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SERMON XVIII.

I CORINTHIANS X. 13.

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 a way to escape, that ye may

be able to bear it.

IN whatever situation believers may be, they may lay their account with trials. They have many good things in this world; but troubles await them as long as they are in it. The Lord in his word has made ample provision for them under the severest trials, that if their tribulations abound, their consolations may also abound. They have many and precious promises, some of which are designed for their support, others for their direction; and all for their comfort. There are many declarations in the Scriptures intended to encourage and animate their hearts in every furnace. They are assured that is the Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble,” and that he “ shall deliver them in six troubles; and that in seven no evil shall touch them." For their encouragement too, it is expressly promised that “all things work together for good to them that

love God, and are the called according to his purpose.” Under the heaviest pressures the saints have no reason to faint, for “ though their outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day: for this light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Among the many passages suited to the tried saint, the text holds a distinguished place. It is replete with consolation; and though many waters should overflow him; yet faith cannot fail to derive support and encouragement from such a precious declaration. Eyeing his affliction and this text at the same time, his language will be at the lowest, “ I am troubled on every side, but not distressed; I am perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed.” This text, like a powerful potion, pervades and invigorates the whole man; or, like a well-fitted plaster, covers all the sore, eases the smart, and promotes the

cure.

Many things prey on the heart of the Christian labouring under hard distress, to which persons at ease are entire strangers. One while, the believer poring on his calamitous-situation, concludes that his case is singular; that never any sorrow, was like his, and that the Lord hath “shaken him to pieces, and set him

up

for his mark.” When downcast, and ready to faint, this text occurs to his mind, discovers his mistake, and, at least, yields him this comfort, that many others have been equally tried, and that his condition is by no means singular. It affords some ease to.one labouring under a dangerous disease, to

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see another who has been afflicted with the same trouble perfectly cured. If the same means can be procured, they may have the same effects, and he may be delivered. The text assures the believer that “there hath no temptation taken him but such as is common to man."

Again, the distressed believer poring on his condition, says, Though a thousand should have been as ill as I am, and are now delivered, I fear I never will: if their temptation has been the same with mine, their strength has been superior, for if they have borne theirs, I cannot bear mine. The text administers comfort in this case also, while it assures him that “God will not suffer him to be tempted above that he is able.” He thinks if he could only be assured that he would not be tried above what he is able to bear, he would struggle with all his difficulties; but every thing seems to be against him, and unbelief insists that he has no reason for such assurance, and that all his hopes are vain. In direct opposition to unbelief, the text assures him, that he has the best ground for strong faith and consolation, for God pledges his faithfulness and veracity that he shall not fail, and while “God is faithful, he will not suffer the saint to be tempted above what he is able.”

Further, the believer, still passing through fire and water, is ready to conclude that he can neither do more, nor bear longer, and that he must one day fall under the weight of temptations. Though God has mercifully supported him hitherto, he is now at his wits' end. He concludes that the Lord will be favourable no more, that his mercy appears to be clean

gone, that he has forgotten to be gracious, and that he hath in his anger shut up his tender mercies. In this situation the saint refuses comfort, and in the anguish of his heart says, My hope is lost, and I am cut off for my part: I scarcely have worse to be, and God seems almost to have done his worst: I am close shut

up in depths and darksome caves, and I see no evasion for me. Like Hagar, when all her water was spent, he looks at his comforts as gone, he sits down, lifts up his voice, and weeps, and lays his account to die.

In this trying situation, God opens the eyes of the poor believer, as he did Hagar's, and shows him that the well of consolation is at hand, and points him to this text as an unfailing source of comfort, and assures him that “ he will with the temptation also make way to escape.” God pledges his word that, when the trial is come to the height, and would be more than the saint could bear, he will make a way to escape. He also satisfies the tried saint that even grace in his heart shall not fail, “ that he may be able to bear" till the deliverance come. Often the saint was apt to think that grace in his heart, like God's mercy, was clean gone; but he shall find that it, though at the best like a small rivulet, and in the awful crisis of trial, almost quite dry, was fed with an everlasting spring.

Viewing all these parts of this text, his languishing hope begins to revive, and he encourages his heart with the pleasing thought that there may be hope in Israel concerning his condition, and that perhaps he may come off victorious. He recollects these gra

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