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sion of the method by which a Christian is enabled, through life, to endure temptation. The case is related in the x11th chapter of St. Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians. There was given to me,' says the Apostle, 'a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.' And, so sharp was the thorn, and so tormenting the buffeting, that, he adds, ' for this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee.' As though he had said, "You must endure the temptation: however painful, however incessant, yet you must endure. 'Blessed is the man, that endureth temptation ;' not the man, that is delivered from all temptation. You must endure: but, my grace is sufficient for thee:' I can enable thee to endure it: I can send a supply of strength: I can uphold with the right-hand of my righteousness.' And, besides, I can teach you this grand truth, that 'my strength is made perfect in your weakness:' when you are most feeble and inadequate, when patience seems to be almost worn out, at that time it is that I will step in to succour you, to hold you up, and enable you to endure." The Apostle was so instructed on this point, that he adds, 'I take pleasure in infirmities' and 'reproaches:' now I want for nothing: the trial is come, and it is the dispensation and will of God.
Of Christ himself, our great example and forerunner, it is said, 'for the joy that was set before him,' he 'endured the cross, despising the shame: and is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God.'
'Let us,' therefore, says the Apostle, 'run with patience the race set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS.' This,' says St. John, 'is the victory that overcometh the world, even our FAITH'-our being enabled to look for the strength of Christ to be made perfect in our weakness, and to lay hold on him the rock of ages. 'Which HOPE,' says St. Paul, 'we have as an anchor of the soul:' does the sailor, when his ship is
tossed with fierce winds, and he fears every moment that it will be dashed in pieces, throw out his anchor, and hold fast thereby, that the vessel may be able to endure the power and fierceness of the tempest? so, says the Apostle, we have Hope, which we have as an anchor of the soul.'
David was despised and insulted by men, who spake of stoning him in his calamity; while his army was scattered, with the loss of their substance, their wives, and children. This was a severe trial: this was a strong temptation: what was David to do? even what he did: he encouraged himself in the Lord his God: he referred the matter to him; and in so doing, he was enabled to endure.
"On the left-hand,' says Job, 'where he doth work, I cannot behold him he hideth himself on the right-hand, that I cannot see him.' It is a severe trial; and I am called to weather it in the dark: but, God knoweth his own way. Here, therefore, I rest; and, on this principle, I endure and 'when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.''
There is another principle also, on which a Christian proceeds, while he endures temptation. The LOVE OF CHRIST, says the Apostle, 'constraineth us.' And you will find in the text, that, when the trial of the Christian is over, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.'
Let me caution you, my young friends, not to stumble because you hear a sceptic treating spiritual and experimental things with contempt. Is it not natural, that one who knows nothing of a subject should reason absurdly when he talks on that subject?
But there is a 'love of God shed abroad in the heart,' of which the Scripture expressly speaks. This principle is stronger than death, or there never would have been a martyr: and we know, from the history of our own country, that, when martyrs have been
up under the
tried to the utmost, they have been borne temptation: the love of Christ constrained them, and they died martyrs for him; for the word martyr signifies a witness. We, brethren! are not called to die martyrs; but we are called to live martyrs: and in proportion as we endure, and bear up under the trials of life, so far we are martyrs for Jesus Christ.
Thus then is God's work on the soul of man, carried on by Faith, and Hope, and Love. And it is unconquerable: 'For,' says the Apostle, ‘I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature' -nor any sort of temptation, which we may be called to endure-shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord-for, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.'
III. I proposed to consider the BLESSED EFFECT OF THUS ENDURING TEMPTATION. 'Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for, when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.'
A moral philosopher might mention great advantages of enduring temptation, even in the present life : he might show you how much evil the man escapes, who is enabled, by self-denial and serious consideration, to resist the temptations that will attack him continually; and how necessary it is for him to bear up, and not to sink when heavy afflictions surround him. He might enlarge on the peace of conscience and the self-satisfaction, the self-conquest and command, which such a man will enjoy. But the Apostle passes by all inferior considerations; and comes, at once, to the highest for he shall receive,' says he, "the crown of life: besides these other advantages, 'he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath
promised to them that love him.' The conflict is but for a moment: the crown is to be eternal.
There is a 'crown of ambition,' for which a man who was far too grave to make such an experiment, I mean Julius Cæsar, would even sacrifice his life. There is a crown of vanity,' for which so eminent a person as Cicero would sacrifice his very character, that the historian of the times might represent him as the first orator in the world. There is a 'crown of roses,' for which the voluptuary is willing to sacrifice every thing; and which ends, as he always finds, in a crown of thorns.'
But it is a crown of life,' of which the Apostle speaks. Some may say, that a Christian should not look for rewards: but God has promised rewards; and has told us, that one of his most eminent servants made a noble stand, and 'endured as seeing him who is invisible. for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward;' not a reward of merit, but of grace. The Apostle plainly intimates that they endured, by considering that the light affliction which lasted but for a moment, 'worked out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'
We, therefore, proceed on the apostolical practice, in preaching the word of God, when we apply to the hopes of men, in order to overcome their fears; and tell them to look forward to a crown of life, that they may be faithful unto death.
In conclusion, there are two CAUTIONS, which I will mention on this subject.
You see it expressly asserted, that the man is blessed that endureth temptation: and, in the second verse, the Apostle says, 'My brethren, count it all joy, when ye fall into divers temptations,' or trials: consider it as a token or evidence that you are not sweeping away with the current of this wicked world. but bearing up against its oppositions. Since, there
fore, this is the royal way-no cross, no crown—] would admonish you,
1. Not to STUMBLE at the dispensation:
2. Not to FEAR it, while you are cleaving to God, to his grace, as alone sufficient for you.
1. STUMBLE NOT at the dispensation of trial. Say not, Why am I thus? Why am I liable to meet with such things? Why has God permitted it?" Nay, says St. Peter, 'Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.' There are great differences in the circumstances of a Christian, but there is one thing common to them all:-they are all tried they are all brought into the school of experience. It is said of the blessed, in the viith chapter of the Revelation, 'These are they, which came out of great tribulation:' they were all tried: they were all tempted. The refiner does not put his gold into the furnace, because he values it less than the dross which lies on one side; but, because he values it, he puts it in, in order to purify it.
"God," says an old writer, "had one Son without sin; but never had one without sorrow, trial, and temptation:" for even Christ himself was 'made perfect through suffering'-qualified as a mediator and high-priest; that he might know how to sympathize with and to succour those that are tempted, having been himself severely tried.
That the faithful people of God become soldiers, fighting under his banner; that they are made willing to endure, and to press forward to the prize; this is an evidence and seal which he sets upon them. We find our Lord, therefore, saying, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?' Then-"Feed my sheep. Take your lot with them. Like Moses, prefer the reproach of Christ to all the offers of the world." Whenever, then, you are called to trial and tempta