Things are not what they seem. God alone perceives their true value and lasting results. He is infinitely wise, and cannot err; infinitely strong and cannot fail; infinitely kind and cannot neglect. He will keep back nothing that is good, however we may depreciate it; nor give us what would injure, though we beg for it with outstretched arms.
If the vine were sensitive and could speak it might utter a cry at the stroke of the pruning-knife; but, if it were wise and gloried in its fruitfulness, it would acknowledge that if the vine-dresser had cut it less, he would have withheld a good thing. If the cornfield were sensitive and could speak, it would not, if wise, ask to be spared the plunging plow and the torturing harrow. This is our culture time, in view of the great harvest. That is best which promotes the fruitfulness in which God delights, and which will be our true glory by his grace. Christians must not judge of things as men do whose possessions and hopes are limited by the present. We are pilgrims, and must estimate circumstances in view of their influence, not so much in making us comfortable on our way as in helping us home. Nobler aims involve severer toil, fiercer conflicts, costlier sacrifice. If we seek a nobler goal, let us not envy others their smoother path. If we would win a richer prize, we must fight a sterner battle. If we would attain a loftier height we must clamber up sharper crags.
"The easy path of the lowland hath little of
grand or new;
But a toilsome ascent leads on to a wide and
Peopled and warm is the valley, lonely and chill
But the peak that is nearer the storm cloud is
nearer the stars of light."