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husband, and most probably, as a consequence of that loss, to suffer all the straits and trials of poverty besides, but that He was now about to withdraw Himself from her side, and, to all appearance, to leave her, in the wide world, to the care of one who was not related to her in

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way than as a possessor with her of the same "precious faith” in Christ. Should

Should you be tempted at any time to feel that “the Father of the fatherless, and the God of the widow," has dealt hardly by you, in having removed from your side a tenderly-loved partner, try to remember that the Lord Jesus suffered His mother to undergo a greater affliction still than that. We cannot for a moment suppose, that One so infinitely perfect as He was, proved by His acting in this way toward his surviving parent, that His love for her had diminished. No, no; banish such a thought for ever. Nothing can be plainer than that He tenderly loved His virgin-mother, and that in all the dispensations of His good providence towards her, He sought her truest happiness. But it is equally plain that He felt that happiness is not the true happiness which is derived exclusively from earthly sources, and, more than this, that it is necessary, in order that those who belong to Him may attain to joys that are perfect and permanent, that sometimes, their earthly stays and comforts should be removed from them. The blow does perhaps

appear to be a very stern one ; but what if eternity reveals to the wounded heart, that it was dealt with the unerring wisdom of perfect love? Listen to the words of the excellent Archbishop Leighton on this point-keeping in mind the while, that if we are saved at all, it can only be through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It was because the virgin-mother's faith needed a greater trial still, in order that it might thereby be the better purified, and made meet for the heavenly mansions, that the Lord suffered the greater grief to come upon her. “The

. furnace of affliction,” says the Archbishop, "shows upright, real faith, to be such indeed, remaining still the same even in the fire, the same that it was, undiminished, as good gold loses none of its quantity in the fire. Doubtless many are deceived, in time of ease and prosperity, with imaginary faith and fortitude. So that there may be still some doubt, ; while a man is underset with outward helps, as riches, friends, esteem, &c., whether he leans upon those, or upon God Who is an invisible support, though stronger than all that are visible, and is the peculiar and alone stay of faith in all conditions. But when all these outward props are plucked away from a man, then it will be manifest, whether something else uphold him or not; for if there be nothing else, then he falls : but, if his mind stands firm and unmoved as before, then it is evident he laid not his

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weight upon these things he had then about him, but was built upon a Foundation, though not seen, which is able alone to stay him, although he be not only frustrated of all other supports, but beaten upon with storms and tempests, as our Saviour says, the "house fell not, because it was founded upon a Rock.'»

The Virgin Mary had had for thirty-three years her Holy Son visibly with her. Now, it was necessary, for the confirmation of her faith, that He should remove Himself away, and that she should perceive, though He had been crucified, and afterwards could be only spiritually present with her, that He yet continued to be "a very present Help in trouble." So the Lord provided for her a loving friend who should, through His grace, comfort and edify her, under the pressure of her affliction, by many a fond recollection brought before her of the Son she had lost for a little while, and by many a reminder about “ the glory that was to follow,” when her perfected faith should be again turned into rapturous sight, as she once more gazed upon Him who

says,

“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

Think of this, dear bereaved friend. Try to centre your thoughts upon Him who is “ the resurrection and the life," and so, grieve not as one without hope.

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He who invisibly tended his widowed mother, will also watch sleeplessly over you. It is good for you to be thus afflicted : you may not see this now, but oh may God make it evident to you by and bye. None can tell, save those who have suffered a like affliction, the sharpness of your wound, but let it comfort you to feel that God knows it all, and that it must be well for you, because you are only suffering a weight that fell upon the virgin-mother of your Lord, by His own permission.

Prayer. ALMIGHTY Lord, Thou didst so compassionate our sinful race, as to take upon Thyself our nature, that Thou mightest reveal Thyself therein, as both able and willing to sympathize with us, whenever it is Thy holy Will to visit us, for our good—for the purifying and strengthening of our faith—with any kind of affliction. We would earnestly draw near to Thee now, and ask Thee especially to regard those among us from whom Thou hast been pleased to

o the desire of their eyes.” Thou knowest, blessed Lord, how bitterly stricken, how desolate must be the widow and the fatherless. Oh let not the enemy approach them with evil suggestions against Thy loving providence. Let Thy Holy

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Spirit cause them to remember, that Thou didst suffer her of whom, after the flesh, Thou didst condescend to be born, to endure sorrow and desolating bereavement, that she might thereby be purified and made meet, in dependence on the merits of Thy precious death and intercession, for Thy heavenly kingdom. Let this great sorrow be the means in Thy gracious hands, of drawing Thy stricken servants nearer to Thee. Give them the power even now to say from the depth of their hearts: “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away : blessed be the name of the Lord.”

And oh Thou, who hast caused it to be written in Thy holy Word: “A Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widow, is God in His holy habitation," mercifully shed abroad, we beseech Thee, the light of Thy countenance in the hearts of those who are mourning the loss of a husband and a father. Plead Thou their cause, we pray Thee, against all their enemies, temporal and spiritual, that may rise up against them, Comfort them with the joys of Thy salvation. Stablish them with Thy free Spirit. Be present in their hearts and in their homes. “Guide them here by Thy counsel, and afterward receive them to glory." These petitions we humbly present unto Thee in the name and for the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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