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he says, I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.98 By means of affliction the children of God are led to seek earnestly for the fulfilment of His promises, and so to find that He is faithful to His word on which He hath caused them to hope; and thus they are firmly fixed in a persuasion of the truth of the word of God, whereby their hearts are comforted, and they are stablished in every good word and work.99 Let us seek for this establishment in the faith, that we may not be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.
The next benefit sought is, to be strengthened. Affliction shows us our weakness and helplessness; and therefore, by means of it, we are led to seek for Divine strength to be communicated to us, that we may be strengthened with strength in our souls; and thus be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Let us seek for His strength to be perfected in our weakness, and we shall find His grace to be sufficient for us in every time of need.
The last thing mentioned in this prayer is, that the believer in Christ may be settled upon the sure foundation, or immoveably fixed upon it. The apostle prayed for the Christians at Ephesus that they might be rooted and grounded in love, so as to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. This is the thing which settles the mind, and constrains those who are grounded in it to live not unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again. May we thus continue in the faith grounded and settled, and not be moved away from the hope of the gospel which we have heard. Let it be our prayer that the God of all
98 2 Peter i. 12.
99 2 Thess. iii. 17.
1 Eph. iv. 14; vi. 10.
grace may make us perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle us, that we may live to His glory, and show forth His praise in all our conduct and conversation. The apostle speaks,
Fourthly, Of the blessedness that awaits the suffering children of God.
The God of all grace hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus. What a high destination is this! How wonderful is it, that those who are suffering here on earth because they are sinners, suffering being the natural consequence of sin, should be spoken of as being called by God unto His eternal glory. And yet how is this disregarded by the children of men. How little is the hope of it encouraged; how slow of heart are we to believe it; how faint are our desires after it! To this eternal glory God hath called us, the sinful children of men, by Christ Jesus ; by giving His beloved Son to be our Redeemer; by giving Him to shed His precious blood for our ransom, that He might put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, that in Him we might have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, wherein He hath abounded towards us. Oh that our hearts were animated by this subject as they ought to be; that gratitude for redeeming love possessed our souls, as it ought to do; and that putting our trust in the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, we might be enabled to rejoice in hope of the glory of God, as it is the privilege of the children of God to do; believing that the God of all grace hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus; and therefore as surely as our faith and hope are in Him, so surely shall we be put in possession of it, when we have done with all things here below. It is. the privilege of the believer in Christ to be assured of this, because of the faithfulness of God to His word, on which He caused him to hope.
2 Eph. iii. 17, 19.
3 2 Cor. v. 15.
4 Col. i. 23.
When the apostle contemplated this great object proposed by the God of all grace in all His dealings with His people, he could not avoid expressing his grateful admiration of it, by saying, To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. This is the
Last point to be noticed. It becomes us, by such ascriptions of praise, to manifest our grati
5 Eph. i. 7, 8.
6 John i. 29.
7 Rom. v. 2.
tude to Him who has had mercy upon us, who
8 1 Corinthians vi. 20.
9 Revelation i. 5, 6.
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE GROANING OF CREATION.
Romans viii. 22, 23.
FOR WE KNOW THAT THE WHOLE CREATION
GROANETH AND TRAVAILETH IN PAIN TO
GETHER UNTIL NOW; AND NOT ONLY THEY, BUT OURSELVES ALSO, WHICH HAVE THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, EVEN WE OURSELVES GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY.
The misery which sin has introduced into the world, is here described in a manner which comes home to the feelings of mankind. We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened with a body of sin and death. We
We are exposed to pain of body and mind, because we are sinners against God, both by nature and by practice.