The Rainbow in the Cloud, Or,
Covenant Mercy for the Afflicted
Edited by William Bacon Stevens, 1856
The Wilderness Wanderer by John East
Christ, a Man of Sorrows by Edward Payson
Songs in the Night Season by William Bacon Stevens
The Weaned Child! by Octavius Winslow
The Well-Spring in the Desert by James Buchanan (prayer in times of affliction)
Jesus Veiling His Dealings by Octavius Winslow
The Chastening Rod in the Father's Hand by James Buchanan
Uses of Chastisement by James W. Alexander
The Stones of the Heavenly Temple Prepared on Earth by William Bacon Stevens
Covenant Promises Seen Through Tears by William Bacon Stevens
Silent Suffering by Philip Doddridge
Christ at Bethany by Robert Candlish
The Noontide Eclipse by William Bacon Stevens
The Setting Sun by William Bacon Stevens
Christ the Keyholder of the Eternal World by James Buchanan
The Compassionate High Priest by William Bacon Stevens
The Sun Going Down While Yet Day by John Newton
The White-Robed Throng! by Henry Venn
The Refuge from the Storm by Robert Leighton
We live in a world of sin — and hence in a world of sorrow, for "man is born to sorrow, as the sparks fly upward."
The apostle Paul tells us that "We must go through much tribulation to enter the kingdom of God." The apostle John shows us, in one of the visions of the Revelations, that those who "were arrayed in white robes," who were led by the Lamb "into living fountains of water," and from whose eyes "God shall wipe away all tears" — "are those who have come out great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Thus it is true that "The path of sorrow, and that path alone, leads to the land where sorrow is unknown." That being so, it befits us to learn how to transmute tribulations into blessings; how to turn God's chastening rod into a supporting staff; how to discern the rainbow in the cloud, while we are still wet with raindrops of sorrow!
It is the design of this volume to aid in doing this comforting work. It seeks to ameliorate sorrow — not by a kind of moral anesthetic, deadening the sensibility of grief, and making the heart less susceptible to woe — but rather by showing to the afflicted that chastenings are the sure evidenced of God's fatherly love.
Afflictions are the means whereby, when right used, "we become partakers of the divine nature." The furnace of affliction is but the purifying agent to purge away our dross — that the great Refiner may see His own image reflected in purified souls.
In adding another to the many works designed to furnish consolation to the afflicted, the Editor feels that he is but meeting the ever-pressing needs of the human race, and the ever-earnest demands for comfort by those who are visited by bereavement and sorrow. The present work, without interfering with or displacing any of the valuable treatises which have lately been published, has yet a distinct character of its own, in the originality of its design, in the arrangement of its several parts, and in gathering together, from choice and diverse writers, English and American — the strongest and most scriptural consolation which can be offered to the sorrowful and stricken-hearted.
Believing, as the Editor does,
that all our springs of comfort are in Jesus Christ,
that they are applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit,
that they are to be sought for by the prayer of faith, and
that they result from the overflowing grace of our Heavenly Father
— he has aimed to keep these points prominently before the reader, being unwilling to lead him to any of the "broken cisterns" of earth for consolation, when the well-spring of Divine comfort, which can alone staunch his bleeding heart, is pouring forth its free and life-giving waters!
It is the lot of all to be visited with sorrow. There is "a time to mourn" marked out in every man's life; and when that time comes, and the fainting spirit turns away from the "miserable comforters" of earth — may all who consult these pages find in God a refuge from every storm, and "a very present help" in every time of trouble. And may they be enabled so to look at their sorrows, with the clear-sighted eye of faith, that they shall discern "a rainbow" in every cloud of affliction, and "covenant mercy" in every shower of grief.