We know that all things work together for good to them that love God. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
As the Christian advances upon his way, a sweet and solemn sense of the unity of life grows upon his spirit. “We are complete in Him.” Much of our life, if viewed in itself only, would appear purposeless and broken, yet Christ has said: “Gather up these fragments that remain, so that nothing be lost.” We learn to look at life as a whole thing; not to be discouraged by this or that adverse circumstance, remembering how much there is and will be in that life which is “like frost and snow, kindly to the root, though hurtful to the flower;” fatal to the bloom and fragrance, the lovely and enjoyable part of our nature, but friendly to its true, imperishable life. Looking at ourselves, we may see that, under a slight—sometimes a very slight—modification of inward bent, or outward circumstance, we should have been far more happy, more beloved, apparently more useful, than now; yet we may also see as plainly, as we confess it humbly, that we have attained, through all these losses, to that to which every gain is an ever present, appreciable loss. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, the believer will find the current of his existence sweeping into a broader channel; will find “doors opening upon him”—doors of happiness, doors of usefulness—which will be to him a Gate of Heaven; “windows opening,” letting in the breath of summer upon his soul, filling it with sunshine and sweet air; suddenly, too, in the deep emergencies of life, some new interest, some friend, will appear like the Great Twin Brethren, or Saint of old, in the thick of the battle, vanishing perhaps when the fight is over, yet blessing him even in vanishing from his sight. Light is good, and it is a pleasant thing to behold the sun. Yet far dearer than outward peace, far sweeter than inward consolation, is that, the ever-during stay, the solace of the Christian’s heart, the imperishable Root of which all else that glad
dens it is but the bloom and odor; the dry tree that shall flourish when every green tree of delight and of desire fails. It is to the Cross that the heart must turn for that which will reconcile it to all conflicts, all privations; which will even enable it, foreseeing them, to exclaim: “Yet more.” When Christ is lifted up within the believing soul, nothing is too hard for it to venture upon or endure; it rests upon a power beyond itself, and can bring its whole strength to bear upon generous, exalted enterprise. Show thy servant thy work, and his own will be indeed easy! Let this powerful attraction be once felt, the heart’s, the world’s great and final Overcoming, and all other bonds will weaken, all other spells decay. “Midnight is past” sings the sailor on the Southern ocean,— “Midnight is past; the Cross begins to bend.” I do not ask my cross to understand, My way to see— Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand, And follow Thee. Joy is like restless day, but Peace divine Like quiet night; Lead me, O Lord, till Perfect Day shall shine Through Peace to Light.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who healest us by chastening, and preservest us by pardoning, grant unto Thy suppliants, that we may both rejoice in the comfort of the tranquillity which we desired, and also use the gift of Thy peace for the effectual amendment of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.