When, His salvation bringing,
      To Zion Jesus came,
    The children follow'd singing
      Hosanna to His name.
    Nor was the Lord offended
      That children joined the throng;
    But smiled that they attended,
      And loved to hear their song.

    "And since the Lord retaineth
      His love for children still,
    Though now as King He reigneth
      On Zion's heavenly hill;
    We'll humbly come before Him
      To celebrate His praise,
    And while His saints adore Him,
      Our youthful voices raise."

[Illustration: Golan]


Sixth City--Golan.

GOLAN was situated in Bashan, in the tribe of Manasseh, among the
pastoral hills north of the lake of Gennesaret. It formed the most
northerly Refuge-Sanctuary on the east side of Jordan, as Kedesh did on
the west; but there are no particular events connected with it in Bible
story.

What does the name of this last City of Refuge tell us regarding
_Jesus_?

_Golan_ literally signifies _Joy_. Jesus is truly the _Golan_ of His
people; they may have many others, but He is their "chief joy!" Well may
they call Him GOLAN; for not one joy could have ever visited them had
it not been for _Him_. The world would have been to them, from first to
last, a "valley of Baca," (weeping,) had not Jesus died for their sins,
and saved their souls. Well might the angel say, when he came to the
plains of Bethlehem to announce the Saviour's birth, "_Behold, I bring
you good tidings of_ GREAT JOY!"

There is not one step the Christian takes but Jesus is GOLAN to
him--"joy." He is straying, a lost sheep on the dark mountains, in
search of peace: Jesus meets him, and says, "_Your sins are all forgiven
you_;"--he is joyful at _that_. He is wandering a prodigal from his
Father's house: Jesus brings him to his lost home, and calls him His
own child; and he is joyful at _that_. He has to travel a long and
dreary journey ere he reaches his true home in heaven: Jesus gives him
His arm to lean upon; and he "goes on his way _rejoicing_." He has many
fiery trials to try him: Jesus tells him not to think these "strange,"
but rather to "_rejoice_," inasmuch as He is "partaker with him in his
sufferings."[51] He has, at last, to walk through the dark Valley: Jesus
meets him there, and supports him there. He sees "the King in His
beauty," and the land that is yet "afar off;" and, believing, "_he
rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory_."[52] When Jesus
beholds him from His throne in judgment, what are to be His blessed
words of welcome? "_Enter ye into the_ JOY _of your Lord_."[53] And
when, as a ransomed one, he enters the streets of the New Jerusalem, at
whose feet is it that he is to cast, through all eternity, his crown?
"In thy presence," O Saviour God, is "fullness of JOY!"

Young reader, love often to gaze on the walls of this City of Refuge.
The sacred writer, in giving the list of these six cities, seems to have
kept it to the last because it is a happy word, and speaks of the happy
prospects of all those that love the Lord Jesus. Believe me, there is no
true _joy_ but in God. The joy of the wicked is like that of a noisy
stream--noisy because it is shallow. The joy, on the other hand, which
Jesus gives, is like a great river,--deep, calm, ever-flowing,
overflowing;--not full in winter and dry in summer, but full, and clear,
and refreshing all the year long. It may be always truly said of Jesus,
the great Gospel Refuge, and of those who have fled to Him, what was
said of old about Samaria, "There was great JOY in that CITY."[54] It
was the object of all that Christ did and said on earth to give you this
joy. "_These things have I spoken unto you_," says He, "_that my_ JOY
_might remain in you, and that your_ JOY _might be full_."[55] Love Him
now, and serve Him now and follow Him now, that you may come at last to
the true Golan, in His glorious presence above, and "REJOICE
_evermore_!"

    "Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
      I'll sing Thy power to save,
    When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
      Lies silent in the grave.

    "Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared,
      Unworthy though I be,
    For me a blood-bought, free reward,
      A golden harp for me!

    "'Tis strung, and tuned, for endless years,
      And form'd, by power divine,
    To sound in God the Father's ears
      No other NAME but Thine!"



III.

THE GOSPEL REFUGE.

"We have a strong consolation who have fled for Refuge."--HEB. vi. 18.



III.


And now, my young friends, we have finished the survey of our
picture-gallery. We have wandered among these six cities in the old land
of promise. I shall repeat their names once more, that you may remember
them.

     KEDESH,       _Holiness._
     SHECHEM,      _Shoulder._
     HEBRON,       _Fellowship._
     BEZER,        _Stronghold._
     RAMOTH,       _Exaltation._
     GOLAN,        _Joy._

What a complete Saviour! In Him "all fullness dwells." In the case of
some of these Hebrew cities, "not one stone has been left upon another
that has not been thrown down." Owls are screaming amid their ruins, and
jackals prowling for their prey. But not so with HIM of whom they were
types. _Jesus_ ever lives! He never changes. Time and decay cannot
crumble the walls of the Gospel Refuge. He is "the same yesterday, and
to-day, and for ever."[56]

I want, in this last chapter, to say one or two additional things to you
about the Cities of Refuge. Let me ask you to give me your earnest
attention.

The _first_ thing I wish you to remember is, _that all the preciousness
of that_ NAME _of Jesus, and all the security of the Gospel_ REFUGE,
_is derived from the merits of His death for you upon the cross_.

This is the truth of all truths, and one, too, strikingly taught in
these olden types. If you read the Bible account, you will find that the
manslayer had his liberty restored to him _upon the death of the High
Priest_.[57] When the tidings of the decease of this great Head of the
Jewish nation reached these refuge towns, I daresay many of their
citizens would be heard, with wailing cry, mourning the loss of God's
faithful servant. But the intelligence was very different to the captive
Hebrew. It brought him joyful news! For that event enabled him to go
forth from his banishment, and to terminate years of painful separation
from all he loved on earth. The avenger could no longer injure him. He
could return, happy and secure, to the comforts of his long-lost home.

So, dear reader, it is the _death_ of _your_ great High Priest that has
purchased your release from spiritual captivity. The law can no longer
hold you. Justice can no longer threaten you. You can go forth with the
glorious liberty of a child of God, saying, "_Who_ is he that
condemneth?--_It is Christ that died._"[58]

You can picture to yourselves, on the death of the Jewish High Priest,
the Hebrew captive going forth from the city, within whose gloomy walls
he had long been enclosed. You can picture him, with merry heart,
making the valleys through which he hurried to his native dwelling, echo
with songs of joy! And shall not _you_, with happier heart and voice,
sing this song as you journey on to your heavenly home, and see it
gleaming in the distance, on the other side of Jordan--

    "When from the dust of death I rise,
    To take my mansion in the skies,
    This all my hope--this all my plea,
    That _Jesus lived and died for me_!"

The _second_ thing I want to say to you is, that _God has made the
gospel City of Refuge easy of access, and has filled it with rich
provision._

He made the way as plain as possible to the manslayer of old. The
cities themselves were generally on a height, so as to be seen at a far
distance. The roads leading to them were carefully kept. They were
broader than others in Palestine, (sixteen yards wide.) The Jewish
magistrates and judges went once every year to inspect them, and to
order repairs. Where streams occurred, there were bridges thrown across.
Where there were angles or by-roads, posts with "_Refuge_" on them were
set up; and as there were no bridges across Jordan, three of the cities
were placed, as I have already mentioned, on one side of the river, and
three on the other; so that all might easily get at them, and none might
have any excuse for not fleeing. The nearest city could always be
reached by the manslayer in half a day. Moreover, we are informed there
were ample stores of provisions laid up in them. They were supplied with
wells of water, and Levites were placed in turn as porters or
gatekeepers, to be ready to welcome every fugitive into these homes of
safety.

So God has done everything for _you_, to make the Gospel Refuge
accessible. Your parents and ministers--your Bibles and churches
and good books--are all, just like these refuge signals, pointing
away from the cross-roads and by-roads of human reason, and human
error, and self-righteousness, to the Lord Jesus Christ, and
saying, "Flee! flee! flee for refuge to lay _hold_ on the hope
set before you!" _Jesus_, too, the true Gospel Refuge, is full of
rich provision. "Ye are complete in Him." He, as the true Joseph,
gives forth out of the storehouses in His "treasure-cities," to
all His needy people. What are some of these provisions? There is
pardon--peace--justification--adoption--sanctification,--strength for
the hour of weakness,--grace for the hour of temptation,--and the good
hope of everlasting life for the hour of death. No wonder that he says
to every poor sinner seeking admission within these gates, "_I am the
bread of life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger._"[59]

As in the cities of Canaan, so in this glorious Gospel-City of which
they were types, there is a Well of living water. What is this? It is
the Holy Spirit. He is often in Scripture compared to water. "_If any
man thirst_," said Jesus, "_let him come unto me, and drink. This spake
he of the Spirit_."[60] This all-glorious well-spring, moreover, is not
like those of the Palestine cities, which were sometimes dried up in
seasons of drought, but "springing up unto everlasting life." Angels,
too, are the porters,--the blessed warders that keep the gates of this
Gospel-City. "_Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to
minister to them who are heirs of salvation?_"[61] They love to watch
by these gates, and to welcome every wanderer. How gladly they give the
word, "_Open ye the gates, that the righteous_ (those made righteous
through the righteousness of Jesus) _may enter in_!"[62]

It is delightful, moreover, to think, that just as the Jewish cities
were easily got at from all parts of Palestine, so from all parts of the
world, may people go to the Greater and more Glorious Gospel Refuge.
Poor Pagan of the far East! cast away your idols; the gates of the
Gospel-City stand ready to welcome _you_. Indian of the far West! cast
aside your warrior spear and your offerings of blood, and flee to the
portals of mercy and to the blood which cleanseth from all sin.
Laplander of the far North, amid your polar snows! Negro of Africa, amid
your burning sands! rush to the provided shelter. There is salvation
there for _you_. "The same Lord is rich to ALL that call upon Him."
Happy prospect!--the time will come when the whole world will be found
singing together the same song and uttering the same prayer, "_Open unto
us the gates of righteousness, that we may enter into them, and praise
the Lord!_"[63]

Will none of my young friends rejoice if they are able, by aiding the
cause of missions abroad, to help putting this "new song" into the lips
of those who are still "wandering in the wilderness in a solitary way,
and have NO CITY to dwell in?"[64]

       *       *       *       *       *

The _third_ thing I want to say to you is, that _no_ OTHER _Refuge will
do but_ JESUS.

I would like you to take as your motto the simple and beautiful words
which a Sabbath scholar, I knew well about, lately gone to glory, wrote
to his minister. "I am sure I may be very thankful to God for His great
mercy toward me.... _I must just keep in mind that there is one Refuge
to flee to, and that is Jesus._"

There are many other refuges people try to take shelter in. They think
they will be as safe in them as in the ONE of God's providing; but
these will never stand in that day which will try every refuge of what
sort it is.

I have seen some making their _own goodness_ their refuge-city. They
imagined they were not so bad as others. They trusted in the falling
Siloam-tower of their own righteousness!

I have seen some making _God's goodness_ their refuge-city. They said to
themselves, "God is kind. He surely will not deal hardly with sinners at
last. Justice, the avenger, will not surely always pursue with her
flaming sword. The love of God will surely get the better of his
justice."

Don't let Satan deceive you. There are many of _his_ refuges which
_appear_ to be safe enough, but on which God has written "_Refuges of
lies_."

There were many other towns in Canaan of old which _appeared_ to be as
good and as safe as those I have been speaking of. But no city could
afford shelter to the manslayer, excepting one of the six God had
specially appointed.

What would have happened if the fugitive of old, in fleeing from the
avenger, had said to himself, "What is the use of my going so far away
as to Hebron or Golan? I would rather flee to a nearer place. I will go
to Jericho, the old city of palm-trees; or to Bethlehem, in the hills of
Judah; or, better still, I will go to Jerusalem, the capital of the
nation, where the temple of Zion is, and the palace of the King. Surely
I shall be safer far within its lofty walls and bulwarks than in one of
these little cities of the Levites. Is it not said that '_God is known
in all her Palaces for a Refuge?_'"

If he had done so, he would undoubtedly have perished. Neither King nor
Priest, nor Golden gate nor Beautiful gate, nor wall nor bulwark, could
have saved him from the avenger's sword. The refuge-towns appointed in
the olden time may have been "the least amid the cities of Judah." But
they were God's selection, God's ordering, and that was enough. In them,
and in them only, was the manslayer safe from the avenger of blood.

And so it is with our Gospel Refuge. "_Neither is there salvation in any
other._" Rejecting Jesus, we are lost for ever. All other refuges,
however good or great or strong they may _appear_ to be, will prove only
Babel-towers, that will fall on the poor builders, and crush them in
their ruins.

When God told the children of Israel to sprinkle their lintels and
door-posts with blood, they might have been foolish enough to say, "No;
we shall do better. We shall not be content with doing so trifling a
thing; we shall rather build up great walls around our houses, so that
the destroying angel may not get in." Do you think, if they had done
so, their first-born would have been saved? No; there would have been
death in every such household; these high walls would have proved
useless. Nothing but the red mark on the doorway of the dwelling would
be of any avail in warding off the fell stroke.

So it is with the sinner. All the walls which pride, and
self-righteousness, and good works can rear, will do nothing to keep out
the sword of avenging Justice. But _the sprinkled blood of covenant
mercy will_; for "_the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth_ (and
alone cleanseth) _from_ ALL SIN!"[65]

I remember, many years ago, attending the deathbed of a young man in
E----. He told me, one day, he had dreamt of being in a shop in ----
Street, which seemed to be hung round with armour and coats of mail. A
number of people in the shop were girding these on; while a man was
standing with a drawn sword in his hand outside the door, ready to slay
them as they passed into the open street. One after another he cut
down;--the armour was no protection to them--their bodies were lying
dead and wounded on the pavement. In great fear and terror, the young
man said, his turn seemed at last to come, when he, too, must try to
cover himself with the same armour, and rush out by the fatal door. He
knew not what to do. In looking around him, he observed, in the
uppermost shelf, something resembling a web of coarse linen, lying
apparently neglected. He resolved to take it down, and wrap himself in a
portion of it, instead of the unavailing sheaths of iron and steal.
Covering his head and body, he darted out, following the footsteps of
the others. The sword descended; but it bounded back again. It was
unable to pierce the linen covering. He alone was safe in that crowd of
dead and dying.

Beautifully did this youthful dreamer apply his own "vision of the
night." It was:--How vain are all the boasted sheathings of the armour
of self-righteousness; and how safe and glorious is that "white linen"
covering of the righteousness of Jesus! To the eye of reason, the
panoply of iron and steel seems the best, and strongest, and securest.
Many will not "submit themselves to the righteousness of God," and
persist in using the others. But they will be a poor protection against
the sword of God's avenging justice. Happy are those who have been led
to look _above_ for another righteousness, and who have listened to the
Divine injunction, "_Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!_"[66]

Reader, let me ask, is this your case? Don't think, because you are
young, and have committed few sins, that you are safer than those who
have committed many, and that you have not the same urgent need to flee
to Jesus for refuge. In Canaan of old, the manslayer was in danger of
his life, whether he had killed one or several. One single life, like
one single sin, exposed him to the fury of the avenger.

Nay, more. The Hebrew fugitive _might elude_ his avenger! He might
manage, for days, or weeks, or years, to screen himself from his wrath.
He might go, as David did to avoid Saul, to some cave of Adullam; he
might hide in the gloomy recesses of some forest;--amid the oaks of
Bashan, or the rocky gorges of the Jordan, or amid the cedar-heights of
Lebanon;--in the words of Ezekiel, "dwelling safely in the wilderness,
and sleeping in the woods."[67] But it is different with the sinner and
_his_ Avenger:--"_Vengeance is mine; and I_ WILL _repay, saith the
Lord_."[68] Who can escape _His_ glance? Who can hide from _His_
all-seeing eye?

    "If I should find some cave unknown,
      Where human foot had never trod,
    Even there I could not be alone--
      On every side there would be GOD.

    "He smiles in heaven, He frowns in hell,
      He fills the air, the earth, the sea;
    I _must_ within His presence dwell,
      I cannot from His anger flee."

The _fourth_ thing I want to say to you is:--That _many young and old_
HAVE _fled to Jesus, the Gospel City of Refuge, and have found
themselves safe and happy there_.

How delightful it is, year by year, to trace the footsteps of those,
whether young or old, rich or poor, who have repaired to that blessed
shelter! I shall close this little volume by telling you of _two_ such,
now inhabitants of the better _celestial City_. Very different they were
in years, in country, in outward position. But they were alike in
this,--that they fled in life to the gates of the Gospel Refuge; and to
both _the_ NAME _of_ JESUS was specially precious.

The one was C---- T----, a little girl thirteen years old--the age, I
daresay, of some whose eyes are falling on these pages. I saw her when
she was bright and happy in her adopted home in England--a sweet spot in
the county of Kent, on one of those wooded heights or uplands which
command an extensive prospect of the Thames, as he winds along, hearing
on his lordly bosom the commerce of the world. Little did any then
dream, that that little life, so full of promise, was to be early
taken--her sun going down before it was "yet day!" So, however, the will
of God was; her summons came suddenly, unexpectedly. Her disconsolate
parents saw "the desire of their eyes taken away by a stroke." The dear
child herself was naturally of a timid, reserved disposition; she felt
more than she said. Her kind, unselfish heart delighted in devising
plans of usefulness and carrying them out. The entire of her
pocket-money was latterly spent in the purchase of little books for the
infant-school children--all of whom loved her much--or in publications
for loan among the elder Sunday class. She won the affections of old as
well as young. "The little lady who used to speak so prettily to us,"
was the description given, with full eyes, by more than one of the
villagers who had known her loving ways, and heard her loving voice. In
another neighbourhood still more familiar to her, she used to go to the
cottages with her Bible, and offer to read to the inmates who most
needed it; always putting her little hands together first, to ask for
God's blessing, and then making some simple remarks she thought might be
of use. Those whose hearts most sorely mourned her, had the fullest
assurance that the grace of God had been early poured into their dear
child's heart. But on thinking, too, on the past, they began at times to
wonder whether these pleasing traits of character and efforts to do
good, were really prompted by love to Jesus, or whether they might be
rather the effect of habit and the imitation of others. They anxiously
searched among her little books and desk-treasures to see if they could
find anything to confirm their fondest thoughts regarding this. I
believe it was even made the subject of earnest prayer to God, that some
such precious testimony might be found. After all her other books had
been examined in vain, imagine what were the feelings of delight and
thankfulness, when, as one day she who loved her best was taking the
cover off her Bible, the two following letters dropped from it on the
ground:--

     "B. PARSONAGE, _August._

     "MY DEAREST PAPA AND MAMMA,--I am going to write this in
     case I should go to that _happy_ land where sorrow is not
     known, suddenly; and that you may have _no_ fears about my
     soul. I know my state, and that my _precious_ Saviour has
     called me, and I humbly accept this _glorious_ invitation
     as a poor WRETCHED sinner. I _strive_ not to expect
     redemption by my own poor merits. I have no comparative
     fear of death, but as a passage from a wicked world to a
     happy, happy home. Though I am by nature very wicked, it
     is all washed away by my Saviour's blood. The Holy Spirit
     has taught me what to pray for, and how to pray. I hope all
     my dear friends will forgive me if I have been angry when
     they have spoken to me about my faults. I should like,
     dearest parents, whatever little money and things I have,
     to be given to the Church Missionary Society and the Bible
     Society. My dear Saviour has forgiven me all my INNUMERABLE
     sins, and so, dear parents, you need not fear about my
     soul. I believe my Saviour will _not_ forsake me if I trust
     in Him, and I know that all my righteousness is as filthy
     rags.--I remain, dearest parents," &c., &c., &c.,

     "C. M. T."

The other paper that was found, was probably intended for her brothers
and sisters. It is as follows:--

"When you are in trouble, go to God and tell Him all about it. The
Saviour who called little children to come to Him will listen to you, no
matter what the subjects be, if you be but in earnest and need His help.
If you have a difficult lesson to learn, a hasty spirit to subdue, an
unkind word to bear, a proud spirit to humble--whatever your difficulty,
take it to God in the name of Jesus, and He _will_ help you. If even we,
who see so little beneath the surface, are not pleased with outward
appearances without good qualities within, how much less is the great
God who searches the inmost recesses of the heart? 'The Lord seeth not
as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord
looketh on the heart.' What we require is a new heart cleansed by the
Holy Spirit, full of all the graces mentioned in St. Paul's Epistle to
the Galatians, (chap. v. 22.) Oh! go then to JESUS and ask of Him in
earnest prayer to pardon your sins, and to confer upon you the blessed
gift of a new heart."

My young friends, have _you_ fled like C---- T---- to an all-gracious
Saviour? Is the "_name_ of Jesus," so sweet to _her_, equally precious
to you? Does it "soothe your sorrows," "heal your wounds," and drive
your tears and fears all away? Can you say, in the spirit of her
beautiful and comforting letter,--

    "Till then I shall His love proclaim
      With every fleeting breath;
    And may the music of His _NAME_
      Refresh my soul in death."

Having told you of one recently "fallen asleep in Jesus," who had early
repaired to the shelter of the Gospel Refuge, I shall now tell you of an
aged servant of Jesus who has, more recently still, entered on her
glorious rest.

She was a former parishioner of mine. Her home was a lowly cottage in
one of the loveliest villages of Scotland. Poor in this world, and an
almost constant sufferer, she was rich in faith,--one of "Christ's
jewels;"--her life was "hid with Christ in God." If I could venture to
name two peculiarities in her spiritual being which distinguished her
more than others, it would be these: Love for _the_ NAME _of_ JESUS,
and a _Life of_ PRAYER. "His _name_," to her, was "like ointment poured
forth."[69] Often have I delighted to sit with her in her cottage, with
her Bible on her knee, and hear her speak of "the _name_ which is above
every name;" walking about these six Refuge-Cities, "telling all the
towers, marking the bulwarks, and considering the palaces." She had
herself long before, in early life, fled to the Gospel stronghold. I
think her favourite city would have been GOLAN, "Joy." Her heart seemed
ever to be filled with "peace and _joy_ in believing."

Doubtless much of this calm serenity and joy she derived from her life
of _prayer_. It is no small matter for the writer of these pages to
know, that there was not a day for upwards of sixteen years in which he
was not personally and specially remembered by this lowly saint at a
throne of grace.

One forenoon during this past year, she had entered her cottage,
carrying a pitcher of water down from the well in her garden. It was the
last time she crossed her threshold. When her door was opened, she was
_found alone on her knees_; BUT _her spirit had fled_! PRAYER, as it had
been her ever fond delight in life, had been her solace and comfort in
death. Her last act was drawing water out of the better "_wells of
salvation_." She began with _prayer_, but ended in _praise_! She began
her prayer on earth, and "finished it with the angels!"

Reader! when you come to die, could _you_ be equally happy, equally
safe? Would you be able thus to rejoice and triumph in the _name of
Jesus_? Could you declare, with either of these two glorified spirits,
before God "took" them, "_We_ HAVE _a strong city; salvation hath God
appointed for walls and for bulwarks_?"[70] Has the Holy Spirit taught
you, as it taught them, that you are sinners by nature, and in a state
of condemnation? Have you heard God's voice behind you, declaring that
"He can by no means clear the guilty?"[71] And are you able now
joyfully to say, "I heard Thy voice, and I was afraid, because I was
naked, and _I hid myself_?"

Are you, like them, really "hid" _within_ the gates? The manslayer of
old required to be _within_ the refuge-city. Even if he were but one
footstep without, the avenger of blood could cut him down. It did not
matter _how_ near he was, if he was not _inside_ the portals!

And so it will avail you nothing to know about Christ, and hear about
Christ;--to survey the strength of the city's walls, the glory of its
battlements, and the beauty of its palaces. It is "_the righteous who_
RUNNETH _into it_," who alone is "_safe_."

What more, in closing, have I to say, but to repeat the solemn word,
"_Haste thee, flee for thy life_!" Every hour you put off, the time is
shorter; the avenger is nearer; the chances of escape are fewer. There
is no time for delay. I say this to the very youngest. I say more. As
young feet can run fastest, so it is with young souls. You will never go
to Jesus so easily as now. Let nothing keep you back. It is said that on
digging up the ruins of Herculaneum, (the city that was buried under the
lava of Mount Vesuvius,) the body of a man was found in an upright
posture, in the act of running out of the door of his house to escape
destruction. He had a bag of gold in his hand. Others had escaped in
safety. But this miser loved his gold more than his life. He had
returned to fetch it, thinking he would have time enough to escape the
terrible doom; but the burning stream overtook him. He was encased in a
living sepulchre.

It was one, too, of the saddest incidents connected with these Cities of
Refuge of old, when some poor, breathless, panting fugitive--just when
he was in sight of the city--when he had almost reached the gate, sank
exhausted. Or perhaps the case of some other who had lain down weary to
sleep, but who had been startled by the avenger at his side, and the
drawn sword gleaming before his eyes;--years after, the pile of stones
marking the spot where his blood had been shed.

But, oh, sadder, sadder far, for any, young or old, to perish within
sight of Christ! To suffer the love of sin, or the love of pleasure, or
the love of the world, to make them "too late!" To be _almost_, but not
_altogether_ saved! To be cut down by the sword of wrath, or overtaken
by the fiery stream, with heaven in view!

God grant that this may not be the case with any one of _you_!

I shall conclude with a happier picture:--The citizens in these
Refuge-cities of old, were sometimes seen clustered on the top of the
walls, watching the approach of the manslayer, and cheering him on when
faint and exhausted. So, think of the happy citizens of the New
Jerusalem: Patriarchs, prophets, saints, departed friends, who are now
safe within its gates, watching you from these glorious heights,
beckoning to you not to tarry, but to be "followers of them who, through
faith and patience, are inheriting the promises." "Verily I say unto
you, There is joy in heaven among the angels of God over every sinner
that repenteth."

We have been speaking of the "_name_ of JESUS."

Read the motto over the gateway of all these six cities. Read the motto
over the door of the Gospel Refuge:--"_Neither is there salvation in
any other: for there is none other_ NAME given under heaven among men
by which the sinner can be saved, but _the_ NAME of JESUS."

    _Jesus, my Refuge_! look on me:
    When weak and weary, worn, opprest:
    I cast my every care on Thee--
            Thou art my _Rest_.

    _Jesus my Refuge_! guide my way,
    Dispel the gloomy shades of night,
    Oh, shine Thou forth with cheering ray!--
            Thou art my _Light_.

    _Jesus, my Refuge_! storms may rise,
    Affliction sweep with tempest-shock,
    My spirit to Thy shelter flies,
            Thou art my _Rock_.

    _Jesus my Refuge_! legion-foes
    May seek to drive me from the field,
    But in Thy strength I shell repose--
            Thou art my _Shield_.

    _Jesus, my Refuge_! Thou in store
    Hast happiness without alloy,
    Pleasures unmingled, evermore--
            Thou art my _Joy_.

    _Jesus, my Refuge_! on the brink
    Of Jordan, in my latest strife,
    Thou wilt not suffer me to sink--
            Thou art my _Life_.

    _Jesus, my Refuge_! oh, supply
    My every want, whate'er befall;
    Through life, in death, eternally,
            Thou art my _ALL_!

    ANON.



THE ROCK OF CASTELLO.



The Rock of Castello.


As I was walking on a bright summer evening, among the Italian Alps, I
came to one of the lovely valleys of the Waldenses. These, perhaps I
should tell my young readers, are a pious race of Christians, who have,
age after age, boldly "contended for the faith once delivered to the
saints," and kept the lamp of truth brightly burning, when all around
was darkness.

This beautiful spot is surrounded by very lofty mountains, whose tops
are almost lost in the clouds, while the little stream that murmurs
below has its banks covered with vines and mulberry trees, rich corn
fields, and happy villages. When I first entered it by the Alpine pass
of La Croix, the whole valley was shrouded in a dense fog, with the
exception of one bold and very remarkable Rock, which towered in
solitary grandeur above the sea of mist, and seemed from its height like
an island suspended in mid-air!

Upon inquiring what this Rock was, I was informed it is a place famous
in the history of the Valley. When the poor peasants were persecuted by
their foes, their cottages and hamlets plundered, their loved
sanctuaries burnt with fire, and "all their pleasant things laid
waste," they would retire with their wives and little ones up to this
rocky citadel, which the God of nature seemed to have reared as a
shelter for His defenceless people.

Within this Rock that same God had wonderfully provided for their safety
and comfort. It contains a large cavern, capable of holding many at a
time; and in the very centre of this cave is a fountain of water, which
yields a never-failing supply. When driven thither by the storms of
persecution, the exiles provided themselves with food, from the
plentiful wild fruits of the adjoining mountain, so that the Bible
promise was made good to them, "Their bread shall be given them, and
their water shall be sure!" Swords and cannon and other means of
defense they had none, but a single man, stationed at the mouth of the
cave, was enough to defy hundreds of armed soldiers. He had only to hurl
fragments of loose stones (which were supplied from the sides of the
cavern) down upon the foe, and they were instantly beaten back, thus
fulfilling God's words to Israel, "Five of you shall chase an hundred,
and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight."

Often, often, then, when the wintry tempests and Alpine storms, and
drifting snows, were raging fiercely around, adding to the terrors of
the enemy, did these peasant warriors find in the Rock of Castello a
secure shelter and retreat. With their fountain and blazing fire, their
Bibles and their God, they would make the rocky cavern ring with praise.
They "feared the Lord," and had no other fear. He had "given his angels
charge over them;" and they could boldly make the challenge, "God is for
us, who can be against us?"

       *       *       *       *       *

When I heard about this Rock, which the "God of _Nature_" had upreared
as a citadel for his oppressed people, it reminded me of a better ROCK,
which "the God of _Grace_" has provided for perishing sinners!

Dear Children!--You are all, by nature, like these poor Christians of
the Alps, the inhabitants of a Valley. It is called "_The Valley of
Tears!_" Like theirs, too, it is a lovely valley, far too lovely for
sinful man; but though lovely, its name tells you it is a _Valley of
Weeping_. Sin has made it so. And more than this, it is a _Valley of
Danger_, a _Valley of Death_!

It is full of _Enemies_. I can not tell you them all, "their name is
Legion, for they are many." There are:

THE WORLD.    Ungodly men, bad companions,
              tempting you to sin,
              and trying to keep you
              back from fleeing to Jesus!

YOUR OWN      The enemy within, the worst
HEARTS.       of all, because the most
              deceitful of all!

SATAN.        The great enemy, who goeth
              about seeking whom he
              may devour.

DEATH.        The last enemy, a sudden
              enemy, but oh! remember,
              a _sure_ enemy; other enemies
              _may_ come, He _must_
              come, and the time of his
              coming is generally "at
              _midnight_," when you least
              look for him!

Methinks I hear my young readers exclaiming, If my enemies are so many,
if my danger is so great, is there no place I can flee to? "What must I
do to be saved" from those enemies in this _Valley of Tears_? Oh!
whither shall I flee from the "wrath to come?"

Hear the voice of God:--He is pointing to a Rock rising from the midst
of the Valley, and is calling aloud to you, "Flee to this Stronghold, ye
prisoners of Hope!"

Do you ask--When shall I flee? He answers, "_Now_ is the day of
salvation!"

Do you ask--May I not _wait_ a few years? I am yet a young inhabitant of
the Valley. Death, if he be the _surest_ enemy, is the _last_ enemy;
have I not yet time enough? God answers--TO-DAY! while it is called
to-day! "Verily, there may be but a step between thee and Death!" "Haste
thee; flee for thy life."

Do you ask--But must I leave all the pleasures of sin, and so much that
I love in this valley of tears? God answers, "What is a man profited, if
he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Do you ask--But is there no _other_ refuge than this, no other means of
safety but, amid storm and tempest, to climb to this Rock? God answers,
"Neither is there salvation in any other! For there is none other name
given under heaven, by which a sinner can be saved, but the name of
Jesus."

Dear children, let this be _your_ prayer: "Lord, lead me unto this ROCK,
that is higher than I!"

Oh! with what delight does that Great God look upon children, such as
you, when they "flee for refuge to lay hold on this hope set before
them;" and when they join their hearts and their voices together,
saying, "Oh! come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise
unto the ROCK OF OUR SALVATION!"

But I would like to tell my Young Readers something more about this
Great "Refuge from the storm"--this Great "Covert from the tempest." Let
us seat ourselves for a little in the Alpine valley, under the brow of
the Rock of Castello; it may help us to some thoughts of the better
"Rock of Ages!" I dare say many a poor Waldensian, when taking shelter
in this earthly refuge, would be often reminded by it of the ROCK that
can never be shaken!

_First_, The Rock of Castello _is very High_. So is _Jesus_; so High,
that He is called _the Son of the Highest_--"The Ancient of Days!"--"God
over all." "The heaven of heavens can not contain Him!"

_Second_, The Rock of Castello _rises from the Valley_: so Jesus rose
from poor parents in this valley of tears. He "humbled Himself," to take
upon Him our nature; so that "although he be HIGH, He might have respect
unto the _lowly_!"

_Third_, The Rock of Castello _was quite close at hand_; though lofty,
it was always near for fleeing to: so is Jesus, the "Rock of Ages." We
have not to say, "Who shall ascend into Heaven to bring Christ down?"
"He is not far from any one of us." Indeed, He is so very near, and so
very accessible, that the only wonder is that there should be any found
who do not "flee to Him for refuge!"

_Fourth_, The Rock of Castello _was wont to shelter many children and
helpless infants_; many poor mothers, driven from their homes, carried
their babes thither in their arms. Jesus, the living Rock, does the
same. He delighted, when on earth, to fold children to his bosom, and
say, "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not!" It
was neither His nor His "Father's will" that so much as "one of these
little ones should perish." He was so HIGH that angels adored Him; so
meek and lowly, that infants smiled in his arms!

_Fifth_, The Rock of Castello _has a large cleft or opening in it, which
admits into the cavern_. Jesus is a _rent_ and _smitten_ Rock! You can
enter by faith _into_ Him only through His opened side. Oh! what a
smiting that was, by the rod of God's justice! and yet, had there been
no such smiting, you and I, Dear Children, must have _perished_!

_Sixth_, The Rock of Castello _was a Secure Hiding Place_. No other spot
in all the valley could have afforded shelter but this. On any of the
surrounding mountains there would have been certain destruction to the
exiles, from the Alpine snows, and fierce hurricanes and storms. But
here, in their cavern, nothing could touch them, and if the storm raged,
it spent its fury on the Rock!

Jesus is, indeed, a _safe Shelter_, while every other refuge will prove
"a refuge of lies!" The tempest of God's wrath, and the curses of God's
law, are still raging fiercely all around. But what matters it? They can
not touch _You_, my Young Friends, _if sheltered in the Rock_! Upon that
ROCK, eighteen hundred years ago, they exhausted all their fury. Jesus
shelters and delivers you from that fearful storm of Law-curses, by
himself being "made a curse for you!" The tempest may smite _Jesus the
Rock_, but it can not touch those who have "won Him, and are FOUND IN
HIM."

_Seventh_, The Rock of Castello _has a Fountain in it_. Jesus, the
Living Rock, has opened a Fountain not only "for Sin," but "for
Uncleanness." He does not wish only to _justify_ you, by sheltering you
from the Storms of the Law,--but He wishes also to _sanctify_ you, and
fit you for glory. He does not only wish to make you _Safe_, but to make
you _Holy_. The HOLY SPIRIT is this _Fountain_ in the Rock. Oh! Dear
Children, bless God for this "Well of Water, springing up unto
everlasting life." It washes, and cleanses, and refreshes you. Without
it, your naturally _unholy_ hearts could never be fitted for the holy,
happy heaven, of a Holy, Happy God.

_Eighth_, The Rock of Castello _remains as it was to this hour_, while
all its brave inmates of past generations are no more. Jesus is an
_Everlasting_ Rock, unchanged and unchangeable. This is still "His name,
and still His memorial," "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and
for ever!" For six thousand years, sinners have been crowding in, and
"still there is room!"

_Ninth_, The Rock of Castello _was only a safe retreat so long as those
who fled for refuge remained within its cave_. The enemy were
continually on the watch, and to venture out, would be to _perish_!
Jesus, the "Rock of Ages," thus speaks to you, "Abide in me!" "Out of
me, ye can do nothing." It is only "the Righteous who runneth _into_ Him
that is _safe_! To _abide_ in Jesus is to be secure from every danger,
to _leave_ Him is _destruction_!"

_Tenth_, The Rock of Castello _had to be fled to in the first moment of
danger_. The only safety of the persecuted was in _instant flight_. On
the first tidings of the enemy, houses, and lands, and vineyards, and
all they possessed, had to be left, and, "forgetting the things that
were behind, they pressed forward" to their Rock! Jesus tells _you_,
dear children, your only safety consists in _immediate_ flight to
Himself, the Rock of Ages! Delay may be fatal! The storm-blast is
gathering, the sky is darkening, there is the distant muttering of the
thunder. The enemy is on the march--Satan is watching--Death is
approaching. Already he may have strung his arrow. "Flee to the
stronghold, ye prisoners of Hope,--

TO-DAY."

Oh! forbid that this should be _your_ history now, and your history
through eternity (How awful are the words!)--

"They lightly esteemed the _Rock of their Salvation_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Reader!--Have _you_ fled to this Living "Rock of Ages?"--Have you made
it your prayer,

    "Jesus! Refuge of my Soul!
    Let me to Thy bosom fly?"

And in _that_ bosom, and _that_ refuge, are you hiding yourself until
all Earth's "calamities be overpast?" The deeper you hide yourself in
the clefts of the smitten Rock, the safer you are. Oh! do you ever pause
and think that there is a day coming, when this Valley of Tears "and all
the works that are therein, shall be burned up?" When "God shall arise
in the glory of His Majesty, to shake terribly the Earth." When every
mountain peak shall be black with tempest--and the whole valley shall be
a sheet of living fire! Then (as I saw on the evening I entered this
Alpine valley), there shall be but ONE ROCK seen rising far above the
mist, and thunderings, and lightnings, and tempest! JESUS CHRIST, the
Rock of Ages! the Sinner's Refuge! and the Sinner's Friend! Many voices
shall be heard beneath in the valley, calling upon _other Rocks_, but it
will be to hide them from the "_wrath of the Lamb_!" The loose fragments
of stone thrown down from the Rock of Castello crushed hundreds: "On
whomsoever THIS STONE shall fall, it will _grind them to powder_!"

Oh, when the voice of the Great Judge shall resound through the dens and
caves of the Earth with the Question,--"_Sinner, where are thou?_"--How
blessed if you shall be able, from your safe shelter, to reply, "Here
am I, Lord! I heard Thy voice, and I was afraid, because I was naked,
and I hid myself!" Hid yourself! where? Hid myself in

"THE ROCK OF AGES."



JESUS, MY ROCK.


    When the storm and the tempest are raging around me,
      Oh! where shall I flee to be safe from their shock?
    There are walls which no mortal hands built to surround me,
      A Refuge Eternal,--'Tis JESUS MY ROCK!

    When my heart is all sorrow, and trials aggrieve me,
      To whom can I safely my secrets unlock?
    No bosom (save one) has the power to relieve me,
      The bosom which bled for me, JESUS MY ROCK!

    When Life's gloomy curtain, at last, shall close o'er me,
      And the chill hand of death unexpectedly knock,
    I will look up to HIM who hath felt it before me,
      And cleave all the closer to JESUS MY ROCK!

    Companions may smile, and the world may deride me,
      And with the cold finger of ridicule mock;
    But no trial, nor coldness, nor death shall divide me,
      From the Shelter of Ages!--from JESUS MY ROCK!

    O Thou! who on earth, in the days of thy sorrow,
      Didst fold to thy bosom the Lambs of thy Flock,
    Prevent me (though young) putting off till to-morrow,
      In fleeing for refuge to--JESUS MY ROCK!


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Job. ii. 4.

[2] Psalm ix. 6.

[3] Ezek. xviii. 4.

[4] Prov. xi. 21.

[5] Rom. iii. 23.

[6] Gen xix. 17.

[7] Rom. viii. 35.

[8] Rev. iii. 7.

[9] Matt. xix. 14.

[10] Psalm viii. 2.

[11] Psalm xxxi. 21.

[12] Isa. vi. 3.

[13] Mark i. 24.

[14] Ex. xii. 5.

[15] Jer. xxiii. 5.

[16] Heb. vii. 26.

[17] John viii. 46.

[18] Rev. iii. 7.

[19] Acts iv. 27.

[20] Luke ii. 52.

[21] "The Land and the Book."

[22] Gen. xii. 8.

[23] John iv. 14.

[24] Isa. liii. 4.

[25] Heb. vii. 25.

[26] Isa. xxviii. 16.

[27] Isa. ix. 6.

[28] Deut. i. 31.

[29] Psalm xl. 17.

[30] Luke xv. 5.

[31] Psalm iv. 8.

[32] John x. 28.

[33] Mark i. 7.

[34] Col. i. 20.

[35] Eph. ii. 6.

[36] Eph. ii. 13.

[37] Rom. viii. 83.

[38] Luke xi. 21.

[39] Psalm xviii. 2.

[40] Prov. xviii. 10.

[41] Psalm ix. 9, 10.

[42] 1 Cor. xv. 55.

[43] Isa. xxxii. 2.

[44] Zech. xiii. 7.

[45] Nahum i. 7.

[46] Rom. viii. 1.

[47] Luke xi. 22.

[48] Isa. xxvi. 4.

[49] Psalm xxii. 12, 13.

[50] Phil. ii. 9.

[51] 1 Pet. iv. 12, 13.

[52] 1 Pet. i. 8.

[53] Matt. xxv. 21.

[54] Acts viii. 8.

[55] John xv. 11.

[56] Heb. xiii. 8.

[57] Num. xxxv. 25.

[58] Rom. viii. 34.

[59] John vi. 35.

[60] John vii. 37.

[61] Heb. i. 14.

[62] Isaiah xxvi. 2.

[63] Psalm cxviii. 19.

[64] Psalm cvii. 4.

[65] 1 John i. 7.

[66] Rom. xiii. 14.

[67] Ezek. xxxiv. 25.

[68] Rom. xii. 19.

[69] Sol. Song i. 3.

[70] Isaiah xxvi. 1.

[71] Exod. xxxiv. 7.





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