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my soul with much strength.” The prayer of the afflicted, offered up in the name of the great Mediator, elevates the soul to heaven; and the angel of divine consolation responds to the appeal; for we may assure ourselves, that if we pray according to His will, who heareth and answereth prayer, we shall be strengthened, comforted, and sustained, according to His gracious promises.
They that trust in the Lord shall be even as the Mount Sion : as the hills stand about Jerusalem, even so standeth the Lord round about his people.”
When affliction removes every thing else from us, God, the eternal God, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Comforter, the Sanctifier, abides ever with us.
Nay, affliction is so far from separating God from us, it rather brings us to God, and God to us; for when we are weak then He is strong. He despiseth not our weak faith, nor rejects it, however feeble, but cherishes, strengthens, and, if we forsake not our own privileges, will at last crown it with a blessed conclusion. Mark the golden passages :
-“ Thou hast been
a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat,” (Isaiah, xxxv. 4.) “Strengthen ye the weak hands, confirm the feeble knees; say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God will come and save you,” (Isaiah, xxxv. 3, 4.) “ He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength,” (Isaiah, xl. 29, 31.) “ The Lord hath sent me to preach good things to the meek, to bind
up the broken-hearted, and to comfort all that mourn,” (Isaiah, lxi. 1.) Let us also continually seek comfort, in the assurance, that in the midst of our greatest infirmities and deepest afflictions, if we but breathe the wish to possess the presence of our compassionate Redeemer, He will manifest himself to our droop
Has he not said, “In all places where there is a remembrance of my name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee? Let us then, when weak in faith, look up to Christ Jesus our Redeemer and merciful Highpriest, who is still interceding that our faith may be strengthened, as he did for St. Peter: “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” How rich is the consolation derived from the assurance, that“ we have not an highpriest that cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, but who was in all points tempted like as we are, but without sin, who is at the right-hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Seeing then, that we have such great and precious promises of aid, strength, and consolation, let us meet every affliction in the spirit of patient and humble acquiescence; look up steadfastly to God, the everlasting fountain and giver of all goodness; and embrace every dispensation of Providence (of what nature soever) as our only happiness, and in every condition of soul and body learn to rejoice in God alone.
If we are content to follow the example of our blessed Lord, to drink the wine mingled with gall, we have assurance that we shall hereafter sit down with him in the kingdom of heaven. Let us be content to bear his cross, and we may hope to be partakers of his glory.
Let us fly to Him; from Him alone expect help, comfort, and peace.
Let us support ourselves under the conflict with the abounding and comfortable promises of Jesus our Saviour, that in due time we may conquer, if we faint not. He tells us to
Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” Let us not then faint under tribulation, but patiently bear the chastening of the Lord, till the Sun of Righteousness again arises with healing and consolation on his wings. For “ There springeth up a light for the righteous, and joyful gladness for such as are true of heart.” And, oh ! let us ever remember that it is the high privilege of the true believer to have a sure asylum in God. How inconceivably valuable is this, when the clouds of trouble envelope us! Not only because it offers relief when all other sources of comfort fail or forsake us, but because the support we derive from it is beyond the influence of the world, for with our peace and joy in God, no man can intermeddle. In bitterness of soul, to whom indeed should we go, but to the Father of mercies, to pour out our souls in prayer, to ex
press our sorrows, and to implore his compassionate help? and for our everlasting comfort, we shall, while thus engaged in communion with our Creator, enjoy a persuasion of the Divine faithfulness. Thus shall the soul patiently wait, even if the fulfilment of the prayers we offer be long delayed; for, if we ask in faith, we shall be satisfied, that in the due appointed season, the God of wisdom and goodness will perform what he has spoken, and our anticipations will not be vain.
Of this we may be assured, that the effusions of a grief-worn soul, though inaudible, fail not to plead effectually with a compassionate God and Father, who afflicts not willingly. When, therefore, we implore a blessing from Him, let us patiently abide his time for a suitable answer, comforting ourselves with the consideration, that, although His providence is often to us mysterious, it is whenever in any instance unfolded to us, fraught with causes of admiration and praise. It is surely to exercise our faith and patience that the Almighty has veiled his conduct in partial obscurity ; and we are sometimes re