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ing away his confidence for the severest persecutions, he could endure a thousand times more, were it possible, to testify his love to the Redeemer, and promote his cause. The more faith views and considers Christ, the more hardships it will endure, and with the greater alacrity. All the martyrs have adopted Paul's way of strengthening their faith. When religion and cruel death have been placed on the one side, and life at the expense of recanting on the other; faith takes another view of Christ, and is encouraged. It sees that these afflictions are light, and but for a moment, that Christ is able to support under them, and that they work out an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It considers the severity of Christ's sufferings, and that he suffered the just for the unjust. Should the soul be ready to shrink at the sight of tortures, faith is animated by the prospect of present support, and the ponderous crown of glory. Poor distressed persons, at the point of expiring on beds of languishing, have tried to strengthen themselves in the same manner. When God's waves and billows passed over them, and heart and flesh were about to fail, through sharp distress and exquisite agony, their faith was like to stagger. In this trying moment, they looked to Christ and were lightened. A believing view of Christ as once dead, now alive, and entered within the vail as their forerunner, made them possess their souls in patience. Keeping their eye upon him, they suffered with submission, bare with cheerfulness, and died with comfort and triumph. A consideration of Christ, as calculated to strengthen and support the soul, is not confined to


these great trials and last scenes; but is the believers' usual way and only resource in all their prior afflictions. Already acquainted with Jesus as in straits a present aid, they say, We will not fear, and argue, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." The eye of faith, the oftener and longer it looks to Christ, discovers the more of his fulness, and with greater certainty and clearness. Instead of being hurt by taking a long and steady view of its object, it is invigorated, and strengthens the soul.

That it may not fail, faith considers itself, as well as Christ. Paul, in the prospect of death, took a serious consideration of what he had done when he committed his soul into the hands of the Redeemer against that day. The world laughs at faith. Paul knew it to be a very solemn and important exercise. He found it necessary to commit his soul to Christ when going to Damascus; and he finds it equally necessary now when he is to suffer at Rome. Stript of all his self-sufficiency, he was convinced he could not live without Christ. After it pleased the Lord to reveal his Son in his heart, the life which he lived was a life of faith on the Son of God. Christ lived in him, and without Christ he could not live. Love to the Redeemer constrained him to every duty, and sweetened all his trials. Ravished with partial communion, and animated by the hope of full enjoyment, nothing could separate him from the love of Christ. He could not die without him. If called to it, he was

willing to die for him. Having committed his soul to Christ was his gloriation and boast. He was determined never to retract. The more frequently or seriously he reviewed the great transaction of surrendering his soul to the Saviour, he was the better satisfied in what he had done. Viewed in this light the text is as if he had said, "O Timothy, I have suffered much for Christ and his Gospel; for my faith and a steady profession of it: I must suffer much more, unless I recant: I thought the Lord Jesus infinitely worthy of being trusted when I first committed my soul to him; I was persuaded that entrusting him with my best concerns was most reasonable in itself, and advantageous to me :-the near approach of death and martyrdom loudly calls me to review what I have done, and take a narrow inspection of my exercise: I am now doing it: I would not wish to deceive myself, or others: I can have no sinister ends: death with all its outward terrors is before me: I stand on the brink of eternity: I am giving you my last letter, and dying counsel: before, and in the very time of writing it, I have again considered the object of my faith, the exercise of it, and my sincerity:—I say on the best grounds, Christ is most worthy; faith is most reasonable; and with an honest heart I have committed my soul into his hands: I heartily approve of all I have done: I shall abide by it, and die :Timothy, be thou also faithful to the death, and the Lord Jesus will give thee the crown of life: exert thyself in the Redeemer's cause: be wise to win souls to Christ: though all men should forsake thee, the Lord will not." This reconsideration was Paul's

habitual exercise. Every believer will follow the same course, especially in trials. It is essential to faith, and an eminent mean of promoting steadfastness, and growth in grace.

7. We also observe, that faith derives such strength from Christ under present sufferings as encourages the believer in views of the greatest future trials. As one wave succeeds another, so did the apostle's afflictions. When one billow passed, he scarcely had time to breathe before he was overwhelmed with another. In them all he was supported. The everlasting arms were underneath him. From support in one, he argued that he would be strengthened under the next. His reasoning was conclusive. It was founded on the faithful promise, and infinite care of the Redeemer. Death was before him. He was firmly persuaded that he who had brought him through Red Seas of troubles, would carry him safely over Jordan. Faith cannot act otherwise. It comes empty to Christ. It seeks and receives supply from his fulness. It gives nothing, and takes all. While it always comes empty to the Redeemer, it does so especially in trials; and it never comes in vain. The soul is strengthened. While experience of support and supply in every trial is a proof of his love and care, his power and faithfulness; it encourages the believing soul in the prospect of every future affliction. The saints argue, he who has delivered will deliver. They are trained to face one enemy and danger after another, till at last they defy death itself. The amount of their experience and encouragement is, "I have often been brought very low; in all my

straits I went to Christ: I never went in vain: I have found him rich in mercy: I will make application to no other quarter: all my expectation is from him; and I will always apply to him: he cannot be worse; and I must be successful: and it is as easy for an omnipotent arm and almighty grace to support the soul in death, as in the least trial."

8. Already encouraged by rest and repose in the Redeemer, faith always might rise to the greatest assurance about acceptance and salvation, and often actually does it. The apostle spake in the language of assurance. His tone is firm, and without hesitation. He says, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded. Thousands have adopted the same language without self-deception, or vain gloriation. There is always the highest reason for assurance in the grounds of faith laid down in Scripture. There is a grant of Christ to all, to every individual, and to the worst. The promise makes over Christ and all his fulness to them that are afar off and to them that are nigh. It is God's commandment that men believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. He commands men every where to repent, and true repentance can only flow from faith. These are the grounds of faith. Standing on these, faith may speak with assurance and confidence. But the man who has already committed his soul to Christ, enjoys rest and peace from being so comfortably and safely lodged. This repose is both refreshing and encouraging. At anchor within the vail, faith weathers every storm. Inured to so many, and having seen the waves, times innumerable, dash and beat to no purpose, he is firmly

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