B.B. Warfield on 'Trusting in the Dark'

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That flower that follows the sun, doth so even in cloudy days; when it doth not shine forth, yet it follows the hidden course and motion of it: so the soul that moves after God, keeps that course when he hides his face, is content, yea, is glad at his will in all estates, or conditions, or events. — Robert Leighton, Sermon XXII: The Confidence of Faith, in Whole Works, Vol. 3, p. 347

B.B. Warfield, in Four Hymns, and Some Religious Verses (1910), adapted this famous saying by Archbishop Leighton into a poem of his own.

TRUSTING IN THE DARK

Said Robert Leighton, holy man,
Intent a flickering faith to fan
Into a steady blaze: —
"Behold yon floweret to the sun,
As he his daily course doth run,
Turn undeclining gaze.

"E'en when the clouds obscure his face,
And only faith discerns the place
Where in the heavens he soars,
This floweret still, with constant eye,
The secret places of the sky
Untiringly explores.

"Look up, my soul! What can this be
But Nature's parable to thee?
Look up, with courage bright!
The clouds press on thee, dense and black,
Thy Sun shines ever at their back —
Look up and see His light

A heavenly art to learn - William S. Plumer

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A practical gem and a word of encouragement from a classic work on Providence:

How entirely do just views of God's word and providence change the aspects of every thing. He, who has any right views, would rather be with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace, or with Daniel in the lions' den than with Nebuchadnezzar on the throne. Paul bound with a chain was far more to be envied than Nero wearing the imperial purple. Paul and Silas were far from being the most unhappy men in Philippi the night their feet were in the stocks. There are two sides to every providence, as there were to the pillar of cloud and of fire. The bright side is towards the children of God. It ever will be so. God has ordained it. He will make good all his promises. "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright." Therefore, ye heroes of the cross, gird on your armor. Fight the good fight of faith. Never yield to fear. Endure hardness. Live to please him who has called you to be soldiers. Jesus reigns. Hear him proclaiming: "All power in heaven and earth is given unto me." He is King of kings. He rules in the kingdoms of men. He is God in Zion. He loves the church more than you do. He died for it. He loves his people as the apple of his eye. Nothing shall harm those who are the followers of that which is good. O shout and give thanks. Robert Southwell, awaiting martyrdom in prison, wrote to his friend: "We have sung the canticles of the Lord in a strange land, and in this desert we have sucked honey from the rock, and oil from the hard flint." Learn this heavenly art. — William S. Plumer, Jehoveh-Jireh: A Treatise on Providence, pp. 164-165

"Jubilee of days!" - Samuel J. Cassels on the Christian Sabbath

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Providence and Other Poems (1838), historically at least, is “a pioneer work in Georgia literature” (Lawrence Huff, “Samuel Jones Cassels: A Pioneer Georgia Poet,” in The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Dec. 1963), p. 412), one of the first books of poetry ever to be published in that state. In one section titled “The Church,” the Presbyterian minister-poet Cassels gives a special tribute to the Christian Sabbath that is worth reflecting upon as the Lord’s Day draws nigh.

The first was Sabbath Day — holiest of time.
For many ends did God this day appoint;
The first — to celebrate his glorious praise
For wise construction of the universe,
And living memory thereof transmit
To farthest sons of distant time unborn.
The man, who by the nerve of mighty arm —
By laboring long and hard with weighty care —
Has founded by his sword an Empire vast, —
And widely spread o'er all the rescued land,
The beauteous works of peace and happiness —
The massy stone erects on high and there
His own, his country's name he writes, and stamps
The date, when sheath'd his sword, the work was done.
But chief, this day now points to second birth
Of world and man — to Resurrection-morn —
When vanquished Hell, and Death are captive bound,
From rocky tomb the great Redeemer rose
And brought in triumph high the vict'ry forth.
Another end — to give to thoughtless men
A leisure time to fit their souls for Heaven —
In shadows substances to show — and thus
T' unlock their fast clenched arms, and cast away
The world, more lov'd by most than Book of God.

Loveliest of time! Jubilee of days!
In secret bower hid, the christian rais'd
His eye expecting long its dawn to hail:
And as upon the distant East it blush'd
He met with rolling tear of holy joy —
Felt through his soul diffus'd a richer light,
And bending low at holy feet divine,
His heart pour'd forth in drops of gratitude;
Then rais'd his eye, in faith he fervent ask'd,
For dawn of endless Sabbath on his soul
O'er all the land sweet stillness wide prevail'd;
And nature joyous seem'd in silent gaze
Upon her God — while ear of saint devout
The footsteps soft of angels walking hears,
And sweetest notes that from the world of light
Escaping fell from lips of Seraphim.
High Heaven and Earth seem'd join'd in union sweet,
And God with either hand encircling each
Did to his bosom bring the Archangel
And the saint that wept in penitence —
Them brothers call and Him their Father kind.

May your Lord’s Day be blessed, dear reader.

Learning to pray through the Psalms: Francis J. Grimké

Francis James Grimké on the value of learning to pray through the Psalms:

In studying the psalms we get a pretty good idea of what prayer is. It is talking to God; telling him all about ourselves, our cares, our anxieties, our troubles, vexations, disappointments, in a word, unbosoming ourselves to him as we would to a confidential friend. We not only learn what prayer is, but also the comforting assurance that God wants us to come to him, wants us to confide in him, to roll our burdens upon him. We need never hesitate therefore about going to him at all times and under all circumstances.

This devotional thought comes from The Works of Francis J. Grimké, Vol. 3: Stray Thoughts and Meditations (p. 3), which is a real treasure. This volume is full of references to the Book of Psalms, which were both an inspiration and a comfort to Rev. Grimké, especially during a particularly reflective period of his life. If you appreciate his devotional work as well as his pastoral ministry, be sure to also check his Meditations on Preaching, available at Log College Press here.

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Geerhardus Vos on Heavenly-Mindedness

Geerhardus Vos has a wonderful sermon on “Heavenly-Mindedness,” based on Hebrews 11:9-10, in Grace and Glory that is worth reading in full. This extract should whet the appetite for more:

The other-worldliness of the patriarchs showed itself in this, that they confessed to be strangers and pilgrims on the earth. It found its visible expression in their dwelling in tents. Not strangers and pilgrims outside of Canaan, but strangers and pilgrims in the earth. The writer places all the emphasis on this, that they pursued their tent-life in the very land of promise, which was their own, as in a land not their own. Only in this way is a clear connection be tween the staying in tents and the looking for ward to heaven obtained. For otherwise the tents might have signified merely that they considered themselves not at home when away from the holy land. If even in Canaan they carried within themselves the consciousness of pilgrim age then it becomes strikingly evident that it was a question of fundamental, comprehensive choice between earth and heaven. The adherence to the tent-life in the sight and amidst the scenes of the promised land fixes the aspiration of the patriarchs as aiming at the highest conceivable heavenly goal. It has in it somewhat of the scorn of the relative and of compromise. He who knows that for him a palace is in building does not dally with desires for improvement on a lower scale. Contentment with the lowest becomes in such a case profession of the highest, a badge of spiritual aristocracy with its proud insistence upon the ideal. Only the predestined inhabitants of the eternal city know how to conduct themselves in a simple tent as kings and princes of God.

To seek our eternal rest: Theodore L. Cuyler

A devotional meditation for today:

The Princess Elizabeth [Stuart] of England [(1635-1650)] was found dead with her head resting on the Bible open at these words, “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So may we fall asleep at last when the day’s work for Jesus is over, and wake up in heaven, to find ourselves in the delicious rest that remaineth for the people of God! Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, Pointed Papers for the Christian Life, p. 231 (HT: Denise Hopeman)

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19th Century Devotionals for 21st Century Readers at Log College Press

Are you in search of a classic devotional reading for 2019? We have some to offer at Log College Press. Some are intended to provide daily meditations for prayerful consideration on each day of the year; others are general guides to studying the Bible and to Christian living; and still others are full of inspirational thoughts and poetry for the Christian reader. Consider the following:

Daily Devotional Readings for the Whole Year

  • James Russell Miller has at least two such compilations of devotional readings for each day of the year: Dr. Miller's Year Book: A Year's Daily Readings (1895) and Morning Thoughts For Every Day in the Year (1906);

  • William Rogers Richards published The Truth in Love: From the Sermons of William R. Richards (1912);

  • Charles Adamson Salmond wrote For Days of Youth: A Bible Text and Talk For Every Day of the Year (1896) aimed at young people;

  • Thomas De Dwitt Talmage authored Choice Readings for Every Day in the Year (1875); and

  • Henry Jackson Van Dyke, Jr. wrote The Friendly Year (1900, 1903).

Guides to Bible Study and Christian Living

  • James Waddel Alexander wrote Uncle Austin and His Nephews, or, The Scripture Guide - Being a Familiar Introduction to the Study of the Bible (1838);

  • James Robert Boyd wrote Daily Communion With God on the Plan Recommended by the Rev. Matthew Henry, V.D.M., For Beginning, Spending, Concluding Each Day With God (1873);

  • Charles Hodge authored The Way of Life (1841);

  • James Russell Miller published a series of devotional studies covering the whole Bible, of which we have seven out of the eight volumes;

  • Alfred Nevin wrote two guides to the study of the Scriptures: Guide to the Oracles; or, The Bible Student's Vade-Mecum (1858) and The Book Opened; or, An Analysis of the Bible (1873); and

  • Robert Craig Reed authored Helps to Christian Devotion, Consisting of Dissertations on the Psalms (1833).

Inspirational Thoughts, Sermons and Poems

  • Maltbie Davenport Babcock’s Thoughts for Every-Day Living from the Spoken and Written Words of Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1901) was posthumously published and filled with meditations, poems and inspirational thoughts;

  • Henry Augustus Boardman’s Mottoes For the New Year, as Given in Texts of Sermons (1882) contains sermons given to encourage believers in the New Year; and

  • William Henry Fentress, the blind Presbyterian minister who died so young, authored Love Truths From the Bible (1879), which contains sweet sermons that point to Christ on every page.

There are valuable devotional resources here that may be a help to your spiritual walk in 2019. Consider adding one or more of these volumes to your reading list in the morning or evening, and may these 19th century writers be a blessing to you in the New Year ahead.

Charles Hodge on Meditation as a Means of Grace

In the context of discussing a recurring theme in sermons by Charles Hodge dealing with the importance of meditation in the life of the Christian believer, Andrew Hoffecker writes:

In a conference sermon on the subject “Meditation as a Means of Grace,” Hodge pointed out the main distinction between meditation and mere intellectual consideration of an idea. The object of the latter is merely to understand intellectually while the object of meditation is to experience the power of God’s Word. He outlines suggestions to aid in this exercise. Believers ought to purpose to do this faithfully, setting aside times when it might be regularly performed. It should be done concomitantly with prayer, i.e., “not only in the formal sense of the word, but also as meaning converse with God.” (W. Andrew Hoffecker, Piety and the Princeton Theologians, pp. 82-83)

Here is the text briefly and directly from Hodge:

Meditation as a Means of Grace

I. What is meditation?
It is the serious, prolonged, devout contemplation of divine things. 1. This is distinguished from mere intellectual examination or consideration. It has a different object. The object of the one is to understand, of the other to experience the power. 2. It is distinguished from casual devout thought and aspiration.

II. It is a means of grace. By means of grace is meant a divinely appointed instrumentality for promoting holiness in the soul. That meditation is such a means is proved, 1. From its being frequently enjoined in Scripture for this end. 2. From the example of the saint as recorded in Scripture. 3. From the experience of the people of God in all ages.

III. Why is it thus salutary? 1. Because God has appointed his truth as the great means of sanctification. 2. Because the truth, to produce its effect, must be present to the mind. "God is not in all his thoughts," it is said of the wicked. "Estranged from God," is the description of the ungodly. 3. The intimate relation between knowledge and feeling, between the cognition and recognition, the … (knowing), and the … (acknowledgment) of divine truth. 4. Because all unholy feelings are subdued in the presence of God, unsound principles are corrected in the light of divine truth. We become conformed to the things with which we are familiar.

IV. Subjects on which we should meditate, are, God, — his law, — his Son, — the plan of salvation, — our own state as sinners, — heaven, etc.

V. Difficulties in the way of this duty. 1. The difficulty of continuous thought. 2. Preoccupation with other things. 3. Indisposition to holding communion with God. 4. Want of method and purpose.

VI. Directions for the performance of the duty. 1. Form the purpose to be faithful in its discharge, from a sense of duty and conviction of its importance. 2. Have a time and place sacred to the duty. 3. Connect it with prayer, not only in the formal sense of the word, but also as meaning converse with God. 4. Connect it with the reading of the Scriptures. Meditate on the word. Read it slowly, with self-application, and pondering its import. 5. Cultivate the habit application, and pondering its import. 5. Cultivate the habit of controlling your thoughts. Do not let them be governed by accident or fortuitous association. Keep the rudder always in your hand. 6. Do not be discouraged by frequent failure; and do not suppose that the excitement of feeling is the measure of advantage. There may be much learned, and much strength gained when there is little emotion. 7. Consecrate the hours especially of social and public worship to this work. Let the mind be filled with God while in his house. (Charles Hodge, sermon preached on Oct. 28, 1855 in Princeton Sermons, pp. 298-299 and Conference Papers, pp. 298-299)

Cortland Van Rensselaer on Numbering Our Days

In January of 1860, an article appeared in The Presbyterian Magazine by its editor, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer, Sr., and it was included posthumously in his Essays and Discourses, Practical and Historical (1861), edited by his son, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer, Jr.. Titled “On Numbering Our Days,” it was based on the text from Moses in Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

It is a meditation on the brevity of life and our need, consequently, to seek after wisdom. The time that is given to us is precious. He highlights especially the value of Sabbath-time, noting that 52 Sabbaths, or roughly seven weeks, each year amount to a special opportunity to glorify God. Are we making use of the time given to us? Are we improving the opportunities, temptations, afflictions and experiences of our lives consistent with our purpose on this earth as we look ahead to our permanent abode in heaven?

Our days indeed are numbered, but we do not know the number. Seven months after his meditation on numbering our days was published, Cortlandt Van Rensselaer, age 52, entered into his eternal rest. One does not know when that final numbered day will come, but Van Rensselaer’s meditation on the wisdom of Moses should ever be before our eyes. Take time to consider his counsel to number our days and apply our hearts unto wisdom.

”God has made our days long enough and short enough; certain enough and uncertain enough ; with joys enough and sorrows enough, to adapt life to the purposes of his grace and providence. May he, in his infinite mercy, so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Learning to Be Thoughtful

In his 1898 volume titled Young People's Problems, J.R. Miller addresses the need for Christians to be thoughtful, gentle people. This is certainly as true today, in the age of social media, as it was over a century ago. Let us consider then what Miller has to say to young persons, and indeed all Christians in these extracts: 

One of the finest things in a complete Christian character is thoughtfulness. It gives a wondrous charm to a life. It makes one a benediction wherever he goes. It tempers all his conduct, softening all natural harshness into gentleness, and giving to his every word and act, and to all his bearing, a spirit of kindliness.

A thoughtful person does not have to be asked to help others — he helps, as it were, instinctively. He is ever ready to do the obliging thing, to say the encouraging word, to show an interest in the life of others, to perform those countless little kindnesses which so brighten the common pathway. He does not make his life an offence to others, a constant irritating influence. He never meddles with other persons' affairs, but respects the individuality and the rights of every one. He curbs his curiosity, and does not pry into matters of which he has no right to know. He is most careful not to touch others at sensitive points. If any one has a physical deformity or any feature which is marred, he is careful in conversation never to refer to it, and seems never to notice it, or to be conscious of it.

Thoughtfulness reveals itself quite as much in what it does not do as in the things it does. Many people make their very goodness so obtrusive as to do harm, and give pain to those they would help. They are too anxious to be helpful. They intrude upon others, pressing their offers of kindness upon them in ways which become, if not offensive and impertinent, at least burdensome. When their friends are in sorrow, they are sincerely eager to give comfort; but they fail to understand the sacredness of grief, or to respect the craving of sad hearts for quiet, and allow their eagerness to become intrusiveness. There is no more delicate test of thoughtfulness than that which sorrow furnishes. Usually love's sweetest and best service then is rendered in the quietest expression of sympathy, certainly with no undue pressing of one's self into the presence of the friends who are in trouble, and with no over-eager offer to help. Then, unless from personal experience of grief one has been prepared for giving effective sympathy, one would better not seek to be a privileged comforter.

Thoughtfulness has a wide field for its ministry in the family circle and in the daily household life. Perhaps few young people come by this grace naturally, are born with it. Usually it has to be learned. Most of us think first of ourselves and our own comfort and convenience, and are not apt to think how our words, acts, and dispositions will affect others. We say what at the moment we feel like saying, not stopping to ask whether it will give pleasure or pain to those who must hear it. We like to say, saying it too with some pride, that we are plain, frank people, honest and out-spoken, not indulging in courtly phrases, but sincere though brusque, not realizing that our brusqueness and plainness ofttimes hurt gentle hearts. We do the thing we feel inclined to do, because it pleases us, not remembering that true love seeks not its own, but thinks first of the comfort and pleasure of others. Without being aware of it, many of us are miserably selfish in our life among others. We practically forget that there are any other people, or that we ought to make any sacrifices, or practise any self-denials, for their sake. Young people at home, for example, will indulge themselves in sleep in the mornings, coming down late to breakfast, not thinking of the trouble they cause to those who have to do the work, nor how they interfere with the order of the household. Thoughtfulness seeks never to add to another's burdens, never to make extra work or care, but always to lighten loads.

In much home conversation, too, there is a lack of thoughtfulness shown. Not always is the speech gentle — sometimes it is sharp and bitter, even rude. Playfulness is to be allowed, and in every family there should be a readiness to take a jest without being hurt by it. Over-sensitiveness is a serious fault. Some persons are so touchy as to demand an excessive thoughtfulness —a watchfulness in all our relations with these over-gentle souls which is unreasonable, which makes friendship with them a burden. Life is too short, and has too many real duties and cares, for us to be held to such exactions of attention and kindness as these good people would demand. Yet always in our relations with others there should be that refined courtesy which is part of the lesson of love that we learn from our Master — "As I have loved you." Rude words never should be spoken, even in jest.

Thoughtfulness will seek always to say kindly words, never words that will give pain, but ever those that will give pleasure. We have no right, for the sake of saying a bright thing, to let loose a shaft, however polished, that will make a loving heart bleed.

These are fragments of a lesson which might be indefinitely extended. Are you thoughtful? — that is the question. Answer it for yourself. Some one has said, "Unless our religion has sweetened us to a very considerable extent — giving us the control of our temper, checked us in our moments of irritation and weakness, enabled us to meet misfortune and, in a measure, overcome it, developed within us the virtues of patience and long-suffering, making us tender and charitable in our judgments of others, and generally diffusing about us an atmosphere that is genial and winsome, — whatever else we may have gained, one thing is sure, religion is not having its perfect work in us; and, even though our Christian life is clear and positive, it is only as a gnarled and twisted apple-tree that bears no fruit, only as a prickly bush that bears no roses, and the very thing which of all others we should have is the very thing in which we are most deficient. A Christian life without sweetness is a lamp without light, salt without savor."

We all know in our own experience the value of sincere and Christly thoughtfulness. We do not like to come in contact with thoughtlessness. We know well how it hurts and how unbeautiful, how unchristian, it seems when we see it in another, and when our heart is the one that suffers from its harsh, rude impact. We all long for thoughtfulness; our hearts hunger and thirst for it. It is bread and wine to us.

We all know in our own experience the value of sincere and Christly thoughtfulness. We do not like to come in contact with thoughtlessness. We know well how it hurts and how unbeautiful, how unchristian, it seems when we see it in another, and when our heart is the one that suffers from its harsh, rude impact. We all long for thoughtfulness ; our hearts hunger and thirst for it. It is bread and wine to us. 

What we long for in others, in their relation to us, we should be ready to give to them. What in others hurts us, gives us pain, we ought to avoid in our contact with others. Thoughtfulness is one of the finest, ripest fruits of love, and all who would be like the Master must seek to learn this lesson and wear this grace. 

Lessons from Job by William S. Plumer

The person of Job is referenced in many ways throughout William Swan Plumer's classic volume Jehovah-Jireh: A Treatise on Providence (1867), but there is one chapter where lessons are gleaned in particular from his remarkable experience that we can greatly benefit from today.

 In chapter 15, titled "Alternate light and darkness in providence, illustrated in the case of THE GREAT MAN OF UZ," Plumer examines the doctrine of providence as reflected in the life and trials of the patriarch. The chapter is brief but golden; it is a short but profitable read. The concluding observations are very valuable and practical lessons from which we can all benefit. 

1. How vain are all merely earthly possessions! How unstable is popular favor! How uncertain are riches! How soon our pleasures may be followed by pains! When parents rejoice at the birth of a child, they know not how soon they may weep over his dead body without an assurance that his soul is saved. Solomon thoroughly tried the world. His sober inspired judgment was that all was vanity. The sooner we reach that conclusion ourselves, the wiser shall we be.

2. Let us always be more afraid of sinning against God than of offending our nearest earthly friends. Job instantly repulsed the wicked assaults of his wife, saying, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh." Job ii. 10. To his own disciple, Peter, Jesus was compelled to say: "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God but those that be of men." Matt. xvi. 23. No human friendship may for a moment interfere with our fidelity to God.

3. Although God generally chooses the poor as his children, yet he offers mercy to the rich, and receives all such as humbly seek his grace. Job's riches did not debar him from the kingdom of heaven. By reason of depravity riches tend to alienate the heart from God; yet sovereign grace can remedy that evil. He, who is rich in this world's goods, and also rich in faith and good works, is loudly called to sing the praises of Jehovah. Nothing but almighty power could thus make the camel go through the eye of the needle, or preserve the soul from the burning flames of insatiable covetousness.

4. Weight of character and a high order of talents are by no means confined to the enemies of God. "Why should they be? Piety is wisdom. Who ever stood higher for wisdom in council, for soundness of judgment and for prowess in war than did the man of Uz? In proportion to the number of consistent professors of religion, there cannot be found any number of men who surpass God's people for calmness of inquiry, soberness of mind and practical wisdom. True religion is worthy of the most earnest and solemn attention.

5. Good men are not always good in proportion to the degree of light which they enjoy. Job is supposed to have lived before the time of Moses, under the obscurity of the patriarchal dispensation; yet he was a burning and a shining light. He neither saw nor heard many wondrous things well known to us. Yet how far did he and Abraham and Enoch and other ancient worthies excel the great mass of even good men of these latter days. Truly we ought to blush for our short-comings. Guilt is in proportion to light. Surely then we must be very guilty for our sad deficiencies.

6. When malice, or envy, or suspicion, or evil sur- mising exists, no established reputation, no want of evidence of guilt can "tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue." By a long and holy life Job had given incontestible evidence of the purity of his character. His friends could bring no proof of his criminality in anything. Yet they charged him with cruelty, rapacity and hypocrisy. Such wickedness has not yet left the earth. It is no new or rare thing for the best men to be charged with the basest plans, principles or practices. It will be so until grace shall reign through Jesus Christ over all hearts. A propensity to evil thoughts and evil speeches is among the last faults of character from which even good men are delivered.

7. If friends accuse us falsely and act as enemies, let us not forget to pray for them. Job set us the example: Job xlii. 8. Enmities arising between old friends are generally more violent than others. "A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle." Prov. xviii. 19. But we must not yield to passion. We must forgive and seek blessings on those who falsely accuse us and cruelly entreat us. It was not till Job prayed for his accusers that God turned his captivity. Let us never carry a load of malice in our hearts. It is worse than any evil we can suffer at the hand of man.

8. When our characters are assailed, we are at liberty to use Christian measures to remove an evil report. It is then best to leave the whole matter in the hands of God. Lawsuits for character may be lawful and sometimes expedient. But when bad passions are excited no character is so unspotted that malice will not spew out its venom against it. We may deny our guilt; we may call for evidence against us; we may bring evidence of innocence; but with men of heated imaginations and strong prejudices, evidence never has its just weight.

9. It is very dangerous to become involved in a labyrinth of reasoning concerning God, his character and providence. Things which are revealed belong to us and our children. We may safely follow where-ever revelation leads; but we are no judges of what is proper to be done under the government of God. The attempt to criticise the divine proceedings is always a failure and iniquity.

10. It is important to study the Scriptures and learn all we can concerning the plans and providence of God. Had Job clearly known what we by patient study may learn, it would have removed much of the pungency of his grief. God's word is a light and a lamp. Let us walk by it.

11. What is the grief of each one? Is it poverty, poor health, want of reputation, loss of religious comfort? Whatever it be, take for an example of suffering affliction Job, the narrative of whose trials was written for our comfort. Like him, let each one say of the Almighty, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Job xiii. 15. Never was pious confidence in the Lord misplaced. Never did any trust in him and was confounded.

12. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him. The greatest secret God ever reveals to his people is the mystery of redemption. Of this Job was not ignorant. By this he triumphed. His own language is explicit: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another." Job xix. 25-27.