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I bless Thee, O my Father, for all Thou hast done for me, for all Thou hast given me, for all Thou art to me. While birds and flowers praise Thee, I will not be silent. “I will sing and give praise with the best member that I have." My heart shall praise Thee, and with my lips will I give thanks unto Thee.
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." Thus far hast Thou brought me on the way to recovery. I can now enjoy sweet sights and sounds, and, better still, I can now collect my thoughts, and think of Thee, and pray to Thee, and praise Thee. These are my present mercies; I thank Thee, O my God.
But grant that my praise may not be lipservice only, and that my thankfulness may never pass away. Help me in my life to praise Thee. Flowers fulfil the purpose for which they were made, birds do what Thou didst form them to do; grant me also grace to fill the place Thou gavest me to fill, and to do what Thou wouldst have me do. They, in their way, do so unconsciously, by nature and instinct; I can do
so by grace alone. Lord, give me Thy grace. Keep me from ever dishonouring the name of Christian; give me grace to live to Thee, and to adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour in all things. O God of nature, God of grace, my God and Father in Christ Jesus, be pleased for His sake to accept these my poor praises, and help me to love Thee more and to praise Thee better !
SORROW UPON SORROW.
“For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow."-Phil. ii. 27.
How happy are we, that our sorrows are measured out to us by our Father in heaven! He knows what we can bear, and how much is for our good, and at what point sorrow would overwhelm us; and, because He is our Father and loves us, He will not allow our sorrow to reach that point; He will not let us be overwhelmed, "swallowed up with overmuch sorrow."
Paul was in affliction at this time. a prisoner at Rome for the Gospel, and there he had many personal trials, and many causes of anxiety. Epaphroditus had been sent from Philippi to minister to his wants, and while at
Rome had fallen ill, so ill that "he was sick nigh unto death." It was a great affliction to him to be ill so far from home, and to know that his friends at Philippi knew of it, and were grieving for him; and it was a great trouble to Paul, too, for it was to help and comfort him that Epaphroditus had come, and now it seemed likely that his coming would cost him his life. This would indeed be sorrow upon sorrow," another grief added to those he had before.
But it was not so to be. God put forth His hand, and stopped the disease, so that it did not come to death; Epaphroditus recovered. This was of God. Paul traced it entirely to His mercy. "God had mercy on him," had compassion on him; and not on him only, but on Paul also. In healing Epaphroditus, He also took a load of anxiety from Paul. He would not that he should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
I have often been struck with this passage, but never so much as now; for now it comes home to me, as describing my own case. In my weak and helpless state, lying on a sick
bed, much troubled by my own illness, and with many things pressing on my mind, I heard lately of another trouble at a distance; one very dear to me was ill, dangerously ill, and I could not go to him; I could do nothing, nothing but pray. And now, to-day, what do I hear? Good news; the danger is past, and he is pronounced to be on the way to recovery. A letter brings the news, but I take it straight from God; the feeling of my heart is, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. God has had mercy on him; "and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.' "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
O my God and Father, I thank Thee for this Thy mercy to me; I thank Thee that Thou wouldest not that I should have "sorrow upon sorrow;" I thank Thee that Thou dost keep my sorrows in Thine own hand, and measurest them out to me as Thou seest best. "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. No sorrow will be too great or too long, for Thy hand will portion it out to me; if Thou