« PreviousContinue »
“ example of suffering affliction, and of patience. “ You have heard of the patience of Job. He was s stripped of all, and he said, the Lord gave, and the “Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of “the Lord : what! shall we receive good at the Lord's
hands, and shall we not receive evil ? Consider the “ unparallelled sufferings of thy Saviour : and he said, “ the cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall “I not drink it? Do not imagine these trials are “ fruits of my displeasure: as many as I love, I rebuke “ and chasten. I design thy welfare; and I know “ how to advance it. You have often been mistaken; « fometimes you have been led to deprecate events, “ which you now see to have been peculiar mercies. “ Trust me in this dispensation : reasons forbid my “ explaining things fully at present : what I do, thou “ knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. “ In the mean time be assured, I do not afflict willingly, “ nor grieve the children of men. These troubles are " as neceffary for thy soul, as medicine for the body, " as the furnace for gold, as the knife for the vine. " Be not afraid of the affliction; I have it completely " under my management; when the end is answered “ I will remove it ; I know how to deliver. Till then, “ fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I
m thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea I will keep “ thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand « of my righteousness.”- -0, could I hear this ; this would hush each rebellious figh, check every murmuring thought. Is this then suppofition? has not God faid all this ; does he not fay all this in his word ? Thirdly, Patience is to be exercised under DELAYS.
We as naturally pursue a desired good, as we shun an apprehended evil. The want of fuch a good is as grievous as the pressure of such an evil ; and an ability to bear the one is as needful a qualification, as the fortitude by which we endure the other. It therefore as much belongs to patience, to wait, as to suffer. We read of “ the patience of hope:” for patience will be rendered necessary according to the degree of hope. 6
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:" it is the office of patience to prevent this fainting. And God is perpetually calling for the exercise of it. He does not always immediately indulge you with an answer to prayer. He hears indeed as soon as you knock, but he does not instantly open the door: to stand there resolved not to go without a blessing, requires patience, and patience comes up and cries, “ wait on the Lord ; “ be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine “ heart; wait I say on the Lord.” He does not appear to deliver us according to the time of our expectation; and in woe we number days, and hours; the language of desire is, “0, when wilt thou come unto “ me?" and of impatience, “why should I wait for the “ Lord any longer ?" But patience whispers, “ it is “ good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait “ for the salvation of the Lord.” To long for pardon, and to feel only an increased sense of guilt ; to implore relief, and to be able only to say, “ without are fight“ ings, and within are fears ;” to journey in a weary land, and see the way stretching out immeasurably before us, lengthening as we go; to pursue blessings which seem to recede as we advance, or to spring from our grasp as we are seizing them; all this requires
open to the
“ patient continuance in well doing.” " We have “ also need of patience, that after we have done the " will of God, we may receive the promises.” See the christian, waiting composedly year after year in a vale of tears, for an infinite happiness; the heir of such an inheritance resigned to abide so long in indigence ! Surely, it is trying to be detained so many months at anchor off the fair haven, the end of his voyage in view ; to have all the glory of the unseen world laid
of faith ; the trials of this life to urge, and the blessings of another to draw; to have earnests to ensure, and foretastes to endear. Surely there is enough to make him dissatisfied to tarry here. And it seems proper for the christian to be more than willing to go. Should an Israelite fix on this side the promised land ? Is he not commanded to arise and depart hence ? Can he love God, unless he wishes to be with him? Does not the new nature tend towards its perfection? What wonder, therefore, if we should hear the believer sighing, “ O, that I had wings like “ a dove; for then would I flee away, and be at rest. “ I would hasten my escape from the stormy wind and “ tempest. 0, when shall I come and appear before “God? When shall I leave the dregs of fociety, and join the general assembly above? When will my
dear connections gone before, receive me into ever5 lasting habitations ? O, how I envy them! O, the
glories of yonder world! I seem indistinctly to see “ the shining prize; I seem to hear a little of their “ melody. O, that was a perfume blown across the “ river ; how it revives my spirits, and calls me away But a voice cries, “ be patient, brethren, unto the “ coming of the Lord ; behold the husbandman; he. “ waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth, and hath “ long patience for it, until he receive the former and “ the latter rain.” The faint answers, “I pray not " that He should take me out of the world, but keep “me from the evil. I am willing to remain, while “ He has a station for me to fill, a duty for me to per“ form, a trial for me to bear. All the days of my “ appointed time will I wait until my change come. “ Here is the patience of the saints.”
Let us learn then, my brethren, how neceffary it is for us to possess this temper of mind; it is of perpetųal and universal use. All of you need it, and will need it always. You do not all need genius, learning, wealth ; but what will you do in a world like this without patience ? How can you be prepared for a fucceffion of encounters, unless you“ take to your. 66 felves the whole armour of God?” How can you pass through a wilderness of thorns and briars, unless
your feet be shod with the preparation of the gof.
pel of peace ?” Who can say, “my mountain stands “ fo strong, I shall never be moved ?" 6 If a man “ live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let “ him remember the days of darkness, for they shall
many : all that cometh is vanity.” How unde. sirable is a squeamish appetite, that incessantly requires delicacies; a puny body, that can bear no hardships; a tender frame, that must not be exposed to the variations of the weather ; but how much worse is it to have a soft, enervated, pampered constitution of mind, that must be stroked or rocked like a child ; that can with extreme difficulty be pleased; that must have ev. ery thing according to its fancy. In a state where so little is left to choice and convenience, and where we are liable to trials and changes every day, we should seek after a general preparation for our paffage, and strengthen and invigorate the soul by patience.
-Labour strenuously, not only to acquire this grace, but to excel in it. Seek higher degrees of it. Exercise it not in one thing, but in every thing, and in every thing to the end.
6 Let patience have its perfe&t “ work, that ye may be perfect and entiré, lacking “ nothing," There is a God of patience, who giveth more grace. Approach him with enlarged desire, that you may abound in this grace also, “ strengthened s with all might according to his glorious power, unto
ALL patience and long suffering with joyfulness.”
- And remember, you will not always be called to the exercise of patience. Your “ warfare will foon “ be accomplished :” for “6 yet a little while, He that “ shall come, will come, and will not tarry.
and will not tarry.” A little more patience, and the wicked shall cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest; a little more patience, and farewell, provocation, affliction, and anxious delays. Patience, having conveyed you safe, and being no longer neceffary, shall return for more; but it will leave you in a state where all shall be peace, all hall be quietness, all shall be assurance for ever. O, BLESS OUR GOD, YE PEOPLE, AND MAKE THE VOICE OF HIS PRAISE TO BE HEARD ; FOR THOU, O GOD, HAST PROVED US, THOU HAST TRIED US, AS SILVER IS TRIED: WE WENT THROUGH FIRE AND THROUGH WATER, BUT THOU BROUGHTEST US OUT INTO A · WEALTHY PLACE.