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unrenewed state, it is either to anticipate evils, the very apprehension of which makes him miserable—or to indulge the speculations of an unbelieving mind, whilst God is forgotten and eternity kept out of view. He considers not the end, and therefore he does amiss.How merciful then is the voice which says to him, “ consider your ways and be wise”— how friendly is the hand which leads him into the wide field of providential dispensations, and at the same time points to the Scriptures which contain the revealed will of God, and consequently, the only clue by which
of his secret things can be made plain, or any intricacy unravelled!
In consideration the mind is carried off from itself, and is engaged about things, which for the present, at least, are deemed important; but unless it be supremely directed to the Father of Lights, and influenced by his Spirit, it will produce no salutary effect. Indeed, in no state, and under no circumstances, can the soul derive profit independent of God. Let us then, when engaged in the duty which the text enjoins, manifest a spirit of humility, constancy, prayer, and faith.
Our ignorance, perverseness, and depravity, should humble us to the dust. Our helplessness, timidity, and
a lesson of constancy. Our innumerable wants daily recurring and multiplying, call us to be “ instant in prayer,” to “ ceasing," and our condition as fallen creatures who so far from being able to atone for sin, or to rise by our natural strength above its temptations, or to perform duty in an acceptable manner, are unable to make one hair white or black, to add to our stature one cubit, or to look for a moment beyond the present one-convincingly proclaims the necessity of faith as an ingredient without which consideration can never be really profitable. If there be one season more suited than another for the exercise of this Christian duty, it is the season · of adversity—then the false lights of this world in a great measure disappear-then its comforts decline—then instability appears stamped upon all human possessions and then the eye of the mind, if opened by the Spirit's sacred influence, beholds the faithfulness and love of Jehovah arrayed in all their glory, and are found to possess an attractive power which draws it away from the painful contemplation of sorrow and sin, and causes it to look forward to that brighter scene which is presented above, where there is nothing chequered, nothing imperfect, and where sighing, sorrow, and pain, will have no place.
Let us then consider that we are not called upon to account for the Lord's dealings, or to make the vain attempt of reconciling the seeming contrarieties in the Divine administration. If clouds and darkness are round about him we may yet be sure that righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. His servants will one day understand, as far as is necessary, every thing which now appears dark and perplexing, and in the mean season they are called to live by faith-to “ take no thought for the morrow”-to “ commit their ways unto him”-and to be satisfied with the assurance that “ the judge of all the earth doas right.” When, therefore, we see one thing set against another-when we see the rapid and in many instances, the unaccountable changes which take place in nature, in the concerns of nations, in the state of the church, and in the condition of individuals ; let us rely upon the power which we are unable successfully to resist ; let us submit to the infinitely wise arrangements of a Providence which we cannot controul ; let us“ be still, and know that he is God.” our“ searching we can never find him out," for his wisdom is infinite, and the depths of that wisdom, as it appears in the stupendous
ceasing wonder to the angels that are before the throne; lie not more beyond our reach than do the formation and properties of the various animals that roam over our fields, or the flowers which beautify our gardens. As therefore, we can find nothing after God, nothing to censure, nothing to amend; and as it is out of our power to shed light upon any thing that he has involved in obscurity, let us learn to “ trust him at all times,” to “ pour out our hearts before him," and to form our estimate of his dealings not “ by feeble sense,” but by the faithful testimony of his written word. Thus, having peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall live in hope of eternal life and after our last conflict and victory enter into the kingdom of ineffable glory, where “ we shall see as we are seen,
and know even as we are known.”
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.