Psalm 16:7.---' I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel, my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.'

This man held communion with God. He had received what are called inspiration and revelation, and had proved the truth of these in his life. They had not come to him as we often falsely suppose revelation and inspiration exclusively to have come to men of old. The Psalmist tells us of no visions of angels, no voices from heaven. The Lord did not appear to him by sign or in dreams. On the contrary, he tells us very simply that the Divine counsel came to him through the workings of his own inner mental and spiritual life. ' My reins also instruct me in the night seasons.'

Now, according to the primitive physiology of the day, the reins of a man were supposed to fulfil the same mental and spiritual functions of which we now know that the brain is the organ. ' My brains also,' we might put it without straining the meaning of the verse, ' My brains also instruct me in the night seasons.' In other words, God's revelation came to this man through the workings of his mind and conscience. And he adds that it was in the night-time that mind and conscience worked, when he was left to himself, undisturbed by the things which are seen; when he lay alone in the darkness. God made this man's brain, and used it by His Spirit as the instrument of revelation, communing with the man through his reason and conscience, his spiritual and mental faculties.

Do you see how this verse of the Psalm performs its chief service and example to ourselves? We are always in our stupid way contrasting God's common providence and His grace. We are always opposing reason and revelation. To this man they were one; God's grace was shown to him everywhere through His common providence, and God's revelation was ministered to through the reason with which He Himself had endowed His creature. The Psalmist's chief and most practical help to us is that he became sure of God, not by miracle or supernatural sign, but by God's common providence in his life and by God's communion with him through the organs God Himself had created. These are experiences in which every one of us today can share.

So, whether before or after Christ, these are the ultimate grounds and reasons for faith in God. It was so in the Old Testament: ' Stand in awe and sin not.' ' Commune with your heart upon your bed, and be still.' ' Be still, and know that I am God.' It was so with our Lord Himself: ' The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, but the kingdom of God is within you.' It was so with St. Paul: ' The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.' 'For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father . . . that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may come with all saints to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of God.'

But it is no cold or commonplace knowledge that comes to the believer apart from the ministry of angels, and upon the use of his own mind and conscience. For look how these poor imperfect instruments are to be strengthened, and are strengthened, by the touch of God's spirit. ' According,' says St. Paul, ' to the riches of his glory.' Not more sublime was Zechariah's or Ezekiel's vision of God, not more full of melody were the skies above Bethlehem that night Christ was born, than our knowledge of God may be, if only we will let our spiritual natures out, doing justice to the coming of His Spirit, which is always nearer than we think, and more ready to communicate than we are to take.

After all, it has never been better put than in the answer in the Shorter catechism, " What is effectual calling?" " Effectual calling is the working of God's Holy Spirit, whereby, convincing us "---mark the intellectual terms---" convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our will, He doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel." Here is His own word again: ' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.'

In Christ, timothy. maranatha