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THE EVER-PRESENT GOD.
“God is a very present help in time of trouble.”
What a spring of soul-cheering comfort is contained in the thought, that the presence of God accompanies us in all our afflictions ! “It is the Lord that killeth, and the Lord that maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away."
Happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, for he maketh sore and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” The same Almighty Being has declared, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him also that is of a humble and contrite spirit.”
“ Fear thou not,” he says to the afflicted, “ for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee, with the right hand of my righteousness.” “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.”
How replete with consolation to the afflicted and sorrow-stricken are these divine promises ; how calculated to sustain the spirit, and to impress them of the truth and power of their God! And let us recollect, that these are the promises of an immutable Being, in whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning ; that He is, moreover, the Father of mercies. Mark the tender appellatiou ; and consider, that the Almighty not only announces himself a Father in name, but is such in verity and power, to all afflicted souls who seek Him in sincerity.
The Father of mercies! How endearing the title! The eternal fountain of all tenderness and affection; the God of all comfort ! because He overflows with eternal and infinite comforts. Hence it follows, that there is no affliction can visit the children of God, so great but He has comforts superior to im
part, in the gracious promises of His Holy Word. “ Whatsoever things were written, were written for our learning, that we through the scriptures might have hope.”—(Rom. xv. 4.) The Almighty styles himself the fountain of living waters. Let us not think that the fountain of sin and death more abounds with afflictions, than the fountain of life does with comforts.
To reflect on these sources of supreme goodness and comfort, infuses a sweet patience into the soul. This kind and gentle comforter, whose mild voice becalms our perturbed spirits, and bids the tumult of passion be still, is never distant when trouble is near.
It pledges for our security His declarations, who cannot deceive. It shows that our faith and our hope are alike founded on divine veracity and faithfulness. It refers to the immutability of the Almighty Disposer for a complete answer to all the surmises of inquietude. Here it rests, as on a foundation solid and durable as the basis which sustains the universe. Associated with this conviction, the soul shall triumph over all the concomitants of bereave
ment, misfortune, and contingency. For, inspired by a lively faith and a firm patience, the one to believe, and the other to wait upon God, what, on this side the grave, can be an object of terror, or on the other, does not fill us with hope ? Whatever be the final issue of all things, our real happiness cannot be frustrated.
To the ultimate result of true holiness, connected with a well-established faith in the immutability of God, the afflicted may resort in every extremity as to a strong hold, as stable and substantial as the throne of heaven! And what "in life or death, things present or things to come,” can shake his confidence, or defeat his hope, who lives, suffers, and acts in full assurance, “that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary ?”
Heaven and earth are interested in the happiness of him whose mind grace has thus formed and composed. He may be troubled, but cannot be cast down. Distress in all its angriest forms, like a mighty tempest raging around, may awhile perturb his spirit; but possessing his soul in patience, he resigns himself to heaven, and to heaven commits, in perfect and tranquil confidence, the keeping of all his con
Oh! this is the faith which rests entirely on the paternal affection of the God of all consolation. This is that faith which through Christ Jesus overcometh sin, death, the world, and all its afflictions, temptations, and trials. For “all things are possible to him that believeth: and he that believeth shall see the glory of God.”
But let us ever remember, that no one can partake of these consolations without the prayer of faith, humility, and sincerity: “for all these things,” saith God, “I will be inquired of.” And, oh! what a privilege to be allowed to approach the mercy-seat, and to hold divine communion with our God! The heart which perhaps would shrink from disclosing its sorrows to mortal friend, however sympathetic, finds itself refreshed and comforted by pouring them out before God in prayer ! One well experienced in grief, has said, “When I called upon thee, thou heardest me, and renewedst