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p456 [G Biava] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, - I received your second letter the day before your first, so that the news of your loss came before the expression of your hope. What a world it is! Surely yours is a great loss. In the same parcel of letters I have received news of four deaths, each one a sad blow to the family. What lessons we get in this world! I understand, beloved brother, how sorrowful this event must be for you in every way. But be of good cheer; our God is never baffled in His ways: not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him - how much more does He care for His children whom He loves and cherishes, His dear children, as He calls us. I doubt not, dear brother, that you will be still more sensible of your loss; it is well to look all these things in the face, that faith in God may be in exercise, and that we may carry to Him all our sorrows as well as all our perplexities. Trust in His love, dear brother; He will not fail you. It is a great trial of faith, but the One in whom you trust is greater than all your difficulties, and an ever faithful love can never fail. He makes all things work together to the good of those who love Him. He weans us in every way from this world, that He may attach us to that one for which He has created us anew. This is only a place we are passing through, where Christ was cast out. We pass through it, and, bereft of all here, we have only to work for Him and to glorify Him. God's hand is always better than man's; His seeming harshness even is better than the world's favour: the spring which guides it is always love, and love directed by perfect wisdom, which we shall understand by-and-by. Meanwhile, He has given His Son, that we may be able to be certain that all is love. It is a world of sorrow, but where Christ has left His footsteps, indelible proofs for faith that love has entered this world of sorrow to take its part there in grace.
Look, then, to Jesus, dear brother; He bears a part in all our afflictions; and be sure that the love of God will not forsake you. Do not be anxious about anything, and may God Himself guide you. I shall be glad to hear from you. I do not know how it is that your letters have been so delayed in reaching me, but I was on the other side of the Mississippi. . . .
May God bless you, and keep your heart in full confidence in Him. As for Him, He will surely be faithful, His ways are always perfect. Look to Him constantly, and may these trying exercises of heart be a means of deeper communion to you, and of more entire separation from the world.
Your affectionate brother in Jesus.
Hamilton, en passage.