« AnteriorContinua »
tion, think of our Lord's question, “Simon, lovest thou me? It is a close question put to us. love Jesus Christ? Are you willing to undergo shame for him, and to fight his battles ? Are you willing to bear the name of an enthusiast, of a fanatic, of a bigot, for his sake? Are you willing to bear, for him, such treatment from a deluded world? Then happy are ye, little flock! you thus honour God, and he will honour you, by putting you in possession, after your sufferings, of his kingdom of bliss and glory. Are you willing to count the cost of religion ?-for religion will cost you something, though irreligion will cost you infinitely more.
Seriously consider, therefore, that this is the royal way
in which all the children of God must walk. But, 2. FEAR NOT,
have such a path to pass ; for remember that · Blessed is the man'-not that escapes, but—that endureth temptation.'
* Thou, therefore, my son,' says St. Paul to Timothy, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesusendure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ-I therefore endure all things for the elect's sake-I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. But it is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him:' but, if we deny him, he also will deny us.'
Fear not while in God's hand. He brought his people to the Red Sea : he subjected them there to a severe trial : their
there enemies close behind them, and a gloomy prospect before; but his grace was sufficient for them : he spake, and opened a path through the waters.' He had taught his servant Jehosaphat to say, when a multitude of enemies came against him, ' our God--we have no might against this great company---but our cyes are upon thee!'
Often, indeed, will evil thoughts harass us : often would the enemy of our souls sink us into despair, were we not supported by an almighty arm : often shall we have to bear shocks so repugnant to our feelings, that we shall be ready to call in question, whether we are Christians. But, let us ever remember, that
there hath no temptation taken us, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able ; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape.' We can no more prevent these things happening to us, than we can prevent the revel in the streets, that disturbs us and our families at night.
If you say then, “How shall I endure in the midst of these trials ?" I answer, “ Not by your being enabled to mitigate your sufferings; but by lying under the pressure, till it please God to make it lighter. St.
. Paul was still to endure, but the grace of God was promised under his burden.
One of the English Martyrs was so alarmed at the thoughts of his suffering on the morrow in the midst of a fire, that it seemed to him an impossibility that he should go through the conflict; and, in order to try the experiment, he put his finger into the flame of the candle, but found he could not endure it: and, no wonder! for that was not his call: his dispensation did not require that he should voluntarily bring himself into pain, and much less that he should do it in a spirit of unbelief. But, though he could not endure, in his own strength, even his finger in the flame: yet, the next day, he could give up, in the strength of God, his whole body to the fire ; and, with heroical constancy and Christian fortitude, could cheerfully resign his life in the flames : for, as our day is, so shall our strength be. · In the world, we are taught to expect tribulation and temptation from every quarter: though it will be
our Christian duty, as well as prudence, to avoid them whenever we can. Let us beware of imitating the martyr, in attempting to thrust our finger into the flame: but, to whatever degree of suffering God calls us, it is enough that he is faithful to his promise, and will perform it.
May this be verified in the experience of us all!
PATIENCE THE CHILD OF FAITH, AND PARENT OF
JAMES, V, 7,
8. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord : be
hold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient: stablish your hearts : for the coming of
the Lord draweth nigh. THERE is a striking difference between Heathen and Christian virtues. The Heathen endeavoured to overcome by silence, by courage, by fortitude, and often by revenge : the Christian looks for victory by faith and patience; by looking at that which is invisible to an eye of sense; by becoming a follower of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises. In this way he hopes to succeed ; and, in this way, he will succeed, because it is God's way.
The Christian must rise, where every man beside must fall. We find, therefore, the Apostle saying, in the beginning of this chapter, 'Go to now, ye rich men, weep
and howl for your miseries, that shall come upon you.'
You must fall. A time is coming, when your riches shall profit you nothing. The Christian shall take his riches with him: he cannot be robbed of his riches; for they are spiritual and durable, and death cannot touch them.
But, says the Apostle, “ Your riches are corrupted, and your garments moth-eaten :' your "gold and silver is cankered.' Nor is that the worst part of your case: the rust of them shall be a witness against you,
and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold! the hire of the labourers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them, which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton: ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just, and he doth not resist you.'
What !- Is the earth given into the hands of these wicked men ?-Is the just man but as a sheep prepared for the slaughter?—It may be so-It may be so for a day : but, says the Apostle, Be patient, therefore, Brethren! unto the coming of the Lord : suffer, with long patience, as it reads in the margin. Leave the matter to God. It is enough that he has promised to be your friend. It is enough for you to know, that, as the husbandman waiteth for the fruits of the harvest until he receives them, so must you wait for your harvest. Your harvest draweth nigh, when you shall
reap the fruit of your faith : therefore be patient; establish your hearts : ‘for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.'
From this Scripture, I shall discourse on the following Proposition :
AND THE PARENT OF SUCCESS.
I. CHRISTIAN PATIENCE IS THE CHILD OF FAITH.
The Christian is not an insensible, thoughtless, or enthusiastic character. He has an object before him - the coming of the Lord. He first believes, then he waits.
He considers, first, that his forefathers in the faith waited a long time for the coming of Christ according to the flesh. “Abraham rejoiced, Christ said," 'to see my day: and he saw it by faith, long before