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patiently, until He reveals to us the meaning and the blessedness of our grief. We may have to wait, perhaps, till the great hereafter, but then assuredly we shall see that we have not suffered in vain:—
'' With aching hands and bleeding feet
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day, and wish 'twere done.
Not till the hours of light return,
Our restlessness and impatience, once more, involve a practical disbelief in immortality. Though we constantly say we "believe in the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come," we chafe and fret when our wishes are thwarted, as if there were no life but the present, as if the grave were the end of all things for us. Here is a man somewhat advanced in years, who begins to feel that life is not going to be to him and to do for him what he had once believed it would. Age is coming upon him, and not one of the expectations of his youth has been fulfilled. He was not, perhaps, highly gifted by nature, or he had but few early advantages, or he was more scrupulously conscientious than his neighbours; but be the cause what it may, he has to confess to himself that he has not been successful. It is too late now; he is too old to hope for better things. As to waiting patiently, there seems nothing to wait for but the falling of the curtain upon a very unsatisfactory play. He feels disgusted, chagrined, annoyed, enraged. If that be your case, sir, I ask, do you or do you not believe in another life? If you do not, I have no consolation to offer you. If there is no future, your fate is a very hard one, and, unless you have done anything to deserve it, a very cruel and unjust one. But if there is a future life, and you believe in it, why should you despond? Your threescore years and ten, compared to the eternity that is before you, are really less than a second in a lifetime. There are some exquisite lines of Mr Greg's which are full of consolation for you:—
"Yes, I have failed: that golden prize
Of life—success—ambition's boast, ,
Which dazzled once my boyish eyes,
Yet I may not have lost the prize—
It only may not yet be won;
The goal may be still farther on.
That star again, like morning sun,
May rise upon some happier shore,
My Master bid me try once more."
The lesson of our text is a lesson we all need to learn. Circumstances are continually arising, in your life and mine, which tend to make us restless and impatient. Sometimes our plans are frustrated, our hopes disappointed, our labours nullified; sometimes we have to bear pain and disease, bodily and mental prostration; sometimes those whom we have benefited are ungrateful, and render us evil for good—or those whom we trusted and loved deceive and wound us; sometimes our stanchest, truest friends are taken from us by death. To one and all of us, then, the advice of the Psalmist is applicable, or will sooner or later become applicable. Let us try, when we are "in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity"—let us try to rest in the Lord:—
"Let us be patient; these severe afflictions
This, I say, is a lesson we all have need to learn.
We can exercise faith for other men; shall we never exercise it for ourselves 2 Is it likely that in a well-ordered universe—and we profess to believe that the universe is well ordered,—is it likely that our welfare alone has been overlooked ? If it were our destiny to fight impotently against surrounding forces, which were bound in the end to destroy us, then there would be an excuse for our anxiety and foreboding. But if there be a God, a loving God, a God who is making all things to work together for good, then our fretful impatience is puerile and contemptible. Can we not wait, wait like men “for the far-off interest of tears ” 2
"Judge not."—Matthew vii. 1.
WHE wisest maxims are always susceptible of a ridiculous interpretation. This is the kind of interpretation which thinkers of a certain school are wont to put upon the sayings of Christ. Having made up their minds that the Christian religion is impracticable, and altogether unsuitable to the exigencies of human life, they proceed to explain Christ's injunctions in a way which will support this gratuitous hypothesis. They tell us that social order—nay, the very existence of society—would be at an end if we were to act upon the precepts of the Nazarene. They maintain that the meekness of spirit which Christ inculcated would involve the abrogation of criminal prosecutions and civil punishments; and such an abrogation, they assert, would be absolutely fatal. Of course it would. Christ