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thou have mercy upon me." My Dear Hearers, you must have learnt, in the course of your experience, both in and out of religion, that an impatient spirit mars every thing with which it is concerned.
Are we to wait, then, for the early and the latter rain?-let us sow, therefore, though we SOW weeping. Let us rest assured, that, while we thus trust him, his work is going safely on. Joseph waited God's time; and he brought him out of the prison, and made him lord of Egypt. Job endured many reproaches; but, says he, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that I shall one day see him for myself."
The man, who looked at Job, if he rightly understood the case, might have said, "That man is mistaken by his friends. He has a dark night and a stormy path to walk in; yet he is so right in saying, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, he is so right in patiently waiting for the coming of his Lord, that he shall find, that, in God's time, he will draw nigh to him, and plead his cause."
The man, who marked Haman swelling with rage, and discontented and wretched till he had procured the death of Mordecai; and, at the same time, had seen Mordecai looking to God for deliverance, and urging Esther and his friends to prayer: the man, who marked these things, might, not see the way by which God would
deliver his servants, but he shall soon see the wheels of his providence in motion. The king shall not be able to sleep: his instruments of music shall not sooth him: till, by step after step, Mordecai is exalted to the post of honour, and Haman hanged upon his own gallows.
Be patient, therefore, Brethren. Establish your hearts.
2. We observe, that the way to walk steadily and stedfastly, is, TO KEEP THE GRAND OBJECT BEFORE US-the coming of the Lord.
It would be well for us, if we could every morning say to ourselves when we awake, "I am one day nearer to the coming of the Lord: and, perhaps, before I rise again, I may be called to stand in his presence!" This is the great secret of a Christian-to have Christ the Judge present in the conscience-Christ in us, the hope of glory-Christ in us, the way, the truth, and the life to see him, by faith, coming on his great white throne in the heavens, to be the judge both of quick and dead.
The Carnal Professor cannot wait: the Antinomian Professor cannot wait, nor work, nor bear the cross the Formalist cannot wait, nor submit to a life of faith: the Stony-Ground Hearer cannot wait, nor endure the burning sun of temptation: the Worldly-Wise Man cannot wait, nor understand this life of faith and patience.
If you are one of these characters, it is no wonder that you do not succeed; but, if you are living branches of the living vine, you will be willing to wait for Christ's coming you will be willing to wait for his explanation of all your trials and temptations-you will ask, "How will he pronounce in that day?" for it is of no avail what man thinks: in that day, the Judge himself will hold the scales; and many, who now make a bold profession, will then be found wanting.
3. Let no man, however, be discouraged; but, since the Apostle introduces here a cloud of witnesses, LET US ENDEAVOUR TO RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE SET BEFORE US.
The traveller sets forward on his journey: he means to attain a certain end: he has some great concerns to settle; perhaps an estate to receive, of which he is thinking day and night. Whatever be the weather, however dark the clouds, however threatening the face of the sky, this man will "I must press forward, and that continually, if I would attain my end!"
He, who sets this race before us, says, So run, that ye may obtain. He knows that we are soon. disheartened; and, therefore, he points us to the footsteps of the flock! Others have travelled before us: yea, and in much worse weather, than we have to encounter; and loaded with heavier burdens, enduring a great fight of afflictions. You
may say, therefore, I have a dreary path; but I must travel on with patience. I suffer; but I suffer with a cloud of witnesses. I must be sup ported as they were. I must live upon promises. I must trust that word, which cannot be broken; as they did, who have now finished their course with joy."
Brethren! is it thus with you?-Then shall you behold the king in his beauty. You shall see the land that is afar off, and have every tear wiped from your eye. You shall reap the harvest, as well as sow in tears. The corn, that is to produce bread, is growing through the storm, through many a blustering and tempestuous night, through many a bitter blast: but, Be patient, Brethren. To them, who, by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, and honour, and immortality-eternal life belongs.
In a word, whoever is taught of God, sees the success that attends walking in the path of patience, and has encouragement in his soul to believe that in the end it shall be well with him: and, whenever he sees a suffering Christian, hanging on the word; taking hold of his Master, and saying, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; he knows that every such man has not only a spiritual perception, but a moral disposition: "There is the man,” he will say, "who has with him the secret of the Lord! That man has the rock under his feet! That man shall weather the storm!"