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". There is a silence of the heart
TRUE resignation is founded on a principle which never can be shaken: it must be a real sentiment of the heart, inspired by a motive sufficient to excite and support it; and this constraining motive is an ardent and sincere love to God, the all-wise governor of events.
It is not pos
This confidence is inspired by the consideration, that every thing which happens to us is appointed by him, whose wisdom and goodness are infinite as his
power. sible that any comfort can spring from the thought that the evils we suffer are unavoidable. The unwilling submission which yields to the power which it cannot resist, is far, very far from the resignation of a Christian.
In the one instance, an apparent calmness may disguise the secret murmurs of the heart, or possibly, a painful effort may compel the violence of passionate grief to give place to the stillness of despondency; but in the other, the stroke, however deeply felt, is yet willingly endured, and a firm and affectionate confidence, which no affliction can remove, inspires that heartfelt resignation which triumphs over the feelings of nature, though it seeks not, is required not to destroy them. “Jesus wept” at the grave of his friend! The heart which this affiance in God has tranquillized, rejoices in the thought that an Almighty friend will dispose of all events as shall be most for the real interest of those who truly love him and depend upon him, however painful may be their trials. Those trials are felt, acutely felt, by creatures conscious of sin and frailty ; but it is their happiness to believe, and to know, and to be enabled to look to the one great cause of every salutary trouble, trial, and difficulty, and with sincerity to offer up the comprehensive prayer, “ May the will of God be mine!” “ Lord teach me to submit and to acquiesce in all thy Holy will !” It has been beautifully remarked by one who was tried in the furnace of affliction, (Roscoe,) that “the firmness under trial, of which we speak, is not the mere effort of human strength, but is founded on that humility and submission to the will of God, which is the result of an entire confidence in all his dispensations. Under this impression we cannot but perceive that his goodness is as great, although not so apparent, in what he takes away, as in what he gives; in what he denies to our wishes, as in what he grants: and although it certainly requires strong effort to act upon these convictions at the moment when calamity falls upon us, yet we may be assured that every event that occurs, if rightly used and improved by us, is only a part of that great moral process which is intended to exalt our character, and through the sanctifying Spirit to improve our capacity for a better state.”—(Roscoe's Life, vol. ii. p. 440.)
When the tender ties of nature are severed, it is meet that we should mourn, it is meet that we be in heaviness. To endeavour, like the Stoics, not to feel afflictions, is sinful as well as impracticable, for it is to despise the chastening of the Lord, which is alike forbidden, with fainting under it. Religion seeks not to dry up the stream of sorrow, but to bound and keep it within its proper channel. “Grace (says the pious Leighton) does not destroy the life of nature, but adds to it a life more excellent.” Where there is no feeling, there can be no exercise of patience. We learn an important lesson of resignation, from a consideration of our present frailty. Our heavenly Father and Physician perfectly knows our frame and our maladies, and what kind and quantity of chastisement is needful
for our case. If therefore we view this
gracious God in all our afflictions, and consider calmly the paternal wisdom that appoints them for our spiritual instruction, what an exalted idea do they give us of his mercies, and what a mitigation do we find to the anguish of our hearts. Well may it be said, what a dark chaos is this world, while we see not God in it! To live destitute of the divine presence, to discern no beamings of the heavenly glory! Such benighted beings may indeed sink into despondency ; but not so the Christian, who, taught to think little of the present and much of the future, keeps his God always in view, as the director and end of all his actions ; consults him in sorrows, trials, difficulties, temptations, and implores his divine guidance and protection. On all occasions such a Christian thankfully and humbly directs his prayer to his God, who heareth and answereth prayer. He submissively waits to receive all intimations of the divine will ; and with affectionate alacrity desires to be as one of those ministering spirits which are always ready to do his