THE COMING NIGHT.
CLERICAL SUBSCRIPTION AND THE ACT OF UNIFORMITY.
THE COMING NIGHT.
must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night
cometh, when no man can work.”This
week has been one of heavy sorrow to very many. The
neighbourhood has lost one who for many years has stood foremost in
large-hearted Christian benevolence. The poor have been
deprived of a kind friend, to whose liberality they might ever
resort. The children have been bereaved of one who has for
years been anxious to devote her attentive care to their early
training; and all who have ever needed a sympathizing friend have
followed one this day to the grave as warm-hearted, energetic, and
intelligent as is often to be met with in society. Her
character is well described in some lines written by herself on the
death of one she dearly loved—
this frame, by Jesu’s grace,High
gifts and holy held their place;A
noble heart, a mighty mind,Were
here in bonds of clay confined.”And
all this is now gone. The spirit has taken its flight.
Northrepps Cottage is without its tenant. The ruins of the body
have been left this morning in the ruins of the little church, and
many a weeping heart has sent forth its unmistakable evidence of
genuine and deep-felt sorrow.But
we may be quite certain that there is a wise unseen purpose in this
bereavement. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the
Father’s knowledge, and how much more may we be satisfied that
“precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
There are many of his dispensations which seem very dark to
short-sighted men, but they all have their sure purpose. Many
and bitter were the tears shed at Bethany when Lazarus died; painful
and anxious the watchings of his affectionate sisters as they saw
their dear brother growing worse and worse, till all hope ceased, and
the struggle ended in his death. Yet all was for a gracious
purpose; as the Lord Himself said, “This sickness is not unto
death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be
glorified thereby.” Many, doubtless, were the tears shed by
the parents of the blind man whose case is described in our chapter.
Many a heartache must they both have felt as they saw their dear boy
in the midst of his companions, but unable through his blindness to
share their games or enjoy their pleasures; but there was a kind
purpose in that lengthened trial, for as we read in verse 3, it was
permitted “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
So, doubtless, there is a sacred purpose in this present affliction.
It may be hidden from you, but it is not hidden from Him who has
appointed it. Be sure, all ye mourners, that your tears are not
for nought. There is a needs be for the whole. Not a
sorrow has ever yet been laid on any one of God’s people from the
very first, nor ever will be laid on them to the end of time, without
some clear, some gracious, some wise purpose on the part of our God.
Let us, then, endeavour in the sorrow for her death to learn the
lessons taught us by the retrospect of her life; and, instead of
simply deploring our loss, let us strive to move a step forward in
our own upward progress.Now,
in looking at her character, the point that strikes my own mind more
than any other is the fine, vigorous, persevering, affectionate, and
unselfish use of time and talents; and in studying this we cannot do
better than take as our guide the words of our blessed Lord, “I
must work the works of him that sent me while it is day: the night
cometh, when no man can work.” May the Holy Spirit bless the
study of the passage to the salvation of souls and the glory of
idea is to compare life to the daytime, and the comparison is one as
appropriate as it is simple.