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nothing to hurt or destroy. This is a strange land. Heaven is our Father's house and our own home. At its best, this world is but a valley of tears and a place of weeping. In the other we enter into rest and our joy is full. Why should we prefer troubles, sorrows, and difficulties, to everlasting rest and complete joy? True, death is between; but it will soon be over, and there is no by-road to bliss.
This subject might be further improved by earnestly calling Gospel hearers to examine themselves.
We need not ask you if you have had trials, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards; nor if you will have them afterward, as death is before you: but we may and should ask, how
and should ask, how you improve them. Do you see God's hand in every trial, or do you not? Do you murmur, or are you resigned? Are you humbled, or is your neck like an iron sinew?
But what we have chiefly in our eye is to ask, Are you possessed of that proportion of strength spoken of in the text? The following things will perhaps enable you to answer with some certainty and precision. If you are, you will see it to be all of grace, and not of works, and from the heart
say, * Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for thy mercy's sake.” If you are sensible of your own weakness, you will ardently desire an increase of it: desiring this increase, you will come to God, as the source of all grace and strength-to Christ, as having it all lodged in his person—to his cross, as what alone procures it-to the promises, as at once the security and vehicle of
conveyance-and to the Holy Spirit, who alone can actually confer it: and coming in this manner you will fervently pray, “Lord, increase our faith.” Once more, if you are possessed of that strength, the
power of sin will be broken and declining. As the house of David grows stronger, the opposing interest waxes weaker; and
you will be learning to die to sin daily. Time was when you were driven before corruption as chaff before the wind; but now you make at least some stand.
Deeply concerned, a certain believer objects, and says with tears, “ My corruptions are so strong, and I feel them working in such a vigorous manner, that if this be an evidence of that proportion of strength, I fear I am still without it.” To this we may answer, though you feel corruptions within strong and lively, and though you cannot say you have conquered them; yet if you hate and oppose them, you are possessed of this strength : one cannot begin the Christian warfare without some measure of that Divine strength which will make them more than conquerors at last. Still the believer objects, “ I have so little strength to oppose the body of sin, and in combating my spiritual enemies, I am so often repulsed, and at the best gain so little ground, that I am afraid I have not the strength spoken of in the text.” To this we would
if you have a love to it, a desire for it; if the thought of wanting it pains you at the heart, and makes you cry fervently to God for it, you are not an entire stranger to it. People never ardently seek that of which they are totally ignorant; and the living, and not the dead, are pained at the heart.
Another still objects, and says, “ Some how or another with great difficulty, greater than I can tell, I continue unto this day; but really I do not think I can endure any longer.” The best answer to this objection is to sum up the amount of it, and it is as follows: A gracious and good Lord has supported me for these twenty, thirty, or forty years; but I think I can be supported no longer : during that time I was very weak; but still I continued: now it is all over. I would ask you, Can an almighty God do no more at all?
Before concluding this discourse, we would offer some directions to saints who either are under trials now or have reason to expect them. Be well established in the truth of this and such texts, where God promises to give strength in proportion to every trial. Having God's testimony, let neither sin nor Satan weaken your faith. On God's promises you may stand as on an impregnable rock. When your trials abound, compare them with the glory that shall be revealed, and which in a little you shall fully possess; trials are short, and future happiness is without end. Think much on the great influence which present tribulations have on the future crown. They work a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Rest will always be found sweet after great hardships and severe labour. Be much in prayer, and try to possess your souls in patience. Never forget that when you are toiling and suffering on earth, Christ is interceding in heaven. Your trials in a little will all be over, and then you shall remember all the way the Lord hath led you, with joy and satisfaction.
We shall now address sinners. Whatever may be your situation, while out of Christ you are truly miserable, and objects of pity. Though you should have health and plenty, and all the happiness that this world can afford; there is a canker that lies at the root of all your enjoyments that makes you dissatisfied, restless, and impatient. There neither is nor can be peace to the wicked. You are cursed in your basket and store. The saint, oppressed and loaded with trials, is a happy person, compared with you. If on the other hand you have trials, you have no strength to bear them. The curse will weigh you down, and your own conscience will torment you. If it is difficult to bear your present troubles, how 6 your heart endure or hands be strong in the day when the Lord shall deal with you ?” You ought to think much about the torments of hell, and be warned to fly from the wrath to come. Be persuaded to come to Christ. He invites you. He requires no previous qualification. He came to save the chief of sinners, and he beseeches such to be reconciled. Coming to him, all the grace and strength which God promises, and the saints possess, will be yours. They are yours in the offer. Faith will put you in actual possession. Improving Christ you will sing at last with the believer, “ My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” But if you will not come to Christ, your present sufferings, however great, will be only the beginning of sorrows, “ for lo, they that are far from God shall perish.”