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** Where there are inverted commas put without ostensible reason, it means that the word or passage is altered, or added, by the Author.
This little book has been compiled in the hope that, with God's blessing, it might be the means of increasing the peace and joy of my fellow Christians. Commenced at a period of great comparative outward happiness, it has (delayed by many interruptions) been carried on through much of trial, and much of affliction ; but, by the mercy of God, nothing has been able to shake my steadfast faith that all that we behold is full of blessing" to the Christian. I have long felt, that sorrow,- that “
sorrow of the world which worketh death,” — is Satan's immediate work upon the heart; and that it ought to be repelled, as should all his other attacks,by prayer, aided by our own strenuous exertions.
There are those who can endure to live under the hard dull pain of patience,”—whose hearts can “ brokenly live on ;” but to others, affliction,
afflictively retained, is utterly insupportable. For them, therefore, it is necessary that its character should change,—that it should assume some form of happiness; the joy lost being met by the sense of some new joy received.
Our greatest happiness at all times is the near and close-pressing of the love of God to the heart ; the delightful sense of hourly, trustful dependence upon Him; while, in affliction, “to spring into the arms of Omnipotence, to find refuge in the bosom of mercy, is to weep no longer.” But, besides this, there is ever a something in affliction peculiar to that state, which, if sought by the light of God's Spirit, is calculated to bring with it comfort and consolation, so as to enable us, come what may, to feel the reality of what the Apostle speaks of; and to be “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing."
It is a wretched thing to look wearily to Time alone to blunt our feelings under Nature's tenderest grief;—and bring a dull forgetfulness of those whose endeared image should ever dwell in the lightest, brightest chambers of our heart; it is
best-far best, and happiest, to bring the first full-tide of our sorrow to God, and ask Him to shine upon those waters, and change their nature for us ;—to lead us along their course to the clear River of life, at whose Fountain-head those we love are rejoicing with exceeding joy,--and there to let us in thought dwell continually with them. Have we not been happy,—when in former times they may have been absent from us,-in thinking of the pleasure they were enjoying ?-pleasure, so short-lived, so imperfect! Can we not be so now, when their happiness is so great with God, and, like His, eternal ? Let us try to be so ;-not merely say that, it were best,—but really try to be
We in a great measure, if we will ; for our moral
is very great when it rests for its strength on the loving-kindness, the tender mercies, the faithfulness of our God. And though, in this our weak state, sorrow will at times, through forgetfulness of these things, overcome us,
-even as sin does,-yet our Heavenly Father will, in His strength and love, stem both those torrents for us, if we look trustingly to Him, and
act faithfully for ourselves.
“ When the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Lord lifteth up a standard against him.”
Grief is no indulgence to those who feel it strongly;—there is no pleasure in mortal agony !
Perfect acquiescence in our Heavenly Father's will, will soften all things to us; and is a high, and blessed privilege. We hear His gracious voice saying: “It is I, be not afraid ;" and our hearts are “still,” under the immediate sense of His felt presence. The child of God knows that perfect Wisdom, perfect Power, and perfect Love, are all combining to work for his good; and that sure trust soothes, and gladdens him, under the severest trials of life.
We are apt to work ourselves much misery, by making a future for ourselves, and others, in this world ;
;-a future of happiness over which “ the wind passeth, and it is gone;" or a future of apprehension—every step in approach to which is in itself a misery. Let our only Future be, for ourselves, or for those we love, the bosom of our God; and then our hope can never be overthrown.