« AnteriorContinua »
"example of fuffering affliction, and of patience. "You have heard of the patience of Job. He was "ftripped of all, and he faid, the Lord gave, and the "Lord hath taken away, and bleffed be the name of "the Lord: what! fhall we receive good at the Lord's CC hands, and fhall we not receive evil? Confider the "unparalleled fufferings of thy Saviour: and he faid, "the cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall "I hot drink it? Do not imagine thefe trials are "fruits of my displeasure: as many as I love, I rebuke
and chaften. I defign thy welfare; and I know "how to advance it. You have often been mistaken; "fometimes you have been led to deprecate events, "which you now fee to have been peculiar mercies. "Truft me in this difpenfation: reafons forbid my explaining things fully at prefent: what I do, thou "knoweft not now, but thou fhalt know hereafter. "In the mean time be affured, I do not afflict willingly "nor grieve the children of men. Thefe troubles are
as neceffary for thy foul, as medicine for the body, "as the furnace for gold, as the knife for the vine. "Be not afraid of the affliction; I have it completely "under my management; when the end is anfwered "I will remove it; I know how to deliver. Till then, "fear not, for I am with thee; be not difmayed, for I "am thy God: I will ftrengthen thee, yea I will keep "thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand "of my righteousness."- -O, could I hear this; this would hush each rebellious figh, check every murmuring thought, Is this then fuppofition? has not God faid all this; does he not fay all this in his word?
Thirdly, Patience is to be exercised under DELAYS. F
We as naturally purfue a desired good, as we fhun an apprehended evil. The want of fuch a good is as griev ous as the preffure of fuch an evil; and an ability to bear the one is as needful a qualification, as the fortitude by which we endure the other. It therefore as much belongs to patience, to wait, as to fuffer. We read of "the patience of hope:" for patience will be rendered neceffary according to the degree of hope. Hope deferred maketh the heart fick :" it is the office of patience to prevent this fainting. And God is perpetually calling for the exercife of it. He does not always immediately indulge you with an anfwer to prayer. He hears indeed as foon as you knock, but he does not inftantly open the door: to ftand there refolved not to go without a bleffing, requires patience, and patience comes up and cries, "wait on the Lord; "be of good courage, and he fhall ftrengthen thine "heart; wait I fay on the Lord." He does not appear to deliver us according to the time of our expectation; and in woe we number days, and hours; the language of defire is, "O, when wilt thou come unto why fhould I wait for the "me?" and of impatience, "it is "Lord any longer ?" But patience whifpers,
good that a man fhould both hope, and quietly wait "for the falvation of the Lord." To long for pardon, and to feel only an increafed fenfe of guilt; to implore relief, and to be able only to fay, "without are fight"ings, and within are fears;" to journey in a weary land, and fee the way ftretching out immeafurably before us, lengthen as we go; to purfue bleffings which feem to recede as we advance, or to fpring from our grafp as we are feizing thein; all this requires
patient continuance in well doing.” "We have "alfo need of patience, that after we have done the "will of God, we may receive the promifes." See the chriftian, waiting. compofedly year after year in a vale of tears, for an infinite happinefs; the heir of fuch an inheritance refigned to abide fo long in indigence! Surely, it is trying to be detained fo many months at anchor off the fair haven, the end of his voyage in view; to have all the glory of the unfeen world laid open to the eye of faith; the trials of this life to urge, and the bleffings of another to draw; to have earnests to enfure, and foretaftes to endear. Surely there is enough to make him diffatisfied to tarry here. And it seems proper for the chriftian to be more than willing to go. Should an Ifraelite fix on this fide the promised land? Is he not commanded to arife and depart hence? Can he love God, unless he wishes to be with him? Does not the new nature tend towards its perfection? What wonder, therefore, if we fhould hear the believer fighing, "O that I had wings like "a dove; for then would I flee away, and be at reft. "I would haften my escape from the ftormy wind and "tempeft. Q, when fhall I come and appear before "God? When fhall I leave the dregs of society, and "join the general affembly above? When will my "dear connections gone before, receive me into ever"lafting habitations? O, how I envy them! O, the "glories of yonder world! I seem indiftinctly to sce "the fhining prize; I seem to hear a little of their "melody. O, that was a perfume blown across the "river; how it revives my spirits, and calls me away!” But a voice cries, "be patient, brethren, unto the
"coming of the Lord; behold the husbandman; he "waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth, and hath "long patience for it, until he receive the former and "the latter rain." The saint answers, "I pray. not "that He should take me out of the world, but keep "me from the evil. I am willing to remain, while "He has a ftation for me to fill, a duty for me to per-: "form, a trial for me to bear. All the days of my "appointed time will I wait until my change come.' "Here is the patience of the saints."
Let us learn then, my brethren, how neceffary it is for us to poffess this temper of mind; it is of perpetual and universal use. All of you need it, and will need it always. You do not all need genius, learning, wealth; but what will you do in a world like this without patience? How can you be prepared for a succession of encounters, unless you "take to your"selves the whole armour of God?" How can you pass through a wilderness of thorns and briars, unless your feet be fhod with the preparation of the gospel of peace?" Who can say, my mountain ftands "so ftrong, I fhall never be moved?" "If a man "live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let "him remember the days of darkness, for they fhall "be many all that cometh is vanity." How unde firable is a squeamish appetite, that incessantly requires delicacies; a puny body, that can bear no hardships; a tender frame, that must not be exposed to the variations of the weather; but how much worse is it to have a soft, enervated, pampered constitution of mind, that must be ftroked or rocked like a child; that can with extreme difficulty be pleased; that must have ev
ery thing according to its fancy. In a ftate where fo little is left to choice and convenience, and where we are liable to trials and changes every day, we should feek after a general preparation for our paffage, and ftrengthen and invigorate the foul by patience.
-Labour ftrenuously, not only to acquire this grace, but to excel in it. Seek higher degrees of it. Exercise it not in one thing, but in every thing, and in every thing to the end. "Let patience have its perfect "work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking "nothing." There is a God of patience, who giveth more grace. Approach him with enlarged defire, that you may abound in this grace alfo, "ftrengthened "with all might according to his glorious power, unto ALL patience and long suffering with joyfulness."
-And remember, you will not always be called to the exercise of patience. Your "warfare will foon "be accomplished" for "yet a little while, He that "shall come, will come, and will not tarry." A little more patience, and the wicked fhall ceafe from troubling, and the weary be at reft; a little more patience, and farewell, provocation, affliction, and anxious delays. Patience, having conveyed you fafe, and being no longer neceffary, fhall return for more; but it will leave you in a state where all fhall be peace, all shall be quietnefs, all fhall be affurance for ever. O, BLESS OUR GOD, TE PEOPLE, AND MAKE THE VOICE OF HIS PRAISE ΤΟ BE HEARD; FOR THOU, O GOD, HAST PROVED US, THOU HAST TRIED US, AS SILVER IS TRIED: WE WENT THROUGH FIRE AND THROUGH WATER, BUT THOU BROUGHTEST US OUT INTO A WEALTHY PLACE.