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known the reason of his conduct, than that he should so frequently allow a veil to rest on the cause or purpose of his proceedings, in relation to other trials. We rarely see the end to be accomplished by the sickness, the bereavements, or any of the various troubles, which befall us. We may ask why these things have happened, or to what end they lead; and, as we press these inquiries, we perhaps discover that we are as ignorant on these points, as in the most mysterious cases of despondency. There is a voice, at such times, which seems to say, Be still, and know that I am God. Shall it be according to thy mind? Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter. The great solicitude of Job, was to ascertain wherefore God contended with him. He could not charge himself with any unusual depravity; and was distressed to know the cause of his signal afflictions. Hence his exclamation-Oh that I knew where I might find him! It was this which rendered his sorrow so pungent, when he sought God on the right hand, and on the left, and found him not. In a little wrath, said Jehovah, to his ancient church, have I hid my face from thee. From this cause proceeded the cry of David-How long wilt thou hide thy face from me; and that of a greater than David—My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?

Nor is it possible that we should say how far THE INFLUENCE OF SATAN may be allowed to operate in connexion with this department of our conflict as

believers. The history of the patriarch Job permits us to glance at that economy which pervades the regions of spiritual being, and should teach us to expect, that the agency of our unseen Adversary will be especially active when we are suffering; and that with a view, not only to aggravate our distress, but, by every possible means, to urge us onwards towards presumption or despair. The same portion of holy writ teaches another lesson that is not so readily perceived, which is, that our heaviest trials may be the most mysterious,-the most unexplained. These may come at a moment we think not, and may be accompanied by a multitude of circumstances altogether unanticipated, and greatly perplexing; and, nevertheless, it may, ere long, be manifest, even in this world, that bitterness in the bud, was to give place to sweetness in the flower.

III. With regard to the Means by which we should endeavour to counteract the feeling of despondency, it will be obvious that these have been of necessity anticipated, in a great measure, by what has already passed before us. When the causes of an evil are ascertained, the course to be pursued is generally apparent, and comparatively


Let the invalid, then, give special attention to the means of health; and be careful not to lay upon religion, what belongs mainly, or entirely, to a sickly constitution. Let such persons as have

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bestowed little attention on the study of the inspired volume remember, that we must know the truth, before it can make us free; and that those who know it, are the persons who have sought after it as men seek hidden treasure. Let the afflicted bear in mind, that there is a strong tendency in heavy and continued trouble to induce hopelessness; and that it behoves them to guard against imputing to the direct displeasure of God, what may have proceeded, in a degree at least, from causes not only less alarming, but connected with the tenderest benevolence. If the heart has fallen away from its stedfastness, and its present gloom should seem to be its allotted punishment, let the thought still be cherished, that the same gracious Being who has withdrawn his light, has taught the desponding spirit to lament its departure, and that he commands all such mourners to inquire of him, and to wait on him, that the joys of the past may be restored.

Wait, therefore, upon the Lord, and be of good cheer; and even yet his strength may be vouchsafed to the heart. He has not said,—seek ye my face, and said it in vain, or said it to deceive. If, while evil continues, you are sore amazed as to why it has befallen you, or why it has remained so long; still it is incumbent upon you to remember, that the thoughts of the All-wise are not as our thoughts; and that his servants have ofttimes been required to view him as doing right, though they saw not how that which was done could be made


to agree with righteousness. This severe kind of faith is the most difficult of all religious exercises, and, in the sight of God, is of great price. It was just this kind of obedience that was exacted of Abraham; and he became the father of the faithful by learning to hope even against hope.

Above all things, it behoves the desponding professor to avoid seeking relief by any means having the slightest tendency to lessen the evil of sin. But while exercising a holy vigilance on this point, it will equally become him, to look on sin, not only in the light of the divine law, but in connexion with the mercies of the gospel. He is called upon not only to believe what the law saith, as to its turpitude; but, to believe also what the gospel saith concerning the power and the willingness of the Almighty to bury it eternally, as in the depths of the sea. He has faith in holy scripture even now,though it is a faith referring chiefly to its threatenings. Why not have faith in its promises also? Already he possesses grace enough to receive a part of the truth; why not seek more grace, that he may receive the whole truth? Is there not room to suspect the working of Satan, when men suppose that there is self-abasement in making God a liar; modesty, lowliness of nature, in questioning the plainest, the most reiterated statements of the Most High? We could not, with our utmost ingenuity, say so much of the sinfulness of our state, as is already affirmed of it by Him, whose voice is heard declaring, I, even I am He, who

blotteth out your sins as a cloud, and your iniquities as a thick cloud. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, and he can save to the uttermost. In all sin, that of the desponding Christian must be included; and the arm which can reach to the uttermost, must be capable of reaching even to him. To all such mourners we commend the example of David-Why art thou cast doren, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Christians who have known little of the conflict now described, will nevertheless do well to reflect on these things. What has been the lot of others, may, ere long, be our own. Or were we sure of exemption in this particular, it would still become us to meditate on this view of the christian warfare, that we may be sensible of our obligation to divine mercy; that we may sympathize with the suffering; and be able to speak a word in season. The duty of ministers to preach the gospel is not more distinctly laid down, than that of Christians to exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day.

There is also a word of caution that should be addressed to the thoughtless. JUDGE NOT AS TO

THE GENERAL INFLUENCE OF RELIGION, FROM THE PARTICULAR CONNEXION IN WHICH WE HAVE NOW BEEN REGARDING IT. This, as we have already said, would be to put the exception in the place of the

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