“How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter.”
When a person has been in some distressing predicament, I have heard people remark that they would not care to stand in his shoes. Well, by nature all the offspring of Adam stand in the shoes of Adam; and it is a fearful and awful condition to be in before the holy and just God. Many who have no other than their Adamic shoes appear to be content with them on. They strut along proudly, filled with self-admiration, saying, How beautiful are my feet with shoes! Having their feet dressed with their fleshly righteousness, they deem that their goings are pleasing in the sight of their fellows, and of God also. Our feet do some very loud talking. Those who are swallowed up in their self-righteousness will be found making a tinkling with their feet (Isaiah 3:16) as they are prancing along so nicely in their own eyes. They want the admiration of men. Ah, sometimes the daughters of Zion become haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks, and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, making a tinkling with their feet. But those who walk in pride, the Lord is able to abase; and if we are of God he will so deal with us that he will hush such musical feet, and in our souls’ desolations we shall sit down in the dust before the Lord our God (Isaiah 3:16-26). How are you shod? Are your shoes fleshly or Spiritual, earthly or heavenly? Are they old covenant shoes or new covenant shoes that you wear? Before we were born of the Spirit, and brought into the liberty and consolation of Christ, we might dress our feet ever so finely, and at our best we were only shod with defiled, carnal earthly shoes, and in these shoes we were ever going astray from the paths of righteousness: all our steps were in transgression and sin. Now, when a sinner is called by grace and quickened into divine life he ponders the path of his feet, and it will not be long before all the admiration of his feet will vanish away, for he will see that his shoes, like those of the inhabitants of Gibeon who came unto Joshua, are “old and clouted” (Joshua 9:5). Then we are humbled, and feel it cannot be said of us, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes.” Ah! it is our woeful experience to find that there is a print upon the heels of our feet, and in all of our footprints is the print of sin (Job 12:27). As the Holy Spirit (who convinces of sin) brings in review before us our past tracks we are made to bow down in shame and grief before God, for all our footprints are iniquity. We see that our feet were never beautiful; that we never took a step that was pure and right before the Lord our God. Our Adamic shoes, old and clouted, have made ugly and wretched tracks, and we are made to scan narrowly our goings, from the infancy of our journey to the present, we are constrained to see and confess with mourning before the Lord that we have been rightly called “a transgressor from the womb” (Isaiah 48:8). What else but eternal punishment could be the just doom of such a transgressor against God? “These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Our dear Savior saith, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life: and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29). This solemn doctrine, felt in the heart of a poor sinner, that sees no way of escape, sinks and overwhelms the soul in the gloom of the shadow of death, and as he ponders over his ways apprehensions of the wrath to come may well make his life sad. Oh how blessed through the mercy of the Lord to sing,
“Preserved in Jesus, when my feet made haste to hell;
And there I should have been, but Thou doest all things well!
Thy love was great, Thy mercy free,
Which from the pit delivered me.”
There is, it is to be feared, very much tinsel religion among what is styled Christianity, but the pure gold will be found in those who are taught of the Lord. The true worshippers of the everlasting Jehovah are such as are by the sovereign grace of God brought and taught to worship him in spirit and in truth. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17). So you poor mourning sinner, humbled under your guilt, and grieving over your iniquities, arc precious in the eyes of the Holy One of Israel. His graciousness has brought you low, and has drawn a hell-deserving sinner like you to seek the face of the Lord. You shall not seek in vain; mercy and salvation are in store for thee; and though thy ways are crooked, and thy footprints are sin, the time of love shall come, when the voice of the beloved Savior of sinners shall cheer thy heart, saying, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter”. The holy Scriptures testify of the manifold relations subsisting between Christ and the church; among them is this one in our text, declaring the royal lineage of the saints. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” Being born again, poor sinners are thus manifested as the seed of the Prince of Glory. The love of Emmanuel, his labors and willing sufferings in behalf of his people, to redeem them from under the curse of the law, and to present them unblameable in his sight, has raised them up from the depths of depravity and woe, to sit with him in heavenly places, and to reign with him also, for he hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Glory be to the Lord!
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set than among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.” All the apparel of the prince’s daughter is the gift of the heavenly Bridegroom. Unto her he hath granted that she shall be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which is her righteousness, presenting her all glorious and beautiful in his sight. The face of the church is comely with the imprinted loveliness of her Husband, Savior and King. Decked with his salvation, robed in his imputed righteousness, the King greatly desires her beauty (Psalm 45:11). He calls her “Hephzibah,” for his delight is in her, and he speaks to her heart, saying, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”
“How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter.” When the prodigal son returned home, “the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.” Surely they were not “old and clouted”. Ah no! but beautiful new shoes, fit to wear with the best robe. Look at him stepping out of those old, ragged shoes, into the new ones. There he stands, robed in beautiful garments; and those feet that in times past walked in iniquity, that strayed so far away, in riotous living, now are shod, O how beautiful are thy feet with shoes! The father said, “Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” It is written, The Lord will keep the feet of his saints (1 Sam. 2:9). And the apostle Paul speaking of them, Having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15). Such are the shoes that the Holy Spirit puts on the feet of sinners called by grace. All the footsteps of the elect of God, when shod with these shoes are right and glorious. What say you, dear children of God? Do you not want your feet to be always shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace? Oh beautiful shoes that make beautiful the feel of the blood-washed host! Thus shod even a poor, vile sinner like me can walk in the ways of pleasantness, and in the paths of peace. While we were walking in our own fleshly shoes we were free from righteousness; we could never keep in the right way. Our God, who knoweth, hath said, They are all gone out of the way. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge or sin.” The quickened sinner finds it very abasing, and a grief to his heart, that in his old patched up shoes his feet are ever straying from the way of holiness which he now yearns to walk in. He hungers and thirsts after righteousness; but the shoes of fleshly righteousness can never satisfy the longing soul of the sinner born again. While we were experimentally under the old covenant our condition, our health, our apparel, our shoes, everything, was wretched. But when the time to favor Zion, the set time was come, and faith in Christ Jesus was given us, then Jehovah changed our estate. Precious faith in the blood and righteousness of the Son of God healed our diseases and brought health and cure (Jer. 33:6) to our sin-stricken hearts. We were then arrayed in beautiful apparel, the imputed righteousness of Christ, and with our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace we were ready to walk in peace with God and with men. “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk” (Ezek. 16:10). Let us together, dear children of God, examine these shoes that believers in Jesus wear. These shoes have various names in the Scriptures, but they are all embraced in this designation, “The preparation of the gospel of peace.” In whatsoever aspect these shoes are viewed our soul’s exclamation will be, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter”. When faith, which is the gift of God, comes to, is wrought in, the quickened sinner, he steps out of the old into the new covenant shoes. In the first shoes he stands guilty, a transgressor, condemned. But when by faith in the crucified One, the precious Lord Jesus Christ, he steps in the shoes of the preparation of Christ’s gospel of peace, he stands complete before God. “Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:10). In the shoes of the first Adam, he is a sinner, wretched, lost, undone. In the shoes of the second Adam, Christ, the Lord from heaven, he stands redeemed from the law and its curse, for “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). In these shoes he stands righteous before the Lord, for Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. In these new covenant shoes the poor sinner experimentally finds access into the grace of justification, and rejoices in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2). Yea, the world, sin and Satan are put under their feet, while the melody of that triumphant song is felt in their heats, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who maketh intercession for us.” Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, what though our enemies, our sins and Satan, death and hell array themselves against us? Shall we tremble and flee at the sight of them? Oh no, our feet are prepared (by faith in the blood and obedience of the Captain of our salvation) to run through a troop. God giveth us the necks of our enemies. Shod with such shoes we trample them under our feet (Psalm 18:29-40). Our enemies are found liars unto us, and we tread upon their high places (Deut. 33:29). O believer in Jesus, shod with gospel shoes, like thy Savior, thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet (Psalm 91:13). Look at the sight! There goes forth the stripling against Goliath of Gath. Is he prepared for the encounter? The world would say, No. With his staff and sling and five smooth stones in a script, he draws near the Philistine. “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine and slew him, but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. (1 Sam. 17:45-51). In the name of the Lord of hosts he stood upon the prostrate giant. How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O David!
Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, we are enabled to walk even as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6). For our God in giving us these shoes for our feet, makes his grace to abound toward us, that we always, having all-sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work. “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:25). When believers in Christ Jesus walk in the ordinance of baptism, how beautiful are their feet with shoes. Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. When members of gospel churches are found walking in the truth, walking in love, walking in tender-heartedness, forgiving one another, bearing each other’s burdens, walking as children of light, how beautiful are their feet with shoes. What shoes have you on your feet? Are we walking in pride, going on frowardly in the way of our fleshly hearts? Then we have evil shoes on our feet. But are we walking humbly with our God, walking in the truth, as it is in Jesus, walking in the old path, and the good way? Then the evidence is that our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. May our feet ever thus be shod; then shall it be said, “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter”.
FREDERICK W. KEENE,
SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
Volume 99, No. 6
SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
Volume 104, No. 1