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• When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job xxiii. 10.
Is gold precious ? Still it is put in the crucible, that the fire may try it and purge away the dross. It is not less, but more valuable, when it has
the Lord try those who are precious in his sight. Their corruptions are to be purged away in the crucible of affliction. Their Father loveth them the more, when he puts them through this process. To them it may be painful; sense may shrink from the trial; but the result is desirable; they shall come forth as gold. In all my present sufferings, may I be still, and know that thou art God, who dost not afflict arbitrarily, but with
a gracious design, that my heart may be weaned from the world; that the lusts of the flesh may be crucified, and heaven may appear more inviting, as a place where there is no more pain, nor sorrow, nor crying; but where all tears shall be wiped from the eyes. My nights may be passed in restless tossings, and my days in weariness and agony, and under these repeated shocks the earthly house may totter; but still it will be a light affliction, if it works out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. O heavenly Father, when thou chastenest me, chasten me as a son, and punish me not as an enemy. Let me not be in the hopeless condition of those, who feel the heavy inflictions of thine anger here, only as a prelude to the pains of the second death. Afflict, but do not destroy ; while thy right hand lies heavy on me, let thy left hand support me, and let my sympathizing High Priest stand near to whisper to me gracious words of en couragement.
6 The Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal. ii. 20.
Do I suffer? I deserve infinitely more—the stroke is lighter than my guilt. Let me turn away from myself and reflect on the unspeakably greater anguish which my Lord endured, and innocently too; for he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Descending from heaven thou didst become incarnate, and assumed the infirmities of human nature. Not with the great, but with the poor didst thou resort; daily didst thou endure the contradiction of sinners; the wrath of God wrung from thy brow great drops of blood. Seized as a malefactor, thou wast subjected to scourging and ignominy; on Calvary thou didst suffer the agony of crucifixion, and the hidings of thy Father's face; thou, the Lord of life, didst die! No tongue can express the intensity of thy suffering, when in Gethsemane thou didst supplicate that the cup might pass from thee. No language can describe the terrors, which extorted the cry, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And why, O Lamb of God, was all suffering concentrated in thee? Thou didst no sin, neither was guile found in thy mouth; yet the vials of wrath were poured out on thee! Here was the wonderful secret; thou didst love me and give thyself for me. It was to avert from my soul the anger of an offended God, by assuming my place, and baring thy bosom to the stroke that would otherwise have crushed me. O Lord, how unspeakable thy love, how disinterested! How wonderful and how efficacious! Dare I repine, when I suffer a little discipline, when thou, for my sake, didst bear a punishment so heavy? No, Lord, I will look to thy bleeding cross, I will recall the scenes of thy anguish, and submit to all with childlike patience.