"I call to remembrance my song in the night." Psalm 77:6.
IT is no small wisdom, tried Christian, to recall to memory the music of the past. Do not think that, like sounds of earth-born melody, that music has died away never to awake again. Ah, no! those strains which once floated from your spirit-touched lips yet live! The music of a holy heart never dies; it lingers still amid the secret chambers of the soul. Hushed it may be for a while by other and discordant sounds, but the Holy Spirit, the Christian's Divine Remembrancer, will summon back those tones again, to soothe and tranquillize and cheer, perhaps in a darker hour and in richer strains, some succeeding night of heart-grief: "I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches."
But this season of night is signally descriptive of some periods in the history and experience of a child of God. It reminds us of the period of soul-darkness which oftentimes overtakes the Christian pilgrim. "My servant that walks in darkness and has no light," says God. Observe, he is still God's servant, he is the "child of the light," though walking in darkness. Gloom spreads its mantle around him—a darkness that may be felt. God's way with him is in the great deep: "You are a God that hides Yourself," is his mournful prayer. The Holy Spirit is, perhaps, grieved—no visits from Jesus make glad his heart, he is brought in some small degree into the blessed Savior's experience—"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" But, sorrowful pilgrim, there is a bright light in this your cloud—turn your eye towards it; the darkness through which you are walking is not judicial. Oh no! You are still a "child of the day," though it may be temporary night with your spirit. It is the withdrawment but for "a little moment"—not the utter and eternal extinction—of the Sun of Righteousness from your soul. You are still a child, and God is still a Father. "In a little wrath, I hid my face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the Lord your Redeemer." "Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spoke against him I do earnestly remember him still."
And what are seasons of affliction but as the night-time of the Christian. The night of adversity is often dark, long, and tempestuous. The Lord frequently throws the pall of gloom over the sunniest prospect—touching His loved child where that touch is the keenest felt. He knows the heart's idol—the temptation and the peril lying in our path. He knows better far than we the chain that rivets us to some endangering object; He comes and draws the curtain of night's sorrow around our way. He sends messenger after messenger. "Deep calls unto deep." He touches us in our family—in our property—in our reputation—in our persons. And, oh, what a night of woe now spreads its drapery of gloom around us!
But dark and often rayless for a time as are these various night-seasons of our pilgrimage, they have their harmonies. There are provided by Him who "divides the light from the darkness"—alleviations and soothings, which can even turn night into day, and bring the softest tones from the harshest discord. The strong consolations which our God has laid up for those who love Him are so divine, so rich, so varied, that to overlook the provision in the time of our sorrow seems an act of ingratitude darker even than the sorrow we deplore. It is in the heart of God to comfort you, His suffering child. Ah! my reader, there is not a single midnight of your history—never so dark as that midnight may be—for which God has not provided you a song, and in which there may not be such music as human hand never awoke, and as human lip never breathed—the music that God only can create: "In the night his song shall be with me."