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parent; “ the graver countenance of love.'
« In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” The true Christian can look up to God in the midst of afflictions, as to a tender Father. Strengthened by his Spirit, convinced of his wisdom, deeply touched with a sense of his abundant and unmerited mercies, he can rejoice that he is permitted in any manner to contribute to advance the Glory of his God; and can pray with his whole heart, that his “ will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When faint with pain or sorrow, he remembers that the “ Captain of his salvation was made perfect through suffering.” To be made like him in affliction, is a sufficient honour in this world; he shall be made like to him in glory and happiness in a better. For his Saviour's sake, he is fully persuaded that, unworthy though he must be, the Father of light and life will vouchsafe to behold him with complacency; and in this blessed assurance, he is enabled, amid all the strange accidents and changes of this life, to lift an eye of joy and confidence upwards, and follow gladly whithersoever the hand of Heaven shall lead him. Like the patriarch of old, he rejoices to go out, not knowing whither he is going. It is enough for him that God is every where:
Safe in the hand of one disposing Power,
Nor is this all. If the highest earthly gratification
is to be found in pleasing those we love; if the humblest effort is delightful which can express an ardent and generous affection; can it be a mean satisfaction to testify, by filial docility and submission, that entire confidence, that heartfelt gratitude, and adoring love to our Almighty Father, which are the very elements that compose the temper and character of the true Christian ? Holy and heavenly elements ! which shall survive the lapse of ages, and triumph over the decays of nature. « The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
ON TRUST IN GOD.
There is a sonnet, in a collection of Italian poetry by Muratori, which struck me when I formerly read it, as eloquent and affecting. I do not recollect the words, and can give even the idea only imperfectly; but it is something of this sort: " Where shall I find a friend whose merits will never disappoint, and whose love will never forsake me? I have surveyed the world, and sought where my affections might repose: but some have forgotten me, some have proved faithless to my hopes, and some have been torn from me by death. Oh my Saviour, thou remainest always true, and for ever present with me!"
The complaint of the poet expresses, perhaps, a little of the character which often belongs to persons of a very quick sensibility: it betrays a delicacy rather too refined, and a tone of feeling naturally somewhat disposed to sadness. Yet his sorrows were probably real ; and the sentiment he utters, though slightly shaded with melancholy, is just, noble, and affecting. Such is the imperfection of human characters, and such the uncertainty of earthly blessings, that few probably pass even
through a third part of life without witnessing the dissolution of some attachments which were once dear to them; and none certainly can advance to a mature age without being sensible of a pang still more severe in a long and awful separation from those they love. Yet, in all our disappointments and sorrows, one Friend is still near to us, whose kindness is ever most wakeful when we most need it; who can neither forsake us from levity, nor be snatched away from us by death.
. It is indeed an unspeakable consolation, to every reflective and feeling mind, that amidst all the changes and chances, the disappointments and vanities around us, there is One who is permanent and perfect. The idea of that awful Being, who is the Father of the universe and the Centre of all excellence, is so congenial to the human mind, that even if it were impossible to prove his existence by reasonable inferences, I think we should be constrained to believe it from a necessity of finding something to sustain us under the sense of our weakness. For such a support, it is in vain that we look round upon each other. Every face is pale with the same fear; and the tongue of the wise, which should speak consolation, is faultering with the confession of its own helplessness. Take but God away, and the mighty vision around us is only a feverish dream ;-a short, irregular, incomprehensible drama, of which man is at once the feeble actor and unmeaning spectator, “ strutting his hour upon the stage,” and then vanishing for ever.
But God, of his great goodness, has not suffered us to wander about in darkness. He has taught us, by the works of his providence, and by the word of his Spirit, “ that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Nor is this all. To know indeed this alone, would have been an unspeakable privilege and blessing: it is more than the wisest discerned clearly in ancient days. But to us, the chosen seed, adopted and beloved in the Redeemer, God has revealed himself, not merely as the Maker and Judge of the universe; nay, not simply as its general Guardian and Benefactor: He has taught us to regard him as a reconciled Father; a watchful, tender, and unfailing Friend. This is the character he has vouchsafed in mercy to assume; to this blessed relation he invites us; a relation of dignity unrivalled, of incomparable security, and ineffable happiness. He calls upon us to come to hiin with humble and thankful hearts; to place our whole confidence in him; to believe that he really loves us, and act as if we believed it; to accept, as freely as he offers it, the gift of everlasting life; and, casting away together our sins and our solicitude, to walk henceforth as children of a Parent who can never fail them," heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.”
Surely I need not stop to qualify what has been : said. The God of purity can be approached only by the pure; and though all are freely addressed, they only may presume to trust in God as their Father, who have first learned to trust in Christ as