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THE TRIED, WAITING SOUL.

"All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." JOB XIV. 14.

This remarkable statement, which eminently shows forth the patience of Job, was spoken in the midst of a deep and most heavy affliction, when he had no immediate prospect of relief.

Before this Job had got to the spot, and a bitter spot it is, in which the afflicted long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures. (ch. iii. 21.) This is the one desire of a soul in these deep waters, as many of God's dear saints have found, and can therefore testify.

Much grace shines forth in this resolution of Job; for nature speaks on this wise: "Curse God, and die." Know the worst! Come to the end at once! And, no doubt, those poor creatures who have no more than nature to support them in trial and temptation fall an easy prey to Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning, by listening to and obeying his vile suggestions to put an end to their life, and know the worst. But where the Lord has bestowed grace, the fear of the Lord will preserve the soul from that "snare of death."

"Ye have heard of the patience of Job," is the record of an inspired apostle. In uttering, then, these words: "All the days," &c., Job showed forth that blessed gift of patience with which the God of grace had so abundantly blessed him. Consider the weight of his trouble. He had lost all his substance; and in those days that was often regarded as an omen of evil, a calamity which none but wicked characters were visited with. This his three friends were not slow to remind him of. "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man; neither will he help the evil-doers." (ch. viii. 10.) But poor Job, according to them, must be an evil-doer, or God would help him in the day of his calamity, and in the time of his sore trouble. Such is their reasoning; and notwithstanding that he maintained his integrity before them, and had an express testimony from God himself as to his character (ch. i.), he might secretly fear that surely such must really be the case, so baffling and confounding were his present circumstances as compared with the past; for Job knew that the hand of the Lord had wrought these things which had befallen him. (ch. xii. 9.)

Then, again, his children had been suddenly cut off by a violent death; and Job, being a godly man, would be much tried by such a dispensation. It is possible that the Lord so ordered it that his three friends spoke much the language of Job's own fears; for Bildad asks: "If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression." (ch. viii. 4.) Substance could be again restored to Job; but he knew there could be no restoration or recovery of a soul which has perished in its iniquity. This to him would be a fearful consideration, and no doubt was a heavy element in his sore trial.

The pain of his body was great, and of a nature much calculated to irritate and work impatience in the mind; for Satan had smitten him with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. Pain of body comes very close, and Satan knew this; yet see how divine grace triumphs over this in his submissive resolution: "All the days of my appointed time" on earth "will I wait." There is only another instance of superior piety to this in Scripture record; and that is where Jesus said, "0 my Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."

Job's wife, too, was against him. She could not endure to see his sorrow and the deplorable state and condition into which he was brought. Her patience was very quickly exhausted. So, instead of being a true help-meet for him, she added to his sorrow, and became a snare unto him with her carnal advice. She contended with him instead of speaking words to encourage him in patiently waiting God's time of deliverance.

Job knew that this trouble would not shorten his days, for he speaks of them as not dependent upon health or any outward circumstance. They were appointed, i.e., numbered by God, and apportioned unto him by Him who gave him being. This great truth Job was most firmly persuaded of; hence he asks, “Is there not an appointed time for man upon earth?" He took all lawful means to prolong his days, and avoided everything that would shorten them. This the fear of the Lord ever teaches; yet it in no way encroaches on the aforesaid truth.

Now, herein lies his grace, in the words of his resolution; for it is as if he said,—I have certain days to live on this earth. I was living through them in much comfort, and in the enjoyment of acknowledged blessings from God. I walked in his fear, and found wisdom's ways to be pleasantness, and her paths peace. They passed quickly away. My then apprehension of them was that they were swifter than a weaver's shuttle. But now the reverse is the case, to my feelings. An hour, yea, a minute of time in this heavy affliction appears to me a very long time; a day seems a long time; so that I wish for the evening, and then when it has arrived, I am full of tossings until the breaking of the day. Before this trouble, there were thoughts in my mind of not being able to carry forward all my plans before death would be upon me, so quickly did time seem to fly away; but now all my plans are upset, my way is hid; and I have yet to live, it may be, many days, in which mine eye shall no more see good. O how long and heavy does time hang upon me! I am weary of my life; but yet all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. It is the God of my life who appointed my former days of prosperity, who now shows me that he has also appointed my present days of adversity and affliction. This glorious Being cannot do wrong to any of his creatures, much less to sinful dust and ashes. It is a mercy I am out of hell. Although my wicked nature would choose strangling, and death

rather than life, I shall yet by his grace endure on, suffer on, wait on. My change will come, for my bones are not iron, neither are my sinews brass.

Job would wait in humble acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God.

O what a mine of practical divinity he opened in these words: "Shall a man receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall he not receive evil?" that is, what appears to our finite minds as such; for, strictly speaking, God cannot give evil, but it is his glory and his prerogative alone to bring good to his covenant people out of what is regarded by them as the evils of life. See, for instance, how he made evil things a channel through which he communicated his sanctifying grace to the soul of the poor beggar Lazarus, by weaning him from the vanities of this life. He received in this life, according to the words of Jesus, "evil things;"-evil to flesh and blood, which cannot enter into the kingdom of God; but grace taught Lazarus what it also taught Job,-to submit to the wise and holy sovereignty of God in the appointment of his lot; and in due time both were brought out into a large room of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Observe that there was vet to appear on the earth a man who was to yield an holy submission to the will of God;-viz., the God-Man Mediator, Friend, Redeemer, and Saviour of poor, lost, and hell-deserving sinners. His was to be a perfect submission, a sinless submission, to all the sorrows, trials, and temptations of life. This Eternal Son of God and Saviour of elect sinners, was to leave Job, patient though he was, far behind. Hear some of his language of submission, and see if he did not far surpass the patriarch Job: "But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee (doubtless including Job); they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them."

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Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered. what a mercy it is that he teaches his elect also to obey from the heart that form of doctrine into which they are cast, as into a mould, by the things they suffer in this time-state! They are conformed to his image, who waited all through his eventful thirty-three years of life on earth, in humble dependence on the will of his Eternal Father.. He submitted himself to him that in every matter and afflictive dispensation judged righteously.

What a sweet grace of the blessed Spirit is this,-to wait in humble acknowledgment of God's sovereignty over us, and the right he hath in us as the creatures of his hand, and especially to feel our hearts at times visited with the tokens of his love, in some comfortable assurance that we are the objects of his covenant mercy, the subjects of his discipline, and that we are in the footsteps of the flock.

2. Job waited in expectation of a change. Dear Medley speaks of this:

"Ere long he'll change this gloomy scene." Tife to a child of God is only that which consists in the felt

presence of his God in his soul. All else is regarded by him as living death. Truly, then, how seldom may a saint of God be said to live! He is generally far oftener in a state of darkness than of light and spirituality of mind. His complaint often is: 'O when wilt thou come unto me?" Triumphing times are seldom the experience of many of God's dear redeemed and quickened family.

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'My portion's here a crumb at best."

But when their change comes, it will introduce their happy souls into a glorious state of life, light, and deliverance from sin and suffering; from sorrow to everlasting joy; from pain to bliss and blessedness unalloyed; from felt distance to nearness unto God; from darkness of mind to the light of his face, shining through the glorified Son of his love; from contraction to full freedom of mind and heart in the eternal enjoyment of the things of God; from imperfect saints to the spirits of just men made perfect; and from the world lying in the wicked one, full of temptations suitable to a depraved nature, to a world of spirits and elect angels, loving, adoring, serving, worshipping, and praising the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Well, then, might the poet sing,

"Happy the company that's gone

From cross to crown; from thrall to throne." Then no more cross, but a crown of life, that fadeth not away. What a happy change! Afflicted Job believed it was worth

waiting for.

But how was Job to come into possession of this blessedness by reason of his change? Even in the same way as every other vessel of mercy; and that is by free grace, through the righteousness of his Redeemer; for he knew that his Redeemer lived, to redeem and save him from guilt, sin, and the grave; and that in a glorified body he should see God for himself, as having a personal interest in his love and blood, and not for another.

3. Before Job's change came he had a great deliverance vouchsafed him by God.

This God, who has so greatly magnified his mercy in not sparing his only-begotten Son, but delivering him up to the stroke of divine justice for all his elect, has also with him freely given them all things. This includes temporal blessings, as well as spiritual, and deliverances from temporal trouble as well as from spiritual.

Poor Job, like many a saint since, thought in his heart that the only outgate he could have or expect would be by the hand of death. His eye was upon it as the only one means of his deliverance out of all his trouble and affliction, his weighty grief, and a body of sin and death. True it is, that is the time of the saint's grand and final deliverance from the things he now groans under. But behold, God's way is more abundantly good than Job's utmost conceptions of it. He must yet see the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. He must be spared to recover

strength before he goes hence, and is no more seen. He must join with Hannah in testifying that the Lord bringeth down and raiseth up again, before he goes to sing the song of sovereign grace in the realms of glory. And he must know God on earth in the experience and enjoyment of all these mercies and blessings.

So the Lord turned the captivity of Job, delivered him out of his trouble, eased him of his sore pain and affliction, and bestowed upon him twice as much earthly substance as he formerly had. This is often his way upon the earth. He brings affliction upon the loins of his dear people, and they reel and stagger like a drunken man. He keeps them for a time sore in heart and heavy in spirit. They then conclude that only death can afford them a deliverance, and they seek grace to wait and to suffer without murmuring under his mighty hand till that time comes.

There is generally a large crop of fretting and secret repining at the outset; for Job's resolution is not wrought in the heart until they have long waded in the trouble. But when it is wrought, it is acceptable in the sight of God. It is the effect of his own grace; and he frequently crowns the tried waiting sonl with a blessing in this life similar to that of Job.

"Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face."

Liverpool, April, 1877.

"IS THERE NOT A CAUSE?"

G. A.

THESE words were spoken by David when he left his flock in Bethlehem, and went up and fought against Goliath. Indeed there was a cause; for "the Lord had need of him." He intended that youthful shepherd to be the deliverer of his people Israel. Mark one thing,-David did not go up in his own name. No; hear what he said to Goliath: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the Name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." It was in that Name he prevailed. A stone from his sling sank into the champion's forehead, and he fell dead upon the ground.

So we see the Lord had a purpose in sending David into the battle-field with provisions for his brethren. Has not the Lord, too, a purpose in calling us into the battle-field of affliction, if I may be allowed the expression? Is there not a cause, and a just cause too, why he should lay the rod upon us? Indeed,

"The Lord for nothing would not chide;

We highly should esteem

The cross that's sent to purge our pride,
And make us more like him."

How often the furnace is needed to burn up some of the dross that has almost hidden the spark of grace in our hearts. Perhaps some of us are obliged to confess that we have, like the

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