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operate together for our good; and that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, shall work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Whence it appears, that in all the trying circumstances of this changeful life, the Christian has an anchor of hope, sure and stedfast. He knows that all the dispensations of divine providence, and all the perfections of God, are employed for his preservation and his happiness. He has, therefore, only to bow with submission to the will of his heavenly Father; not to direct, but to follow the leadings of his providence; not to dread events yet to come, but to meet those which are present with cheerful resignation. Cease then, Christian, from taking counsel in thy soul. All things are under the direction of wisdom that cannot err, and of goodness that cannot do wrong, and all things are working together for thy good. He is leading you by a way which you know not, but it is to a city of habitation. As you advance, the crooked places shall be made straight, the rough places plain, and the wilderness shall become a fruitful land. What I do, says our Saviour himself, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.
IV. To the sources of disquietude already mentioned, another was added in the case of David. The Lord hid his face from him. The light of his countenance was withdrawn, and he walked in darkness and had no light.
Nor is this peculiar to the case of David. The exercised Christian knows what is meant by it, and has felt it in his painful experience. It is this which gives a double weight to every affliction. But here, also, we have no reason to complain. Job experienced the same. Behold, says he, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him ; on the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold him ; he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him. David has also gone before us; and, what is more, David's Lord experienced this sorrow of sorrows. It was this which made him exclaim, in the midst of his greatest sufferings, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And why was he tempted in all things like as we are tempted, but that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God? But to confine ourselves to the case before us. David, we are certain, obtained relief : for, towards the close of the psalm, he speaks in the language of triumph. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with
Nor are we left to conjecture in what manner his soul was delivered from this state of dejection. I have trusted, says he, in thy mercy: my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. This remedy will be found effectual in every similar case. If, like David, we cease from taking counsel in our soul; from. brooding over our own distress, and viewing only the dark side of the divine dispensations ; if we look out of ourselves to the mighty One, trusting in the mercy of God, through the Mediator of that sure, well ordered and everlasting covenant, which was all David's salvation, and all
his desire, we too shall rejoice in that salvation, and. have reason to acknowledge that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with us. The vision may be for an appointed time; wait for it: for it is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. For the Lord will not cast off for ever : for, though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion, according to the multitude of his mercies. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning:
We shall not pretend to state all the reasons why God permits some of his dearest children to lose their spiritual comfort. Perhaps one reason may be, that they are apt to build too much upon their frames and feelings. This is building upon a wrong, as well as upon a changeable foundation : for other foundation can no man lay save that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus the Lord. If we build upon this sure and tried foundation, and upon the promises of the gospel covenant, which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, to the glory of God the Father, we are then, and not till then, in the way of attaining solid and increasing consolation. We shall then see and be convinced, that if we were to remain for any length of time without some severe trial of our faith, or some degree of spiritual distress, we might become careless and lukewarm, and more conformed to the world than becomes our Christian character. We should be but little affected with many of the most precious doctrines and promises of the gospel, because we could not feel our need of that consolation which
they are intended to convey. The Bible would be to us, in a great measure, a sealed book. We should neither see the necessity, nor understand the meaning of the greater part of it. In order, therefore, that we may set a high value on the scriptures, and may search them carefully and diligently, as containing the words of eternal life, and as the repository of all divine truth and consolation, God visits us with trials, both of a temporal and spiritual nature; and in this point of view it is unreasonable to expect, and it were hurtful to us to be permitted, to walk in perpetual sunshine, beneath a clear unclouded sky. The severe winter of adversity, the surly blasts of temptation, and the dark night of desertion, are all necessary in the spiritual life, and are all intended to excite our earnest desires after, and to fit us for, the heavenly Canaan ; that region of pure and uninterrupted enjoyment, where we shall see God as he is, and be satisfied when we awake with his likeness. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; now we know in part, but then we shall know even as also we are known
Let us cease, therefore, from taking counsel in our souls, or seeking comfort in any other way than God has appointed. As the circumstances of every day vary, and consequently our necessities also, how soothing and how animating is it to think, that all the fulness of grace is treasured up in Christ, even all the fulness of the Godhead; and that we are not only permitted, but invited and encouraged to come to the throne of his grace for
mercy to pardon, and grace to help us in time of need; that is, present grace for present need. Today we may need grace and strength to combat temptation, and fortitude to meet firmly the dis, appointments of the world ; to-morrow we may need resignation to sustain and compose our minds under domestic trials and sufferings; and, ere long, we shall need his mercy and compassion to soothe our pains, and soften our dying pillow. Resting on his promises, we need fear no evil, we shall experience none. He will guide us by his counsel, support us by his might, and animate our drooping spirits by the glorious hopes and prospects which he has set before us. This is beautifully illustrated in the experience of David. He who here utters the language of despondency and grief, gives vent to the feelings of his happier days in the twentythird Psalm, and clothes them in the most delightful imagery, borrowed from the peaceful employment of the pastoral life. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul : he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
I shall now conclude with the following practical reflections from what has been said.
1. If the thoughts of our heart and the actions of our life have so great an influence on our pre