And if any of those Christian friends have fallen asleep in Jesus, then it is a great mercy to know most certainly that they are your friends still, and your best friends too; and you should thank God for the happiness which they now enjoy, and which you hope to share with them.
But you have other mercies to remember besides these. Surely much has been done for your spiritual good by your Father in heaven. He has shewn patience, forbearance, and long-suffering towards you; and has been teaching you during these past months by faithful ministers or faithful friends; and has been striving within you to bring you to Himself, and to keep you there. Have you enjoyed no peace in believing, nor gained any victories over self and sin? Have you possessed no more calm and habitual fellowship with God? Have you done no good? Has prayer neither been offered in truth, nor answered in love? Has all been fruitless and dead? Oh, let us beware of the falsehood of denying spiritual mercies bestowed on us by God! “If I should say I know Him not, I should be a liar like unto you,” said our Lord. The graces of the Spirit, the least of them, are the earnests of eternal good, the assurances of enjoying the whole fulness of God.
BUT YOU HAVE SORROWS TO REMEMBER. Alas! we are in little danger of forgetting these. The sunny days may come and go unheeded, but the dark ones are all registered. We cannot forget that “the Lord taketh away;” but why do we not as vividly remember that the same Lord “giveth” and that in both cases we have equal cause, did we only see it, to exclaim, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” I ask not what these sorrows have been. Enough that they are very real to you, or to those who are bound up with you in the bundle of life. It was a weary time to you in the wilderness, and it is well to remember that portion of the way in which you have been led, which was as a dark valley and shadow of death.
AND WHAT OF SIN? That is what makes it so hard for us to remember the past journey. The backslidings and falls in the way; the careless straggling behind; the lazy resting-places; the slow progress; the careless devotions; the misspent days of the Lord; the opportunities lost of doing good to others, or of receiving good ourselves, through procrastination, sloth, and indifference; the manifestation of our unloving and selfish spirit towards our brother, in envy, bad temper, backbiting, jealousy, or unguarded speech; the little done or given for God’s work on earth, in charity to the poor, or to “our own flesh” who required assistance;—the everything, in short, which deters memory from looking steadily at what it would if it could blot out for ever from its records! Yet it is of great importance that this portion of the journey should be remembered; although it is not the way in which God led us, but which we chose for ourselves in our ignorance and self-will. Ponder it well! Recall what your