Thursday, December 9, 2010

a league and covenant with disaster...

Some direct truth from Rev. Frothingham in his sermon, "Trials No Strange Thing" (continued)

"But there is another, in more direct accordance with the sentiment that the text means to convey. It is, that the afflictions of life, though few when set by the side of the innumerable kindnesses, that flow without ceasing and are so continuous as to be unregarded, are yet neither uncommon nor light. They form a regular part of the great system of heavenly appointments, in which we, with our changing circumstances and vanishing life, are included. They are more impartial than they are supposed to be. They spare none. They assail the most envied conditions. They are not to be bought off by the opulent, nor fought off by the strong. They trample upon the presumption of human abilities of every kind, and despise title and place. Science can bring none of its devices to bear upon them. Innocence itself can afford solace only, no defence, against their invasions. Where they appear not, they are; for they devour in secret, as well as smite openly. Some of the worst misfortunes are carried in the bosom, hidden from the eyes of the world, and saying nothing to their neighbors. We do but take our part, then, in a common decree, be there laid upon us as much as there will. We exclaim at one time, How mysterious! and at another, How singularly hard! when a little more reflection would make the mystery as plain as most of the other passages in our experience, and a little closer observation would resolve the singularity into one of those general laws that overrule the destinies of mortals. It may be strange for you, that this or that sad necessity has to be encountered, because you have never met it before, or because it is so different from what you ever apprehended; but it is not strange in the mixed throng of human vicissitudes. Here is a sorrow for you, and there is one for the person who happens to stand next to you. Your own you are sufficiently conscious of, and are more likely to overrate than to forget it; while of his you have little or no intimation, and perhaps could scarcely estimate it if he should tell it to you. We are very selfish, for the most part, in our troubles. Our bad fortune, like our good deeds, we indulge with large places in our memories. The blessings of every day, like its failures in duty and its ordinary sins, we easily leave out of any careful recollection. It is stranger than any of the crosses with which it may please God to intercept you, that you should be so unready for them, and so impatient at them; that you should be amazed and utterly despairing; that you should expect to be without your part of " the yoke that is upon all the sons of Adam "; that you should boast of to-morrow as if its event were assured, and live as though you had made a league and covenant with disaster; that you should forget the tenure by which you possess the things of time, forget the great lot of humanity in the resentment of personal afflictions, and forget the purpose of Heaven, that trains its subjects and its heirs by tasks and labor, sacrifice and wholesome fear, the tediousness of discipline and the smart of correction."


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