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Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb. xii. 1, 2.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matt. xxiv. 42.
There hath no temptation taken you
but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make
be able to bear it.
1 Cor. x. 13.
a way to
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations ;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.
James i. 2, 3. 12.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time :
Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seek. ing whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 1 Pet. v. 6–9.
They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Gal. v. 24.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James iv. 7.
Let us then determine with cheerful hearts to sacrifice to the Lord our God our comforts and pleasures, however innocent, when He calls for them, whether for the purposes of His Church, or in His own inscrutable providence. Let us lend to Him a few short hours of present ease, and we shall receive our own with abundant usury in the day of His coming. Newman,
Let us take what trial we please, the world's ridicule or censure, loss of prospects, loss of admirers or friends, loss of ease, endurance of bodily pain, and recollect how easy our course has been directly we had made up our mind to submit to it.
Is it not something beyond measure strange and monstrous (if we could train our hearts to possess a right judgment in all things), to profess that our treasure is not here, but in heaven, with Him who ascended thither, and to own that we have a cross to bear after Him, who first suf
fered before He triumphed, and yet to set ourselves deliberately to study our own comfort as some great and sufficient end, to go much out of our way to promote it, to sacrifice any thing considerable to guard it, and to be downcast at the loss of it? Is it possible for a true son of the Church militant, while the “ark of Israel and Judah abide in tents,” and the servants of his “ Lord are encamped in the open fields,” to " eat and drink"
securely, to wrap himself in the furniture of wealth, to feed his eyes with the “pride of life,” and to complete for himself the measure of this world's elegancies ? Ibid.
All timidity, irresolution, fear of ridicule, weakness of purpose, such as the Apostles showed when they deserted Christ, and Peter especially when he denied Him, are to be numbered among the tempers of mind, which are childish, as well as sinful; which we must learn to despise as one of the first steps of being but an ordinary true believer.
To put off idle hopes of earthly good, to be sick of flattery and the world's praise, to see the emptiness of temporal greatness, and to be watchful against self-indulgence; these are but the beginnings of religion, but the preparations of heart which religious earnestness implies; without a good share of them how can a Christian move a step? How could Abraham, when called of God, have even set out from his native place, unless he had left off to think much of this world, and cared not for its ridicule ? Surely
these attainments are our first manly robe, showing that childhood is gone.
To love our brethren with a degree of resolution which no obstacles can overcome, so almost to consent to an anathema on ourselves if so be we may save those who hate us,—to labour in God's cause against hope, and in the midst of sufferings,—to learn to read the events of life as they occur by the interpretation which Scripture gives them, and that not as if the language was strange to us, but to do it promptly,—to perform all our relative daily duties most watchfully,—to check every evil thought, and so bring the whole mind into captivity to the law of Christ,—to be patient, cheerful, meek, honest, and true,--to persevere in this good work till death, making fresh and fresh advances towards perfection,—and, after all, even in the end, to confess ourselves unprofitable servants, nay, to feel ourselves corrupt and sinful creatures, who (with all our proficiency) would still be lost, unless God bestow on us His mercy through Christ,—these are some of the difficult realities of religious obedience, which we must pursue, and which the Apostles in high measure attained, and which we may well bless God's holy name if He enable us to make our own. lbid.
But if there be amongst us, and such there well may be, who, like the young ruler, “worshipping Christ," and " loved by Him," and obeying His commandments from their youth up, yet cannot but be" sorrowful” at the thought of giving up their pleasant visions, their boyish idolatry, and
their bright hopes of earthly happiness, such I bid be of good cheer, and take courage. What is it that
your Saviour requires of you more than will also be exacted from you by that hard and evil master who desires your ruin ? Christ bids you give up the world ; but will not, at any rate, the world soon give up you ? keep it by being its slave? Will not he, whose creature of temptation it is, the prince of the world, take it from you, whatever he at present promises ? What does the Lord require of you, but to look at all things as they really are, to account them merely as His instruments, and to believe that good is good because He wills it ; that He can bless as easily by hard stone as by bread, in the desert as in the fruitful field, if we have faith in Him, who gives the true bread from heaven? Doubt not His power to bring you through any difficulties, who gives you the command to encounter them. He has shown you the way ;
gave up the house of His mother Mary “to be about His Father's business," and now He but bids
after Him the cross which He bore for you, and“ fill up what is wanting in His afflictions in your flesh.” Be not afraid ; it is but a pang now and then, and a struggle ; a covenant with your eyes, and a fasting in the wilderness, some calm habitual watchfulness, and the hearty effort to obey, and all will be well! Be not afraid. He is most gracious, and will bring you on by little and little. He does not show you whither He is leading you ; you might be frightened did you see the whole prospect at once. Sufficient for