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RESIGNATION TO THE STROKE
(WASSE'S REFORMED DEVOTIONS.] WH)
HY do we thus bemoan ourselves, and rashly
utter repining words? Seems it so hard to tread the path which all our fathers have trodden before us?
All these have paid their debt to nature, and subscribed to the universal law.
Jesus himself, the beloved Son of God, went not to his glory, but through the gates of death.
And shall fond self-love flatter us to hope for an exemption from the sentence passed upon all by Him who made us ?
Or shall we murmur that our life is but a span, and that it is exposed to sorrows and changes without number?
We must all die ; and, if we fall asleep in Jesus, we are happy for ever.
Gracious Father! we confess that thy decrees are just, and that in ourselves is the cause of all the sufferings that we endure.
We too often sacrifice our youth to pleasure and folly, and our manhood to pride and worldliness.
The hoary head spends its hours in brooding over the possessions of the world, and begins not to live till the approach of death ;
Then we bewail the shortness of that time which our prodigality has lavished away.
After a life of negligence we complain that death comes upon us unawares.
Our days, perhaps, are too few to make us rich, or to satisfy the ambition of a haughty spirit.
But to be taught our whole duty, requires, not so much a multitude of years, as the faithful endeavours of a pious mind.
Could we bestow on the improvement of our souls the hours that we so vainly spend on trifles, our day would be short enough not to seem tedious, and long enough for us to finish our appointed task.
For what is our business here, but to sow in hope, that hereafter we may reap in joy?
O thou most just and holy God, who governest all things by the counsel of thy will : whose powerful hand can lead down to the grave, and bring back again!
Behold, to thee we bow our heads, and to thee we unreservedly commit our dearest concerns.
Order as thou pleasest our health, and our lives ; we cannot be safer than when at thy disposal.
Only these few requests we humbly offer at thy footstool; Oh, may thy clemency vouchsafe to hear them.
Cut us not off in the midst of our folly, nor suffer us to expire with our sins unpardoned ;
But make us, Lord, first ready; then receive us unto thyself, in thine own due time.
Give us eternal rest, O merciful God! and may thy glorious light shine upon us for ever!
IFT up thyself, O mourning soul! lift up thy
self, raise thine eyes that are wet with tears ! Why are thine eyes wet with tears ? why are they bent continually upon the earth ? and why dost thou go mourning as one forsaken of thy God?
O thou that toilest ever, and restest not; thou that wishest ever, and art not satisfied; thou that carest ever, and art not 'stablished ;
Why dost thou toil and wish? why is thine heart withered with care, and why are thine eyes sunk with watching ?
Rest quietly on thy couch, steep thine eyelids in sleep, wrap thyself in sleep as in a garment,-for he careth for thee :
He is with thee, he is about thee, he compasseth thee, he compasseth thee on every side.
The voice of thy Shepherd among the rocks! he calleth thee, he beareth thee tenderly in his arms; he suffereth thee not to stray.
Thy soul is precious in his sight, О child of many hopes !
For he careth for thee in the things which perish, and he hath provided yet better things than those.
Raise thyself, o beloved soul ! turn thine eyes from care, and sin, and pain ; turn them to the brightness of the heavens, and contemplate thine inheritance ; for thy birthright is in the skies, and thine inheritance amongst the stars of light.
The herds of the pasture sicken and die, they lie down among the clods of the valley, the foot passeth over them; they are no more. But it is not so with thee.
For the Almighty is the Father of thy spirit, and he hath given thee a portion of his own immortality.
Look around thee, and behold the earth, for it is the gift of thy Father to thee and to thy sons, that they should possess it.
Out of the ground cometh forth food; the hills are covered with fresh shade ; and the animals, thy subjects, sport among the trees.
Delight thyself in them, for they are good ; and all that thou seest is thine.
But nothing that thou seest is like unto thyself; thou art not of them, nor shalt thou return to them.
Thou hast a mighty void which they cannot fill ; thou hast an immortal hunger which they cannot satisfy: they cannot nourish, they cannot support, they are not worthy that they should occupy thee.
As the fire which, while it resteth on the hearth, yet sendeth forth sparks continually towards heaven; so do thou from amidst the world send up fervent thoughts to God.
As the lark, though her nest is on the low ground, as soon as she becometh fledged, poiseth her wings, and finding them strong to bear her through the light air, springeth up aloft, singing as she soars ;
So let thy desires mount swiftly upwards, and thou shalt see the world beneath thy feet.
And be not overwhelmed with many thoughts. Heaven is thine, and God is thine: thou shalt be blessed with everlasting salvation and peace upon thy head for evermore.
CHRISTIANS, THE HEIRS OF HOPE.
0 are heirs of hope ; let no adversity destroy your confidence.
Does our Lord defer a while ?—Expect, and be ready:
He will surely come, he will not tarry.
Wait his leisure; for, yet a little time, and he will bring relief: He cometh and his reward is with him.
He mercifully stays till our souls are sanctified, and able to bear the splendour of his presence.
Without preparation, who may abide when he appeareth, like the refiner's fire, to judge and purify the earth?
To the righteous, will he graciously unveil his glories, and our eyes shall see him as he is.
All our great hopes shall be fulfilled in his presence, and our long expectation shall be abundantly rewarded.
We shall remember our afflictions only as the way to felicity; and the thoughts of our past labours, so recompensed, how will they delight us ?