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my servant be."k
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM JESUS'S PROMISES. points tempted like as” they are, “ yet without sin." Jesus felt the sting of affliction, the assaults of Satan, and the sorrows of spiritual desertion. In your darkest hour, you may approach him and say, Blessed Lord, behold me in a case that once was thine harassed by those hellish foes that once harassed thee; but thou hast conquered, and wilt thou not give thy poor follower grace and strength to conquer too?
Why distrust the gracious Saviour ? Are not his promises as rich as heavenly love can make them ? as firm as eternal truth can fix them? as free as an undone world can want? 1 Art thou his servant? he says, " Where I am, there shall also
Art thou one of his flock ? he declares, My sheep shall never perish, neither shall any one (neither man nor devil) pluck them out of my
hard." Or art thou laden with sin, and fu'l of fears ? he says,
« Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."m
« Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is said, that when bishop Butler lay on his death-bed, he said to his chaplain, “ Though I have endeavoured to avoid sin, and please God, to the utmost of my power, yet, from the consciousness of perpetual infirmities, I am still afraid to die." -“ My lord," said the chaplain," you have forgotten that Jesus Christ is a Saviour."- “ True," was the answer ;
« but how shall I know that he is a Saviour for me?”_"It is written, Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
" True," said the bishop; “ and I am surprised, that, though I have read that scripture a thousand times over, I never felt its virtue till this moment; and now I die happy."
In your Christian pilgrimage, in your spiritual warfare, forget not that you have a SAVIOUR; and let that Saviour be all your comfort and support. Look to your Lord's sorrows for relief from your own. If he were present with you, would not his kind declarations repress your doubts, and subdue your unbelief? but if he were, he could not speak comfort in language stronger than that in which his sufferings and death should speak peace to every believing heart.
$ 18. Think of your heavenly Father's love. Jesus speaking of him, said to his disciples, even after they had fallen through unbelieving fears, “I ascend unto my Father and
(i) Heb. ii. 18; iv. 14, 15. (k) John xii. 26. (1) John x. 97. 28. (m) John vi, 37.
(n) Matt. xi. 28.
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM GOD'S LOVE.
319 your Father, to my God and your God.” Precious declaration !
With such a Father as the blessed God, why should his penitent, though unworthy, child despond and fear? Richer mercy you cannot need, than that which God displays. Promises more free you cannot desire. Though one sin allowed to reign would undo an immortal soul, yet had a soul which comes to God by Christ, sins as numerous as the drops of morning dew, the blood of Jesus would wash them all away. Cannot you trust in God to help you ? He bade the sun shine; has he not power to shine into your sad heart? Does he want the inclination ? It cannot be, that he who gave Christ for you, can be unwilling with Christ to give whatever your wants require.—Jesus has died. Such has been his infinite pity, that through his appointment Jesus has died. O, comprehend but this aright, and nothing more will be needed to banish thy fears, to raise thy hopes, to subdue thy unbelief, to fire and to fill thee with trust and delight in thy great, and good, and gracious God. Think of him as a Father. Does not a father pity his feeble child ? If the child lie sick and afflicted, unable to utter any thing but sobs and groans, will he pity that child the less ? God is a Father to those that seek him; a kinder Father than any earthly parent : he knows his children's sorrows; he sees their feebleness, and knows their frame is dust. He pities them, and hast thou been led to seek him, then be assured he pities thee.
$ 19. To animate you in pressing forward to the Christian crown, often think of those, who through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises. Turn to the first ages of Christianity. Christians then esteemed it an honour to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. They forced their passage to heaven, through all that is most dreadful; and sought admission there, at the expense of all that is most dear. Riches, health, ease, pleasure, and life, all were trifles in their esteem. Then tormentors were weary of inflicting pain, before martyrs were weary of bearing it. Their path was no smooth and flowery way: sorrows beset its entrance, and attended its course; and flames and tortures were at its end : and yet they trod it. These indeed seem like a different race of beings, like crea
tures of a different world. Ah, my friend ! there lay the s distinction between them and many that profess the same
THE EXAMPLE OF MARTYRS.
, if was so fearful lest, the prayers of his friends should prevent Ho the execution of the sentence, that he begged them to forbear: “I fear," said he, “ lest your love should injure me." Does one of all those martyred myriads now repent ? Did one when landing on the heavenly shore ever think, I have borbe too much for him who bore the cross for me? We need not go so far back to view the patience of the saints. Look behind you a hundred and fifty or two hundred years, and see ENGLISH confessors, of whom the world was not worthy, encountering persecution in their native isle, or savages and famine in the midst of American wilds. See dungeons filled with their captives, and deserts peopled with their exiles. See persecutors hunting out their little haunts; denying them the enjoyment of religious worship, even in solitary fields, or lonely woods. Behold soldiers entering their assemblies; disturbing their meetings ; silencing their ministers; To dragging hearers, and preachers, to fines, confiscations
, and prisons. O be not slothful! though not called to encounter their sorrows, imitate their lives; cherish their fervent attachment to the absent Saviour ; and their fond eagerness for a better world. When the world tempts you, and Satan sung, gests, Your hope is vain ; then think of them who once had all these trials, and many more ; but who overcame through the blood of the Lamb.
$ 20. When tempted to despond, or shrink in the day of conflict, then hear your Lord saying, Will you go away; you for whom I died; to whom I have been a shepherd and friend : who have professed so much love to me; who have taken on your soul such solemn vows, and sealed them so often at the table of your Lord ;-will you go away? You who never found me faithless and never will-will you go away ?-will you shall Satan triumph ?-have you coulsidered the folly ?-have you weighed the sin ?--have you measured the ingratitude of hearkening to the tempter ?-and will you go away? O do you not reply, Holy Jesus, where should I go? If I left thee, where should I find a Saviour ? where go for pardon, peace, salvation, and eternal life? Keep
PROMISES TO THE FAITHFUL.
ne, and I will not go away. Though the tempter's suggesion were true, that my hope is vain, yet if I perish, at thy eet will I die!
If tempted to give religion up, hear your Lord saying, * Hold that fast which thou hast, that no one take thy crown." All the enemies thou hast been instructed to watch against, will try to rob thee of that prize ; but hold the beginning of thy confidence fast unto the end. Think of the worth of that crown of which they would rob thee. Think of the price which was paid, that that crown might adorn thy head, thou child of dust!-a price no less precious than the blood of the Lamb. Think of the love that would bestow it on thee! think of the raptures of receiving, and of the heaven of enjoying, that thornless crown! Whatever thou mayst lose, or suffer, or fear, or dread, still hold this fast! Though it docs not yet beam around thy honoured head, yet follow Jesus, and it shortly will. Hear him speaking to thee : “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."p No meaner hand than mine shall give the glorious boon. Thy Lord's own hand will bestow the prize.--Fear not lest thou shouldst not attain the blessing, for I will give it thee.
Be faithful unto death. This is all, and come when death may, then this crown, not of merit but of grace, is thine. This promise was given to those who had to pass through persecution. You are not called to such trials; be faithful then when encountering far lighter opposition; and remember that the spirit of martyrs should animate every Christian. If you are afraid of being singularly pious; if you fear a sneer, or a laugh, or the words fanatic, enthusiast, or me
you shrink from your duty for fear of offending a friend, or an employer, can you think that such faith and fortitude would stand a much severer trial ? Can you think that you should be faithful unto death, amidst taunts, and
if this be the case, are you faithful now? Does not Jesus say, Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed ? O watch against a cowardly spirit in religion !
It is true our difficulties are not like those of some who have preceded us. They are less formidable; and perhaps
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE
322 on that account more dangerous. When attacked by the enemies they encountered, there remained no opportunity for parleying with the trial. No alternative remained to there, but victory or death. But the evils we encounter in our spritual warfare, seem to demand less decision, and so are often more destructive. The warm beams of the sun led the traveller, in the fable, to throw aside the cloak, which the rougt tempest could not tear from him.
Look to that crown! and to him who gives it ! Look to those promises that they are inheriting, who in his strength have overcome. They felt all your trials; they knew all your sorrows; they encountered all your dangers; and struggled with all your enemies; had hearts as cold and grovelling; enemies as many, and as rnighty ; fears as painful ; doubts as perplexing; and temptations as harassing; but they overcame through the blood of the Lamb. Now they are inheriting the promises; and opposition, and danger, and death, and temptation, and sin, are things unknown where they repose. A few years ago many of them were in the field of warfare; but now in the land of victory. Their pilgrimage is ended; their warfare done; their voyage of life is finished; they have reached the harbour; and landed on ful shore of blest eternity.” The crown of life, the rivers of pleasure, the fulness of joy, the house not made with hands, the mansions in Jehovah's dwelling, the heaven we desire, the eternity that fills our souls with conflicting hopes and fears—all, all are theirs. Happy conquerors ! happy end of the struggles of a few fleeting_years! And may you ere long enjoy the same? You may. Eternal love has opened to your soul the gate of heaven. Eternal love would place upon your head the crown of life. Your journey is no longer than theirs; your enemies no mightier. Your helps are no less. Jesus was their strength; and he would be yours. Your encouragements are no smaller. To them he promised immortality, and the crown of life; and he would give the same precious gift to you. O blessed immortality! is this the gift of Jesus to a pardoned penitent, that once deserved the depths of hell ? O crown of life, of glory! is it this, that his kind hand will place on every humble believer's unworthy head? Blessed gifts! blessed recompence for a life of fourscore years, wholly devoted to his love and service! Of fourscore years!
" the peace