To the upright there rises light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
I. DESCRIBE THE NATURE OF REAL RELIGION.
II. TRACE ITS GENERAL INFLUENCE IN AFFLICTION.
1. It informs the sufferer of the source whence affliction springs — from a Father and a Friend — a God who has engaged every attribute of His nature to promote the highest interests and everlasting happiness of the creature He afflicts. Can it, fail of its design? — His power controls it.
2. It acquaints him with the design of affliction, if this momentary pain produce everlasting ease; if this night of sorrow be followed by an endless day of joy; who but must welcome the fleeting anguish, the temporary gloom?
3. It apprises him of the limited duration of affliction.
4. It affords him communion with God in his affliction.
III. ILLUSTRATE THE INFLUENCE OF RELIGION IN AFFLICTION, BY AN APPEAL TO SOME SPECIFIC CASES.
1. Disease. Here is no fretfulness, no complaining, no petulance. Affliction has so refined the sufferer, that he seems already half immortal, and his pinions are plumed for glory, ere he receives the commission to take his flight.
2. Bereavement. Religion gives a partner to that widowed mother, more tender and kind than he could ever prove, over whose grave she weeps in all the agony of woe. It gives a father to those orphan children, full of sympathy and love.
3. Poverty. Religion has dignity with which to invest the poor man, which wealth can never purchase, nor rank confer.
4. Death. "I have," said the dying Romaine, "the peace of God in my conscience, and the love of God in my heart. Jesus is more precious than rubies, and all that can be desired on earth is not to be compared with Him."
(T. Raffles, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.