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CHAPTER II.

GROANINGS AND DESIRES.

“I am feeble, and sore broken; I have roared by reason

of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before Thee; and my groaning is not hid from Thee.”Psalm xxxviii. 8, 9.

Just now my nights are my worst time; for my sleep is much broken, and I cannot lie with ease, and pain and discomfort make me restless. I am glad to be alone. For it is a relief to groan, and indeed pain often forces groans from me involuntarily. If I were not alone, I should be less free; I should try to stifle every sound, not to distress others; I must be silent for their sake; but it would be to my own discomfort. David said, after such a night, “I am weary with my groaning."

" It comforts me to think that God is not weary of my groaning. I do not groan in

When pain forces a groan or cry from me, it comforts me that Thou dost hear it, and hear it with pity.

My Father, if Thou hearest even a groan, Thou wilt surely listen to a prayer. Groaning is but an involuntary utterance, forced from me by pain; but prayer is what Thou dost bid me make. And if Thou hearest my groans and prayers, and carest for me, and pitiest me, then Thou wilt do all for my relief that Thou seest to be best. Thou wilt not leave me still groaning with pain, Thou wilt not let me go on praying, and yet receive no answer. I am before Thee, with all my pains, needs, groanings, and desires! I am before Thee, all open in Thy sight, before Thy throne, in Thy sight and hearing, in Thy presence. Gracious Father, in Thy loving mercy, look upon me, listen to me, comfort me, support me, help me, for Thy dear Son's sake, my Saviour and Redeemer.

CHAPTER III.

THE BATTLE OF THE THOUGHTS.

· Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with

me; fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me; say unto my soul I am thy salvation !”—Psalm xxxv. 1-3.

I Am much troubled in my thoughts. My heart's desire is to have none but good thoughts; but even while I am trying to think aright, thoughts of vain and evil things will come, and recollections of things that I would fain forget, and idle and hurtful fancies and imaginations. They come in a moment, I know not whence. Before I am aware, they are upon me. I feel powerless against them, they come so suddenly and irresistibly.

My only refuge is in prayer. I cannot resist or keep them out; but God can. Often have

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I found that prayer to be answered, and answered at the very moment, “Almighty God, unto Whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit;” and often have I felt the comfort of addressing God thus, “O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men.” Yes, O my God, Thy power is infinite; Thou canst hinder wrong thoughts from coming, Thou canst send them away when they come, Thou canst rid my mind of them; and, as it is not Thy

! will that I should think such thoughts, Thou wilt surely put forth Thy power on my behalf against them.

I do really know whence they come; at least I know who it is that seeks to turn them to the hurt of my soul and the spoiling of my peace. It is the enemy himself, my great and deadly enemy.

But Thou, my God, art mightier than he, Thou canst defeat his designs; Thou canst overcome him, when he attacks me through my own thoughts. This is the enemy against whom I would make use of this prayer of David. He fights against me; O Lord, do Thou fight against him. He is too mighty for me; oh, do Thou come forth for me against him.

In Thy almighty power stand up for my help; use against him such weapons as shall overcome his fiery darts; do Thou Thyself defend me against these evil thoughts by Thy shield and buckler; let them not even come near me, to wound or terrify me; bring forth the speara weapon for use at a distance---and stop the way against this persecuting enemy and these tormenting thoughts and fancies ; keep them at spear's length from me; and graciously, by Thy Spirit, assure my heart that Thou wilt do so; “say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.'

Alas, too often have I myself failed in watchfulness, often might I trace my trouble and fall to my not having resisted the first motion of evil within. Forgive me, O my God, forgive me, for Christ's sake, for all the past, and make me henceforth more watchful, more aware of the enemy's approach, more

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