“I have not seen you so disturbed for weeks,” said Mrs. De Lisle.
“I have not felt so wild a strife in my soul for months,” was answered. “Oh, that I could die! It was this prayer that unlocked the long closed fountain of tears.”
“With God are the issues of life,” said Mrs. De Lisle. “We must each of us wait His good time—patiently, hopefully, self-denyingly wait.”
“I know! I know!” replied Mrs. Dexter. “But I cannot look along the way that lies before me without a shudder. The path is too difficult.”
“You will surely receive strength.”
“I would rather die!” A slight convulsion ran through her frame.
“Don’t look into the future, dear young friend! Only to-day’s duties are required; and strength ever comes with the duty.”
“Not even God can give strength for mine,” said Mrs. Dexter, almost wildly.
“Hush! hush! the thought is impious!” Mrs. De Lisle spoke in warning tones.
“Not impious, but true. God did not lay these heavy burdens on me. My own hands placed them there. If I drag a pillar down upon myself, will God make my bones iron so that they shall not be broken? No, Mrs. De Lisle; there is only one hope for me, and that is in death; and I pray for it daily.”
“You state the case too strongly,” said Mrs. De Lisle. “God prevides as well as provides. His providence determining what is best for us; and His previdence counteracts our ignorance, self-will, or evil purposes, and saves us from the destruction we would blindly meet. He never permits any act in His creatures, for which He does not previde an agency that turns the evil that would follow into good. Your case is parallel to thousands. As a free woman, you took this most important step. God could not have prevented it without destroying that freedom which (sic) constitues your individuality, and makes you a recipient of life from Him. But He can sustain you in the duties and trials you have assumed; and He will do it, if you permit Him to substitute His divine strength for your human weakness. In all trial, affliction, calamity, suffering, there is a germ of angelic life. It is through much tribulation that the Kingdom of Heaven is gained. Some spirits require intenser fires for purification than others; and yours may be of this genus. God is the refiner and the purifier; and He will not suffer any of the gold and silver to be lost. Dear friend! do not shrink away from the ordeal.”
“I am not strong enough yet.” It was all the reply Mrs. Dexter made. Her voice was mournful in the extreme.
“Wait for strength. As your day is, so shall it be.”
Mrs. Dexter shook her head.
“What more can I say?” Mrs. De Lisle spoke almost sadly, for she could not see that her earnestly spoken counsel had wrought any good effect.
“Nothing! nothing! dear friend!” answered Mrs. Dexter, still very mournfully.