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enough to satisfy us of our duty, if we are conscious, that, at the time we take a step, we have an adequate motive. If we are conscious of a wrong motive, or of a rash proceeding, for such steps we must expect to suffer.
Trouble or difficulty befalling us after any particular step, is not, of itself, an argument that the step was wrong. A storm oventook the disciples in the ship; but this was no proof that they had done wrong to go on board. Esau met Jacob, and occasioned him great fear and anxiety, when he left Laban; but this did not prove him to have done wrong in the step which he had taken. Difficulties are no ground of presụmption against us, when we did not run into them in following our own will: yet the Israelites were with difficulty convinced that they were in the path of duty, when they found themselves shut in by the Red Sea. Christians, and especially ministers, must expect troubles: it is in this way that God leads them: he conducts them" per ardua ad astra." They would be in imminent danger if the multitude at all times cried Hosanna!
We must remember that we are short-sighted creatures. We are like an unskilful chess-player, who takes the next piece, while a skilful one looks further. He, who sees the end from the beginning, will often appoint us a most inexplicable way to walk in. Joseph was put into the pit and the dungeon: but this was the way which led to the throne.
We often want to know too much and too soon. We want the light of to-morrow, but it will not come till to-morrow. And then a slight turn, perhaps, will throw such light on our path, that we shall be astonished we saw not our way before. “I can wait,” says Lavater. This is a high attainment. We must labour, therefore, to be quiet in that path, from which we cannot recede without danger and evil.
There is not a nobler sight in the world, than an aged and experienced Christian, who, having been sifted in the sieve of temptation, stands forth as a confirmer of the assaulted---testifying, from his own trials, the reality of religion; and meeting, by his warnings and directions and consolations, the cases of all who may be tempted to doubt it.
The Christian expects his reward, not as due to merit; but as connected, in a constitution of grace, with those acts which grace enables him to perform. The pilgrim, who has been led to the gate of heaven, will not knock there as worthy of being admitted; but the gate shall open to him, because he is brought thither. He, who sows, even with tears, the precious seed of faith, hope, and love, shall doubtless come again with joy, and bring his sheaves with him; because it is in the very nature of that seed, to yield, under the kindly influence secured to it, a joyful harvest.
WHEN a young Minister sets out, he should sit down and ask himself HOW HE MAY BEST QUALIFY HIMSELF FOR HIS OFFICE.
How does a physician qualify himself? It is not enough that he offers to feel the pulse. He must read, and enquire, and observe, and make experiments, and correct himself again and again. He must lay in a stock of medical knowledge before he begins to feel the pulse.
The Minister is a Physician of a far higher order. He has a vast field before him. He has to study an infinite variety of constitutions. He is to furnish himself with the knowledge of the whole system of remedies. He is to be a man of skill and expedient. If one thing fail, he must know how to apply another. Many intricate and perplexed cases will come before him : it will be disgraceful to him not to be prepared for such. His patients will put many questions to him: it will be disgraceful to him not to be prepared to