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and be a stranger to its joy, to see thy young companions rich in the world's good and the world's joy, the proud husband, the happy father, the honoured and beloved of all, while that narrow room and woeful bed witness from year to year thy solitary anguish ? Art thou left alone by gay companions and an unheeding world ? Yea! but thou art not alone, thy God is with thee', 'faith keeps her midnight watch with thee, smiling on woe,' prayer heals, thought cheers, the word elevates and exalts, the pale eye glows with joy wild health can never know,' every feature speaks in silence a Christian's faith and hope, and when at last the trial is over, the warfare accomplished and grace gives way to glory, angels shall waft the patient spirit from that bed of anguish to an heavenly home not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,' and joyful as it is eternal !
What, thou servant of God! is thy course through a vain world full of woe and struggle? Doth passion lure, doth temptation assail, are foes clamorous and friends cold and careless ? Is thy name made a byword for the sake of the cross ? Art thou reproached by one for thy zeal, by another for thy coldness? Do some hate, some contemn, some vilify, some reproach, and more turn away in cold indifference from thy message? Yea! so it hath been, and so it shall be! A vain and evil world will of a surety treat the frail and corrupt servant as it treated the glorious Master, or at best they will leave thee alone. But thou of all men art not alone! thy Father is with thee !. it is thy Saviour's word, Lo! I am with thee always !' and in devotion to his service, in the earnest, though the frail endeavour, to win and save souls, to do God's work in the world, but above all, in His gracious presence and sustaining aid, His blessing and His love, there are joys which the world could neither give nor take away. • He blesses and thou shalt be blest!'
Yes! my brethren, wherever the believer is, however severe his trials, however bitter his grief, there God is with him to comfort, to cheer and to bless. This is the lot which He offers to them that offer their hearts to Him. Will you then reject His rich gifts and graces? Will you go forth into the world to meet its troubles and its afflictions with your own strength? Or do you hope the common doom of man will be reversed for you?
Shall health give you constant joy, riches supply you with unending comforts, shall death spare your friends, your kindred, and your children, and all the world conspire to smooth your path and to save you from the woes and difficulties which press on the common life of man? Vain hope! the troubles will come. Can you endure them alone? Will you not come forth from them with broken hopes, blasted happiness and an exasperated temper ?
Will they not encrease the evil of your nature, while they encrease the misery of your lot, and make you ten-fold more the children of Satan than before, by the murmuring spirit of discontent which they implant?
But if it is vain to hope that we can go through the troubles that await us without God, it is as vain to hope that we can derive any comfort from Him, if we never turn to Him, but when the hour of trial comes. are strangers to our Father, aliens from our friend, strangers to His nature, His spirit, His works and His word, what comfort can we hope from Him in the hour of need? Days and months and years must pass before we can enter into free communion with man, and do we hope that we can at once have free communion with the blessed spirit of God, that He will at once impart the joys and comforts of heaven to souls that are earthly and sensual, because they cry out to Him when they find that “vain is the help of man?' Blessed indeed be His name, the fire may at last purify, but long and grievous must be the ordeal, long must the sinner contend with his own hard and selfish heart, long strive in vain to free himself from the ignorance in which sin has bound him, long doubt and well nigh despair whether the grace of God can ever visit, or His comfort cheer a heart so stained with sin. No, if we would be the friends of God and have his present help in trouble, if we would avoid the agony of despair of His grace in union with our worldly troubles, we must become His friends betimes, we must labour by grace to make our souls fit temples for His Holy Spirit, and to drive away all the evil passions of a corrupt nature. His goodness and His glory must be our morning theme and our evening meditation, and daily must we strive more and more to fashion ourselves after the Divine image, to nourish all holy tempers, to make our immortal souls our chief object, and to assist in doing God's work in the world by promoting His glory and winning souls to Him.
Blessed, thrice blessed, if by so giving up ourselves to the guidance of God's word and spirit, we become the friends and children of God. For then when the storms of life burst upon us,
we have a refuge, a shelter, and a home, we have a friend to whom we can go with the blessed certainty of having every trouble hushed and every tear dried. When earthly friends are scattered to their own and leave us alone, yet we are not alone, for He is with us. We may speak to Him as dear children, and say, • Doubtless, thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us and Israel acknowledge us not.' Though father and mother forsake, us, thou wilt take us up.'
The mother may forget her sucking child', and have no compassion on the fruit of her womb;' but thou canst never forget thine own, thou canst never leave them alone. Thou wilt guide them with thy counsel, and after that receive them into glory. Thou wilt lead them by the green pastures and refresh their weary souls with the waters of comfort. In life thou wilt be their friend, in death their portion for
| Isaiah xlix. 15.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached
in the whole world, there shall also this, which this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
The Bible profits him who habitually resorts to it, as his instructor, his guide, his councillor and friend, as we are all bound to do, not only by what it does, but by what it does not bring before him. Other books too often bring before us at every moment the world and the world's law. They seek to urge and to restrain us by motives which address themselves to our passions, our interests and our temporal hopes and fears. They speak to us of honour and independence, and dignity, and accumulation of fortune for our families, and of maintaining our station in society. But in the book of God these are sounds unknown. In passing from many worldly studies to the study of that book, we seem to pass from a scene of blood and guile, to the happy isles of which the Poet dreamt, from the heat and noise and turmoil of a crowded street to the