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arms ! Jesus, receive my spirit! 0, Lord Jesus, receive me on the other side of Jordan !" were among her prayers to him. Nor did her heart spend its emotions in prayer alone; it was attuned to praise. She said, "I want a hymn sung." What hymn ? it was asked, “The hymn about crossing over Jordan," she said ; and it was sung; and soon after she crossed the stream-the narrow stream of death. Nor did Jesus wait for her on Canaan's bright side of the stream, but he came over to earth's dark shore of it, and himself took her across. That stream must be narrow, it was so soon passed; and all was so calm, there could not have been a ripple on its surface. O death, where was thy sting? O grave! A feeble, fearful female, with only a few hours to arm herself for the conflict, and to take leave of her babes, met thee, and was more than victor through Him who gave her the victory!
6 Is that a death-bed where a Christian lies ?
Yes; but not his—'tis death, itself, there dies.'
32. What Strange Beings We Are !
How unreasonable! How inconsistent with our. selves! Even we, who are Christians. God does the very thing we ask him to do; and yet we complain
“ Not as
of him, or grieve immoderately, and almost incop solably, because he does it! We ask that his will may be done; which implies, that our will, if it be in contrariety to his, should not be done; and this we sometimes in so
express : we will, but as thou wilt." Well, God does his will, the very thing we wanted him to do; and yet we cornplain that he does not our will, the thing we deprecated his doing. We complain that he hears our prayer and grants us the desire of our heart. Was ever complaint so unreasonable ? If, when we asked him to do his will, he had done ours, there would have been some semblance of reason for our complaint. Will we say that we never meant, in our hearts, what the terms of our petition expressed that we never really desired his will should be done? Will any one acknowledge that he has uniformly been a hypocrite in the use of the Lord's prayer ? Certainly, then, he ought not to complain that God has detected and chastised his hypocrisy. But, if he was sincere—if he desired what he asked for, then if he complains, he complains that God has gratified his desire. How perverse it is in a creature to say to God, time after time, when craving good, or deprecating evil, “ Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt ;" and then, because it is as God wills, and not as he wills, to think hard of God!
Every one who prays " Thy will be done,” is aware that the will of God does not always coincide
with the inclinations of his creatures. It were wonderful if it should-wonderful indeed, if the will of an omniscient and infinitely perfect being should uniformly fall in with the capricious desires and inclinations of those who are finite, fallible, and sinful. Our own inclinations do not agree with each other. We are the subjects of conflicting desires: the will of God could not coincide with our inclinations without coinciding with contraries. Well, the prayer
Thy will be done,” which we all consent to use, recognizing this want of coincidence, begs that in all such cases God will cause his will to be done rather than ours. It is a most reasonable request; no wonder God should comply with it. And yet we complain that in such cases of disagreement he does not carry out our inclinations instead of his own will. It is well, in view of such perverseness, that we have to do with a God of infinite patience. How very slow to anger our God is !
But I have not stated the case yet in all its strength. Complaint against God would be altogether unreasonable, if he caused only his will to be done. But while he causes his own, he causes our will also to be done; for it is our will, as we have told him, over and over again, that his will should be done. Why should he not gratify the inclination of ours, that his will should be done, as well as any other inclination which we have; for example, the inclination to retain a certain earthly enjoyment ? He cannot gratify
our every inclination, for the gratification of one would be the denial of another. He must make a selection. It is not his fault that we have warring inclinations. He did not make us so; it is one of the inventions we have sought out. It belongs to us as marred by ourselves. Will it be said that God selects the less worthy inclination to gratify? I think not. What worthier inclination can we have, than that God's will should be done?
Is it the pain of having an inclination crossed, of which we complain? But let us complain of ourselves, that we have inclinations which need to be crossed. And, besides, would it give us no pain were we to discover, that in a particular instance, God submitted his own will to our inclination, and suffered us to be gratified in a certain respect, when his judgment was against it?
Fellow-Christians, we must give up the use of that petition, " Thy will be done,” or else act more consistently. It will not do to be daily asking a thing, and daily lamenting that the thing is granted. If we would have our will done, let us alter the petition, and say,
“ Our will be done." Let us be sincere, if we are nothing else. Let us tell the Lord the very desires we have, however wrong they may be. That is better, certainly, than to have such desires, and tell him the
contrary. But I would by no means advise the alteration. I think we had much better keep to the old form, and pray as the Lord taught his disciples. Yes, let us go on to say, “ Thy will be done.” It is our hea. venly Father whom we address. Surely his children need not fear to have his will done. Let us consent with our whole heart that his will should be done, and towards us as well as towards others; and not merely in some things, but in all things; for why should not all his will be done, as well as any part of it? If we do so, by and by we shall have no inclinations contrary to his will. We shall be incapable of cross or disappointment. Every thing being as he would have it, would be also as we would have it.
If now a part of his will be hidden, until events disclose it, yet in other respects it is already revealed. We know, for instance, that it is our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom; and that it is our divine Savior's will that we should be with him where he is, that we may behold his glory. For the present let this suffice us. We shall be satisfied, when we awake in his likeness. In this expectation we should be satisfied now. Let us suffer God to reign, and let us not aspire to be his counselors. He taketh no counsel of any.