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knew what was in man; and being for ever the same, He still knoweth the very secrets of men's hearts, and is not ignorant of the dark devices of the Devil and his angels.
2. “The all-wise God our Saviour,” sets before us in the Text a short but awfully interesting history of the doings of “the unclean Spirit” in this our world. May the Holy Spirit give us grace and wisdom to understand His own words, and hide them in our hearts to the enlightening and comforting and safety of our souls, and to the glory of God's name through Jesus Christ. He saith : “when the Unclean Spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest.”
It is certain that a man, left to himself, is no match for that evil Spirit which is in him. He is of his own nature strongly inclined to evil. He is not of himself able to cast out the Unclean Spirit from his own heart: neither is he naturally willing to do it. When the Unclean Spirit goeth out of a Man,
it is not because the Man is naturally weary of the evil Spirit's company, and wishes him to leave his heart: neither is it because the Man is naturally strong enough to open the door of his heart, and with authority to command, or with force to constrain, the dreadful Inmate to depart. “When the Unclean Spirit, therefore, is gone out of a Man,” his going out has been wrought by a Will and a Power better than Man's. Whatever may be the second cause, or instrument by which so great and good a deed was done, the First Cause is God, the mighty Saviour, the Holy Spirit: it is the operation of His Hand. He is the Doer of it. This is true, whether the Man himself perceives and acknowledges the Almighty Workman, or whether he yet remains blind-hearted and dumb-spirited to the undeserved goodness which has visited him.
3. Let us, however, now go on to consider the doings of the Unclean Spirit, when he is gone out.
“ He walketh
through dry places, seeking rest. “Dry places,” that is “barren places,” places whiclı do not furnish the things we look for from them. If any one should look for wheat on
some uncultivated heath, his seeking would be in vain. It would be a barren spot to him, a "dry place.” He might find many a weed therein, and many a heath plant, and wild grasses in abundance, but no wheat. Again: if he desired to find thorns, thistles, and such like, and went to seek them in a well ordered garden, or in some fruitful field, where such plants are not suffered to grow, surely his seeking would be useless. He would find the garden and field barren places, in respect to the plants he was seeking for. Although both field and garden are well furnished with good things, they are “dry places” to the person, who wishes to find rank and poisonous weeds. He might "walk through” such well-farmed spots and well-worked land, but he would find nothing to cause him to stop, and take up his “rest” there. Such are the Righteous. They are God's Husbandry: His Vineyard : His fruitful Field : His pleasant Garden. And although they be as Places well watered by the Lord, yet are they as “dry places” to' the Unclean Spirit, whenever he walketh through them, seeking rest.
4. Why then does the Unclean One seek rest in such Hearts? Because he is a raging Spirit: his rage is against the Lord : and when forced for a season to go out of a wicked man, he will enter into and walk through the Hearts of God's dear children, “seeking rest :" seeking, if haply he may find in them some fruits of wickedness on which to feed himself, some way of wickedness in which he may walk up and down in them, some dark part in their hearts in which he may settle himself, and rest, , and set up again his hateful kingdom, and rule and reign over them to their ruin. · But their God knoweth Satan's going out and his coming in, and his rage
against Him; and such as have the Holy Spirit dwelling and working in them are enlightened to see their own danger, and quickened to feel it. They are not ignorant of the Enemy's devices.
They know that when their Lord overcame the Devil in the wilderness, and with authority commanded him to go out of His holy sight, Satan departed: but he departed only “ for a season.
He came again : and again he found nothing in CHRIST. “The prince of this world cometh (said our Lord) and findeth nothing in Me.”
When the righteous recollect Satan's wrath and perseverance and craft against their pure and spotless Master, they need not wonder that “the Unclean Spirit” should again and again come to them, and seek to rest again in their poor, human, deceitful hearts. They need not wonder: but they have need to watch and pray against his crafts. And if he should enter in, they need not wonder: for he is both strong and subtle: but they have great need to take