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Sunshine.

Sunshine.

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Published by glennpease
BY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D.


" Lord, lift tlioa up ihe light of thy countenance upon us."
BY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D.


" Lord, lift tlioa up ihe light of thy countenance upon us."

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Published by: glennpease on May 01, 2014
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SUSHIE. BY J. R. MACDUFF, D.D. " Lord, lift tlioa up ihe light of thy countenance upon us." A TIME of sickness is not onfrequentlj a time of gloom. We seem to be surrounded with thick darkness. As in the natural world, when dense clouds come between us and the light of the sun, we are more timid and fearful, — as in threading our way amid precipices and pitfalls we tremble to find the shades of evening gather- ing around us ; so when in the dangerous pil- grimage of life we find ourselves suddenly enwrapped in mist and gloom, our hearts begin to fail, and our fears are awakened at- eveiy onward step. We lose for a while the comfort- ing sense of the Divine favour and presence ; we are cast down by the pressure of painful doubts and apprehensions ; we know not which way to turn for light, and the language of our troubled souls often is, " Has God forgotten to be gra- cious?" Why has this darkness come upon me? why am I left so comfortless? why is the I/O SUSHIE. hand withdrawn which used to guide me? — why the comfort withheld which used to gladden me? — ^why the peace destroyed which used to quiet me ? — why do these fears, and doubts, and apprehensions so gather round and beset my soul? Suffering one, have you not experienced this sadness? — have you not agonised under the
 
appalling thought that your God and Father had forsaken you — that the light was for ever withdrawn which was the very joy of your heart? Lying on your sick-bed, have you not passed many a weary, anxious hour trying to discover, " Why is it so with me? why has my health been taken away ? why has trouble been sent upon me? wherefore, O my God, art Thou angry with Thy child ? and wherefore dost Thou leave me to grope my way through such im- penetrable darkness ? " Oh ! this is the ordeal of sickness, — this is part of the " much tribulation." o " strange " thing has happened unto thee. Thy Father has not left thee, neither has He withdrawn the sunshine of His favour. He has only per- mitted clouds to intervene, dark and mysterious providences to come across the sky, and dangers SUSHIE. 171 to threaten 70a for a season. And He has had the wisest reasons for so doing. He knew how prone His children ever are to forget or under- valae their most precious blessings, — how the world, and onr daily intercoorse with it, tend to weaken and destroy our longings for heavenly communion and fellowship, — how the uninter- rupted continuance of blessing and comfort and peace is not conducive to the growth and de- velopment of the Christian character, but often- times leads to listlessness, inactivity, and spi- ritual pride. Therefore does He send trial, distress, suffer- ing; therefore does He remove some valued blessing or comfort; therefore does He com-
 
mand the clouds to gather and to cast their deepening shadows round His loved one. It is not that He delights in giving pain, or in lessening the peace and comfort of His children. Oh, no ! It is that they may long more ardently for that of which they have been for a season de- prived ; it is that the darkness may make the sunshine more precious, — that the fears and doubts may intensify the desire for peace and security, — that the absence of spiritual joy may re-awaken the longing for its return, — that the 172 SUSHIE. dangers and perils which ever and anon are exciting the cry for help may lead the trembling one to distrust self, to feel no security in mere human help, but to look upwards to Him ^^ whose arm is not shortened that it cannot save, whose ear is not heavy that it cannot hear." " It is in this way that 9, forgotten God recalls our wandering affections to Himself. He lays waste the enthroned creature that He may once again enthrone Himself. He breaks the cistern, not that we may be left parched and fainting in the wilderness of life, but go and satisfy our thirsting souls once again from the everlasting spring. He crushes the reed, but He substitutes for it a rock. He puts far away from us * lover and friend,' with all the unutterable sweetness of their affection and the tenderness of their love; but what does He substitute? Himself, the intense, unfathomable love of His own infinite mind, the presence of Christ, and com- munion with heaven."

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