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case would you not have another to choose for you? Should one who has to hesitate and debate matters with himself, before he decides, have the direction of affairs in his hands? How long it sometimes takes you to make up your mind! What shall be done in the mean time? Must the course of nature and Providence be arrested, and the whole current of events stand still, till you have concluded what is best to be done?
Have you not sometimes had things according to your mind, and afterward regretted that they were so ? And would you run the risk of similar regrets hereafter ? Have you not sometimes also had things contrary to your mind, and subsequently rejoiced that they were so ? Have you never found crosses to be blessings in disguise ? May not the present cross cover a blessing? And will you complain of a blessing, in whatever garb it may come?
Let God - be heard before he is condemned. We concede this privilege to men.
We consent to hear their reasons, before we censure their acts. God has appointed a day for the explanation of all things; and he may reveal the reasons of his conduct toward us even before the day of the revelation of his righteous judgment. It is uncertain whether we shall justify men, after we have heard their reasons; but do you not believe that if you knew the reasons of all God's proceedings in Providence, you would approve and sanction them all, and that your mind
would be in accordance with his? Why then not acquiesce in it now? Other beings, better and greater than you, do so. They decline having things according to their mind. And should not you? Eli said, “ It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.” And even Christ would not have it accord. ing to his mind. “Not as I will, but as thou wilt," was his conclusion, when the bitterest of all cups was at his lips.
Are you one of those who love God ? Surely then it ought to satisfy you, when God assures you that under his government "all things work together for good to them that love him.” Will you not let him choose what the things shall be, when he pledges himself that the result of them all shall be your good? Is it certain, if the things to befall you were chosen by you, that they would all conduce to your, good ? He
that he will withhold no good thing froin them that walk uprightly. Is not this guarantee enough? “How shall he not,” says one of his inspired apostles, with Christ “also freely give us all things ?” “ All things are yours.” And will you complain that death is in the catalogue ? or that tribulation and distress are among the things, in all which “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us?"
35. How Inconsistent We are !
How many examples of inconsistency one may give, without going beyond the pale of the church, into the wide domain of the world! We Christians consecrate ourselves to God for his use, and glory. Who is a Christian that has not done this? and what Christian has not done it often, and perhaps recorded the solemn act of self-consecration? Well, having done it repeatedly, and not by constraint, but willingly; and having thus not only acknowledged God's right to use us, and to glorify himself in and by us, but asked him to do it, we afterwards complain that he does it. We object to the use to which he puts us, though we never stipulated any particular use to which he should put us, but left him free to use us as should seem good to him. Yet now, when we see what he is going to do with us, though, in consenting that he should do with us according to his pleasure, we consented to that very thing, we demur, and would dictate what use he should make of us, and how glorify himself by us! Do I not justly denominate this inconsistency? May not God do what he . will with his own, when it is his own on so many accounts, and by so perfect a right-his own, not only by creation, by preservation, and by purchase, but by our consent and covenant with him, and oft expressed desire that it should be his; and when
engages that in using us according to his will and for his glory, he will not fail to secure our highest interests, our best good, our eternal well-being ? We do what we will with our own, though it be our own in a very subordinate sense, and though we use it exclusively for our pleasure or profit; and we concede the same right to our fellowcreatures. What if we were to say to a fellow-man, "this is yours; you made it; you daily renew your labor on it, to keep it in repair; you also paid a price for it. I surrender it up to you. I desire it should be yours. You are much better qualified to use it properly than I am," and then afterward object to his using it as his own? How unreasonable it would be in us! How we should contradict ourselves. And is it not as unreasonable to hold similar language to God, and then complain of him?
We also consecrate to God our families--wife and children, and all. We say " These also are thine, Lord. Use them likewise for thy glory. We consecrate them to thee.” Well, being consecrated, he uses them as sacred to him; and presently, having no farther use for one of them on earth, and wanting him in heaven to fill a place there, he takes the person thither-changes his residence and society, promotes him-brings him nearer to court. Having some time before justified and begun to sanctify the individual, he at once perfects the work of holiness of him, and beatifies, glorifies him--frees him from
all sin, sorrow, pain and dread; and wipes away his last tear. The subject of all this is in an ecstacy of joy and gratitude for what has been done to him, and would not for worlds leave the choice spot which he now occupies. Well, and what then? Why, we object, and complain, and think it hard, and almost weep dry the fountain of tears, and refuse to be comforted ! and that though it was God who took that member of the family, and though he took but his own, and took it to himself; and though we are so soon ourselves to follow to the same abode; and though it was always understood and agreed upon that God should take each just when he pleased. It was one of the articles of the covenant we entered into with him. He claimed and we conceded tho right. We received that creature with the express understanding that we were to give him up, when called for. We always knew it was not a gift outright, but a loan. And now shall we complain of the recall of the loan ?
Oh how easy it is to convince the judgment to silence the mind ! But the heart—the unmanageable heart, feels on as before. Our arguments go not down to that deep seat of emotion. There is still the void, the tumult, the ache, the longing. Only God can reason with the heart. At no bidding but his, will it ever be still and satisfied.
Again, we consecrate our property to God. We say, We being thine, all ours is also thine. Thine