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BY CHARLES H. SPURGEON Wilt tliou break a leaf driven to and fro. Job xiii. 25.
  A FRAIL LEAFBY CHARLES H. SPURGEO Wilt tliou break a leaf driven to and fro. Job xiii. 25.OOIl Job ! who conld have been brought lower?He had lost his possessions, his children, hishealth ; he was covered with sore boils, andhe was aggravated by the unkind speeches of his friends. In his djeep distress he turns toGod, and finding no other plea so near at hand hemakes a plea of his own distress. He compares himself to the weakest thing he could think of, and thenhe sa} s to God, the great and the merciful, Wilt t/iou,so glorious in power and so matchless in goodnesswilt tJwu break me, who am like a poor leaf fallen fromthe tree, sere and dry, and driven to and fro in thewind ? Thus he draws an argument out of his weak ness. Because he is so low and insignificant andpowerless he lays hold upon the divine strength andpleads for pity.It is a common figure he uses, that of a leaf driven toand fro. Strong gusts of wind, it may be in the autumnwhen the leaves hang but lightly upon the trees, sendthem falling in showers around us ; quite helpless tostay their own course, fluttering in. the air to and fro,A Frail Leaf.79  like winged birds that could not steer themselves, butare guided by every fitful blast that blew upon them, atlast they sunk into the mire, to be trodden down andforgotten. To these Job likens himself a helpless,hopeless, worthless, weak, despised, perishing thing;and he appeals to the awful Majesty on high, and hesays to the God of thunder and of lightning, Wiltthou put out thy power to destroy me ? Wilt thoubring forth thy dread artillery to crush such an insignificant creature as I am ? With all the goodness of thy great heart for thy name is God, that is goodwilt thou turn thy Almighty power against me ? Oh,that be far from thee ! Out of pity upon my utterweakness and nothingness, turn away thy hand, andbreak not a leaf that is driven to and fro ! The apprehension is so startling, the appeal so forcible, that the argument may be employed in a great manyways. How often have the sick used it, when they havebeen brought to so low an ebb with physical pain thatlife itself seemed worthless ! Stricken with disease,stung with smart, and fretted with acute pangs, they feltthat if the affliction continued much longer, it were bet-o /ter for them to die than live. They longed for theshades of death, that they might find shelter there.Turning their face to the wall, they have said, O God,so weak as I am, wilt thou again smite me ? Shall thyhand again fall upon me ? Thou hast laid me very low.Wherefore again dost thou lift up thy rod ( Break not,-I beseech thee, a leaf that is driven to and fro !ISTot less applicable the plea to those who are plungedinto the depths of poverty ! A man is in trouble aric-ing from destitution; perhaps he has been long out oi  80 Types and Eniblems.work ; bread is not to be found ; the children are crying,hungering, starving; the habitation has been strippedof everything which might procure a little nourishment.The poor wretch, after passing through seas of trouble,finds himself no nearer a landing-place than before, but Sees each day new straits attend,And wonders where the scene will end. Passing through the streets he is hardly able to keephis feet from the pavement or his skin from the cold,by reason of his tattered garments. Homeless andfriendless, life a leaf that is driven to and fro, hesays, O God ! wilt thou continue this much longer?Wilt thou not be pleased to stay thy rough wind,mitigate the sharpness of the winter, ease my adversity,and give me peace ? So, too, with those who are in trouble through bereavement. One child has been taken away, and thenanother. The shafts of death flew twice. Then carnesickness with threatening omen upon one that wasnearer and dearer still. Still did not the desolationstay its gloomy portents. It seemed at length asthough the widow would bo bereft of her last and onlychild, and then she cried, O God ! I am alreadybroken; my heart is like a ploughed field, cross-ploughed, till my soul is ready to despair! Wilt thouutterly break me ? AVilt thou spare me no consolations,no props for my old age ? Must I be altogether drivenawav before the whirlwind, and find no rest? t/Perhaps it is even more harassing in cases of menialdistress, for, after all, the sharpest pangs we feel arenot those of the body, nor those of the estate, butthose of the mind. When the iron enters into the  A Frail Leaf. 81soul, the rust thereof is poison. The spirit of a manwill sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit whocan bear? You may be surrounded with all the comforts of life, and yet be in wretchedness more gloomythan death if the spirits be depressed. You may haveno outward cause whatever for sorrow, and yet if themind be dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieveyour gloom. At such a time, you may be vexed withcares, haunted with dreams, and scared with thoughtswhich distract you. You fear that your sins are notpardoned, that your past transgressions are brought toremembrance, and that punishment is being meted outto you in full measure. The threatenings rise up outof God s book, and seem to lift sharp swords in theirhands with which to smite you. Time is dreadful toyou, because you know it is hurrying you to eternity ;and the thought of eternity stings as doth an adder,because you measure the future reckoning by the present distress. At such a time, when you are faint withlonging, ready to despair, driven to the verge of madness, I can imagine your crying out, O Lord God of mercy, I am as a leaf that is driven to and fro ; wilt thouquite break me, and utterly destroy me? Have compassion, and show thy favor to thy poor broken creature ! Many a child of God may have used this, and if hehas not used it yet, still he may use it. There aretimes when all our evidences get clouded, and all our joys are red. Though we may still cling to the cross,yet it is with a desperate grasp. God brings our sinsto remembrance, till our bones, as David puts it, aresore broken by reason of our iniquity. Then it isthat, all-broken, we can turn to the Strong for strength,4*
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