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Faith in Christ makes us righteous, because it brings us into union with his person, and interests us in his finished work. Being made righteous by union to Christ, we are tried, and taught, and disciplined on earth, that we may be found unto "praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ."
Third : Trials do not flow from wrath, but from love. One of our mistakes is, that if the Lord loved us, he would not deal thus with us; whereas he deals thus with us, be cause he loves us. Hence Jesus says, “ AB many as I love, I rebuke, and chasten ; be zealous, therefore, and repent." And the Apostle, “ Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” If the Lord hated us, or cared not for us, he would leave us to ourselves that we might fill up the measure of our in iquities ; but because the Lord loveth us, he hedges up our way with thorns, and builds a wall that we may not find our paths.
Every trial, every trouble, every disap. pointment, to the Christian, is a proof of his heavenly Father's love.
Fourth : Our trials are limited, both as to time and degree. For the elect's sake, the days of tribulation were shortened in the days of old; and the Lord very graciously stayeth the rough wind in the day of the east wind. There is the day of trouble the hour of temptation the small moment-during
which he is displeased with us. He says. "I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." And his servant adds, “ His anger endureth but for a moment, in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." As the time of trial is short, so the degree of our trial is apportioned to our strength, for he will not lay upon us more than we are able to bear : but he will, with the temptation or trial, make a way for our escape, that we may be able to bear it.
Fifth ; Present trials tell on future glory.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory ; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Finally: If there are no trials, we want one principal evidence of grace. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons ; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." All God's children need correction, and they all receive it. All the vessels of mercy need scouring, and they all get it. Where there is most graeo, there generally are the most trials : but where there is no grace, there sometimes are no trials. “They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. Their eyes stand out with fatness, they have more than heart could wish. Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world; they increase in riches." Who among us would wish for such a lot! Those who have no changes, fear not God; but they that are emptied from vessel to vessel, tried by one affliction after another, are led by the sovereign grace of God to glorify God in the fires, and are thus trained up for glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life.
Tried soul, remember, in the midst of thy sorest trials, under thy heaviest crosses, and when suffering from the bitterest disappointments, remember, “THE LORN TRIETH TAK RIGHTEOUS."
Fellow suff'rers, heirs of God,
Listen to a Saviout's call;
Still there's something sweetens all.
Taste the wormwood and the gall;
Still there's something sweetens all,
T ARE YOU SAFE FOR ETERNITY.
"Prove your ownselves.”—2 Cor. xiii. 5.
THERE is much spurious religion in the world. Many pass for Christians who are not. This fact places professors in solemn circumstances. When there is much coun. terfeit coin in circulation, people in trade are doubly cautious. They look at the prof. fered piece carefully, they rub it, ring it, weigh it, and test it in a variety of ways. No one will take base coin, if they know it. Nor will people take what is suspicious without examination. Friends, have we any religion ? If so, are we sure it is the genuine article? Many are deceived, and deceived to the last. The foolish virgins were. The multitudes referred to by Jesus were, when he said, “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? Then I will profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity." How is genuine religion to be known? How can I tell, if I am taught by the Holy Spirit, and have the grace of God in my heart ? In many ways. there are many tests. Let us look at a few.
First, if I am a new creature, sin is hate. ful to me. Not only open and flagrant sins, but all sin; the sin of the heart, that no one seeth or knoweth but God himself. All sin of thought, word, and deed. I see its de. formity, its injurious nature and character, and its opposition to God's pure and holy law. I hate it for its own sake, and also because it dishonours God, crucifies the Lord Jesus, and grieves the Holy Spirit. Be. cause it degrades my nature, blasts my char. acter, wounds my soul, and exposes me to the wrath of God. Because it injures my fellow men; and has introduced disorder, disease, and misery into God's world. The more I know of sin, the more I hate it; and the depth of my spirituality may be ascer tained by the degree of my hatred to sin, all sin. Where there is no hatred to sin, there is no religion; where there is but little hatred to sin, there is but little religion ; but where there is deep, intense and increasing hatred to sin, there is not only grace, but a growth in grace.
Second, if I am truly religious, the Lord Jesus Christ is precious to me. He is all my hope. My everlasting all hangs on his word, work, and sacrifice. I prize him above all besides. I place implicit confidence in him, and desire to honour and obey him in every action of my life. I love him