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written over with invitations and promises; it says, in accents that might breák a heart of stone, “Turn thou! turn, thou forsaken one! for why wilt thou die ?”
So effectual, my brethren, did we rightly consider it, might be the love of God to restrain us from sin, and recall us to virtue and piety.
Equally might it avail, and equally indispensable is it, to comfort us in affliction. I have already spoken of the afflictions of life, and need not repeat what I then said ; suffice it, that every heart knows what it has to suffer and to struggle with : but one thing I am sure of, that that heart can find no repose but in a firm trust in the infinite love of God. I speak now for a reasonable mind, for one that is not willing to suffer blindly as a brute suffers, for one that does not find it enough to conclude that it must suffer and cannot help it. I speak for one whom sorrow has aroused to consider the great questions, wherefore he is made, and why he is made to suffer; and I am sure that such an one must behold goodness enthroned and reigning over all the events of time and the destinies of eternity; or for his mind there is no friend nor helper in the universe. Ah! there are questions which nothing can answer but God's love ; which nothing can meet but God's promise; which nothing can calm but a perfect trust in his goodness. Speak to the void darkness of affliction, “the first dark day of nothingness” after trouble has come ; speak to life, through all its stages and fortunes, from oftentimes suffering infancy to trembling age ; speak to this crowded world of events, accidents, and vicissitudes; ay, or speak thou to the inward world of the heart, with all its strifes, its sinkings, its misgivings, its remembrances, its strange visitings of long gone thoughts, . .
. istrinyt « Touching the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound, and none of these can answer us; we call as vainly upon them as the priests of Baal upon their god. There is shadow and mystery upon all the creation, till we see God in it; there is trouble and fear till we see God's love in it.
23. But give me that assurance, and though there are many things which I know not, many things which I cannot explain nor understand, yet I can consent not to know them. Enough, enough, to know that God is good, and what he does is right. This known, and the works of creation, the changes of life, the destinies of eternity, are all spread before us as the dispensations and counsels of infinite love. This known, and then we know that the love of God is working to issues like itself, beyond all thought and imagination good and glorious; and that the only reason why we understand it not is, that it is too glorious for us to understand. This known, and what then do we say? God's love taketh care for all nothing is neglected : God's love watcheth over all, provideth for all, maketh wise adaptations for all ; for age, for infancy, for ma. turity, for childhood, in every scene of this or another life; for want, for weakness, for joy, and for sorrow; and even for sin; so that even the wrath of man shall praise the goodness of God. All is good ; all is well; all is right; and shall be for ever. This, oh! this is an inheritance, and a refuge, and a rest for the mind, from which the convulsions of worlds cannot shake it.
In what an aspect does this conviction present the scenes of eternity ? We are placed here in a state of
imperfection and trial, and much that seems like mys tery and mischance. But what shall the future be, if the light of God's goodness is to shine through its ages?. I answer, it shall be all bright disclosure, full. consummation, blessed recompense. We shall doubt less see what we can now only believe.. The cloud will be lifted up, and will unveil-eternity! And what an eternity! All brightness ; all beatitude; one unclouded vision ; one immeasurable progress! The gate of mystery shall be past, and the full light shall shine for ever. Blessed change! That which caused us trial shall yield us triumph. That which was the deeper darkness shall be but the brighter light. That which made the heart ache shall fill it with gladness. Tears shall be wiped away, and beamings of joy shall come in their place. He who tried the soul that he loved, shall more abundantly comfort the soul that he approves. That God, who has walked in the mysterious way, with clouds and darkness around about him, will then appear as the great Revealer, and he will reveal what the eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor the heart conceived.
Let me insist, in close, as I did in the beginning, upon the necessity of this affectionate trust in God. We cannot live as reasonable beings upon any con. viction less lofty, less divine, less heartfelt than this. This is not a matter of will ; it is a matter of necessity. Our minds cannot have a full, and, at the same time, safe development; reflection and feeling cannot safely grow in us, unless they are guided, relieved, and sustained by the contemplations of piety. The fresh and unworn sensibility of youth may hold on for awhile, and may keep its fountain clear and bright; but, by
and bye, changes will come on; affliction will lay its chastening hand upon us; disappointment will settle, like a chilling damp, upon the spirits; the mind will be discouraged, if there is nothing but earthly hope to cheer it on; the reasonings of misanthropy and the misgivings of scepticism will steal into it, and blight its generous affections; morbid sensitiveness will take the place of healthful feeling; all this will naturally come on with the growing experience of life, if the love of God be not our support and safeguard. Every mind may not be conscious of this tendency, but every mind that thinks much and feels deeply will be conscious of it, and will feel it bitterly. Your body may live on ; but your soul, in its full development, in its deep wants, in its “strong hour" of trial and of reflection, must pine, and perish, and die, without this holy trust. Let it not so perish. Creature of God's love; believe in that love which gave thee being. Believe in that love which every moment redeems thee from death, and offers to redeem thee from the death eternal. Believe in God's love and be wise, be patient, be comforted, be cheerful and happy be happy in time; be happy in eternity!
THE VOICES OF THE DEAD.
HEBREWS. XI. 4. And by it, he being dead, yet speaketh.
This is a record of virtue that existed six thousand years ago; but which yet liveth in its memory, and speaketh in its example. “ Abel,” it is written, “ offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it, he being dead, yet speaketh.” How enduring is the memorial of good. ness! "It is but a sentence, which is read in a moment
-it is but a leaf from the scroll of time, and yet it is borne on the breath of ages it takes the attributes of universality and eternity--it becomes a heritage from family to family, among all the dwellings of the world.
But it is not Abel alone, the accepted worshipper and martyred brother, that thus speaks to us. The world is filled with the voices of the dead. They speak not from the public records of the great world only, but from the private history of our own experience. They speak to us in a thousand remembrances, in a thousand incidents, events, associations. They speak to us not only from their silent graves, but from the throng of life. Though they are invisible, yet life is