led them forth by the right way."
Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to inquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light,
but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold, trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm; I shall never be moved.
Lord, thou dost hide thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; today my evidences
are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday, I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice
with confidence in my future inheritance; today, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this
part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of
your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making
you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of
your faith--they are waves that wash you further upon the rock--they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards
the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "So he bringeth them to their desired haven."
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution
and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh,
think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much
tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."
let my trembling soul be still,
And wait thy wise, thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, thy purpose see,
is well since ruled by thee."
"Behold, thou art fair, my Beloved."
Song of Solomon 1:16
From every point our Well-beloved is most fair. Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly Father to furnish
fresh standpoints from which we may view the loveliness of Jesus; how amiable are our trials when they carry us aloft where
we may gain clearer views of Jesus than ordinary life could afford us! We have seen him from the top of Amana, from the top
of Shenir and Hermon, and he has shone upon us as the sun in his strength; but we have seen him also "from the lions'
dens, from the mountains of the leopards," and he has lost none of his loveliness. From the languishing of a sick bed,
from the borders of the grave, have we turned our eyes to our soul's spouse, and he has never been otherwise than "all
fair." Many of his saints have looked upon him from the gloom of dungeons, and from the red flames of the stake, yet
have they never uttered an ill word of him, but have died extolling his surpassing charms. Oh, noble and pleasant employment
to be forever gazing at our sweet Lord Jesus! Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Saviour in all his offices, and
to perceive him matchless in each?--to shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of peerless graces?
In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on his throne, in the garden and in his kingdom, among thieves or in the midst
of cherubim, he is everywhere "altogether lovely." Examine carefully every little act of his life, and every trait
of his character, and he is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh him
as you please, and he will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather,
as ages revolve, his hidden glories shall shine forth with yet more inconceivable splendour, and his unutterable loveliness
shall more and more ravish all celestial minds.