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What peaceful hours I then enjoyed !
still! But they have left an aching void,
The world can never fill.
God might have left you in this state. But no; He loved you too well to do so. He now chastens you; and is it not in mercy ? deal roughly with you; and would you not deal so with your dearest Child or Friend, if you saw them running into danger? I am sure you
would. And so the Lord is forced to deal with you. Though you have acted treacherously towards Him, and “ turned aside" from Him “like a deceitful bow," He still loves you, and will not let you perish, without sending after you His warning voice, and stretching out His arm to save you.
Oh make this illness a time for returning to Him whom you have
forsaken. Think of God's great love in sparing you. Think of His kindness in making this gracious effort to bring you to Himself. He seems to say,
“Return unto me, for I have redeemed thee. My arms are still open to receive you. I have blessings, which may yet be yours.”
4. Once more. You may be a true Child of God, one whom He greatly loves, a plant over which He is watching with peculiar care. He sees you serving Him, and walking with Him, but He wishes your service to be a still more happy service, and your walk to be a closer walk with Him.
The Refiner takes a piece of gold, and is not satisfied that it is precious. He takes means to make it more precious, by putting it into the fur
Thus he purifies it, burnin
out every particle of dross that was in it. Aye, and when he takes it out of the fire, he rejoices to see it so pure and bright, that it reflects his own image.
And so it is with you, dear Christian Sufferer. God's promise is, “I will turn my
hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross.”
“ I will refine them, as silver is refined, and will try them, as gold is tried.” Even the very
best of us—how short we come of what we ought to be, and what we might be! Even the best of uswhat need we have to be thus trained and disciplined for heaven!
No longer ask then, Why am I afflicted ? But rather say, “Lord, let not my affliction be lost upon me. : Accomplish in me thy own most gracious purpose. May I come out of this furnace, as gold purified seven times in the fire."
HOW AFFLICTION SHOULD BE
SOME receive affliction as if they deserved a different treatment from God. They murmur at it. It chafes and irritates them. Like “a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke,” they will not bend their neck. This must be wrong; for shall we receive good at the hands of God, and not evil ? If chastisement is our portion, must it not be well for us?
Others again receive it with unconcern, as something they must put up with as best they can. They look upon it simply as a misfortune,
which is to be borne because it cannot be avoided. This too must be
A true Christian will receive affliction with Submission. It is his Father's doing; and therefore he quietly submits. It comes from Him, and must therefore be well. He feels that there is a needs-be for it. What a sweet pillow is this, on which to rest his weary head! He cannot, perhaps, see why it is needful; but he acknowledges that it must be right, and that what he “knows not now,' he will know hereafter.' It is a voice of love, and he is ready to exclaim with Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” I can give you no better prayer than that contained in the well-known hymn, which is given at the end of this book