Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

fort of a single text of scripture applied to the wounded spirit, or of one sentence from the works of those, whom God has owned and honored in their generation. " Affliction cometh forth not from the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground,” saith one, who could speak experimentally on the subject.

But we need much assistance, when under the chastening rod of a Father, to make us believe that the gall and wormwood are medicinal—the severity of the discipline either necessary or deserved. Afflictions may be the means of adding sin to sin ; for all afflictions arise from that one deadly cause: when sin entered into the world, affliction quickly followed in its steps. There are temptations peculiar to the afflicted state ; under the prostration of soul consequent upon it, the enemy comes in like a flood, and tempts to murmuring, to fretting, or despair. But we should never, for one moment, forget that all suffering is from God, and all instruments are his instruments, Isaiah liv. 16.—“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Have we not to do with ONE, who is the Sovereign Lord God, who "giveth not account of His matters?" And therefore, the same inspired writer asks the question,-“Why dost thou strive with HIM?” As if it were the excess of madness to do so. And is it not ?—Shall the poor worm of a day reply against HIM, who is from everlasting to

V

everlasting ?-The wretched, blind, and miserable creature contend with his Omniscient and Omnipotent Creator ? un' yévoito! Rather let him lay his mouth in the dust, and cry out, with Eli of old, “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.” As in Israel, those that slighted the rebukes of their earthly parents were stoned without pity, so will God deal with them that kick against his discipline, and make no profit of his rod. Let us pray then, that He would anoint our eyes with spiritual eyesalve, Rev. iii. 18—that we may see that affliction is the hyssop to cleanse, Psalm li. 7—the refiner's fire to consume the dross of sin. For He, who cannot lie, hath told us so, Heb. xii. 6-11. Ought not “the little, little flock," tò pixpòv trojvrov, (Luke xii. 32) to rest satisfied, that affliction" is the mark, that it hath pleased the GREAT SHEPHER) of souls to put upon his sheep? The worst sentence that can be pronounced, is Ephraim's, “Let him alone,” Hosea iv. 17. Oh! wait His pleasure. “Look unto the hills, whence cometh help :"—say, with David, “I know that thou in very

faithfulness hast afflicted me.” If we seek it, God's instruction will direct to safe and honorable walking, amidst the most malignant enemies. A sense of His pardon is the greatest help and comfort under the bitterest trials and wants, Job xix. Faith in His promises and characters, will keep from fainting amidst powerful temptations, distresses, and enemies unnumbered. And when we have experienced His goodness in waiting for Him, we should the more encourage others to patient expectation of His grace. Ask for that faith, which enabled the martyrs (mentioned Heb. xi.) to rejoice in tribulation, and glorify God in the fires. But the desponding soul may say, that they had the miraculous gifts of the Spirit to sustain them in their conflicts, and these have long ceased to be the portion of the church. But, “O thou afflicted and tossed with tempests," have we not examples, if not in our own day, yet within a century, where faith in a crucified Saviour, has sustained one, who passed the half of her life under the bitterest trials and persecutions, and who was enabled to say, to use the beautiful translation of our immortal Cowper,

“Long plung'd in sorrow, I resign
My soul to that dear hand of thine,

Without reserve or fear;
That hand can wipe my streaming eyes,
Or into smiles of glad surprise,

Transform the falling tear.

My sole possession is thy love ;
In earth beneath, or heav'n above,

I have no other store;
And tho' with fervent suit I pray,
And importune thee night and day,

I ask thee nothing more.

vii

Mine hours with undiminish'd force
And speed, pursue their destin'd course,

Obedient to thy will ;
Nor would I murmur at my doom,
Tho' still a suff'rer from the womb,

And doom'd to suffer still.

At thy command, where'er I stray,
Sorrow attends me all the way,

A never-failing friend ;
And if my suff'ring may augment
Thy praise, behold me well content,

Let sorrow still attend.

It costs me no regret, that she,
Who follow'd Christ, should follow me,

And tho' where'er she goes,
Thorns spring spontaneous at her feet,
I love her, and extract a sweet,
From all

my

bitter woes.”

And oh! if the consideration of this matter should lead one rebellious soul to humility and submission, to raise his thoughts from this earth, lying under the curse of sin, to that blood-bought rest above, prepared from everlasting, for the elect; whose names and members are, and have been written in the book of life," when as yet there was none of them,” Psalm cxxxix. 16, how would a brother pilgrim and sufferer rejoice !how would it “ lead him to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that God might be glorified in all things.”

« ÎnapoiContinuați »