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member, not in one thing, not in two, not in
great things only, but in every the smallest thing
that tries and perplexes you, " let your requests
be made known unto God." If a child is hurt, it
runs to its mother, and tells her of the injury it
has received ; if it is in want, it goes to its parents
to relieve it ; or if in riper youth it is anxious
about the future, troubled, thoughtful, perplexed,
it goes to its father, and pours all its troubles into
his heart. But the things of earth are but the
patterns of things in the heavens. Every parent
is to his children a type of God to His. This is
our encouragement. We are to come with expec-
tation, praying for help ; we are to come also with
" supplication," '. e. with earnest prayer, with
clasped hands and bended knees, prostrating our-
selves before the mercy throne. We are to come
1 Matt. vii. 7. 2 1 Pet. v. 7.



KEXNAWAY. bd

with " tlianksgiving " also ; we are to remember
how much we possess, although there be so much
that we want ; how much we are to bless God for,
while there are so many burdens which we beg
Him to remove. We must remember what an
exceeding privilege it is to be allowed, nay, invited
to pray : what an unspeakable blessing to be as-
sured that we have in Him, in whose name we
pray, a most tender and sympathizing Friend, as
well as an almighty and all- prevailing Intercessor.
Even in our deepest sorrows we have abundant
cause to pray " with thanksgiving."

It may seem to some as if we almost lowered
the idea of the majestic God, by making Him so
entirely the depository of our wants ; but the ex-
pression of the text justifies the most unbounded
confidence, so only our confidence be mingled with
reverence. Nay, more, we must remember that it
is not we who would draw Deity down to our low
wants ; He has descended Himself to the last level
of our weakness. He is in Christ the God-man.
His manhood is the basis of our trust for sym-
pathy ; His Godhead is our confidence for power
and help. As man, there is no sorrow which
we can feel, that does not touch Him ; as God,
there is no cry which we can make for help, which
He is not Almighty to answer. Whilst in His
Almightiness, " He telleth the number of the stars,
and calleth them all by their names J ; " in His

1 Ps. cxlvii. 4.



64 ERSKINE.

meek and tender compassion, " He healeth the
broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds '."

KENNAWAY.



XXII.

The good which we receive from believing in
the love of God, manifested in Christ Jesus, is
analogous to that which we receive from believing
in the worth and kindness of a human friend, only
that the one is as nothing in comparison with the
other : it is nothing else than the enjoyment of
God in Himself and in His creatures. It is not
any thing that we get on account of our loving
Him ; but it is the happiness of loving Him, and
knowing ourselves to be loved by Him ; it is a
dwelling on, and in His high perfections : it is
giving Him our perfect sympathy, and receiving
His : it is knowing Him as the infinite God, and
yet as an affectionate Father; as a friend that
sticketh closer than a brother. It is the assurance
which the heart draws from His love in giving His
Son, and perhaps from some more special and per-
sonal tokens of that love, that He will never leave
us nor forsake us ; that He will never cease to
love us with a love which will be, and must be,
our satisfying, and filling, and delighting portion,
through all eternity. It is the joyful and COD-

1 Ps. cxhii. 3.



ERSKINE. 65

fident anticipation of the day when the mystery of
God shall be accomplished, and the glory of the
Lord shall be revealed, and when the children of
God shall be glad, and rejoice for ever in the new
heavens and the new earth which their Father
shall create. It is the discovering that all the
works of creation, all events, time and space,
eternity and infinity, every thing is full of that
God who loved us, and gave Himself for us ; and
who, in giving us Himself, freely gives us all
things. T. ERSKINE.

XXIII.

The Apostle James says, " Count it all joy
when you fall into divers trials, for the trial of
your faith giveth it endurance l ;" that is, works the
Divine principle into the very substance of the
mind. This surely is the great purpose of Provi-
dence in the appointment of events with regard to
individuals. Not a sparrow falleth to the ground
without God, and not an event happens without a
particular reference to the state and character of
the person to whom it happens. We have thus
every day of our lives many direct and special
messages from God to our souls. They are mes-
sages from God, and surely we show Him small
respect if we treat His messages as trifling things.
They are full of importance ; they are oppor-

1 James i. 2, 3.

F



66 ERSKINE.

tunities given to us of dying unto self, and living
unto God, and holding communion with Him.
In every one of them God says to us, " Seek ye
my face ;" and we ought to be ever ready with
our answer, "Thy face, Lord, will we seek 1 ."
With what an awakenedness of attention should
we live, if we really believed that every event is
a voice from God, and an opportunity of dying
unto self, which cannot be neglected without great
guilt, and great loss to our souls. My dear reader,
allow me to repeat this to you. Every event that
happens to us strengthens either the love of God
or the principle of self within us, because on every
event we exercise our judgment or our feelings ;
and this we must do either according to the will of
God, or according to our own will.

Thus we can never stand still for a moment ;
there is no rest from the conflict ; we are conti-
nually taking part either with God or against God.
There are but two ways in which man can walk
towards eternity ; the narrow way, which leads to
life ; and the broad way, which leads to destruc-
tion. The first is the way of self- forgetting and
God-pleasing ; the second is the way of self-pleas-
ing and God-forgetting. He is either resisting
self or not. He may be doing nothing decidedly
wrong, according to the world's estimate of duty ;
but unless he is systematically denying himself,

1 Ps. xxvii. 8.



BISHOP WILBERFORCE. 67

and taking up his cross daily, lie cannot be Christ's
disciple ; for there is no room for Christ's love in
a heart which refuses to give up self. Oh ! if we
felt as we ought, that that only is good which
draws us near to God, and that self is indeed the
great bar which divides us from God, and keeps
us at a distance from Him, how easily should we
be reconciled to those events which cross and
thwart the principle of self, seeing that they weaken
the bar w r hich separates us from God, our only
real good ; we should then know that there is no
evil but sin, and that every thing else must be a
blessing, if it is received in the spirit of prayer.

T. ERSKINE.

XXIV.

MATTHEW xv. 28.

The lesson taught us by the woman of Canaan
has many aspects, of which the first perhaps is
this, that by every mark and token which the
stricken soul can read, He to whom she sought is
the only true portion and rest of every human
heart ; that He would teach us this by all the dis-
cipline of outward things; that the ties of family
life are meant thus to train up our weak affections
till they be fitted to lay hold on Him ; that the
eddies and sorrows of life are meant to sweep us
from its flowery banks, that in its deep strong
currents we may fly to Him ; that for this end
F 2



68 BISHOP WILBERFORCE.

He opens to us little by little the mystery of trouble
round us, the mystery of evil within us, that we
may fly from others and ourselves, to Him.

There is this further lesson also, that He will
most surely be found by those who do seek after
Him ; and this is taught us here, not by a mere
general assurance that we shall be heard, but in a
way which enters far more practically into those
difficulties with which every one who has striven
to pray earnestly, finds earnest prayer beset ; for
here we see why it often happens that really
earnest and sincere men seem, for a time at least,
to pray in vain ; why their " Lord, help me," is
not answered by a word. It is not that Christ is
not near us ; it is not that His ear is heavy ; it
is not that the tenderness of His sympathy is
blunted ; it is a part of His plan of faithfulness
and wisdom. He has a double purpose herein ;
He would bless by it both us and all His Church.

How could His Church have been taught always
to pray, and not to faint, better than by such a
narrative as this ? How many a fainting soul has
gathered strength for one more hour of patient
supplication, by thinking on this Canaanitish
mother, on her seeming rejection, on her blessed
success at last !

And for ourselves, too, there is a special mercy
in these long-delayed blessings ; for it is only by
degrees that the work within us can be perfected ;



BISHOP WILBERFORCE. 69

it is only by steps, small and imperceptible as we
are taking them, yet one by one leading us to
unknown heights, that we can mount up to the
golden gate before us. The ripening of these pre-
cious fruits must not be forced. We have many
lessons to learn, and we can learn them but one
by one ; and much are we taught by these delayed
answers to our prayers. By them the treasure of
our hearts is cleared from dross, as in the furnace-
heat ; our earthly will is purified and bowed ; the
passionate fervency of unchastened prayer is deep-
ened into the strong breath of humble supplica-
tion ; we " wait upon the Lord who hideth His
face ;" the frowardness of our hearts is checked ;
patience has her perfect work ; we are kept look-
ing up to Christ : we watch Him by faith, and by
His grace, even as we hang upon Him, we grow
like unto Him ; His secret work goes on in us ;
we see Him as once we saw Him not, amidst the
shadows of this busy life of trifles ; we hear His
voice, for we are used to watch for it ; we dwell
in Him and He in us.

Nor can we ever pray in vain, if we will but
persevere in praying. When we gain not our suit
at once, we are ever too ready to desist ; therefore
is it that the Lord withholds the answer, that we
may learn to persevere in asking ; that we may
grow to trust His love, to know what He is to us,
yea, what He is to all who wait upon Him.



70 BISHOP HALL.

He would but teach us to come to Him at once
for all, and not to leave Him until we have won
our suit. He would but have us know that we
may thu8 deal with Him ; that we want no Inter-
cessor with Him, who is Himself the true and
only Intercessor ; that nothing is to be interposed
between our souls and Him ; that He is the por-
tion of those souls, and that we may go straight
to Him.

Only let us, then, deal thus with Him ; let us
open to Him our grief, our sin, our shame, our
difficulties ; let us show Him our need ; tell Him
where, " at home," hidden from the rude eye of
the world, but known to Him, is the "young
daughter grievously afflicted : " plead with Him
by His covenant of tears ; and, even as we enter
with Him into that cloud, on us too shall come
forth the sense of a presence which this world
knows not ; and a voice shall speak to us which
the world cannot hear ; and we shall be alone with
Him ; and He shall call us by our name, and we
shall be His. S. WILBEKFORCE.

XXV.

John xi. 11. " Our friend Lazarus sleepeth."
What a sweet title is here, both of death and of

Lazarus ! Death is a sleep ; Lazarus is our friend.

Lo, He says not " my friend," but ours ; to draw



BISHOP HALL. 71

them first into a gracious familiarity and commu-
nion of friendship with Himself; for what doth
this import but " Ye are my friends, and Lazarus
is both my friend and yours ;" our friend ? O
meek and merciful Saviour, that disdainest not to
stoop so low as that, whilst Thou thoughtest it no
robbery to be equal with God, Thou thoughtest it
no disparagement to match Thyself with weak and
wretched men ! Our friend Lazarus ! There is
a kind of purity in friendship. There may be love
where there is the most inequality ; but friendship
supposes pairs ; yet the Son of God says of the
sons of men, " Our friend Lazarus." Oh ! what
a high and happy condition is this for mortal men
to aspire unto, that the God of heaven should not
be ashamed to own them for friends. Neither
saith He now abruptly, "Lazarus our friend is
dead," but " Lazarus our friend sleepeth."

O Saviour ! none can know the estate of life or
death so well as Thou, that art the Lord of both.
It is enough that Thou tellest us that death is no
other than sleep ; that which was wont to pass for
the cousin of death, is now itself. All this while
we have mistaken the case of our dissolution : we
took it for an enemy, it proves a friend ; there is
pleasure in that wherein we supposed horror.
Who is afraid, after the weary toils of the day,
to take his rest by night ? or what is more refresh-
ing to the spent traveller than a sweet sleep ? It



72 BISHOP HALL.

is our infidelity, our impreparation, that makes
death any other than advantage. Even so, Lord,
when Thou seest I have toiled enough, let me
sleep in peace ; and when Thou seest I have slept
enough, awake me as Thou didst Thy Lazarus :
" but I go to awake him."

The absence of our Saviour from the death-bed
of Lazarus, was not casual, but voluntary ; yea,
He is not only willing with it, but glad of it;
" I am glad for your sakes that I was not there."
How contrary may the affections of Christ and
ours be, and yet be both good ! The two worthy
sisters were much grieved at our Saviour's ab-
sence, as doubting it might savour of some neglect.
Christ was glad of it, for the advantage of His
disciples' faith. I cannot blame them that they
were thus sorry ; I cannot but bless Him, that He
was thus glad. The gain of their faith in so Di-
vine a miracle, was more than could be counter-
vailed by their momentary sorrow. God and we
are not the like affected by the same events : He
laughs where we mourn ; He is angry where we
are pleased.

The difference of the affections arises from the
difference of the objects which Christ and they
apprehend in the same occurrence. Why are the
sisters sorrowful ? Because upon Christ's absence
Lazarus died. Why was Jesus glad He was not
there ? For the benefit which He saw would accrue



WOODWARD. 73

to their faith. There is much variety of prospect
in every act, according to the several intentions
and issues thereof; yea, even in the very same
eyes. The father sees his son combating in a duel
for his country : he sees blows and wounds on the
one side ; he sees renown and victory on the other ;
he grieves at the wounds, he rejoices at the ho-
nour. Thus doth God in all our afflictions : He
sees our tears and hears our groans, and pities us ;
but withal He looks upon our patience, our faith,
our crown, and is glad that we are afflicted.
God ! why should we not conform our diet unto
Thine ? When we lie in pain and extremity, we
cannot but droop under it ; but do we find our-
selves increased in true mortification, in patience,
in hope, in a constant reliance on Thy mercies ?
Why are we not more joyed in this, than dejected
with the other ? Since the least grain of the in-
crease of grace is more worth, than can be equalled
with whole pounds of bodily vexation.

BISHOP HALL.

XXYI.

He who is conscious of no witness but his fellow-
men, and who feels that he has no part to act
but in the eyes of the world, has lost all cheering
motive to right conduct, when cut off by circum-
stances from human converse. In sleepless nights
and days of languor upon his couch, he has no



74 WOODWARD.

employment but to count the hours; no com-
panions but restlessness and pain. All worth
living for to him has fled ; his occupation is gone :
a burthen to himself, and still left to himself,
when " in the night he communes with his own
heart, and searches out his spirit ' ;" what can he
find there but the mournful conviction, that he is
" clean forgotten, as a dead man out of mind ;"
that he is " become like a broken vessel 2 ? "

How diSerent is the experience of that man
who knows that he is a " fellow-citizen with the
saints, and of the household of God 3 ! " Though
cast into the deepest shade of what the world calls
solitude, he is never less alone than when alone ;
he is cheered by the consciousness that God is
" about his path, and about his bed, and spieth out
all his ways * :" he has a never-failing and ani-
mating motive for the right performance of every,
the most trifling action ; for all is done in the pre-
sence of that Being " in whose favour is life," and
whose smile is the sunshine of the world of spirits.
In the chamber of disease, in silence, and in dark-
ness, he has still his duties to perform, his part to
act, his battles to fight, and victories to gain ; and
all this not only in the sight of God, but in the
view of that cloud of witnesses, before whom every
candidate for an immortal crown runs his heaven-
ward race. He feels that no silent submission to

1 Ps. Ixxvii. 6. 2 Ps. xxxi. 12.

3 Eph. ii. 19. p s . cxxxix. 3.



ROMAINE. 75

his cross, no patient endurance of his pain, no
tear of penitence, or sigh that breathes towards
heaven is forgotten before God : nay, he is assured
that if Grod approves, angels and ministering spirits
rejoice in witnessing how his "light afflictions
which are but for a moment, work for him a far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory '."

Such is the only solitude which the man of faith
and prayer can know ; such are the scenes which
open to his view in the loneliness of his closet ;
such the stars and constellations which appear
when the light of this world is withdrawn, and its
sun goes down. WOODWARD.

XXVII.

" Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh
who corrected us, and we gave them reverence ;
shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the
Father of spirits, and live ? For they verily for
a few days corrected us, after their own pleasure ;
but He for our profit, that we might be partakers
of His holiness *."

There is a reverence due to earthly parents,
and children are required to submit to their cor-
rection, although herein they often consult their
own will and pleasure more than their children's
profit. And is not greater reverence due to the
Father of our spirits, and shall we not submit to

1 2 Cor. iv. 17. 2 Heb. xii. 9, 10.



76 ROMATNE.

His corrections? especially since His design in
them is to promote the greatest dignity and high-
est happiness of His children, even to make them
partakers of His holiness ; for, to partake, is not
only to give them a title to, but also to give them
possession of, to communicate, to have fellowship
with Him, to share with Him His holiness. And
the heavenly Husbandman, purposing to make
the branches very fruitful, has provided effectual
means ; among which the chief is His fatherly cor-
rection. This He sends to all His children, and in
the tenderest love. He would have them to bring
forth much fruit, that herein He may be glorified ;
holy fruit, produced by His care and culture, and
ripened by daily communications of His grace ;
therefore, He appoints many heavy trials and
crosses, by which He designs to bring them not
only to believe in His love, but also to a growing
enjoyment of it. He would communicate to them
an increase of its blessings : He would have them
nearer to Himself, and more like to Himself; holy
as He is holy not in degree, but in likeness;
He would teach them more submission to His will,
for which He wisely and mercifully suits the cross :
He would improve their love to Him, which He
does by manifesting His to them ; therefore, He
sends His cross to deaden their hearts to other
love, that He may give them a happier sense of
His ; and His children have found suffering times
blessed times; they never had such nearness to



ROMA1NE. 77

their Father ; such holy freedom with Him, and
such heavenly refreshments from Him, as under
the cross : it only took away what stopped the in-
crease of his happiness, which thereby was made
more spiritual and exalted. The cross, thus sanc-
tified, is the greatest blessing on this side heaven,
because by it the Father keeps His children in the
closest communion that they have with Him upon
earth : by it He purges them, makes them fruit-
ful, and partakers of His holiness : by it He cru-
cifies the life of sense, deadens them to the world,
mortifies their lusts and passions ; and by it, as
the outward man perisheth, the inward man is
renewed day by day. Most blessed renewal !
Daily, the Father communicates (and by means of
the cross) new life, new strength, and new com-
fort to the inward man. By the right spirit
renewed within him, he learns the necessity of the
daily cross ; he sees the merciful appointment of
it, to teach resignation to the Father's holy will,
to work a conformity to the first-born among
many brethren, both in suffering and by suffering,
to bring in sensible experience of the Father's
support and comfort. What blessings are these !
How great ! how precious ! to be branches in the
vine, and to have the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ the husbandman, who grafts them into
Him. Oh, what an infinite mercy is this ! And
to be under His special care, faithfully watched
over, in order to remove every thing hurtful, and



78 MANNING.

to bestow every thing useful, this love passeth
understanding. And to have this love to feast
upon in the absence of other comforts; to have
them taken away only to make room for this ; to
enjoy this most plentifully, even under troubles
and afflictions ; and to be only purged by them
in order to bring forth much fruit : these are
triumphs of Divine love. ROMAINE.

xxviir.

Nothing so likens us to the example of Christ,
as suffering. It seems to be an inevitable law,
arising out of the fall of the old, and the perfect-
ing of the new creation ; first, that the second
Adam should be " a man of sorrows :" and, next,
that we should be conformed to Him in this
aspect of His perfection : "It became Him for
whom are all things, and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the
Captain of their salvation perfect through suffer-
ings '." And it is not more in relation to sanctity
than to sufferings, that St. Paul says that we were
predestinated " to be conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the first-born among
many brethren 2 ;" and therefore, " What son is he
whom the father chasteneth not 3 ?" and argues
that to be free from chastisement, is an awful ex-
ception, rather to be feared than coveted, as cloud-
ing the bright though keen tokens of sonship,

1 Heb. ii. 10. Rom. viii. 29. * Heb. xii. 7.



MANNING. 79

which are seen in them, that suffer. There is a
breadth and universality in this reasoning, which
seems to force upon us the conviction, that no
true member of His body, who was made perfect
through sufferings, shall pass out of life without
at some time drinking of the cup that He drank
of, and being baptized with the baptism that He
was baptized with. And, indeed, if we look into
the lives of His saints, we shall see that this is
simply true. All that suffer are not therefore
saints. Alas ! far from it, for many suffer without
the fruits of sanctity ; but all saints, in some one
time, and some way and measure, have entered
into the mystery of suffering. And this throws
light upon a very perplexing thought in which we
sometimes entangle ourselves : I mean the won-
derful fact, that oftentimes the same persons are
as visibly marked by sorrow as by sanctity. We
often see the holiest of Christ's servants afflicted
with a depth and multiplication of sufferings be-
yond other men. They seem never to pass out of
the shadow of affliction : no sooner is one gone off
than another has come up; "the clouds return
after the rain ;" sorrow gathers unto sorrow ; sick-
ness gives way before sickness ; fears are thrust
out by fears ; anxieties are only lost in anxieties ;
they seem to be a mark for all the storms and sor-
rows of adversity ; the world esteems them to be
" stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted ' :" even

1 Isa. liii. 4.



80 MANNING.

religious people are perplexed at their trials.
"When we see eminently holy persons suddenly
bereaved, or suffering sharp bodily anguish, and
their trials long drawn out, or multiplied by suc-
cession, we often say, "How strange and dark is
this dispensation ! Who would have thought that
one so pure, so patient and resigned, should have


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