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the flood on foot. David's history is almost a constant succession of signal interpositions, when reduced to the greatest extremity. "And what shall f more say? for the time would fail me, to tell of Gideon and Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthai, of Samuel also, and the prophets."

5. If either the greatness or continuance of trials would tend to overthrow the saint, before God's time of deliverance come, a secret support shall be given him "that he may be able to bear." God" strengthens the fainting soul with strength inwardly." The Lord has several ways of supporting his people under their trials till deliverance come, which are recorded in the Scriptures for their encouragement. Such is the fulness of the Scriptures, and the examples there mentioned so apposite, that we can scarcely suppose any saint can meet with a trial, or need a deliverance not exemplified in them: but should such a case happen, God's love and faithfulness would lead him to create a way sooner than any of his people should perish. As we have many miraculous deliverances recorded in the sacred volume, the Lord has often wonderfully interposed since the period when inspiration ceased. His love to, and care about, his people are unchanging. The true way for the tried saint is to fix his eye on God's promise of deliverance, his absolute faithfulness, and unchanging love; and to overlook those methods which seemed probable and rational in his own eye, and leave the manner and season of deliverance and escape wholly to God. The Divine declaration about deliverance should be considered by him as sufficient ground of faith and

consolation in the heaviest trial, even when he sees no way to escape. We shall now subjoin some application.

1. This subject sets before us the sure ground on which faith may and should rest concerning support under trials, and a way to escape from them. It has the testimony of the great and infallible Jehovah, that he will not suffer his people to be tempted above that they are able to bear. His testimony is more stable than mountains of brass. Every thing relating to it deserves credit, and is encouraging to faith. If God had not purposed that saints should never be tried above what they are able to bear, there was no obligation on him to say it. Now when he has said it, there is nothing to hinder the accomplishment, but every thing to secure and bring it about. He has every trial at his disposal; and to secure his own veracity, he may measure out more or fewer as they are able to bear. He has all store of grace, and he may, can, and will dispense more or less according to their trials. He is the same as when he made this declaration; and having made it, he is under superadded obligation to make it good. Faith stands on firm ground, and believers should not stagger.

2. We may infer the great evil of unbelief. God says, we shall not suffer above that we are able to bear; unbelief says, I can neither bear nor endure any longer. He says, my grace is sufficient for thee; it says, grace may be sufficient for others, but not for me. He says, he does all things well; it replies, though he did his worst, I could be little worse. God says, all his ways are truth and mercy; unbelief

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says, I am plagued and chastened every day, and his mercy seems clean gone. He says, wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; it replies, this evil is of the Lord, why should I wait for the Lord any longer. Thus it calls the God of truth a liar, and who can determine the quantity of evil included in this sin?

3. We may see how unreasonable and criminal despondency is. How does it appear in the light of this text? It joins deliberate obstinacy to unbelief. It argues in its own behalf, justifies itself, and refuses consolation. In opposition to despondency we might ask, Has not God answered all his people's expectations in time past? Is there any reason to conclude, or even suppose, that he will not do the same in time coming? The following question deserves a serious consideration: When will despondency in the tried believer be justifiable? We might answer, Never while this text is in the Bible; or till God has forgot it; or is not able to accomplish it; or when any proof can be adduced that he has neglected it.

4. After all, we may see that the Lord's people have good reason cheerfully to leave this world, and die when God shall be pleased to call them. Vanity is wrote in legible characters on every sublunary object, and all below is vexation of spirit. This is a world of sorrows and miseries. Sin has embittered our best enjoyments. We should not be overfond of our sorrows. When we go hence we shall leave them all behind. In the grave the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. In heaven all our tears will be wiped away, and there will be

nothing to hurt or destroy. This is a strange land. Heaven is our Father's house and our own home. At its best, this world is but a valley of tears and a place of weeping. In the other we enter into rest and our joy is full. Why should we prefer troubles, sorrows, and difficulties, to everlasting rest and complete joy? True, death is between; but it will soon be over, and there is no by-road to bliss.

This subject might be further improved by earnestly calling Gospel hearers to examine themselves.

We need not ask you if you have had trials, for man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards; nor if you will have them afterward, as death is before you: but we may and should ask, how you improve them. Do you see God's hand in every trial, or do you not? Do you murmur, or are you resigned? Are you humbled, or is your neck like an iron sinew?

But what we have chiefly in our eye is to ask, Are you possessed of that proportion of strength spoken of in the text? The following things will perhaps enable you to answer with some certainty and precision. If you are, you will see it to be all of grace, and not of works, and from the heart you will say, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for thy mercy's sake." If you are sensible of your own weakness, you will ardently desire an increase of it: desiring this increase, you will come to God, as the source of all grace and strength to Christ, as having it all lodged in his person to his cross, as what alone procures it-to the promises, as at once the security and vehicle of


conveyance—and to the Holy Spirit, who alone can actually confer it: and coming in this manner you will fervently pray, "Lord, increase our faith." Once more, if you are possessed of that strength, the power of sin will be broken and declining. As the house of David grows stronger, the opposing interest waxes weaker; and you will be learning to die to sin daily. Time was when you were driven before corruption as chaff before the wind; but now you make at least some stand.

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Deeply concerned, a certain believer objects, and says with tears, "My corruptions are so strong, and I feel them working in such a vigorous manner, that if this be an evidence of that proportion of strength, I fear I am still without it." To this we may answer, though you feel corruptions within strong and lively, and though you cannot say you have conquered them; yet if you hate and oppose them, you are possessed of this strength: one cannot begin the Christian warfare without some measure of that Divine strength which will make them more than conquerors at last. Still the believer objects, "I have so little strength to oppose the body of sin, and in combating my spiritual enemies, I am so often repulsed, and at the best gain so little ground, that I am afraid I have not the strength spoken of in the text." To this we would say, if you have a love to it, a desire for it; if the thought of wanting it pains you at the heart, and makes you cry fervently to God for it, you are not an entire stranger to it. People never ardently seek that of which they are totally ignorant; and the living, and not the dead, are pained at the heart.


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