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Christ came; he satisfied himself that God could not lie, and this established his heart.
Now one of the spiritual children of Abraham, walking in the faith of his father, considers that this promise has been fulfilled that the desire of all nations' has appeared, according to the promise, and exactly at the predicted time. He says, therefore, to himself, “ When he
came, what has he left on record concerning his coming again, and the consequences of that second coming ? -He said, that all nations shall be gathered before him; that he will separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and that he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left : that he will order his angels to gather up the tares and burn them, but to lodge the wheat safely in his garner.
“What did he do, when he came ?-He proved that he was the Faithful, the Just, the True and the Almighty.
“What promise, what expectation did he hold forth of his coming again ?-He said, “Be patient: follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be—I am the light of the world : he, that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Yours is a reversion : can you trust me? Can you honour me? Can you glorify me before men? Can you wait for my coming; and take up that religion which consists of faith, and patience, and obedience? Are you one of those who are poor in spirit ? then you shall certainly have the kingdom which I have promised."
I When the Holy Spirit of God works a correspondent disposition to this proposal in the hearts of Christians, they are satisfied with the plan, with their Master, and with his wages.
What shall I say? A Christian is as a wise virgin, in a waiting posture. A Christian rests on a rock:
Here,” says he,“ will I stand! Tell me not what men say of me. Let them call me fool! Let them call me madman! I am building on a rock: I will, therefore, by faith and patience, now establish my heart; for surely the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.'
Patience, then, as you see, is the Child of Faith. It is not obstinacy: it is not stupidity: it is not enthusiasm : it is not the pride of the soul: but it is the Living Martyr, trusting to the word and faithfulness of his Lord; believing that, in a very little time, he shall enter into his rest, and that it shall soon be said of him, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours.'
II. But, while Patience is the Child of Faith, it is, at the same time, the PARENT OF SUCCESS.
The patient man is in the way to conquer. This is illustrated variously in this chapter.
When the HUSBANDMAN has laboured in his field and sown his seed, he cannot at once raise bread. What avails his haste? What avails his fretting? He may fret because the frost sets in : he because there seems to him to be too much rain : but how will his fretting benefit him ? Will his impatience alter the the state of the ground ? will it change the weather? will it forward the harvest ? His impatience can do no good; but his patience can :-his trusting of God, and quieting of himself to wait for the appointed seasons, sleeping and rising, and rising and sleeping, while the corn is growing he knows not how. Thus the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receives the early and latter rain:' that is, he comes into the order of God: he has patience with God: he goes on, trusting that, in God's way, he shall obtain the promised harvest. “"
Now, therefore,” as if the Apostle had said, “Look at him. You must hope
for success in the same way. Does he use means? So must you ; and you must have patience like him.” The Apostle states another case.
“Take, my brethren, the PROPHETS, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience. Consider how the world has treated the greatest and best of men-men, who have lived on purpose, as it were, to befriend the world! Noah was a long time building the ark, for the safety of his house; while an ungodly world were scorning and
; reviling him: but he patiently worked on, and he and his house were saved. Jacob was a man of sorrows : but, when dying, he says, “I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord;' plainly implying that he had not waited in vain. Look at Moses, at Jeremiah, at Daniel : take them for an example of faith and patience; and for proofs that Patience is the Parent of Success. By faith and patience they overcame the world, 'with its affections and lusts :' and consider, in running over the history of the Prophets and Apostles, that they never lost ground, till they lost their patience: if Moses failed at Massah and Meribah, it was when he had lost his patience: if Elijah, that great champion of Israel, is brought into a mean and contemptible predicament, it was when he had lost his patience; flying from the face of a woman ; if we hear Jeremiah talking of being deceived,—' O Lord, thou hast deceived me'-it was when he had lost his patience. They would give God no time: they would not trust him. * Take them,' says the Apostle, “for an example. Behold! we count them happy which endure:' they trust God: like the three children walking in the fiery furnace, their bonds only are burnt, while they are safe.
St. James mentions another instance. Ye have heard of the patience of Job :' he was a suffering man: mark his patience: consider how he endured'Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: Ye have YOL. 11.
heard of the patience of Job; and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
All these witnesses declared, that they were only strangers upon earth, and but as pilgrims travelling to a better country; that they could trust their Master; that they knew in whom they believed, and that he was able to keep what they had committed to him; and that their inheritance was a reversion.
Now consider the end of the Lord;' and see in every case, if true Christian Patience was not the Child of their Faith, and the Parent of their Success.
III. In conclusion, we shall make a few REMARKS from this subject.
1. We here see the GROUND on which the Apostle says . Be patient.'
Let Passion have its good things now, and it will soon be in rags : let passion climb the highest step, it will only fall the sooner: but be you patient, and by faith and patience, be you 'followers of them, who, through faith and patience inherit the promises.'
Let me exhort you, brethren! to consider the line marked out by your Master. When tempted to impatience, ask yourselves, what impatience will effect for the husbandman. It may vex and harass him; but it will not make any thing grow. Saul would not wait for the Lord: he would sacrifice at his own time, and in his own way, and would go to a witch for advice, because he was impatient; but remember, he had no
David learnt a very different lesson: when the people spake of stoning him’ at Ziklag, 'he encouraged himself in the Lord his God:' as though he had said, “God knoweth how to deliver me! Here I stand, and will establish my heart. “As the
As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress :
so mine eyes wait upon thee, O Lord my God, until thou have mercy upon me.?” My dear hearers, you must have learnt, in the course of your experience, both in and out of religion, that an impatient spirit mars every thing with which it is concerned.
Are we to wait, then, for the early and the latter rain ?' let us sow, therefore, though we sow weeping. Let us rest assui
sured, that, while we thus trust him, his work is going safely on. Joseph waited God's time; and he brought him out of the prison, and made him lord of Egypt. Job endured many reproaches; but, says he, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall one day “see him for myself.”'
The man, who looked at Job, if he rightly understood the case, might have said, “That man is mistaken by his friends. He has a dark night and a stormy path to walk in; yet he is so right in saying, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,' he is so right in patiently waiting for the coming of his Lord, that he shall find, that, in God's time, he will draw nigh to him, and plead his cause."
The man, who marked Haman swelling with rage, and discontented and wretched till he had procured the death of Mordecai ; and, at the same time, had seen Mordecai looking to God for deliverance, and urging Esther and his friends to prayer: the man, who marked these things, might not see the way by which God would deliver his servants, but he shall soon see the wheels of his providence in motion. The king shall not be able to sleep: his instruments of music shall not sooth him: till, by step after step, Mordecai is exalted to the post of honour, and Haman hanged upon his own gallows.
‘Be patient, therefore, brethren. Establish your hearts.'
2. We observe, that the way to walk steadily and steadfastly is TO KEEP THE GRAND OBJECT BEFORE US--the coming of the Lord.'