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be in it error or ill-will; but the most mysterious dealings, to the watchful eye of faith, which knows how to interpret them, have a light and a meaning, which give tranquillity to the disturbed spirit. It is distrust which is unsettled, perplexed, distressed; it is distrust which sits down repining, and beats the breast, and refuses to be comforted. Faith rises, and lifts up its head; there may be a tear in its eye, but there is steadfastness in its heart, and with unconquerable serenity it gazes upward, till, piercing the clouds and darkness which surround the eternal throne, it discerns the righteousness and mercy which are its foundation. It does not doubt that all is right, for it relies on divine wisdom. It does not doubt that all will be well, for it confides in perfect love; and, taking up the words of the apostle, it says, “We have had fathers of the flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” and “if he spared not
his own Son, shall he not with him freely give us all things?”
Thus does God send down help through faith.
In the next place, he adds to it through prayer. Prayer is the act of faith. The confiding child that has stood gazing upward to a parent's seat, contemplating and adoring, at length opens his mouth and speaks. The fire kindles within, and his glowing thoughts utter themselves unto God. Thus it was with Jesus, when he rejoiced in spirit at the success of his ministry, and cried, “Father, I thank thee;" when he groaned in spirit at the tomb of Lazarus, and cried, "Father, I thank thee;" when he drew near to the agony of death, and exclaimed. “Father, glorify thy name.” And so, too, his friends, who walk in his faith, at every changing season of their pilgrimage, call upon God. It is the natural and dutiful expression of their filial trust. It augments and gives vigor to that trust. The sluggish heart is roused, the wavering fortitude is confirmed, when the believer
goes aside from the pressure of these mortal things, like his Lord retiring to the mountain, and holds communion with God. He returns a revived and strengthened man. He is nerved to do and to endure. God is the foundation of all power. If the human soul would have strength, it must draw from Him. It thrives by the breath of His presence. It grows fit for action and for suffering, by pouring out to Him its own weakness, and drinking in, in return, His strength.
To speak more plainly, prayer, by its own action on the mind, imparts to it strength; and it has, moreover, the promise of additional aid from the Spirit of God. He who trusts his own resources is weak, and soon faints under the pressure of trial; “but they that wait on the Lord renew their strength.” He that seeks to brave out the grief, and harden himself against it with stoical fortitude, may break his heart in the attempt; or, if he succeed, it is at the expense of all that is generous and amiable in his nature, and he becomes less than a man. But he who, feeling his calamity, pours out
his feelings in prayer to the Father, by thus mingling his keen sorrow with his holiest devotions, soothes his sorrow into tranquillity; it becomes a part of his spiritual pleasure; it is the means of lifting him into a frame of thought superior to this lower
A serenity, of which the world knows nothing and can impart nothing, attends the act; and his cry for peace, even while he utters it, is answered by Him who has said, “Let him call upon me in trouble; I will deliver him, and he shall glorify me.”
Once more. God sends help through the Christian hope which he has given. The apostle said of the heathens, that they were without God, and without hope in the world : their misery consisted not only in ignorance of God, but in the prospect of eternal death. But to the Christian, not only the Father is revealed, but life and immortality are brought to light; so that, whatever evils may assail him in the world, they not only cease at the grave, but there is more than a compensation for them beyond it. Whatever afflictions weigh down his spirit here,
they are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed.
This inward hope completes the measure of the Christian's consolation. Faith and prayer had given quiet to his mind, but the hope of heaven excites it to joy, and raises it from serenity to rapture. He feels himself to be immortal. His affections being set on his eternal good, temporal evil has lost its power to destroy his happiness. Infirmity and disease may render life weary; but his thoughts are not confined to life; they wander through eternity, they commune with God, their home is in heaven. Death may approach while in the midst of prosperity, having a thousand dear ties; it may be in the very opening of life's happy day, with every thing that earth and friendship can give, to make life delightful and desirable. But even then, the heart that has learned to exalt itself by the visions of futurity, is able to disarm the king of terrors. The hope of Christ is mightier than the fear of the grave. At that hour of nature's faltering, when dread and consternation have