Now, what is it that wakes up the heart from this spiritual lethargy? What makes men in earnest about life, in love with God and Christ, in sympathy with the Father's glorious plan revealed in the covenants? Is it worldly prosperity? Is it "good company"? Is it honour among men? Is it indulgence in pleasure? Is it the reading of novels? Is it steeping the senses in strong drink or the fumes of the narcotic weed? Is it even Scripture polemics such as some people love to indulge in, or the endless, resultless, investigating word-strife, which men are prone to dignify by highsounding descriptions, but which a,re far more accurately defined in Paul's well-known pithy words, wherein he alleges of certain things that they are "of no profit," but "subverting" to "the hearers?" -No: there is but one answer to all these questions. Godliness is not found in the state of mind fostered by any or all of these influences. Godliness come from trouble where the knowledge of God exists for the trouble to act on. There is nothing like trouble for clearing the spiritual eye. There is nothing like trouble for weakening all carnal affinities, and leading the mind to seek God, and to rest on His Word, and to build on His promises. -Nothing like trouble for helping us to see the emptiness of this life at its best, and the enduring reality and glory of that which is to come.
Beloved of God, you must often have experienced the truth of this. Is it not, then, a great comfort, in the midst of the trouble to know that it is for good, and not for evil, that trouble is sent. The trouble of the present hour is great. The world's sky is aU overhung with heavy clouds that refuse to disperse; and the ecclesial sky is of a corresponding sombreness. Who shaH say the trouble was not needed? The Lord is at the door, and many have taken upon them the profession of His name, and a place among those who wait for him from heaven, without an apostolic appreciation of the position.