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This holy anointing of joy from above
Thy glory and beauty doth cover my shame;
JOHN BRADFORD. A.B.
CHRIST THE ETERNAL ROCK.
Charlotte Hill Freed.
“ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE." " Jesus Christ, THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND for Ever. WHOM TO KNOW IS
E ARD may Lire ETERNAL."
CALL ME NOT NAOMI,* CALL ME MARA:+ FOR THE ALMIGHTY
HATH DEALT VERY BITTERLY WITH ME.—RUTH, 1. 20. STAY! be not too hasty, Naomi ; judge not so rashly of thy case complicated and painful as is its aspect-"for the man (Christ Jesus, thy Lord and Master,) will not be in rest until he have finished the thing this day," (Ruth, iii. 18); for though it seems many days, and weeks, and months, that thou hast waited, apparently in vain, for the fulfilment of the promise, yet it is but a day with him in whose sight “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," (2 Peter, iii. 8.) “ The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie : though it tarry, wait for it ; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Considering thy former condition, when “thou wentest out full,” we wonder not, now “the Lord hath brought thee back empty,” that unbelief and carnal reason should hold a conference upon thy state ; we are not surprised that they should bring thee to the conclusion, “It giveth me much pain that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me," (v. 13.) But faith (which, under the mighty operation of its Divine Author, can pierce the darkest cloud) sees it otherwise ; she puts another construction upon the Lord's dealings
* Naomi signifies pleasant. + Mara, bitter. No. XI. Vol. 1.—New Seriès.
with thee, and says, “The hand of the Lord is not gone out against thee, Naomi. No; on the contrary, it is working on thy behalf; and by and by it shall most blessedly appear to have been so.”
Thou “ wentest out full,” Naomi; but was it not of a fancied strength and wisdom? The famine was, perhaps, not more sore in the land (v. i.) than it was in thy soul, though thou wast scarcely conscious of it. Thine heart probably was barren, and almost destitute of moisture, with no goings forth after the God of thy salvation; so that thou hadst reason to exclaim, “My leanness, my leanness :" or, it may be, thou wast sighing after some more evident token of Divine favour ; and now thy poor flesh trembles at the way by which the Lord is granting thy request. It is by “terrible things in righteousness” (Ps. xxvi. 5), he is "answering thee,” it is true : under it, we hear thee exclaiming, “ Art thou come out to seek a flee, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountain ?” (1 Sam. xxvi. 20.) “Wilt thou contend against me with thy great power ?” (Job, xxiii. 6.) “Wilt thou utterly consume me with terrors ?” (Psalm lxxiii. 19.) “Wilt thou not turn again thine hand, or shall thy poor trembling worm be sent unto swift destruction ?” Like a bear deprived of its whelps, or a lion robbed of its prey, thy poor soul labours and toils, wondering where the scene will end. Yet, Naomi, painful as is thy present condition, viewed by the eve of Reason, all is well ! Do thyself no harm. Make no hasty resolutions. Come to no rash conclusions. It is all right even now, dark, and gloomy, and discouraging, as it may appear. Thy dear Lord and Saviour never was closer to thee than he is now, though thou art enveloped in such a thick darkness as to see him not. He has not forgotten the time of love, when first he revealed himself unto thee, though thou mayst have forgotten it, or art now ready to believe that it was all a delusion. It is, so to speak, all fresh upon his recollection. Though thine earthly husband is dead, yet thine heavenly Bridegroom ever lives. He remembers his betrothals; he forgets not the interchange of love ; he ceases not to think of the return of thine affection towards him, when first he revealed unto thee the love of his heart, andcalled thee “ his love, his dove, his undefiled” one, (Song v. 2.) All-all is present to his view ; in it he has as lively an interest as thyself. Nor can he falsify himself nor prove unfaithful. And though, in thy weakness, sin, and folly, thou hast a thousand times wandered from him, and called his love in question, yet he remains the same. He is thy loving Husband still. He cannot put thee away; he cannot turn away from thee to do thee good; he cannot suffer thee to betroth thyself unto another, før he “hedges up thy way with thorns," and causeth thee to exclaim, “I will go and return unto my first Husband, for then was it better with me than now,” (Hosea, ii. 7.) Ah! little art thou aware with what peculiar tenderness he is regarding thee. Shall an earthly lover with anxious solicitude watch the movements of the object in whom his affections centre ? shall he seek to secure her affection, to win her love? his object obtained in a reciprocal regard, shall he anticipate with rapture the consummation of his joy? and shall Jesus, the heavenly Bridegroom, who not merely loved his bride, but ransomed