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to cease from our labours; bringing us to the haven where we would be !
Let, then, no heart faint because the present life is a sore struggle— because we are beset by sin, - because we are sore let, and hindered in running the course which is set before us,- because we are in heaviness through manifold temptations !
Let us have faith, my brethren, in the Lord's help. Let us be sure that His hand is not shortened that it cannot save. Let us be sure that all day long, and all night long, His ears are open to our prayers ; that He is more ready to assist, than we are to seek His assistance. Let us, come what may, whatever trial, whatever
, temptation, take refuge in this thought,- that Christ knows all about it, and all about ourselves; and that He will not suffer us to be tried above that we are able, but will with the trial also make a way of escape, that we may be able to bear it!
Again, let us learn something from the terror of the disciples at the sight of Jesus. They were troubled . . . and they cried out for fear !
Often it will happen, that the very instruments which God chooses to be a means of salvation are regarded with feelings of dread and dislike. As, for instance, all bodily suffering, the loss of worldly goods, the lessening of our usual comforts, the break-up of fortune, the removal by death of some dear friend, separation from home, and the like. When these things, or any of these things befall us, we are apt to be discouraged-out of heart, even to cry out and complain of our lot. But, brethren, a wiser heart will try to see, in all these things, the disciplinethe necessary discipline - of a kind and watchful God. It is I; be not afraid! For nothing is more certain than this, that God does in this wise try the hearts of the children of men. Griefs and sorrows, losses, separations, disappointments; He uses them all to purify the soul which He has chosen to Himself. Many a man would be utterly lost, were it not that the Lord thus searches him out, and proves him. Then, again, let me say it, Be of good cheer!-yea, even in the day of calamity. There is a bright and glorious presence behind the cloud, though now you see it not. But wait,wait in faith, and the Lord will make plain His way. Already you may hear, if your heart be not dull, the tones of His loving voice,— Christ speaking to you across the storm, saying, as He said of old, It is I; be not afraid !
Yes, be sure of this, that Christ will never utterly leave, nor forsake His people. He may seem to do it; He may leave us for a time alone; He may make as though He heard not-as though He would pass us by ; but it is only for our trial, to call forth a greater faith, a greater earnestness in prayer. When things are at the worst, and our soul faints because of the trouble, He will come to our succour, and save us, as He only can, with an exceeding great salvation !
Lastly. Let us notice what St. Matthew alone of the Evangelists has recorded of St. Peter on this occasion. When that Apostle heard his Master's voice, speaking to him from the sea, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid — he answered Him and said, If it be thou, lid me come unto thee on the water. The Lord said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship; he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid ; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me! And immedia'ely Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, 0 thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ?
Now it has been observed that St. Peter is here an image of the faithful, both in the seasons of their weakness, and the seasons of their faith. So long as men are strong in faith, they are able to tread under foot all the storms and waves of an unquiet world. It is only when their faith fails them, that they are in danger of being overwhelmed. And then it is that the Lord puts forth His hand, and keeps them from sinking. For His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
And this, too, is a most wholesome thing for us to remember. We cannot stand in our own strength. As it is so truly expressed in the Collect for this Sunday— The Fifteenth after Trinity
the frailty of man without God cannot but fall. Nor is it wise to try to stand. It is the part of true wisdom to keep as close as possible to the shelter of the Almighty. It is the part of true wisdom not to run into temptation -- not to go where we shall be exposed to any unusual trial — not to rush into unnecessary danger.
Yes, and if so be that we have slipped already – slipped through over-confidence ; if, going in our own strength into peril, we have fallen, and are nigh unto perishing, in the mire of unrighteousness, what then is left for us to do, but to cry, as did the sinking Apostle, Lord, save me! Take me out of the mire that I sink not. Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up. And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me! . . I am in misery, haste thee unto me, O God. Thou art my helper and my Redeemer: O Lord, make no long tarrying ! (Pss. Ixix, lxx.)
THE ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF GOD.
PSALM lxxiii. 24.
Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon
earth that I desire in comparison of Thee !
THE Psalm from which these words are taken, whether composed by David, or by Asaph the seer, is rich in matter for our meditation. It teaches us how we ought to regard the prosperity of the wicked. And this teaching is conveyed in a very striking and lively manner. The Prophet writes as though he were feeling his way through darkness, and perplexity, into the clear light. He sees men, notorious evil-doers, untouched by punishment, enjoying all the good things of life to the fullest degree — prosperous, rich, and powerful and the sight vexes him — fills his heart with disturbing thoughts. I was grieved, he writes; I was grieved at the wicked : I do also see