But when the hour of earthly desolation comes to those who have long acknowledged the special providence of God in “all the dreary intercourse of daily life,” “they knew in whom they have believed," and no storms can shake that faith. They know from experience that all things work together for good to them that love God. In the loving, child-like confidence of long-tried and now perfecting faith, they are enabled to say from the depths of their heart, “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good." They seek not now to ascertain the “needs be” for this particular trial. It might harrow up their human heart too much to trace the details of sorrows such as these, in the manner in which they formerly examined into the details of those of daily life. “It is the Lord;” these words alone not only still all complaining, but fill the soul with a depth of peace never experienced by the believer until all happiness is withdrawn but that which comes direct from God. “It is the Lord,” who died that we might live, and can we murmur even if we dared? No; the love of Christ constrains us to cast ourselves at his feet, not only in submission, but in grateful adoration. It is through his redeeming love that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, will work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Even the very depth of mystery which may attend the sorrowful dispensation, will only draw forth a stronger manifestation of the Christian’s faith and love. She will be enabled to rejoice that God does not allow her to see even one reason for the stroke that lays low all her earthly happiness; as thus only, perhaps, can she experience all the fulness of peace that accompanies an unquestioning trust in the wisdom and love of his decrees. For such unquestioning trust, however, there must be a long and diligent preparation: it is not the growth of days or weeks; yet, unless it is begun even this very day, it may never be begun at all. The practice of daily contentment is the only means of finally attaining to Christian resignation.
I do not appeal to you for the necessity of immediate action, because this day may be your last. I do not exhort you “to live as if this day were the whole of life, and not a part or section of it," because it may, in fact, be the whole of life to you. It may be so, but it is not probable, and when you have certainties to guide you, they are better excitements to immediate action than the most solemn possibilities.
The certainty to which I now appeal is, that every duty I have been urging upon you will be much easier to you to-day than it would be, even so soon as to-morrow. One hour’s longer indulgence of a discontented spirit, of rebellious and murmuring thoughts, will stamp on your mind an impression, which, however slight it may be, will entail upon you a lifelong struggle against it. Every indulged thought becomes a part of ourselves: you have the awful freedom of will to make yourself what you will to be. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," “Quench” the Spirit and the holy flame will never be rekindled. Kneel, then, before God, even now, to pray that you may be enabled to will aright.