"And we know that all things work together for the
best to those who love God, to those who are the called according
to His purpose." –Romans 8:28
Such is the rendering by Tyndale of a passage which to
the children of God has ever been as a fresh and living spring of divine and
unfailing consolation. How many a Christian pilgrim, weary and faint in his
journey, has paused, drank of it, and passed on his way, like a giant
refreshed with new wine. How many an inexplicable problem in providence has
it solved--how many a lowering cloud has it pencilled with light--how many a
burden has it lightened--how many a sorrow has it soothed--how many a tear
has it dried--how many a soul has it bowed in meek submission to the Divine
will, in the history of God's church! More precious than rubies are these
words of the Holy Spirit! To be divinely assured--assured by Him "who cannot
lie"--that all the events, circumstances, and incidents of my life--that all
the arrangements and dispensations of His government, work together for the
best--that they are designed to promote my greatest good and to secure His
highest glory--surely it is enough to bring the heart into perfect and
cheerful acquiescence with the most gloomy, adverse, trying, and mysterious
event that ever cast its deep, broad shadows on our path!
We have reminded you, beloved reader, in years gone by,
that God often leads His children by an "Untrodden Path"--that, although
this were so, it was yet a sweet thought that the believer is "Going
Home"--that, until he should reach the confines of his eternal rest, his
"Times were in God's Hands"--that, by Him who dwelt in the "Bosom of the
Father, the heart of God had been unveiled"--that, with such a revelation of
divine love, it was the simple province of faith, in all the dim perspective
of the future, "Only to Trust Him!"--and that, if that future developed some
overwhelming, crushing affliction, it was the believer's privilege to bow
meekly his head, and exclaim, "It is Well!"
We meet you at the opening of another year with a truth
not less divine, appropriate, and precious--a truth well calculated to
soothe under present circumstances, and to inspire confidence in prospect of
the future: "We know that all things work together for good (for the
best) to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His
There may occur events in national and in individual
history which to our blind reason may appear the very reverse of our
well-being. What means that dark cloud settling upon the British
dependencies in the East? What that intelligence of woe flashing along the
electric wire, the heraldings of a crushing sorrow to many a loving heart,
to many a happy home? Doesn't it seem that the providence of God contravenes
the truth of God? My reader, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing."
God, in the administration of His all-wise, all-righteous,
all-beneficent government, has night seasons as well as day--seasons of
darkness as well as seasons of light--and in both He must be contemplated,
studied, and known.
As the night reveals glories in the skies, which
the day concealed, so dark dispensations of Divine Providence bring to the
believer's eye, as viewed through the telescope of faith, glories in the
character and wonders in the government of Jehovah which the milder and
brighter displays of Himself had veiled from the eye. Oh, beloved, how
scanty would our experience of God be--how limited our knowledge of His
love, wisdom, and power--how little would we know of Jesus, our best Friend,
the Beloved of our souls, did we know Him only in mercy, and not also in
judgment--were there no lowering skies, no night of weeping, no shady
paths--no rough places, no cloud-tracings--no seasons of lonely sorrow, of
pressing need, and of fierce temptation. "In the way of your judgments, O
Lord, have we waited for You; the desire of our soul is to your name, and to
the remembrance of You."
Nor should we overlook the full play and exercise of
faith which occurrences, to us--dark, inconsistent, and mysterious, call
into operation. Faith in God is the most precious, wondrous, and fruitful
grace of the Holy Spirit in the renewed soul. Its worth is beyond all price.
Its possession is cheap at any cost. One saving view of Jesus--one dim
vision of the cross--one believing touch of the Savior--a single grain of
this priceless gold--millions of rubies were as nothing to it. Then were its
exercise and trial good. And but for its trial how uncertain
would it be! Were there no circumstances alarming in the appearance they
assume--somber in the form they wear--crude in the voice they utter--events
which threaten our happiness and well-being--which seem to dry our springs,
wither our flowers, blight our fruits, and drape life's landscape in
gloom--how limited would be the sphere of faith! It is the province of this
mighty grace to pierce thick clouds, to scale high walls, to walk in the
dark, to pass unhurt through fire, to smile at improbabilities, and to
master impossibilities. As the mariner's compass guides the ship, coursing
its way over the ocean, as truly and as safely in the starless night as in
the meridian day, so faith--the needle of the soul--directs as safely
and points the believer in his right course homewards, as truly, in the
gloomiest as in the brightest hour. Oh, how little are we aware of the real
blessings that flow to us through believing! God asks of us nothing but--faith.
For where there is faith in the Lord Jesus there is love--and where
there is love there is obedience--and where there is obedience there
is happiness--and where there is happiness, the soul can even rejoice
in tribulation, and sit and sing sweetly and merrily in adversity, like a
bird amid the boughs whose green foliage the autumnal blast has scattered.
Let faith, then, echo to the words of truth, "All things work together
for the best."
But, perhaps, my reader asks for something more than
naked assertion. "What is the proof that all things are for the
The first evidence is drawn from WHAT GOD IS HIMSELF.
"He is good, and does good." It is His sole prerogative to educe good
from 'apparent' evil--to order and overrule all events of an adverse nature
and of a threatening appearance, for the accomplishment of the most
beneficent ends. This He is perpetually doing with reference to His saints.
The Spirit of love broods over the chaotic waters, and life's dark landscape
appears like a new-born existence. The curse is turned into a blessing–from
the cocoon emerges into a beauteous insect--the noxious weed becomes a
life-sustaining plant--the discordant notes breathe the sweetest music.
Jesus made the water into wine--and God, by the exercise of a like Divinity,
is able to make all things work together for the best--turning the
water of our affliction into the wine of His love.
You marvel how this can be. What is impossible with man
is more than possible with God. Often in your silent musings over some
unfortunate event in your life, sad in its nature, and threatening in its
look, have you asked, "What possible good can result from this? It
seems utterly opposed to my interests, and hostile to my happiness. It
appears an unmixed, unmitigated evil." Be still! Let not your heart
fret against the Lord and against His dealings--all things in your history
are for the best--and this affliction, this loss, this calamity, is among
the "all things." Here, then, is the first proof that all things work
together for the best. God Himself is good, and God is able to do it.
Another evidence is adduced from the ATONEMENT OF THE
LORD JESUS. The extraction of the curse from everything
appertaining to the child of God converts every thing into a blessing.
"There is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination
against Israel." Christ has so completely annihilated the curse by
obedience, and has so entirely put away sin by suffering, nothing is left of
real, positive evil in the dealings of God with His church. They must be for
the best, since the salvation of Jesus has secured the best. Jesus, because
His love was so great, did all, endured all, finished all--and it is not
only in the heart of God, but it is in the power of God--a power exerted in
alliance with every perfection of His being--to cause all events to conspire
to promote our present and eternal happiness.
I cannot see how God will work it, or when He will
accomplish it, but assured that I am His pardoned, adopted child, I can
calmly leave the issue of all things in my life with Him; confident that,
however complicated may be the web of His providence, however hostile the
attitude, or discouraging the appearance of events, all, all under
the government and overruling will of my Heavenly Father are working
together for the best. "The result, then, of this matter, my God, I leave
"Your ways, O Lord, with wise design,
Are framed upon your throne above,
And every dark and bending line
Meets in the center of your love."
It is in the heart of God to bestow nothing but the
best upon His people. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up
for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things."
What is there of good we need, or of evil we dread, which His heart will
withhold, or His power cannot avert? He has already bestowed upon you the
best, the very best it was in His power to bestow. He has given us His best
love--the best Savior--the best Atonement--the best righteousness--the best
hope--the best heaven; and think you that He will not cause the greatest
evil that befalls you to issue in the greatest good you can experience--the
best blessing, perhaps, of your life? Oh, it is in the heart of our Covenant
God to lavish every good, all good upon us; to "withhold no
good thing from those who walk uprightly." Lord, lead us into your
love--your love infinite, your love unfathomable, your love hidden and
changeless as your nature!
The COVENANT OF GRACE secures the best as the result
of all the dispensations of God with His people. In Jesus, our Surety Head,
God has made with us a "covenant, ordered in all things and sure."
This covenant provides all blessings, secures all good, and has arranged all
things, all events, all occurrences, all removals, all losses, all sudden
surprisals, for the greatest happiness, the best well-being of the believer
"My God, the covenant of your love
Abides forever sure;
And in its matchless grace I feel
My happiness secure."
Let us specify a few particulars illustrative of this
DIVINE CHASTENINGS are for the best.--The punitive
dealings of God as much enter into the blessings that spring from our
adoption as any positive good. Nothing is healthful, vigorous, or pure apart
from discipline. The university would be a wreck, the state anarchy,
the domestic constitution utter discord, the church of God a ruin, were a
wholesome discipline not rigidly and faithfully observed. This applies with
equal force to our spiritual relation as the children of God. The wise,
loving, holy discipline of God's family is as needful and as beneficial as
any part of His government.
The corrections, therefore, of our Heavenly Father are
for the best. It may be a heavy stroke that has lighted upon us, but
in the sin it has discovered, in the folly it has rebuked, in the tendency
to evil it has checked--in the clearer evidence it has given of our divine
relationship--the discipline, painful and humiliating though it be, has
proved for the best. "Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and
teach out of your law."
In this same soothing and consolatory light must all
AFFLICTIONS be viewed. Why are afflictions for the best? Because they
never come, but beneath their raven wings they enfold some hidden blessing;
embosomed in the somber cloud there reposes some covenant mercy. Repeated
afflictions are repeated blessings. They fall not as lightning on the
scathed tree, blasting it yet more; but as the strokes of the sculptor on
the marble block, forming it to the image of life and loveliness. Gash may
follow gash, stroke may follow stroke, but it is only to mold and fashion
the soul of the child more like unto its Heavenly Parent. If this be so, my
Lord, proceed with your chiselings, until your child, molded beneath your
hand, becomes more really and more visibly a "partaker of your holiness."
"Am I in this light to view my BEREAVEMENT?" Even
so. The Lord has smitten and taken away the desire, the joy, the beauty of
your eyes with a stroke. A sudden and terrible event, or a long and painful
process has laid the beloved treasure low. Stunned, paralyzed, crushed, you
dare not, you cannot see how this mournful event, this irreparable loss,
this crushing calamity can result in any good to you--can possibly be for
the best. But wait God's time.
What! if a closer tie now binds you to God--if Christ now
comes and takes the vacant place--the Father, the Husband, the Brother, the
Friend, the Counselor, the Shield--if all your future life draws you closer
within His embrace--endears Himself by an unthought of, unheard of, unlooked
for love, tenderness, and sympathy--say, will not this bereavement, sore and
desolate as it is, be for the best? It is best for those who
sleep in Jesus--though a martyr's death were theirs--it is best for you, Oh,
mourner! though the best and dearest is gone, if Jesus comes and mingles His
tears with yours, then wipes them all away.
Faith may find it difficult to justify the wisdom, the
goodness, and the righteousness of our God in the appalling, indescribable,
inconceivable calamity which has robbed England of so many precious sons and
daughters, and turned our Eastern dominions into a very aceldama. But hush
each rebellious feeling, be still each murmuring thought--dark, terrible,
agonizing as these national and domestic bereavements are--"the Judge of
all the earth must do right." Be assured of this, weeping mourners,
"all things work together for good to those who love God"--and among
them is the heart-rending calamity that has filled the land with weeping,
lamentation, and woe.
And has not the truth which we are endeavoring to enforce
found confirmation in the recorded histories of the Lord's people? Events
that seemed so untoward and threatening, circumstances that appeared so
adverse and obscure, have but resulted in the greatest good--the dark clouds
parting and forming a tabernacle for an unclouded sun.
All things seemed against JOSEPH when sold as a slave,
and cast into prison. All things seemed against JACOB when bereaved of one
son, and required to resign another, the youngest and dearest--bereavement
and famine staring him in the face. All things seemed against JOB when God
plunged him into the lowest depths of sorrow, suffering, and poverty. All
things seemed against PAUL and SILAS when cast into the jail at Philippi,
and when the great apostle of the Gentiles was carried in chains to Rome.
All things seemed against LUTHER when excommunicated by the Papal church.
And appearances looked gloomy and unfavorable when JOHN BUNYAN was torn from
his pulpit and his church, and flung into Bedford jail. All things seemed to
militate against the Church of God when its Great Head was taken lifeless
from the cross, and lay three days in the tomb. But, Oh, no! these very
events and circumstances--dark and mysterious though they appeared--were but
realizing and working out God's eternal purposes of mercy and thoughts of
love towards His servants and His church--all were working together for
the best. Take courage, then, beloved reader, God will not make you an
exception, but you shall live through all present and all future dark and
painful providences to testify, "He has done all things well."
These pages may possibly be placed quietly by your side
when lying upon a bed of SICKNESS. This illness appears to you enshrouded in
mystery. In your lonely musings you wonder how it can possibly be for good.
You have marveled that at a time when, perhaps, health seemed so precious a
blessing--a vigorous pulse, a cool brain, an active limb seemed so
essential--the Lord should interpose and set you aside from your beloved
employment, or from pressing duties--a disabled, helpless sufferer.
Be still, beloved! this sickness is for the best,
and before long you shall see and acknowledge it. Your soul needed
healing--sickness is God's remedy. Your heart needed withdrawment--sickness
is God's agent. Your spirit needed closer converse with Jesus--sickness is
the Lord's method. Your mind required more time for reflection, for
self-examination, for looking into God's Word, and learning the secret of
the Lord with His people--sickness is the teacher. Welcome, then, this
lonely room, this suffering bed, this couch of languor, these sleepless
nights and feverish days, as sent in infinite wisdom and love but to work
out the best blessings your loving Father, your covenant God could
give you. If this illness has brought Christ to your side, His left hand
under your head, His right hand embracing you, then be sure it is for the
These pages may come to you at a time of heart-breaking
BEREAVEMENT. The loved one--perhaps the best and loveliest--is laid low; and
looking at the event in the consequences it may entail, you fear and
tremble, and find it hard to view it even as 'a mournfully draped blessing'.
But, be still, bereaved one! "All things work together for the best
to those who love God"--and this sad bereavement is in the catalogue.
Perhaps you find it hard to say--yet harder still to feel--"Your will be
done!" Listen to the experience of one smitten with a sorrow like your
own, but sustained, comforted, and sanctified as God is prepared to sustain,
comfort, and sanctify you.
"I shall never be happy again," quivered the pale lips;
"earth and sky are alike dark to me, since they laid my only one in the
"Does religion, then, afford you no consolation?" asked
the beloved pastor, solemnly. "Does not the thought that you shall go to him
lift this veil from off your spirit?"
"No, no; I know nothing, think of nothing, but that I
have lost him--lost him. All is a dead blank; my heart is like a stone. Oh,
I would give worlds to part with this dreadful weight! worlds, worlds!"
"And what if I should say that this terrible weight may
be cast off; this cold heart be made warm again!"
"Oh, tell me how, for I am in despair!" she cried.
"In one year, dear madam," said the venerable pastor, "my
only son, grown to manhood, was drowned; my wife laid in the grave; my
daughter taken from me by death, and my own health so prostrated that I
could no longer minister to my people."
"How sad!" cried the young widow, clasping her hands,
while her eyes filled. "How did you, how could you bear it?"
"By looking up to my Father, and saying, 'Your will be
done on earth as it is in heaven.' Is the prayer new to you?"
"Oh, no," murmured the disconsolate one, her pale face
bowed upon her hands; "I say it every day, but I never felt it."
The Sabbath day came round, and the young widow, for the
first time since her husband's death, went to the house of God. On her way
she met the white-haired pastor, and with a gentle, but subdued smile, she
said, "I can bear it now."
A light as from heaven beamed on his aged face. "Then you
find His strength sufficient?"
"Yes," she answered. "It was a struggle, but as soon as I
felt it was right, and for the best, the load fell off."
And the man of God, as he stood up to address the people,
took as his text, the words, "Your will be done."
These pages may fall under your notice, perhaps, at a
time when some dark providence has suddenly arrested you. A reverse of
fortune--involving loss of property, a change of social position, the
lessening of temporal comfort, the breaking up, it may be, of home itself.
How cold and wintry, how desolate and lonely does everything now appear!
Will you, can you believe, my dear reader, that God is at this very moment,
and by these very circumstances, working out that which is for your best!
Ah! it is so, doubt it though you may. Does the Lord in His dealings
with His people ever recall an inferior good and not replace it with a
better? Does He exhaust a spring and not unseal a fountain? Does He create
loneliness and not "set the solitary in families?" Be sure of the truth that
this affliction bears a silent message of love, and that it is among the
"all things" in your experience that will work together for the best.
God, perhaps, in His inscrutable but all-wise providence
may have seen fit to transfer to another and distant part of His vineyard
the presence and labors of your beloved minister, pastor, and friend. Your
eyes no more see your teacher. It is an acutely-felt trial--you hardly know
how to bear up under it. The severing of such a tie--to some spiritual and
feeling minds the closest and holiest tie upon earth--seems to cast the
deepest, darkest shadow upon all your future. It is a mutual sorrow. On the
part of the minister the sensibility is keen--keener far than his position
would allow him to express. It is impossible to sunder a union of long
existence, and of so sacred and precious associations without a torn and
bleeding heart. To tear himself from an affectionate and attached flock can
only be done at an expense of feeling which, because words cannot express
it, must be borne in lonely, uncomplaining silence. To you the event seems
like a cloud without the silver lining--rayless, cheerless, hopeless--so
dark and calamitous, indeed, that no good can seem possible as a result.
Yet, beloved, even this event, which, perhaps, almost more than any other,
affects all the future of your personal happiness, is for the best.
What, if it throws you more directly upon God? What, if it draws you closer
to Christ? What, if it renders more precious to your heart the Word of God
and the mercy seat--the private means of grace--will you not be a gainer,
and testify "All things work together for the best to those who love
God;" and this removal of my beloved pastor is among the "all things."
Oh, that the Divine Spirit, the Comforter, may draw near
and soothe your sad heart by disclosing more of the tender, loving and
sympathizing heart of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Oh,
that Christ may fill the vacancy, and raise your thoughts above the present,
and unveil to your faith the glorious and certain prospect of the happy
meeting, the eternal reunion of pastor and people in heaven. Then, in that
world of perfect and endless bliss, "you will weep no more. How gracious
he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of
affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you
will see them."
Launched on the tide of heaven's eternal love,
His ark beneath you, and His light above,
What can you fear?--be still, my soul, be still,
Your God has never left you--never will."
Dear reader, you "love God." "Ah!" you exclaim,
"sincerely would I love Him!" But what is that deep, yearning desire of your
soul, but the gentle, tremulous breathing of love itself? It is love
panting, love thirsting, love longing, love really, actually loving--and the
one divine and glorious Object around whom its feeble tendrils entwine, who
attracts to, and concentrates upon, Himself your sincere, hidden affection,
is He who is "LOVE;" and who, because He is essential love, can interpret
the significance of a desire, the language of a sigh, the meaning of an
uplifted glance of love in His saints.
Faint and fluttering, then, as the pulse of divine love
in your soul may be, you are one in whose history all things are working
together for the best. A hidden ember, a solitary spark of love to Christ,
glowing in your soul--the gentlest effectual call of the Spirit in your
heart--places you in the ranks of the privileged, all the trials, and
sorrows, and joys, and hopes of whose personal history God is transmuting
into good, and is combining and causing to work together for the best. Oh,
comfort your trembling heart with this thought!
It is, perhaps, with you a time of deep sense of personal
sinfulness. It may be your first conviction, the first view, discovery, and
knowledge of the deep-seated evil of your heart. All appears to you
polluted, vile, condemnatory. You feel yourself a lost, undone, self-ruined
sinner. Your past life is all a dark background--your present filled with
bitter lamentations, self-reproach, and sorrow--your future unillumined,
uncheered with one ray of hope. And yet, beloved reader, even all this is
working together in the sovereignty of God's most rich and free grace for
your best, for your eternal good. Along this humiliating and dreary path the
Shepherd of the flock, who in the "cloudy and dark day" sought you out, is
bringing you back to His fold, laying you upon His shoulders, with
Ah! yes, that deep conviction of sin is for the
best--that mournful review of the past is for the best--that bitter
self-abasement is for the best--that thorough conviction of the
insufficiency and hopelessness of your own righteousness is for the best
all, all is working together but to bring you to Christ--and Christ will
bring you to God--and God will bring you home to heaven. Doubt not for a
moment the suitableness of Jesus' atonement, the sufficiency of Jesus'
sacrifice, the fullness of Jesus' grace, the ability of Jesus' power, and
the willingness of Jesus' heart to receive and save you. His invitation is,
"If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink;" "Come unto Me, and I
will give you rest." His promise is, "Him that comes unto Me I will
in no wise cast out." The encouragement is, "Therefore He is able to
save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him." Oh, precious
truth! Oh, sweet words!
"Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy, Lord, for such as me?"
Ah, yes! the fathomless depths of infinite mercy and love
are deeper than the lowest depths of your transgressions. Only come to the
Savior in the simplest faith, believing that He is able; or if you
cannot believe that He is able, yet that He is willing to receive and
save you--pardoning all your sins through His blood, justifying, as an act
of free grace, your person through His righteousness, and enrolling your
name among those whom He will finally receive into glory--and you shall be
saved! Oh! that you could believe but half the love that Jesus bears to
poor, penitent, bruised and sorrowing sinners; how He yearns over
them--compassionates them--pities them, and stoops to comfort, heal, and
save. He loves to impart the oil of joy, to bind up the broken heart, and to
lavish the riches of His kindness and grace upon the poor, the contrite, and
believing soul. Be assured, then, that
"If you die with mercy sought,
When you the King have tried,
That were to die, delightful thought!
As sinner never died!"
"Work together." What significant words are these! It is
the union of opposites, the combination of different properties in nature
that produce such salutary and magnificent results. This is equally true of
God's moral chemistry. All the elements of His various and different
dispensations are combining and working together to promote the wisest,
holiest, and most beneficent ends. The dark shadow is as essential as the
brilliant light--the discordant note as the sweetest chord--the bitter
ingredient as the sweet. Let us not, then, murmur at our position, nor
repine at our trials, nor fret against the Lord, because we are not where,
and are not what we desire. All is right! for all things in our
personal history are working together for the best. One moment of heaven
will explain all, elucidate all, reconcile all. Let us patiently wait and
quietly hope for that day--it speeds on and will soon arrive--when shall be
fulfilled the Savior's promise, designed to soothe and quiet the mind under
all present mysteries, "What I do you know not now; but you shall know
Allow a few practical conclusions from this
LET GOD BE HIS OWN INTERPRETER. He, and He only, can
decipher the dark symbols of His providence in individual history; leave,
then, the solution of this one with Him, and the result will be the
"God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain."
Does not your past experience confirm this? How
many an adverse circumstance, how many a severe trial, how many a bitter
sorrow, how many a deeply-mysterious event in your past life--that at the
time filled your mind with such painful forebodings--has, by a process the
most marvelous, yet most certain, worked out your best interests and issued
in the advancement of your greatest happiness. Then hope and believe that
God's present dealings will issue in a like happy result.
TAKE NO UNLAWFUL, UNADVISABLE STEPS TO TERMINATE A
PRESENT EVENT. Stand still, and calmly, confidingly wait the result.
Rather sever your right hand than put your own signature, or the signature
of another, to what is wrong; rather pluck your tongue from its root than
give utterance to that which is false; rather sink, crushed beneath the load
of your calamity, than distrust God and yield to Satan. Adopt, then, no
worldly policy, be swayed by no carnal expediency, repair to no human
confidence, listen to no sophistical reasoning, catch at no floating straw
of creature help--but, in believing prayer and childlike faith, commit your
concerns to, and cast yourself upon, God. Oh, dark and inextricable as may
appear your present difficulty, He can and He will rescue you. "Call upon
Me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."
Oh, be it your incessant prayer, "Let integrity and uprightness
preserve me; for I wait on You."
Admire, adore, and glorify the infinite wisdom and power
that can overrule the sins, the backslidings, and the errors of a child of
God for the best. This is marvelous, this is humbling--but so it is.
By them the Lord instructs, abases, and sanctifies. Thus it is that
sin-loathing is promoted, self-abhorrence is inspired, the atoning blood is
endeared, and Jesus, the Savior, becomes more precious. This is the most
wonderful achievement of God's chemistry, that He should extract an
effectual corrective from the deadliest venom--a healing panacea from the
most fatal virus--employing our very backslidings, infirmities, follies,
mistakes, and sins, to the greater advancement of our personal holiness and
Oh, it is a surprising unfolding of that Divine power,
grace, and love, that causes all things in the experience of His
people to work together for the best! What! shall I presume upon this
truth? God forbid! But may it deepen in my soul the conviction--"Wherefore
I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." "Create in me a clean heart,
O God, and renew in me a right spirit."
ENTRUST, THEN, ALL YOUR FUTURE LOT TO GOD. He may bring
you to the border of the sea, and hem you in on every side, and no avenue of
escape open to your eye--nevertheless, "Stand still and see the salvation
of the Lord." He can smite those waters, and make the dark waves you
dread to be crystal walls, fencing you on either side. He can allow your
enemies to pursue, and those very waters that were your defense shall be
their defeat. The deluge that bore upon its swelling tide the church of God
enclosed within the ark, while it proved the salvation of His people, closed
in darkness and in death over His foes. So shall it be with you!
And when the hour arrives that separates you from all
below--in the midst of life, of labor, and of usefulness--from thoughts
unaccomplished, from plans unfinished, from hopes unrealized, from a home so
attractive, and from kindred so dear--be sure, beloved, that it will be, in
the arrangement and appointment of your God, the best time, and the
best mode, and for the best end. Your Father will not put you
off with an inferior good, with a common blessing; He will
give you, in all His givings, the very best that is in His power and in His
heart to bestow. The best place in His church on earth, and the best place
in the church in heaven, is yours, because you are Christ's, and Christ is
Oh, see how dear and precious you are to the heart of
God! You have no conception how He loves you! At this very moment He is
causing all present, as He will all future, circumstances in your life to
work out your best welfare and His greatest glory. Will you,
then--Oh, I enforce it as a closing exhortation--go forward in your new
stage in life, upon your new year's existence, TRUSTING Jesus to order,
arrange, and overrule all things in its undeveloped history for your best
in time, and for your best through a long, a blessed, and
Happy, Savior, would I be,
If I could but trust in Thee;
Trust Your wisdom me to guide,
Trust Your goodness to provide;
Trust Your saving love and power,
Trust You every day and hour;
Trust You, as the only light,
In the darkest hour of night;
Trust in sickness, trust in health,
Trust in poverty and wealth;
Trust in joy, and trust in grief,
Trust Your promise for relief;
Trust Your blood to cleanse my soul,
Trust Your grace to make me whole;
Trust You living, dying too,
Trust You all my journey through;
Trust You until my feet shall be
Planted on the crystal sea;
Trust You, ever-blessed Lamb,
Until I wear the victor's palm;
Trust You until my soul shall be
Wholly swallowed up in Thee.