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148

THE ENDURANCE OF AFFLICTIONS.

Calm the perturbéd heart to joy,

And bid the streaming sorrow cease.
Then dry, henceforth, the bitter tear;
Their part and thine inverted see :
Thou wert their guardian angel here,

They guardian angels now to thee.

"God seldom gives his people so sweet a foretaste of their future rest as in their deep afflictions. He keeps his most precious cordials for the time of our greatest faintings and dangers. He gives them when he knows they are needed and will be valued, and when he is sure to be thanked for them, and that his people will be rejoiced by them." -Baxter.

THE ENDURANCE OF AFFLICTIONS.

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REV. ROBERT HALL.

LET none, when under affliction, think that they are under God's anger, so as to have lost his favor, and forfeited the complacency of their heavenly Father. We should, indeed, examine ourselves, to see if there be any reason for particular calamities, from our peculiar delinquencies in duty, or from corruptions which we have indulged; and thus we should "turn unto Him that smiteth us." But we should consider our trials as springing from love, as having their origin in our imperfect state of character, as made necessary by our sins. We should consider that they are sent to subdue in us the inclinations of "the old man," and to form in us Jesus Christ, in all his features of "righteousness

and true holiness." Thus the Christian regards afflic tions no longer with that terror which they impress on a person not in a state of reconciliation with God, and who derives his view of events only from a general notion of the providence of God. To such persons they appear the beginning of evils, and they lead them to contemplate God more with terror and dismay than with confidence and delight. But the Christian under affliction considers that he is, indeed, under the rebuke of a heavenly Father, but that it is with a view to his benefit. He considers that God deals with him as with a son; that God is his Parent; that he measures every stroke; that he sits by the furnace and assuages the flame, or increases his strength to endure it; that he superintends the whole process; and that, if patience have its perfect work, he will come out of it benefited, and, as it were, purified from dross by the furnace. Those who live in prosperity, and wealth, and success, and who are strangers to trials, may boast of their pleasures and joys. But all this is a dark mark. They are, perhaps, abandoned of God, because they have rejected the various calls of his providence and Holy Spirit. A person, however benevolent, extends not his paternal care to strangers and foreigners, but he is most peculiarly attentive to his children; he takes pains with them; he will not allow them to contract evil habits, or to follow their corruptions, though, in correcting them, he do it at the expense of their present comfort. For all in our nature of discipline crosses our natural inclinations and wishes, and is attended with uneasiness and annoyance. To endure these afflictions and crosses, in some way or other, is an

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THE ENDURANCE OF AFFLICTIONS.

effect of necessity; but to endure them as a Christian is an act of grace. The Christian, convinced of the design of God in affliction, yields himself into his hands. He says, in humble prayer, "Correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." He recognizes the hand of God as afflicting; he looks beyond the instruments, the injustice or unkindness of men, the impressions of the wickedness of the worst of mankind. He sees the wicked as God's instruments. To have higher thoughts of God under his rebukes, to cherish an undiminished love of his character, to turn with penitence and resignation to the hand of him that smiteth; not to be like Israel, of whom the prophet says, "The people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts," is the genuine mark of filial grace. The child, when chastened by a parent, clings only the closer to that parent. Thus the Christian cleaves and clings closer, as it were, to his heavenly Father under chastisement. He does not run away to the paths of disobedience, and flee to a distance from God; but he approaches nearer to him, and inquires the more earnestly how to please him. This is to endure chastisement like a child, to vindicate the character of God, to understand the motives of his conduct, to advance in all things the designs of his grace.

DEATH OF AN INFANT.

MRS. SIGOURNEY.

DEATH found strange beauty on that polished brow,

And dashed it out.

On cheek and lip.

And the rose faded.

There was a tint of rose

He touched the veins with ice,

Forth from those blue eyes

There spake a wishful tenderness, a doubt

Whether to grieve or sleep, which innocence

Alone may wear.

With ruthless haste he bound

The silken fringes of those curtaining lids

Forever.

There had been a murmuring sound,

With which the babe would claim its mother's ear, Charming her even to tears. The spoiler set

The seal of silence.

But there beamed a smile,

So fixed, so holy, from that cherub brow,

Death gazed, and left it there. He dared not steal The signet ring of Heaven.

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MY CHILD.

MY CHILD.

REV. JOHN PIERPONT.

I CANNOT make him dead.
His fair, sunshiny head

Is ever bounding round my study chair;
Yet, when my eyes, now dim
With tears, I turn to him,

The vision vanishes he is not there!

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I walk my parlor floor,

And through the open door

I hear a footfall on the chamber stair;
I'm stepping towards the hall

To give the boy a call;

And then bethink me that

he is not there.

I thread the crowded street;

A satchelled lad I meet,

With the same beaming eyes and colored hair,
And, as he's running by,

Follow him with my eye,

Scarcely believing that he is not there.

I know his face is hid
Under the coffin lid;

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