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blind; I behold the deaf with their unconscious gaze, and the dumb, with their silent voice, and I cry out, O my God, what am I before thee !
My mind.—Here I am, indeed, better than the brute. Here, indeed, I may exult and glorify thee that I can think and reason, and weigh in the balance God's providence and love. But yet, what is even my mind by nature? thoughts of man are vanity. “ He laboureth in vain, he spendeth his strength for nought." “ If we apply our hearts to know wisdom, we shall perceive that this also is vexation of spirit; for in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.”
Thus speak the scriptures; and when I look around — when I know that this · mind, this bountiful gift of God, may be withdrawn, that it may wander, become diseased, like the body, and perish. When I behold the frenzy of the maniac, the moping simplicity of the idiot, the wandering gaze of the lunatic, I cry out again : What am I before thee, O God!
For these things may be mine. I also am one of that nature, one of that curse under which these things are sent; I also may be cast down by these withering maladies, and the noble dignity of my manhood may be prostrate with the
Ps. xciv. 11.
b Isa. xlix. 4.
Eccl. viii. 16.
brutes, I also may have to say to the horse and to the mule, Thou art my brother; and the wisdom of the scribe, and the disputer of this world, may fall, under thy will, into the simplicity of the child, or the folly of the babbler.
And though we should escape these miseries yet how long? « What is our life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away."
« There is no man that hath power over the Spirit to retain the Spirit; neither hath he power in the day of
“ One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, and the memory of them that are dead is forgotten.”c
Yea, it is even so. This fair body, now so goodly to look upon, though it shall escape all pains and diseases under which others are bowed down ; this fair mind, though it shall be strong and vigorous for the years of its growth, yet must they put on the helpless guise of old age. Their beauty must decay; their strength is perfect weakness, and three score years and ten will do their certain work.
Then comes the end. “ Man dieth and wasteth away ; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?"d
God has willed it so. By the curse of
* James iv. 14.
Eccl. i. 4.
Eccl. viii. 8.
Adam we are bound, by the disobedience of our first parents we are punished.
Therefore, O my God, what am I before thee?
Verily, we are altogether nothing : “We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness ; we grope for the wall like the blind, we stumble as in the night.”
But yet : “ Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God.”
“ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”
« Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed—but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”.
Thus speak the scriptures : And why should I fear?
I behold the works of nature ; I see beauty, and order, and providence, and love. I know that “ not a sparrow falleth to the ground without my heavenly Father, and that the very
a Isa. lix. 9.
• Ps. lv. 22.
• Ps. xlii. 5. * Matt. vi. 34.
hairs of my head are all numbered ;” and I will not fear, because I know that “ I am of more value than many sparrows."
What though I am a frail and perishable creature, yet God is able to do much ; and I am God's child; and he is to me my Father. Then here is my remedy
remedy — here hope!
It is the Almightiness of God which is the pillar of my hope: “ Abba Father, all things are possible to thee.”b Talk not how the seas may be turned into dry land, or the poor be raised up to be set with the princes of the people, or how stones can be made the children of Abraham, or how palsies and fevers can be cured with a word. I will stop all gaps of infidelity with this one bush. God is able. He that is made by no cause cannot be confined in his being ; and he that hath no bounds in his being can have no bounds to his power. There is no horizon under heaven or above heaven, that hope cannot look beyond it. “ Therefore, because in his hand are the issues of life and death, I will hope that he will guide me, and be my good shepherd. Under the shadow of his wings shall be my refuge, until calamities be overpast.
Matt. x. 29.
Mark xiv. 36.
o Ps. lvii. 1.
It is the goodness of God which is also the pillar of my hope.
For mark the rain that falls from above, and the clouds which drop fatness, and the sun which gives his heat.
And all for man.
our food, our clothing, our dwellings, “ our children, like olive branches round about our table.”a
And all for man.
Mark the fruits of the earth springing forth in never ceasing bounty: “the grass growing for the cattle, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth his heart."b
And all for man.
may be frail, and poor, and needy, but the Lord “who careth for the ravens" will also care for me,-I may be ignorant, but the Lord who giveth wisdom to the simple, will make me also wise unto salvation--I may be subject to death, but I know what that death is : “The gate of everlasting life.”
Therefore the Lord shall be my shepherd. In this world he shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort, and for the next
* Ps. cxxviii. 3.
Ps. civ. 14.
c Job xxxviii. 41,