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In the calm hour of solitude
To read the burning language writ
And feel that He who lit the stars,
Can chase the shadow and the strife
With sweet and simultaneous voice,
Speak of thy watchful care, and feel
The placid and prolific earth,
And heaven's serene and starry depths,
And wilt thou not console me, Lord,
In tribulation's troublous time,
And wilt thou not vouchsafe, at last,
By thine own means, to win
Back to thy fold an erring child
Thou canst, and when it seemeth good,
Whereby to leave the tangled path
My faltering feet pursue:
Oh! bring me from the chilling gloom,
The cavern of despair,
That I may see the open day,
And breathe a purer air.
Oh! help me in my deepest need,
So may I rise refreshed and glad,
My business and my pleasure both
For His dear sake, who left thy side
To take away the sting from death,
J. C. PRINCE.
"Do you know whether any one is in that room? knocked several times, and received no answer," said a friend of the sick and sorrowful, to a woman who looked out from her room on the same floor of the lodging-house. "Oh, yes, sir, he is in, for I saw him come up the stairs; but may be he won't hear except he likes to."
66 Indeed! Then it is useless to try again.
think I might venture to open the door myself?"
Well, sir, perhaps you may, but nobody else durst; for he's dreadful queer at times, and frightens all the house
when he gets into his fits."
"Does he suffer from fits, then?"
"Well, they be mostly fits of temper, I believe; though, poor thing, I dare say his pain is bad sometimes; only he won't bear it like a man, and if there's a lion out of the Zoological, it's himself I'm sure, when his wrath's up."
"I must follow the lion even into his den,” thought the kind visitor; and thanking the woman for the information she had afforded him, he very gently raised the latch of the door.
In a room that served all the purposes of domestic life, sat a middle-aged man by the fireside, looking, as indeed he was, the very impersonation of wretchedness.
"You will kindly excuse me for entering without leave, I hope; but I hear that you are subject to illness, and I could not go away without inquiring. I fear you are indeed ill just now."
Well, what of that?" said the man, without raising his sad and sickly face.
"I am very sorry."
So am I: what next?"
"I wish I might be able to do you any good. Have you medical advice ?"
"I've nothing to do with physicians; I know they can't cure me. There is no cure for my complaint."
"Then if you cannot be cured, do you know of the Good Physician who enables us to bear pain ?""
"If he could do that I should say he could cure it too, and he might as well."
"But what if he is wise enough to see that endurance is better than cure? There was a good man who said, Believe that nothing you don't like ever happens to you, but it is to save you from something worse.' Many a poor body has suffered affliction for which the spirit will bless God throughout eternity."
"I don't want to hear anything of that sort," said the invalid sharply. "I shall get furious presently, so you had better go; I feel the rage coming on. Go-I say," he shouted again.
"Yet one moment bear with me. I will but show you how to complain; just listen." And opening a little book he had drawn from his pocket, without waiting for leave, he began to read: "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolish
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly: I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me; as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.' "Does not this express something of your misery, my brother?" said the visitor, tenderly; "and thus we are not forbidden to complain in our sorrow."
"Is that all ?" asked the man, evidently touched, yet not choosing to respond.
"There is more, but I know not that it is equally suitable to your case. 'For in thee, O Lord, do I hope; thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.' But before you can say that, you must adopt another truth, Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. But thou hast laid help upon One that is mighty,' and The Lord bath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.' Only faith in the Crucified One, who was wounded for our transgressions,' gives us a right to claim the Lord as our God, hearing and answering prayer. I will not tire you longer; but may I come another day?"
"If you like. I am in for one of my sharp attacks, and can do no work for days to come."
With a prayer for God's Spirit to carry home to the sufferer's heart the words he had uttered, the visitor withdrew. But day after day, his gentle tap at the door was never again unheeded. A cheerful leave to come in was ever instantly accorded. Instead of speaking much he began at once to read the word of life to his now willing hearer.
"I have been in great pain since you were here," he said one day, "and I could have roared out and raged as I often have done, but it came across me to think that pain is no great wonder after all. Why I dare say I've made mine worse by the way I've taken it. Perhaps you'll hardly believe that I've cursed and sworn about it, and fought against God like any madman, and frightened every body who came near me. I thought I was afflicted innocently, and that no kind God would do so. But I've been so taken up with thinking about those words you read to me that it seemed to keep me quiet; and I should like to know whether the Good Physician you spoke of can do anything
for me. There is no cure for my body, except by a miracle ; that I know for certain."
"But there is a cure for the soul; and a consciously saved and happy soul goes far to comfort and sustain the body." "Very likely so; but if I begin to think myself a sinner, there comes such a flood of vileness over me, that I am afraid to dwell upon it at all. Why, I never cared for God or religion since I used to read with my parents at home in my childhood; and though I am not a thief, and thanks, perhaps, to my state of health, not a drunkard either, yet a blasphemer, a sabbath-breaker, an infidel ī have been, and anything else that is opposed to God's laws. I can say those words feelingly now, Mine iniquities are gone over my head, they are too heavy for me;' and what am I to do now?"
Oh now, how rejoicingly was the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness-the gospel of the grace of God, laid before the eager mind of the inquirer, and how many hours and days of bodily pain were soothed by searching into its consolations and its promises! No more questionings about pain, but rather wonderings that there is not more of it in a world of wickedness. No more self-righteous justifyings against law and conscience, but a humble appropriation by faith of the finished work of the Son of God, and a conscience cleansed by his atoning blood. The process was slow but sure; the Bible took its rightful place as God's record of his Son, the revelation of his love to sinners; and Richard B- was drawn by God's Holy Spirit to the cross, to estimate that 'abominable thing that God hates,' and to hate and forsake it too, out of love to Jesus who had died to save him.
His bodily pain was not much diminished, and it was too clearly ascertained that his disease was indeed incurable : but, as he now said, he had found the Physician who could enable him to bear it, and during the times of comparative ease he was active and earnest in seeking out others, who, like himself, had lived in hopeless wretchedness, without light, and at enmity against a God of peace and love. "Richard, you look ill to-day," said one to whom he had been very kind, and who was struggling with poverty. Oh, but I am not, this is one of my health days," said Richard, smiling.
"Then have you had proper food, or was that meal you brought to me and mine, what ought to have fed