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words, lest any man should boast. “Lord of all power and might, who art the Author and Giver of all good things; graft in his heart the love of Thy Name: increase in him true religion; nourish him with all goodness, and of Thy great mercy keep him in the same.” Oh "be Thou his refuge until the tyranny of death be overpast." We rejoice, oh Lord, in the final overthrow Thou hast promised

and Thy promises are sure and unfailing-of all

— our spiritual enemies. We bless Thee, that Thou hast undertaken to preserve Thy sheep quite safe from the ravening wolf, and that those who seek their souls, to destroy them, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. Oh hasten on that blessed time when sin shall hinder our praises no more: when the whole earth shall be filled with Thy glory : when throughout the length and breadth of Thy new creation, wherein righteousness shall dwell, the universal chorus shall go forth, “Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” These petitions we humbly ask in the most holy Name of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all praise and honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.



PSALM lxxvii, 1–12.

The words just read clearly betoken that the Psalmist had been suffering great grief and anxiety of mind—a grief, of whose burden he seems to have complained very loudly, both night and day, and that not to men, but to the Lord. Let us look a little into the description he gives us of his sorrows. We shall find them to be very life-like; and all of

be able to recall the time when we too seemed to be as deeply burdened as he was. The stress of painful sickness is very hard to bear, very wearisome to flesh and spirit, even in the day-time. When perhaps the sun is shining brightly into our sick chamber, or we can see as we are raised up in our beds, groups of healthy persons walking about in the ways, and green fields, and can hear sounds of joyous laughter and thoughtless merriment, such sights and sounds naturally provoke comparisons between their condition and our we long perhaps to be with them; we are sorely tempted to

us may

own :


fretfulness, irritability, or impatience, or even to entertain passing doubts (though we keep them, for very shame, shut up in our own hearts,) of God's love. It wearies us to look round day by day on the saddening objects of the sick room. We thirst for change, and are tried more and more in proportion to its distance from us. But when night closes in, and all grows still, we then hope that refreshing sleep will ease us of our mental and bodily pains. And when, though the eyelids droop heavily, sore” runs "also in the night,” when the frame, though weary and aching, still tosses to and fro feverishly on the bed of pain, while the world rests, -when there is an inward languor and faintness, which shows how fast the elasticity of life is ebbing away

from us, the sorrows of our souls are increased twofold: we “refuse to be comforted.” And then, gradually perhaps, darker pictures present themselves to our minds. The Lord “gives us trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind”; our life hangs in doubt before us; fear day and night, and have none assurance of our life : in the morning we say, “Would God it were even !” and at even, “Would God it were morning!” and we seem to ourselves likely to lose sight for awhile of the faces of all near and dear to us altogether.

And at such a time, more fervently than before, we remember God. When our earthly physicians


and we


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fail us, we turn earnestly to Him, who has the balm of Gilead for wounded hearts that ask Him for it; we complain bitterly, and our spirits are overwhelmed. But even in turning to God in this way, we cannot sometimes find at once the rest we crave. The depth of our sorrows we know-for “ the heart knoweth his own bitterness," but we can find no language in which to express

it. We“ are so troubled that we cannot speak.”

And now perhaps we begin to complain that it is very hard God will not comfort us; that at least “ His consolations are small with” us. We look back into past years, when we went with the multitude “to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with the multitude that kept holy day.” We were happy then, and our "spirits perhaps make diligent search” as to the cause of such a change. In such a mood as this, it is, alas ! too easy to lay all the blame on God. Too easy is it to fancy that “the Lord has cast us off for ever;" that He" will be favorable no more"; that His “mercy is clean gone for ever”; that His promises are never for us again ; that God has forgotten to be gracious, and has shut up His tender mercies in anger.

And yet, why these complaints ? Are they not uncalled for ? Should we not rather have said, “ The Lord hath chastened and corrected me, but He hath not given me over unto death ?” Should we so cling to life, as to forget to prepare for life eternal ? Should we not rather try to feel with the patriarch, “I would not live alway”? We cannot dive into the depths, or scale the infinite heights of God's purposes.

“ Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His heavenly will.”

But we ought surely to trust St. John's simple, but truthful, and consoling assurance, that “God is love." He has ready for His own people a brighter world ; and in His own good time, and in His own good way, will He remove them to it. Let us defer our complaints. And because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," let us send up many incoherent, broken prayers, for a calm acquiescence in God's most holy will, if we cannot reveal our state to Him at greater length. God sees how the rust of the world eats into the pure gold of the heart's adoration of Him here below. He knows the war that is ever being waged within us, between “the law of the members and the law of the mind.” And, if we love Him, we must expect that, sooner or later, He will take us to Himself. Can we suppose we shall be otherwise than safe? God says, “I change not." Fear not for the morrow. “I, who am with thee

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