"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them." Isaiah 41:17

Has not this been God's way and method of dealing with His people in every age!—in the hour of desert privation, when the heavens above them were as brass and the earth as iron, to bring them the shade of palm-grove and the refreshment of fountain?

It was when the disciples were in their hour of extremity, during the storm on Gennesaret, giving themselves up to the hopelessness of despair, that, "in the fourth watch of the night," when darkness was deepest and danger greatest, the great Deliverer appeared on the crested wave—"Jesus went out to them walking on the lake!"

It was when the bereaved of Bethany had, as they imagined, consigned the fond treasure of their affections to everlasting silence; and, as they were sitting in the pillaged home, wondering at the mysterious delay on the part of the one Being who could alone have arrested that winged arrow which had laid low the delight of their hearts; at that crisis-hour, the great Conqueror of death appears, to revive the smouldering ashes of their faith, and reanimate the joy and prop of their existence! Yes, how often still, does God thus delay His comforting mercy to the very last—"the tongue failing for thirst"—that they may see His hand, and His hand alone, in the gracious intervention or deliverance, and be brought to say, with grateful adoring thankfulness, "Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death!"

Even when He does not appear visibly to support; when some treasured comfort is withdrawn; or when deliverance from some threatened earthly trial or threatened evil is not given—it is in order that we may, the more significantly and submissively, cast ourselves on Him. The shelter of the canvas tent is removed. But it only the more endears to us the shadow of the Elim-Palm. Observe the difference between the failing of the world's consolations and refuges and joys; and those of the true Christian. When the worldly man mourns his dried-up brooks or his stripped and dismantled tents, he has lost his all—he has nowhere else to turn; there is nothing left him but the waterless channel—the dreary stretches of blinding sand—the tear of despair—the broken heart—the grave!

But, in the case of the believer, when one comfort is withdrawn, his God has other spiritual comforts for him in store. Miserable, indeed, are those who have nothing but the poor earthly streamlet of this world to look to! Sooner or later this must be their history (as multitudes can bear testimony), "And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up" (1 Kings 17:7), Or the earthly tent!—"In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment." (Jer. 4:20).

But, "happy is the man who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God"—who can say, in the words of a faithful and venerated member of the Church of Christ recently entered on his rest and reward—'In the crowded city, "You are about my path." In the secret chamber, "You are about my bed." In the trackless desert, "You, God, see me." In the lonely journey, "Surely the Lord is in this place, though I knew it not." In the assembled congregation, "Wherever I cause my Name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you." In the little company at home, "Where two or three come together in My Name, there am I with them." In distant cities and foreign lands, "I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone." In looking back on all the places of residence, "Lord, You have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations." And humbly depending on the promise for the great future, "Where I am, there shall also My servants be."'

Beautifully have the two greatest religious poets of Germany (Gerhard and Lange) thus sung—
"You were not born that earth should be
A portion fondly sought;
Look up to heaven, and, smiling, see
Your shining, golden lot!
Honors and joys which you shall share,
Unending and unenvied there!

"Then journey on to life and bliss,
God will protect to heaven;
And every good that meets you is
A blessing wisely given.
If losses come—so let it be,
The God of heaven remains with thee!

"Yes, the light of comfort shall return,
Joy's sweet sun shall shine again at last,
I shall sing the gladsome song of morning,
When the watches of the night are past.

"I shall find again the hopes long vanished,
Like the swallows when the storms are
Fountains shall be opened in the deserts,
Streams by the wayside, while journeying on.

"Flowers of love and promise shall be springing,
Where the cruel thorn and wormwood sprung,
And the homeward path lie bright in sunshine,
Where my sad harp upon the willows hung!"

"O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

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