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affliction is permitted to continue, till he is delivered at once from it, and into heaven.
Such may have been the case with the prophet. Whether he was permitted to behold the restoration of his nation, or, whether he died before that event occured, we know
if not, the goodness of God is illustrated in taking him so much sooner to his eternal rest. And in the full prospect of it he is enabled to rejoice.
But let us enquire if an emotion such as th is, may be experienced by us in this our day? And why should it not? Only two reasons could occur to the mind. Either that our prospects may be darker,—or our support less,because God is not wont to bestow with the same liberality as in former times. Neither of these replies will bear the test. The latter supposition would be monstrous and impious in the extreme.
A case of individual suffering greater than Job's is scarcely conceivable. A prospect more gloomy than the prophet's can hardly be imagined. Which of you have ever been placed in circumstances presenting anything like a parallel to either of them? Who among acquaintance has been so grievously dealt with ? And for the support you are warranted to expect; has the goodness of God suffered diminution that he should withhold his blessings? Is his arm less potent that he cannot uphold us? Has his wisdom failed that he cannot devise the means for our deliverance ? Nay, he is our immutable almighty Lord. All created nature may perish but he
and his years cannot fail. Why, then, should we not so confide in God, as to be able to rejoice in him? Are your troubles great? They are not for “his pleasure” but for “your profit.” Talk not of troubles from which there is no escape, and in which you can receive no consolation ! Such things do not,
" is the same
can not, exist. In every sorrow of the heart there is a part borne by eternal mercy, for support and comfort. What encouragement have we in the Word of God to trust him. What a prospect before us to call forth the language of joy and exultation.
It is not, however, by brooding over, and gloomily anticipating trials, difficulties and privations, that we shall be enabled to rejoice. But, by contrasting them with our eternal prospects. Such was the conduct of one who was well able to make the contrast, and who declared that even in his infirmities, infirmities which he felt, but which it did not please God to remove, most gladly would he glory, that the power of God might rest upon him. "For I reckon” he says again, “ that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” While upon another occasion we have in reference to the same subject, the sublime antithesis, “For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Perhaps in the whole Volume of inspiration, we have not another specimen of contrast so touching, and so animating. Do we endure affliction ?-We are to possess glory. The affliction is “light” in the comparison ; the glory is a "weight of glory.”—The affliction may be long continued, measuring according to the contracted span of human existence ;-it is transient, endures" but for a moment," when compared with “eternal” glory. And then all comparison is lost, and language fails to convey adequately the force of the sublime idea. It is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Thus it appears
only “ while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Yes, adopt this plan, contrast
your sorrow and suffering with the glory that is to follow, and remember that, the infinite benevolence of God “will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able," nor permit any affliction to overtake
you which is not needful to prepare you for himself ;-and then, instead of repining at your afflictive dispensations you will be able to rejoice.
One other passage, from the same Apostle, illustrates, most forcibly, I think, the principle of the text; namely that religion can support the soul in any possible circumstances of danger or distress. I mean the sublime declaration that, “ the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” No man who ever lived, better knew this than the Apostle. He who in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons frequent, and in deaths oft," had tried its efficacy. But does he limit the term to its initial blessing? or is he not taking an enlarged and comprehensive view of the term; regarding it also in its supporting power and in its final issue. Recognizing the power of God in the gospel, as first, saving from hell and sin, then preserving in danger, and lastly, employed to land us in glory.
Yes, and you Christian,--you shall try its power when " the elements shall melt with fervent heat," and when this solid earth shall be riven asunder by the artillery of heaven. Then in the midst of the noise of dissolving nature, the wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds, you shall stand secure.
“ Firm in the all-destroying shock,
May view the final scene;
Is cleft to take you in."
What will you do with a religion such as this? You sinner? Will you reject it? Then you must be answerable for all the consequences, in time and in eternity. You will have no support amid the trials of life, and at the last day, shame and confusion of face must cover you. Nay, reject it not, embrace it with all your heart, so shall you receive its consolations and enjoy its final and glorious reward.
Methinks I know your resolve, Christian. You have proved its power and you will not give it up. You will not relinquish its high and holy consolations for anything that this earth can afford. Here's your resolution,
“Should all the forms that man devise
Yes, every earthly bope and comfort may be removed, but the more you enjoy of the religion of Christ, the stronger will your confidence become, and the language of the text, be that of your heart and soul.
“Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls ; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
THE DUTIES AND RESOURCES OF A RELIGIOUS
PEOPLE IN TIMES OF WAR.
BY THE REV. F. KELLETT, OF BURY ST. EDMUNDS.
PEOPLE GO OUT TO BATTLE AGAINST THEIR ENEMY, WHITHERSOEVER THOU SHALT SEND THEM, AND SHALL PRAY UNTO THE L TOWARD THE CITY WHICH THOU HAST CHOSEN, AND TOWARD THE HOUSE THAT I HAVE BUILT FOR THY NAME. THEN HEAR THOU IN HEAVEN THEIR PRAYER AND
THEIR SUPPLICATION, AND MAINTAIN THEIR CAUSE.”—1 KINGS VIII. 44, 45.
The text, itself, sufficiently protects us from any charge of irreligion in bringing the subject of war before you. If Solomon, divinely inspired, and amid scenes the most impressive, in the solemn dedication of his temple to God, could make war an especial subject of prayer, and invoke divine assistance in its maintenance and success, we conceive a consideration of its character no desecration of the sanctity of the Christian pulpit.