have an answer for us, when they are addressed in the way that God chooses, and a friendly answer. They are not so inexorable as they appear. If we seek a blessing from them we shall find it. If we strike upon their stubborn sides they shall be opened to us. Nay, more. They offer gifts that do not depend on our reasonableness, and do not wait for our importunity. If we refuse to ask, they will still have some blessing to bestow. If we refuse to knock, they will yield of their own accord, and prove that the Eternal Benevolence did not establish them in vain. If we reflect upon them in the order in which they have just been named, we may learn to estimate them more justly and highly than is done by the general mass of unreflecting, indolent, discontented men. Speak to the rock.”

The first is Labor. It looks arduous and difficult. The heart sinks, perhaps, at being told that it must draw from thence its most cheerful resources. And yet it must be told so. It is true. Nothing is more true. We must toil if we would have any rest. We must endeavor if we would attain to any generous satisfaction. Men may think to resist the decree. But it is as fixed as the nature of their minds and the conditions of their being. There is no more peace for those who will do nothing, than for those

who do worse. Effort, strenuously maintained, and in view of worthy objects, is as strong a pledge for the enjoyment as it is for the usefulness of life.

Hardship and Peril rise next. There is nothing lovely in their frowning eminences. It will not be strange if we are sometimes dismayed at them; if, like the children of Israel who wished they could retreat into Egypt, we vainly long to return to our careless childhood again ; where if we were restrained we were fed, and if our employments were less honorable they were more secure.

But while the law of the Universe forbids us either to


back or to pause, it teaches us that from the very hindrances we dread will descend experience and skill and fortitude; the vigor of resistance and the joy of escape;

the animation of those who are able to abide and willing to encounter the worst; the noble consciousness of a strength within to react against every obstacle and misadventure.

Pain, and Deprivation, and Sorrow, are the last to appear in this survey. They are more common than the difficulties that were before named. No one is long exempted from one or the other of these; while the demands for great exertion are often remitted, and hardship and imminent danger are to many scarcely known.

These are

more depressing, too, than the rest. They do not summon the same activity to surmount them. They prompt the words of the drooping Israelites: “ Would God that we had died when our brethren died !” But God has ordained it so, that there should be shed from the sad and cruel passages in our lives peculiar benefits. Samson's riddle becomes a sober truth to the obedient heart. “Out of the devourer cometh forth food, and out of the terrible one cometh forth sweetness." — Wherever any one is made more faithful by being humbled under the hand of God, or grows better prepared by what he suffers, there is honey out of the lion. There shall be a hive between his jaws. The very bitterness of grief shall be turned into comforts. From occasional suffering, loneliness and loss, sober reflections and kind sympathies are diffused over the mind. A peace comes in better than that which was interrupted, and a hope better than the one destroyed. We learn how to be submissive. We learn where to put our trust. The goodness of God and the resources of the soul are seen to be independent of all outward things.

It may be that the heart of some sorrowful or desponding reader has followed me through the few pages that I have written upon the picture of Moses

smiting the rock.

Let me claim its acquaintance, if I have been read by any such. Let me take the privilege with him of the preacher that I am, and say to him as we part: Be re-assured, thou anxious one, thou afflicted one! Trials

may break out into unexpected comforts. You may add another to the crowd of those, who have found it good for them that they were put to grief. Remember that God is the Rock, and the High God the Redeemer. Remember the endurances and the glory of the Son of Man. Remember the brave examples of those whom his Gospel has taught patience, and be neither murmuring nor faint in your





MORTAL! would'st thou know thy God?

Though from human eyes conceal’d, In the path the Saviour trod,

View his character reveal'd; As you see it there display'd

To the sons of grief or shame, Though in glory now array'd,

66 Jesus Christ is still the same.”

See his eye with holy fire

Flashing on the bold in sin; Hear his words of dreadful ire

To the soul defild within ; Endless wrath — remorse — and gloom —

Agony — and quenchless flame, He declares shall be their doom;

66 Jesus Christ is still the same."

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