|He is Faithful that Promised.|
|I will heal their backsliding.| -- HOSEA xiv.4.
Wandering again! And has He not left me to perish? Stumbling and straying on the dark mountains, away from the Shepherd's eye and the Shepherd's fold, shall He not leave the erring wanderer to the fruit of his own ways, and his truant heart to go hopelessly onward in its career of guilty estrangement? |My thoughts,| says God, |are not as your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.| Man would say, |Go, perish! ungrateful apostate!| God says, |Return, ye backsliding children!| The Shepherd will not, cannot suffer the sheep to perish He has purchased with His own blood. How wondrous His forbearance towards it! -- tracking its guilty steps, and ceasing not the pursuit till He lays the wanderer on His shoulders, and returns with it to His fold rejoicing! My soul! why increase by farther departures thine own distance from the fold? -- why lengthen the dreary road thy gracious Shepherd has to traverse in bringing thee back? Delay not thy return! Provoke no longer His patience; venture no farther on forbidden ground. He waits with outstretched arms to welcome thee once more to His bosom. Be humble for the past, trust Him for the future. Think of thy former backslidings, and tremble; think of His forbearance, and be filled with holy gratitude; think of His promised grace, |and take courage.|
|REMEMBER THIS WORD UNTO THY SERVANT, UPON
WHICH THOU HAST CAUSED ME TO HOPE!|