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CHAPTER IV.

Enfinite Wisdom took him away.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." The truth of this we feel when clouds and darkness hang around the throne. And then we listen again, and the same voice adds, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Nothing but infinite presumption would challenge the wisdom of the divine dercees. What is man, that he should venture to doubt that He who knows all things from the beginning, before whom the future, with all its changes, is for ever present, better understands than we what is the most for his glory, and the good of his government? Could we behold the varied and benign results that, in his providence and grace, are to be the fruit of those events which we regard as painfully undesirable; could we see the glory that they will bring eventually to Him whose glory is the ultimate and righteous object of all that

is, so that around the death of an infant, as around the fall of an empire, cluster considerations that bear upon the joys of saints, and the services of angels, and the honor of Him who sitteth in the Heavens, God over all, we would not merely acquiesce in the dispensation, but we should rejoice in it with joy unspeakable. It is often the severest portion of our afflictions, that we cannot see why they are sent upon us. Our faith is demanded, that we may believe where we cannot see. "What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter." "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." That faith is grounded on our knowledge that He who orders all our ways is too wise to be mistaken. His purposes are eternal. When this earth shall have become wearied with rolling, and all the stars have fallen from their places, away in the future, millions of ages beyond the judgment of the great day, the death of a babe in the house will be working out its results in the eternal purposes of God. We may not see till then, perhaps not then. How far off it may be, none can tell. But it is all right, and we shall find it to be so hereafter. It requires no very exalted order of faith to adopt this sentiment, and let

the soul lie down on it confidingly, and look up trustingly, and smile serenely, when the hand of God presses heavily.

Oh, let my trembling soul be still,
While darkness veils this mortal eye,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will,

Wrapped yet in tears and mystery.
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
Yet all is well, since ruled by thee.

Thus, trusting in thy love, I tread

The narrow path of duty on.

What though some cherished joys are fled?

What though some flattering dreams are gone?

Yet purer, brighter joys remain;

Why should my spirit then complain?

CHAPTER V.

Infinite Love called the Child.

"LIKE as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."

The sovereignty of God we are bound, as his creatures, to acknowledge and adore. He has a right to do with his own what he will; and when to this we join his wisdom, it is easy to construct an argument that compels submission. So the afflicted father, whose example is our theme, was affected when he said, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it." And then he cried out, under the same emotion, "Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thy hand." This is not the highest style of Christian confidence. It is right; but it is not the sweet and joyous trust of him who rose from the earth when his child was dead, and washed, and changed his apparel, and went into the house of God and worshipped. He is not only our God, he is our

FATHER. He taught us by the lips of his Son to call him our Father; and "whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth." "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 chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness."

We have chastened our own children. We did it not in anger, much less in malice, or with a desire to do an injury to the one we loved. And when our Father's hand is laid on us, it is surely our duty to bear in mind that his love for his children infinitely excels our love for those who climb on our knees and hang on our necks. Oh, was it not love that gave the child; that gave us such a child; that made it lovely in our eyes, clothing it with beauty as with a garment, and shedding upon its form and spirit those gentle, winning ways that wound about our hearts, and rendered the object of our affections just the child whom we would wish to keep? We blessed God for giving. But it is the same God who hath taken away. He never changes. And faith assures us that it is

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