No step of your thorny path
I rejoice to see your faith in the unchangeable love of our three-one God, and your humility under its bright display. But why, my dear Sir, should you say, "I am discouraged because of the difficulty of the way?" You know the Lord led Israel of old "by a right way" through the wilderness, in all their forward and backward traces—"to a city of habitation." And thus He leads you through this world's wilderness, by a right way, to your eternal rest—by that very way which infinite wisdom devised, which infinite goodness ordained to be the path in which you were to walk, as your direct way to eternal glory—as that which should be most for God's praise and your salvation-bliss.
And when once you reach the land of promise, and have the advantage of that higher ground, you shall remember all the way by which the Lord led you through the wilderness, and see it to have been a right way, and that no step of your thorny path could have been better than it was. You shall then see, to your endless joy, what wonders of infinite grace have been wrought for you—in preserving and increasing your spiritual life amid innumerable deaths—and forever adore the conduct of wise grace that brought you safe to the heights of glory—through such a dark and intricate maze—from the depths of earthly encumbrance. And until you are blessed with sight, you must live by faith. No reason is there for discouragement, since through the wilderness you have such a glorious Guide! Your dear Lord Jesus is given to be your companion through the world's tribulation—you have His arm to lean on—and His bosom to rest in, under all your weakness, and in all your disconsolation. If your way be rough—your shoes should be iron or brass; if you are surrounded with dangers—the eternal God is your refuge; if you are ready to faint under pressing weights—underneath are the everlasting arms for your support.
And He who has been the God of your youth will not forsake you in old age. You know what He says, "And unto your old age, I am He; and unto grey hairs will I carry you—I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." Then, Sir, you shall never quite tire, because you travel in omnipotent strength. So long as the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary—who gives power to the faint, and increases strength unto those who have no might—so long shall you renew your strength, run and not be weary, and walk and not faint—until He has brought you unto Himself! You may set up your Ebenezer, and say, "hitherto has the Lord helped." And you know His faithful promise, "I will never, never, never leave you, nor forsake you!" When all creatures and things fail you, yes, when your own strength and heart fail you—"God is the strength of your heart, and your portion forever." And what can you desire more? Therefore, yield not to discouragement, but lean on a God all-sufficient. For He says, "the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you; neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you." And in His kindness, in the covenant of His peace, you have all that your soul can want or wish. Behave, then, in faith as an heir of God, and leave it to them to be discouraged, who have no interest in His infinitely free, rich, and super-abounding grace—in immutable, eternal grace! For this grace is and will be the source of all your earthly-felicity and immortal glory.
I wish you the rich consolations of the Holy Spirit while you abide in any distress, until you are called to "enter into the joy of your Lord," where sin and sorrow shall have no place!
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