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to-day, abide always.” “I am the beginning and the end.” He who began a good work in thee, will perform it unto the end. Where should there be any space, between the beginning and the end, wherein He should fail thee, who is thy first beginning, and shall be thy “last end”?
Oh God, whose compassions fail not: whose tender mercies are over all Thy works, behold, visit, and relieve, we pray Thee, this Thy servant. "Sanctify this Thy Fatherly correction to him, that it
may give strength to his faith, and seriousness to his repentance." Let not his soul refuse to be comforted. Thou didst promise to Thy disciples : “I will not leave you comfortless,* I will come to you.” Fulfil, gracious Lord, this Thy faithful saying now. Let Thy sick servant be supported through Thy grace, by the remembrance that Thou art yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." Let him feel that Thou hearest him always : and that in the multitude of the sorrows he has in his heart, Thy
* Or“ orphans.”
comforts have refreshed his soul.” Show unto him by Thy Holy Spirit, that in caring for Thy people Thou slumberest not. Hide not Thou Thy face from him in his weakness, in his anguish, in his weariness, good Lord. Fill Thou his soul with pious contentment. Solace him by the sweet thought, hour by hour, that if he "suffer patiently,” he shall also
reign with Thee.” Let him no longer remember Thee to his trouble, but may his meditation on Thee be sweet. "Let not his spirit be overwhelmed with a sorrow that worketh death,” but with a "godly sorrow that leadeth to repentance not to be repented of.” Hold not, we beseech Thee, Oh Lord, if it be Thy holy will to hear us in this, his eyes waking : grant to him the comfort and refreshment of sleep, or may his thoughts be centered upon Thee in the night-watches. Let him call now to remembrance Thy past mercies. Thou hast succoured him in other great sicknesses, and hast restored him again from them, as from the dead, to life and health. Oh Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy mercies. “In Thee we live, and move, and have our being "; in Thee would we die. And we pray Thee as to this Thy suffering servant, that “whether he live, he may live unto Thee, or whether he die, he may die unto Thee : that living, or dying, he may be Thine.” Hear us, holy Lord Jesus, we most humbly beseech Thee, “By Thine agony and bloody sweat, by Thy cross and passion, by Thy precious death and burial, by thy glorious resurrection and ascension, and by the coming of the Holy Ghost," to whom with Thee and the Father Almighty, be all equal honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
PRESENT SUFFERING AND FUTURE GLORY.
ROMANS viii. 18-25.
“Man," it is written, “is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Never yet since the fall from innocence of Adam and Eve, has one member of our race been found without his or her share of this heritage of sorrow. The infant's little ailments, the child's little vexations and disappointments,
the heavier cares of matured life, all preach the same solemn lesson. And these troubles we cannot often foresee. “ Our life is like a winding road”: all may appear to be pleasant and promising, when we are suddenly brought into far different scenes. If the ocean of time over which we are sailing is smooth and calm one day, it may be convulsed by terrible storms on the next. You probably were not expecting to be overtaken by this grievous sickness when it befell you : you look back and think it has come upon you very suddenly. And such experiences are likely to be the common lot. We cannot say whose tongue among us now present shall first be silenced in death. We belong to a suffering race, and the whole creation suffers “together," or in sympathy with us. This is all the fruit of sin. “Mysterious power of sin," writes a holy man, that it should so defile not the sinner only, but the very creation, which itself partakes not of it! Heaven and earth are spoiled by man's sin ; and as defiled, must pass away, and be changed into “ a new heaven and a new earth,” fit for righteousness to dwell therein. Through our Lord's holy presence must the heavenly places be purified from our sin : and this earth, and all that is therein, “must be burned up.” The curse that fell upon sinning man, fell also upon the sinless creation : the first transgression poisoned all things, and in this sad condition are they doomed to remain, until “He that sitteth upon
the throne" shall say, “Behold I make all things new."
And, blessed be God, sooner or later that time will come, and all men shall see it: not in these poor, ailing, pain-racked bodies, but in bodies spiritual and incorruptible. Not upon earth, but either in heaven, where the light of God's new creation will thrill them with eternal gladness, or in hell, where, "lifting up their eyes, being in torments," they shall see perhaps all the glories, whence only their own unrepented sin has eternally shut them out.
If, then, earth were all we had to look to, we might well tire and faint. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." But there is redemption from the curse; there is a time of glory at hand for the redeemed, and for the groaning, travailing creation ; we are
l expecting earnestly “the manifestation of the sons of God.” St. Paul does not mean that new things shall arise instead of, but out of, the old. The souls we now have can never die ; but to say that creation would be new in every part of it, and not " made new," would be to say, that man's immortal part perishes ; for observe the words just read: “We know that the whole creation, or every creature, groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have