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"The three Nazirites; Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, walked with God in the king's palace; and God walked with them in the king's furnace. And is it not worth passing through a fiery furnace to enjoy a little more of the presence of the Lord Jesus, and the sympathy of His loving heart? Is not a furnace where He is better than a palace where He is not? Human nature says,"NO!" Faith says, "YES." It is well to bear in mind that this is not the day of the Lord Jesus' POWER; but it is the day of His SYMPATHY (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15; II Corinthians 1:3-4). When passing through the deep waters of affliction, the heart may, at times, feel disposed to ask, "Why does not the Lord display His power, and deliver me?" The answer is, This is not the day of His power. He could avert that illness -- He could remove that difficulty -- He could prevent that catastrophe -- He could preserve that beloved and fondly cherished object from the cold grasp of death.

But, instead of putting forth His awesome power to deliver, He more often allows things to run their course, and pours His own sympathy into the oppressed and riven heart, in such a way as to elicit the acknowledgement that we would not, for all the world have missed this trial, because of the abundance of the consolation (II Corinthians 1:4-6). Such is the manner of the Lord Jesus just now. By and by He will certainly display His mighty power; He will come forth as the Rider on the white horse; He will unsheath His all-powerful arm; He will avenge His people (Israel), and right their wrongs forever. But now His sword is sheathed , His arm covered. This is the time for making known the deep love of His heart, not the power of His arm, nor the sharpness of His sword. Are you satisfied to have it so? Is the Lord Jesus' sympathy enough for your heart, even amid the keenest sorrow and most intense affliction? The restless heart, the impatient spirit, the unsubdued will, would lead one to long for escape from the trial, the difficulty, or the pressure; but this would never do. It would involve incalculable loss. We must pass from form to form in the school; BUT THE MASTER ACCOMPANIES US, and the light of His countenance, and the tender sympathy of His heart, sustain us under the most severe exercises. What remains? Just this: live unto the Lord Jesus Christ! Seek to be faithful to the One who is your very life. Be not discouraged by the fragmentary state of everything around you. Let the example of Daniel and his honored companions encourage your heart to seek after an elevated course here below. It is your privilege to enjoy as much if not more, of companionship with the Lord Jesus, as if you were cast amid the best days of apostolic testimony." -- C. H.Mackintosh

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