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dreadful reality of things not before seen. They believe with no settled faith, they follow where sin, with all its unprofitableness, leads them on; and then, at the end of their short and rapid journey through this world, are forced to apply too late to their own lost souls the unregarded warning of a once merciful and forgiving God: “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

# Jer. viii. 20.



There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is com

mon to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Had God Himself inquired of us, His fallen sinful creatures, how He should express

this gracious promise for our spiritual consolation, is it possible that we could have put words together, so well, so exactly, so affectionately adapted for that end, as those which are here before us? It seems almost impossible that they should ever be forgotten in the hour of temptation, or in any way misunderstood. But so unconvinced, even by the most positive declarations of God Himself, do many people remain all their life long, that it is no unusual complaint of those who commit acknowledged sin, or omit a known duty, that their temptations are more and greater than they can conquer or withstand. The fatal

consequence of all this is, that they either persist in going on in their disobedience to the Law of God, or despair of conquering sin, and so use no means to resist it; and this, too, with the express Word of the Most High God before their eyes, wherein He positively declares, in the fulness of His mercy towards us all, that He will suffer no one to be tempted above what He will give him grace to bear.

Before we consider the text itself, let us first offer a few observations upon this sad and dangerous error in the perversion of this sacred truth.

If this error arise from ignorance of the Word of God, the sinner, remaining in his ignorance, is without excuse. The Scriptures are before him. He is continually urged to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” He is instructed, or might be instructed, out of them by the appointed ministers of God; and those Scriptures will shew him in every page that it is an injury to the cause of truth, a most sinful affront offered to our reconciled Father in Christ Jesus, and a thorn unnecessarily planted in his own side, whenever he

presumes to say that a present temptation is stronger than present grace: he only lies to his own conscience and before God, whenever he acts as though his temptations to sin, or to neglect'known duties, were greater than God will give him power to withstand.

But if this error arise, as in very deed it almost always does arise, from the love of sin, there is then still greater danger of a perverse and determined continuance in the chosen evil way. We know, indeed, by bitter experience, that “ the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;" but both religion and experience teach us, that the heart continues thus to those only who love to have it so. Whatever excuses may be made before others, for continuance in what is evil, conscience tells a more unerring truth, when it silently reasons with the sinner, and shews to his full conviction, that neither natural corruption, nor the strength of passion, nor the force of habit, nor the power of evil associations, ever satisfies the soul, that it may safely, in reference to the just and final judgment, continue in any determined sin, or in any wilful neglect of duty. The promises, the encouragements, the threatenings, and the terrors of the Gospel, are all against so unscriptural a conclusion. It is a perversion of the very words and of the whole spirit of Scripture to argue, that

any single person, living in a state of mosal probation, can be morally or physically forced to commit sin. Such a total denial of our covenanted relationship in our Saviour Jesus Christ to a reconciled Father is no other than a delusion of the devil, working with the natural love of sin; it bears no resemblance to common reason, and entirely contradicts the Word of God, our only safe guide in all matters which concern the soul.

And let us take the text before us into our most serious consideration, under the following heads : First, as shewing that this life is a state of trial : Secondly, that, during our whole trial, the faithfulness of God, on His párt, is pledged to save us.

The text speaks of temptation as common to man,” and consequently teaches us that temptation or trial is either expressly sent, or permitted to coine upon every one of us, for purposes of spiritual discipline. Without trial of what we are and of what we would be, we could never render the service, which God requires, the service of perfect freedom.” Even in Paradise, under the Covenant of Works, man was to be proved; much more must we be proved under the covenant of Grace: Scripture everywhere shews us that we must be prepared for trials and temptations for the exercise of faith, the progressive improvement of the soul in a holy conquest over the urgency of our natural corruption.

The saints of old are held up as great and encouraging examples. They were of the

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