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SANCTIFIED AFFLICTIONS

When gazing on the cloud
That gathers o’er my head,
Dark thoughts within me crowd,
And fill my soul with dread.
My heart anticipates the worst,
Some fearful storm about to burst.

But O! How good and kind,
How faithful and how true
Is he who leads the blind
In paths they never knew;
He goes before, and makes a way,
Turns grief to joy and night to day.

When troubles and afflictions come upon us as stormy clouds, and we are enveloped in the darkness, there are times when our spirits are overwhelmed within us, and in the gloom of such dispensations we become fretful, rebellions (unless exceeding riches of grace are ministered to us by the Holy Ghost, the Comforter) and this but deepens our distress.

It is no easy matter when we are thus weighed down to see that all things work together for good; to think that in the faithfulness of our God that such afflictions are upon us. We are far from acquiescence, and it is not in our power to quell the disquietudes of our soul, and say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). But O! if the “Sun of Righteousness” (Mal. 4:2), will only break through, and smile upon me. If our Savior will but shine upon the dark cloud of our distresses; then what fair colors, what inspiring gladness, discoveries of the attributes of Christ our Sun of Righteousness are seen in the clouds! The bow of the new and everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure. O what mercies, what compassion, what love, what long-suffering, what faithfulness of our God we are made to trace in our afflictions.

Often the clouds of deepest woe,
So sweet a message bear,
Dark though they seem ‘twere hard to find
A frown of anger there.

“The bow shall be in the cloud” (Gen. 9:16). Our dear Savior has told us, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

And how blessed and assuring are the following: “But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee; O Israel , fear not for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:1-2). Our afflictions are sanctified unto us in God’s covenant love, and in them we are brought to seek His face for that sustaining grace to endure our trials and that we may glorify His name in the midst of the fires; and we cry also unto Him that He will bring us through our troubles that we may praise His name.

“In their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15). And, saith the Lord, “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people; and they shall trust in the name of the Lord” (Zeph. 3:12). And

“Should thou a moment’s absence mourn,
Should some short darkness intervene,
He’ll give the power, ‘till light return,
To trust Him with the cloud between.”

FREDRICK W. KEENE,
Raleigh , NC

THE LONE PILGRIM,
pages 85 thru 87.