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What did he then say to him ?
SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE WILL.
“SPARED but not Saved,” in a late number of the Magazine and Journal, calls to mind a scene of my childhood. The spirit of the principal actor was in perfect contrast with that heart which “stood out against God," and illustrates true submission to the divine will.
Though the most of us were quite young, our father had, several years before, been removed to a better world. The youngest of our number could not remember him. In the midst of a severe winter he was taken away, and left us, orphans, in a cold world. But the widow's God and the Father of the fatherless had not forsaken us. His hand was guiding us on, and mingling mercy in the bitter cup presented to our lips. But disease at length arrested one of our little company.
A brother, but little older than myself, was brought so low that a physician said in the morning that he could not live till night. We had been much together, and in our frequent walks, with our arms around each other, he was just enough the tallest to lay his easily and comfortably over mine. His sickness came very near to me, and when it was said he must go down to the grave, my
'heart stood out against God.” I would gladly have taken him from His hands.
But our mother felt not so. Though her son appeared to be on the verge of the eternal world, without much to lead her to think the exchange would be for the better, her confidence in God was unshaken--her submission perfect. His billows were passing over her, but she had gone through them before, and found him gracious. Now her language was, “I would not take that child out
, of the hands of God, though I could do it by turning a straw.” I, however, would then have quickly turned it, to have brought him back from the grave we thought he was about to enter ; but not so now.
A quarter of a century has since passed away. It is long since I have entered the room, or seen the house that then sheltered us. Other events, greater in the eyes of the world, have, one after another, been forgotten, but the remembrance of that remark will not cease. The spot where my mother stood, the picture of composure—the almost heavenly serenity of her countenance, as she uttered the above remark to the group around her—these are yet distinctly before me.
And that son lived to be-not a curse, but a comfort to the mother, and an ambassador of Jesus. While the mother refused to turn a straw to take him out of the hands of God, he graciously cast the weight into the scales that were delicately balanced between time and eternity, that turned him back to life. Such is genuine submission to the divine will. It would have
. God choose for us. “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Under the influence of it, whether God gives or takes, wounds or binds up, his dealings with us will be blessed to us.
I have seen the father cherish it. In the midst of sins that vexed his soul, he had said, “Lord, take what thou wilt, but give me thyself.” Three days pass away, and the bloom of health has not only faded from the cheek of his first-born son, but a burning fever is on him.
“Did you mean I should take this child, the first-born son of your love, if needful, to secure your interest in me?"
“Yea, Lord, I meant it all. I love the child, deal with me in mercy : remember I am but dust, and deal with me as thou wilt.” The fever was stayed--the child lived.
I would not limit the Most High, or prescribe rules for the divine operations—but it does often seem that when kindred and friends are brought to perfect submission, God rebukes the diseases of the sick, and, as we think, the dying, and restores them to us, when otherwise they had been removed from our sight.
And why may it not be so? As he does not afflict us willingly, the more gentle the rod that secures the end in view, the greater His delight.
HOW TO SERMONIZE.
BY THE LATE DR. JOHN MASON.
1. Go to the bottom of your subject; and think of everything that ought to be said upon it. And consider what points, or parts of it, your hearers would be glad to have cleared up, or most enlarged upon. To skim off only the surface is to put off your audience with froth. The weightiest sentiments often lie at the bottom; be at the pains, then, of diving deep to bring them ир from thence. On the other hand,
2. Take care you do not torture your subject, by aiming to exhaust it. Don't endeavor to say everything that can be said, but everything that ought to be said upon it. A preacher's excellence is seen, not so much in saying a great deal upon a text, as saying the best things in the best manner.
3. Don't crowd your thoughts too thick. This will but fatigue and perplex the minds of your hearers, who should always have time to follow you. If you pour water too fast into the funnel, it will run over.
4. Protract not your discourse to an undue length. The sentiments will not be attended to, whilst your hearers are impatiently waiting and wishing for the conclusion. It were better to offend by the other extreme, provided your matter be solid, well disposed, and well digested. Better leave your audience longing than loathing. Abstinence is less hurtful than repletion. I think Luther says in his table-talk, that one necessary qualification of a preacher is to know when to leave off.
But thy Ma-ker's eye can view Pres-ent scenes and fu - ture too.