Joyful in Tribulation

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
I doubt if I ever saw such an instance of accumulated sufferings of the most terrific kind in any one person as I found in R. P. At the time of my visit to him, he was 38 years of age and had been ill for 18 years. He evidently had been a large, fine man; but to the eye of nature it was pitiable to see the "outward man" as I saw him. He was bent down almost double, his face turned in toward his chest, with his chin pressing hard upon his breastbone, so that for two years he had seen nothing but the light. His jaws were so locked that he could only take food the thickness of a penny, which had to be slipped in between his teeth. His limbs were not only deformed, but useless to him. He could move only two fingers when I saw him; all the rest of his body, except his tongue, was as immovable as if it had been a wood carving. This his Father was pleased to leave him the full use of; and as he had a heart completely at rest and fully satisfied—for he had CHRIST there—he used the member left him to speak of the love and mercy of that gracious God who gave His Son for sinners, and of that blessed Lord Jesus Christ who had filled his soul with sunshine. Some time after I had seen him, his eyes failed before the ravages of that direful disease so that, physically, he was to sit in darkness for the rest of his days on earth. Besides this, the two fingers that he had been able to move, became as rigid as the rest of his
body. It was when in this state that he called someone to him to write down from his lips the good matter which his heart was inditing, and he spoke as follows:
"Once I could see, but ne'er again
Shall I behold the verdant plain,
Jeweled with flowers of colors bright,
Bathed in a flood of golden light.
The birds, the brilliant butterflies,
These all in thought before me rise;
The shining rivulet, whose song
Comes sweetly murmuring along;
The sky, the clouds, the grass, the trees,
All waving, glancing in the breeze -
I see them pictured in my mind,
But there alone, for I am blind.
Blind, did I say? how can that be?
Since I, by faith, my Savior see
Exalted on the throne above,
Beaming with mercy, grace, and love.
A view like this is better far
Than sun, or moon, or glittering star,
Or glowing landscape, sunny skies,
Or sight that's fair to mortal eyes.
I THANK my God that He has put
A veil before mine eyes, and shut
All earthly objects from my sight,
And Christ revealed in glory bright.
Henceforth my word shall ever be,
Once I was blind, but NOW I see."
R. P., beloved of the Lord, has gone to be forever with Him whose he was. Converted from the darkness and evil of Unitarianism—chastened, not in wrath, but in love—he enjoyed that which he possessed by faith. HE HAD CHRIST; his heart was satisfied.