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« T'he time would fail me," to tell of the many examples of the strength of Christ made perfect in human weakness, exhibited by the primitive Christians, who “ strengthened with all might “according to his glorious power, unto * all patience and long suffering, with * joyfulness, endured a great fight of af« fiction, and rejoiced when they were “ accounted worthy to suffer shame for « his sake;"_or of the noble army of the saints of latter ages, who, in spite of all the terrors and tortures which bigotry, and superstition, and rancorous hatred and revenge could invent, would not be tempted to rénounce their religion. Reposing their faith and hope in God, they were raised above the fears of death in its most frightful forms; were enabled to despise or pity the impotence of
persecuting rage, and to pray for their enemies and murderers. Sustained by a stedfast trust in their Saviour and their God, they were enabled to witness a good confession, and sealed their testimony with their blood.
Whence this patience and fortitude, this heroic magnanimity ? Did it belong
to them by nature ? Far from it: It was the work of the Holy Spirit of God -the fruit of strengthening grace. Consider, then, I beseech you, brethren, that as it was with them, so shall it be most assuredly with you ;
the same grace which sustained the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, is ready, is engaged to sustain you if you implore it in the way and through the means appointed. Know that the power and the gracious promises of God are ever the same, and that he is still able to “ en“ large your hearts, that you may run “ the race of his commandments.”
Though thou art, O man! in thyself weak and helpless, surrounded with many enemies, exposed to many trials, and engaged in many conflicts, still fear not. The Lord will be thy strength. There is no advocate too powerful, no work too difficult for him who relies on the Omnipotent. Not any thing can be required from the weakest of his creatures, that he cannot enable them to perform. St Paul acknowledges, that of himself he could not even think a good thought; and yet from experience he could say, “ Through Christ strengthen“ing me I can do all things." He whom the Almighty assisteth' must be victorious; he who taketh to himself the whole' armour of God, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit, must be able to stand in the evil day, and in the end to lay hold on a crown of life.
No longer, then, have confidence in the arm of flesh. Trust not in your own wisdom; for it is foolishness. Confide not in your own heart; for “ it is deceitful “ above all things, and desperately wick66 « ed.” Trust not in your own strength; for it is weakness : nor in your own righteousness ; for it is as
filthy rags. On the Lord build with a pure and unmixed dependence. Put all your hope, and trust, and confidence in the Almighty Guardian and Shepherd of Israel. Place your soul in the keeping of Him who never slumbers nor sleeps, but watches over his flock with the most tender and affectionate regard. Pray to him to uphold you in the way
your footsteps slide not.
84 IT IS NOT IN MAX TO DIRECT HIS STEPS.
“ And now, brethren, I commend
you 6 to God, and the word of his grace." The Lord bless you and keep you. “The « Lord make his face to shine upon you,
, « and be gracious unto you. The Lord 6 lift
his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Amen.
ON THE RICH MAN IN HELL.
LUKE XVI. 23.
And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.
You may safely give me credit, my friends, when I assure you, that it is from no peculiar predilection that I can have for subjects of this kind, nor yet merely to excite your surprise and gratify your curiosity, that I have made choice of these awful and alarming words, as the ground of our present meditations. But hope and fear, it is well known, are strong and commanding passions in the human mind, and have a mighty influence on human conduct ; and were it not necessary sometimes to employ " the