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so there is nothing that flatters self; and thats and charge them upon the whole body. It every man is naturally as self-righteous as will magnify the common infirmities of huhe is depraved.
man nature into crimes. Let the young man To this we may add another source of the swear and challenge; let him be a companion inevitableness of persecution. It is taken of them that drink, and make merry, and from the Christian himself. Suffering is ne- mock at sin; and he shall be applauded as a cessary for his trial and his triumph. With- young man of spirit: but no sooner is he conout this, how could he prove that he loves vinced that “the end of these things is death, God better than friendship, reputation, wealth, and that the way of transgressors is hard;" or life? How could he overcome evil with and “comes out from among them, and is good? How could he love his enemies, bless separate;" than he is “ had in derision of all them that curse him, and pray for them that around him, and is as one mocked of his despitefully use him and persecute him ?-It neighbour.” How often has genuine religion is warfare that makes a good soldier. A produced the loss of friendship, or chilled the Christian is like the firmament, and it is the warmth of attachinent into cold civility. darkness of affliction that makes his starry Where power is possessed, it is frequently graces to shine out. He is like those herbs exerted as far as safety or a regard
apand plants that best effuse their odours when pearances will allow. This is seen in the bruised,
attempts of husbands, parents, and masters, But you say—though this was true former- to restrain from following their religious ly, is it not far otherwise now? And if the convictions their wives, their children, and truth be applied to us at all, must it not their servants. With regard to relations, a be taken with limitations? And what are Christian will sometimes find a greater trial they?
in their affections than in their frowns. Here Here let us admit with gratitude the dif- is a mother, in all other respects tender and ference between our own times, and the days kind; she takes her daughter aside, and of those who through faith and patience in- weeps to think she should favour a doctrine herit the promises." We should not talk "every where spoken against,” and draw like martyrs. Owing to the justice and upon herself some opprobrious name:-she mildness of our laws what perils do we run? beseeches her not to grieve the heart of one We can “sit under our own vine and fig who bore her—and bring down her gray tree, none daring to make us afraid.” The hairs with sorrow to the grave." Now, to greater part of our sufferings are not dis- withstand all this, and to break loose from tinguishable from the common afflictions of such an embrace-not from a want of filial life ; and many of the trials that some foolish regard—this religion increases at the very professors frequently charge on religion, re- time, but from obedience to the voice that ligion would teach them to avoid, if its ad- cries, “ He that loveth father or mother more monitions were regarded. But on the other than me, is not worthy of me."—What a hand it must be allowed,
trial is here! First; that human nature is essentially the Thirdly. If modern Christians frequently same in every age; and that a tiger may be escape persecution, may it not be asked, chained and not changed. Under every form whether, in many instances, it does not arise of government “the heart is deceitful above from their less fully exemplifying the spirit all things, and desperately wicked.” And of their religion than the primitive Christians where there is a strong active propensity did ? Many professors, it should be observed, against any thing, (as in this case, there must seem to make it their whole concern to elude be against real godliness) it will show itself the reproach of the Cross; and we may notice as opportunity offers; and such opportunity two methods employed by them for this purthere must be in a world like this.
pose, both of which will tend to prove the Secondly; that persecution admits of vari- truth of the Apostle's assertion, even with ous degrees. It includes every kind of in- regard to ourselves. jury or vexation, from a fiery stake to a scorn- The one is concealment. This is dastardful sneer; and is not to be estimated always ly and mean. We should never be drawn by the bulk of the suffering only, but by the out of a corner by the praise of man, nor be grace, the temper, and the state of the in- driven into a corner by the fear of man. We dividual that endures it. It commonly ope- should be ashamed of nothing we embrace rates now in a way of reproach ; and fre- upon conviction. We are required to "conquently this is no less trying than bodily fess with the mouth," as well as “ to believe pain. We know who said, “ Reproach hath with the heart:” and to appear Christians as broken my heart.” This reproach endeavours well as to be such. But if we hide our to turn their faith into folly; their hope into peculiar character, we cannot of course propresumption; their meekness and forgiveness voke notice and opposition in that peculiar of injuries into meanness and cowardice; character. their sanctity into singularity or hypocrisy. The other is accommodation. And it is It will take the blemishes of an individual, | awful to think how one doctrine and usage
244 A CHRISTIAN IS NOT A FAVOURITE WITH THE WORLD, after another has been given up! Chris- share in the sufferings of religion, while he tianity, says one, will never be received by is a stranger to its supports, and unentitled Jews and Mahometans, while you " honour to its privileges. But so it is; the hypocrite the Son as you honour the Father.” It will loses heaven for the sake of earth, and earth never be acceptable, says another, to men of for the sake of heaven; and is of all creatures taste and learning, till you abandon the bar- the most miserable.— It applies also to those barous notion of the atonement, and of origi- whose conduct is exceptionable. If you will nal sin. Now, upon this plan, what would speculate ; live beyond your income ; involve be left after all the objectors were satisfied ? yourselves in difficulties, and defraud others ; How much would the residue resemble the and as you go along hear the reflection, Gospel as it now stands? And admitting “ There goes a religious cheat;" bear it as that this pruned system was unexceptionable, well as you can: the world speaks truth: by and even admired by the generality of man: your profession you are religious, and by your kind, would this be a proof of its truth? If practice you are unrighteous. “What glory 50, why was the preaching of “Christ cruci- is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults
, fied to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do Greeks foolishness;" and only to them that well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently
, were " called, Christ the wisdom of God, and this is acceptable with God." Your sufferthe power of God?" Was Paul mistaken ings are not Christian sufferings, unless they when he said, “The natural man receiveth are unmerited by immoral, and even imprunot the things of the Spirit of God, for they dent conduct. “If ye be reproached for the are foolishness unto him; neither can he name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit know them, because they are spiritually dis- of glory and of God resteth upon you : 60 cerned ?"
their part he is evil spoken of, but on your In practice as well as principle, professors part he is glorified. But let none of y
you have conceded one thing after another, in suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an order to take off prejudice, and to make them- evil-doer, or as a busy-body in other men's selves the more rational, and liberal, and matters." agreeable to the men of this generation. One Secondly. With what caution and prayer thing is obvious from all this trimming and should we assume a profession of religien! changing their way; and it is this--that God forbid we should discourage any; even either Christianity or the world must be any of you, my young friends, who are disaltered, before they can be rendered agree-posed to join yourselves to the Lord's people able to each other. But Christianity allows in a perpetual covenant, that shall not be forof no alteration. It needs none. The change gotten: we would rather invite you to cast in required therefore is, where it ought to be, your lot among them, and assure you, that in in the world. Hence, says the Apostle, “Be religion you will find a portion infinitely bet. not conformed to this world : but be ye trans- ter than all the pleasures of sin, and the vani formed by the renewing of your mind, that ties of the world—But at the same time we ye may prove what is that good, and accept- would not deceive you. We would follow able, and perfect will of God."
the example of our Lord in addressing those Think of this, ye God-and-Mammon men; who spoke of following him. You are going, ye would-be-friends of the world, and of God said he, to build: “Sit down first and count too. If your aim be to elude opposition and the cost." Your religion will be an expenreproach, as far as ye are “ of the world, the sive thing. Can you bear its charges? You world will love its own :" but as far as you are going to declare war. “ Sit down first dissent from them, they will dissent from you; and count the dangers.” Have you equal as far as you oppose them, they will oppose forces ? Good alliances? A rich treasury! you. Our Saviour may say to many Chris- “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that tians as he did to the Jews; "the world can- forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be not hate you: but me it hateth, because I my disciple." testify that the deeds thereof are evil."
" And who after this can think of following This subject is fruitful in reflections. him?” Why all who are truly wise. Such First
. There are some who suffer persecu- a course, notwithstanding every sacrifice, is tion—that do not live godly in Christ Jesus. wisdom ; " and wisdom is justified of all her For it is not the cross, but the cause that children.” If God would open your eyes as he makes the martyr: men may go weeping to did Balaam's, you would look upon this poor hell, as well as to heaven. But to whom despised people, and say, " Hlow goodly are does our observation apply? It applies to thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles. O pretenders; who have “a name that they Israel! Let me die the death of the righteous, live, but are dead.” The people of the world and let my last end be like his.” If Moses cannot easily distinguish between the form the son of Pharaoh's daughter, was here, and of godliness and the power,” and therefore a palace was offered him, he would " choose the pretending and the sincere frequently rather to suffer affliction with the people of fare alike. It is a sad thing for a man to God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for o
season ; and esteem the reproach of Christ (“We went through fire and through water, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy having respect unto the recompense of the place.” Thus runs the Divine promise : reward."
* When thou passest through the waters, I Thirdly. If any man suffer as a Christian, will be with thee; and through the rivers, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify they shall not overflow thee: when thou God on this behalf. It gives you an oppor- walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be tunity to prove your thankfulness for his good- burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon ness, and
your adherence to his Gospel. Your thee.” And the Apostle Peter exhorts Chriscause is noble: it is the cause of truth and tians not to “ think it strange concerning the holiness; it is glory to God in the highest, fiery trial.” and on earth peace; good-will towards men. Stripped of metaphor, the passage before Your companions are glorious; the same af- us supposes a state of suffering. flictions happened to your brethren who were In this state we may be found as men: for before you in the world, patriarchs, prophets," although affliction cometh not forth of the apostles, and Jesus liimself, your elder bro- dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ther. Your crown is invaluable; and you ground, yet man is born to trouble as the may say with Paul, “ I reckon that the suf- sparks fly upward.” ferings of this present time are not worthy to In this state we may be found as Chrisbe compared with the glory that shall be re- tians: for “ many are the afflictions of the vealed in us."
righteous.” This fact may seem strange to But what shall we say to persecutors? If the natural man, who concludes that the fayou feel enmity against the godly, and would vourite of Heaven is entitled to every indulin jure them were it in your power, it is “a gence upon earth: and it has often proved a token of perdition.” You may now be placed source of temptation to the people of God above them in circumstances; and may love themselves, who have been led, from their to misrepresent and to vilify them. But sufferings, to suspect their safety. « their Redeemer is mighty.” He is “near But why such an inference?' Their Lord that justifieth them.” He “ will plead their and Saviour was made perfect through suffercause."
." He that “ toucheth them, touchething; he was a man of sorrows and acquainted the apple of his eye.” They shall have with grief; and they are fore-ordained to wear dominion over you in the morning of the re- his image. There must be a conformity besurrection; and condemn you at the last day." tween the head and the members: “it is “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the enough for the servant to be as his master, world?"
and the disciple as his Lord.”
Why such an inference? “Whom the DISCOURSE LXVIII.
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth.” “ As many," HOW WE ARE TO HONOUR GOD IN buke and chasten.” The history of the Church
says our heavenly Father, “ as I love, I reTROUBLE.
furnishes no exceptions to this truth. And Glorify ye the Lord in the fires.
can you see good men, and men of the most Isaiah xxiv. 15.
eminent goodness, invariably suffering—and “WHETHER ye eat, or drink, or whatso refuse to drink of the cup they drank of, and ever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” What to be baptized with the baptism they were an extensive admonition is this! It demands baptized with ? of us nothing less than an universal regard In what condition could we view them, to God;a reference to his honour in all our should we now find many of those who are actions, not only religious, but civil and na- infinitely dear to God ! —Depressed with tural.
weakness, fear, and much trembling; pining And yet even this does not include the with disease; “ made to possess months of whole of God's claim upon us. We are re- vanity and wearisome nights;” disappointed quired to honour him, not only in all we do, in their worldly schemes and exertions; perbut in all we suffer. Witness the words plexed and straitened in their circumstances; which I have read : “Glorify ye the Lord in bereaved of their dearest connexions; “ lover the fires." Let us consider,
and friend put far from them, and their acI. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED. II. Our quaintance into darkness ;" opposed and perIII. THE REASONS BY secuted by their neighbours and relations;
and finding by bitter experience that “a man's I. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED—" In the foes are those of his own household.” fires." The language is figurative. It is And what, under all this, should we find common for the sacred writers to hold forth them doing ?-Hardening themselves by infitrouble and affliction by fire, and frequently del reasonings, by stoical apathy? Endeain connexion with its opposite, water. Thus vouring to banish all sense of their sorrows, the Church triumphant looks back and exults; by repairing to the dissipations of the world?
DUTY WHEN IN IT.
WHICH IT IS ENFORCED.
-They would rather die at their Saviour's | speaketh, and clear when he judgeth; that we feet, saying, “ Carest thou not that we pe- have no reason to complain, whatever we sufrish?”—They invite feeling; but this is their fer, for he has punished us infinitely less than language:
our iniquities deserve. In this way Daniel
gave him glory: “O Lord, righteousness be* What should I wait or wish for then From creatures, earth, and dust?
longeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of They make our expectations vain,
face, as it is this day." So did David: “I know And disappoint our trust."
O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and “ Where is God my maker, who giveth songs that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." in the night? Therefore will I look unto the We glorify God in our afflictions, when we Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation, verbally and practically acknowledge my God will hear me. From the end of the His wisdom. “ He is a God of knowledge;" earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is and this regulates his corrections, and eren overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is every circumstance attached to them. It higher than I.” This is well. It is there may not be easy always to see this, because fore enjoined, “Call upon me in the day of we do not fully know ourselves, our defects, trouble.” But it is not enough to seek and our maladies; and therefore we cannot God in our afflictions—we must serve him. judge properly of the means employed to cure It is,
and improve us.
But of this we may be asII. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. Glorify sured, that he never errs in the time, the ye the Lord in the fires."
place, the continuance, the instrument, the The glory of God is essential or declara- kind of affliction—it is precisely the very tive. We cannot add to the former. In this thing we need; and nothing could be altered sense, he is "exalted above all blessing and without injury. We glorify God in our afpraise. Our goodness extendeth not to him." flictions, when we verbally and practically But “the heavens declare the glory of God : acknowledge all his works praise him." How? By the His goodness. For this is really the prinimpressions and displays of his perfections: ciple from which proceeds every sorrow that by showing us what he is, and what he de-wrings the heart. Severity is often eviden
tial of care and of regard. If God was not Thus Christians are appointed to show concerned for your welfare, why does he emforth the praises”-virtues-excellences- ploy means to do you good ? Does the hus“of him who hath called them out of dark- bandman prune and manure the tree that he ness into his marvellous light:" which is done is going to cut down? No—but that which by their language and by their lives. Hence he wishes to save and to fructify. Is it kind it is easy to see that we glorify God in our to rebuke a friend, or to countenance his afflictions, when we verbally and practically faults ? Is it kind in a father to suffer the acknowledge
child to have his own will, or to impose upon His agency—that nothing comes to pass him salutary restraints, and to urge his atby chance—that his providence is concerned tention to things which will qualify him for in all our trials—that “there is not an evil future life? “We have had fathers of our in the city, and the Lord hath not done it." flesh which corrected us, and we gave them Many walk all through life and never meet reverence: shall we not much rather be in with God. Whatever occurs, whether it be subjection unto the Father of spirits, and pleasing or painful, never reminds them of him. live? For they verily for a few days chasWhen they experience a distressing event, tened us after their own pleasure; but he for they stop at second causes ; they are kept our profit, that we might be partakers of his from God by the very instrumentality he em- holiness. Now no chastening for the present ploys. They exclaim, “Oh! It was that un- seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: neverlucky servant; it was that perfidious friend; theless, afterward' it yieldeth the peaceable it was that malicious enemy." But, if Eli fruit of righteousness unto them which are had met with it, he would have said, “ It is exercised thereby.” If his aim in your afthe Lord, let him do what seemeth him flictions be to prevent that which is your disgood :” Job would have said, “ The Lord grace and ruin; if it be to promote that which gave, and the Lord hath taken away: What! is your glory and happiness; if it be to make shall we receive good at the Lord's hand, you wise, humble, tender-hearted, spirituallyand shall we not receive evil ?"-We glorify minded; to wean you from earth and fit you God in our afflictions, when we verbally and for heaven-how obvious is the love of God practically acknowledge
in sending them! But his love is to be acHis rectitude. “He is righteous in all his knowledged not only in the design of afflicways, and holy in all his works;" and none tion, but in its alleviations. These are nuof our troubles can deny this. Let us always merous, and a grateful mind will look after be concerned to keep God free of all blame. them. “ It is trying—but it might have been Let all our reflections turn upon ourselves. worse. I have lost one comfort—but some Let us own that he is justified when he have lost all. I om in trouble-but I have
the sympathy of friends; I have the promises | ing. He called, and you came-not in the of Scripture; I have the presence of Him contemptible nature of a worm-but"a little who said, Fear not.”—We glorify God in our lower than the angels." What wonders are afflictions, when we verbally and practically there in thy body! Yet this is the baser part. acknowledge
You have conscience, reason, immortality. His power. This regards our support and He has taught you more than the beasts of deliverance, and is to keep us from all hasty the earth, and made you wiser than the fowls and dismal conclusions. For by nothing do, of the air. There is a spirit in you, and the we dishonour God more than by our despon- " inspiration of the Almighty giveth it underdency. Is any thing too hard for the Lord ? standing." And is all this to enable you to However dark the scene may be, he can turn labour for shining dust with the covetous ? the shadow of death into the morning. If To run after air with the ambitious? To when he comes to save us, he finds no way dive into mud and mire with the sensual and of escape, he can easily make one. Read the vicious ? Should you not "worship and fall history of Joseph, and of David. Observe the down, and kneel before the Lord your Marelief of Elijah in famine; and the deliver- ker ?" By whom have you been upheld from ance of Daniel in the lions' den--and learn the womb? At whose table have you been to trust in your almighty and wonder-working daily fed ? From whose wardrobe have you Friend. You say perhaps many of these been clothed? There is not a comfort in life things were supernatural. -— They were. And but gives God a title to thy praise. But he that we are not to expect a repetition of mi- has greater, dearer claims. Go to the manracles. It is acknowledged. But he who ger, the garden, the cross. See him not performed these wonders is still alive, and sparing his own Son, but delivering him up the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He for us all. See him exalting this Sufferer is as near to you as he was to his people of “to be a Prince and a Saviour; to give reold; and you are as dear to him as they pentance unto Israel and remission of sins.” were. But, alas! we are not "strong in What has he done for thee in the application faith, giving glory to God.” Israel “ limited of this free and full redemption? Has he the Holy One of Israel," and so do we; and opened thine eyes, and turned thy feet into like them we do it after the wonders he has the path of peace.-What has he done for shown us. We forget "the years of the thee since thou hast known him? He has right hand of the Most High," and every ever left thee? Has he ever turned away fresh difficulty chills our hope, and forces our thy prayer from him, or his mercy from thee? confidence to a stand. But this is wrong. And is it for you to be wrapped up in selfishWe ought to be peculiarly concerned to ness? How unworthy a creature; but how “ glorify God in the fires.”
much more unworthy a Christian! When a III. We proceed to examine THE REASONS. man is writing a book, says an old divine, he There are three. The first is derived from ought often to look back to the title, and see opportunity-the second from obligation, whether he is conforming to it, or deviating the third from hope.
from it; and so he tells us we should often First. You ought to glorify God in the turn back and inquire the end of our creafires, because you have the finest opportu- tion and our redemption, in order that we nity. The scene naturally awakens atten- may regulate ourselves by it. We ought, tion, and fixes observation upon you. No- we ought—to “reckon ourselves to be dead thing preaches like a fact. Nothing is so indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through impressive as the graces of a Christian in Jesus Christ our Lord.” trouble. Infidels have been convinced, the Thirdly. Hope should influence you. Such wicked have been reclaimed, the weak have a disposition to glorify God in the fires is probeen strengthened, the timid encouraged by ductive of your own advantage. God is a what they have seen and heard in the hour good master. Though we owe him all the of affliction. How much, therefore, should obedience we render, and it is impossible for you prize such a useful providence, and how any of our works to be meritorious, yet his anxious should you be to improve such an op- grace has made them rewardable--and portunity, to illustrate your principles, to ex- rily there is a reward for the righteous.” We emplify the advantages of religion, to recom- cannot be losers by any thing we do for him. mend the master you serve! Let it not be a You may often study the wishes, and proprice in the hand of fools. It will be painful mote the interests of men, and meet with no to look back upon such a season neglected. suitable return. But he renders love for It will be dreadful to review such a season love, service for service, in a proportion inperverted. Yet this is often done by improper finitely increased. “ Them that honour me behaviour, by ungracious tempers, by pas- I will honour, and they that despise me shall sionate words.
be lightly esteemed.” Secondly. The obligations you are under One of these two things is certain, as the to the blessed God, should induce you to glo- consequence of sanctifying the Lord in your rify him in the fires. Once you had no be- afflictions.