Sermon 2603. Comfort for the Tempted
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JANUARY 1, 1899.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 27, 1883.
"There hats no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be temptedbeyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" 1 Corinthians 10:13.
THE children of God are all subject to temptation-some of them are tempted more than others, but I an persuaded that thereis not one, except those who are too young to be conscious of evil, who will enter Heaven without having endured some temptation.If anyone could have escaped, surely it would have been "the First-Born among many brethren," but you will remember how Hewas led of the Spirit, straight from the waters of His Baptism, into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And the ApostlePaul informs us that He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Truly, the Lord Jesus might say to uswho are His followers, "If I, your Master and Lord, have been tempted, you must not expect to escape temptation, for the discipleis not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord."
The fact that we are tempted ought to humble us, for it is sad evidence that there is sin still remaining in us. I am oldenough to remember the times when we used to strike with a flint upon the steel in order to get a light in the morning, andI recollect that I always left off trying to produce a spark when I found that there was no tinder in the box. I believe thatthe devil is no fool and that if there is a man who has no tinder in the box-that is, no corruption in his nature- dependupon it, Satan will not long continue to tempt him! He does not waste his time in such a useless exercise. The man who believesthat he is perfect can never pray the Lord's Prayer-he must offer one of his own making, for he will never be willing to say,"Lead us not into temptation." But, Beloved, because the devil thinks it worth his while to tempt us, we may conclude thatthere is something in us that is temptable-that sin still dwells there, notwithstanding that the Grace of God has renewedour hearts.
The fact that we are tempted ought also to remind us of our weakness. I referred just now to the model prayer of our LordJesus Christ, which contains the sentence, "Lead us not into temptation." The reason for presenting that petition must bebecause we are so weak and frail. We ask that we may not be burdened, for our back is not strong, and we plead that we maynot have sin put before us in any of its enticing forms, for, oftentimes, the flesh borrows strength from the world and evenfrom the devil! And these allied powers will be too much for us unless the Omnipotence of God shall be exerted on our behalfto hold us up lest we fall.
Some children of God, whom I know of, are very greatly troubled because they are tempted. They think they could bear trialif it were trial dissociated from sin, though I do not see how we can, as a general rule, separate trial from temptation,for every trial that comes to us has in it some kind of temptation or other, either to unbelief, or to murmuring, or to theuse of wrong means to escape from the trial. We are tempted by our mercies and we are tempted by our miseries- that is, temptedin the sense of being tried by them-but, to the child of God, the most grievous thing is that, sometimes, he is tempted todo or say things which he utterly hates. He has set before him, in a pleasant aspect, sins which are perfectly abhorrent tohim. He cannot bear the very name of them! Yet Satan comes and holds before the child of God the unclean meats which he willnever touch. And I have known the devil to tempt the people of God by injecting into their mind blasphemous thoughts, hurlingthem into their ears as with a hurricane. Yes, even when you are in prayer it may happen to you that thoughts the very oppositeof devotional, will come flocking into your brain. A little noise in the street will draw you off from communion with Godand, almost before you are aware of it, your thoughts, like wild horses, will have gone galloping over hill and dale-and youhardly know how you shall ever catch them.
Now, such temptations as these are dreadfully painful to a child of God. He cannot bear the poisoned breath of sin and whenhe finds that sin stands knocking at his door, shouting under his window, pestering him day and night, as it has occurredwith some-I hope not with many-then he is sorely beset and is grievously troubled. It may help such a person if I remind himthat there is no sin in being tempted. The sin is that of the tempter, not of the tempted. If you resist the temptation, thereis something praiseworthy about your action. There is nothing praiseworthy about the temptation-that is evil and only evil,but you did not tempt yourself-he or she that tempted you must bear the blame of the temptation. You are evidently not blameworthyfor thoughts that grieve you-they may prove that there is sin still remaining in you, but there is no sin in your being tempted.The sin is in your yieldingto the temptation, but blessed shall you be if you can stand up against it. If you can overcomeit, if your spirit does not yield to it, you shall even be blessed through it! "Blessed is the man that endures temptation."There is a blessedness even in the temptation and though for the present it seems not to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless,afterward, it yields blessed fruit to those who are exercised thereby.
Moreover, there are worse things in this world than being tempted with painful temptations. It is much worse to be temptedwith a pleasant temptation-to be gently sucked down into the destroyer's mouth-to be carried along the smooth current, afterwardsto be hurled over the cataract. This is dreadful, but to fight against temptation-this is good. I say again that there aremany worse things than to be tried with a temptation that arouses all the indignation of your spirit. An old divine used tosay that he was more afraid of a sleeping devil than he was of a roaring one, and there is much truth in that observation,for, when you are left quite alone and no temptation assails you, you are apt to get carnally secure and to boastfully say,"I shall never be moved." I think no man is in such imminent danger as the man who thinks that there is no danger likely tobefall him, so that anything that keeps us on the watchtower, even though it is, in itself, evil, is, so far, overruled forgood. The most dangerous part of the road to Heaven is not the Valley of the Shadow of Death-we do not find that Christianwent to sleep there when the hobgoblins were all about him and when he found it hard to feel the path and stay on it-but whenhe and Hopeful came to the Enchanted Ground, "whose air naturally tended to make one drowsy." Then were the pilgrims in greatperil until Christian reminded his fellow traveler that they were warned by the shepherds not to sleep when they came to thattreacherous part of the way.
I think, then, that to be tempted with painful temptations-those that goad the spirit almost to madness. Bad as that trialis-grievous as it is to be borne-may be, spiritually, not the worst thing that can possibly happen to us. Of all evils thatbeset you, always choose that which is less than another and, as this is less than something else might be, do not be utterlydriven to despair if it falls to your lot to be tempted as many before you have been.
This will suffice by way of preface to a little talk about temptation with a view of comforting any who are sorely temptedof Satan. I know that I am speaking to many such and I would repeat to them the words of my text-"There has no temptationtaken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Remember, dear tried Friend, thatyou must not sit down in despair and say, "I am greatly tempted, now, and I am afraid that I shall be tempted worse and worseuntil my feet shall slide, and I shall fall and utterly perish." Do not say as David did when he had been hunted like a partridgeupon the mountains, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul," but believe that the Lord, who permitsyou to be tempted,will deliver you in His own good time!
I. Here is your first comfort. THERE HAS BEEN A LIMIT IN ALL YOUR FORMER TRIALS. "There has no temptation taken you but suchas is common to man."
Temptation has sometimes laid hold of you, like a murderer takes a man by the throat, all of a sudden. It has seized you-perhapsthat is as correct a word as I can use-temptation has seized you, unawares, pinioned you and seemed to grip you tightly. Andyet, up till now, the temptations you have had to endure have only been such as are common to man!
First, they are such as have been endured by your fellow Christians. I know that you are tempted to think that you are a lonetraveler on a road that nobody has ever traversed before you, but if you carefully examine the track, you can discover thefootprints of some of the best of God's servants who have passed along that wearisome way. It is a very dark lane, you say-onethat might truly be called, "Cut-Throat Lane." Ah, but you will find that Apostles have been along that way, confessors havebeen that way, martyrs have been that way-and the best of God's saints have been tempted just as you now are. "Oh, but," saysone, "I am tempted, as you said a little while ago, with blasphemous and horrible thoughts." So was Master John Bunyan. Readhis Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners and see what he had to pass through. Many others have had a similar experienceand among them are some of us who are alive to tell you that we know all about this special form of temptation, yet the Lorddelivered us out of it.
"Oh, but," says another tried soul, "I have been even tempted to self-destruction!" That, also, has not been an unusual temptation,even to God's dearest saints and, though He has preserved them and kept them alive, yet they have often felt like Job whenhe said, "My soul chooses strangling and death rather than my life." "Ah," cries another, "I am tempted to the very worstsins, the foulest sins. I would not dare to even mention to you the abominations Satan tempts me to commit!" You need nottell me and I trust that you will be kept from them by the almighty power of God's Holy Spirit, but I can assure you thateven the saints in Heaven, if they could speak to you at this moment, would tell you that some of them were hard beset-evensome of the bravest of them who walked nearest to God were hard beset by temptations which they would not have told to theirfellow men, so troubled were they by them. Perhaps yet another friend says, "I have been actually tempted to self-righteousness,which is as great a temptation as can befall a man whose whole confidence is in Christ." Well, so was Master John Knox, thatgrand preacher of justification by faith. When he lay dying, he was tempted to glory in his own bravery for Christ-but hefought against that evil thought and overcame it- and so may you!
You think that when a man is very patient, he is not tempted to impatience? Brother, the Spirit of God says, by the pen ofthe Apostle James, "You have heard of the patience of Job." I suggest to you this question-Have you not heard of the impatienceofJob? You have heard, no doubt, of the strong faith of Peter. Have you never heard of Peter's unbelief? God's people usuallyfail in the very point for which they are most famous-and the man who has the greatest renown for any work of the Spirit ofGod in him, so far as the Bible biographies are concerned, has usually been the man who has made a failure at just the placewhere he thought he was strongest! "I have been reading the life of a good man," you say, "and I am not like he." Shall Itell you why? Because the whole of his life was not written! But when the Holy Spirit writes a man's life, He tells it all.When biographers write the lives of good men, of course they do not put down their inward struggles and fears, unless thesubject happens to be a man like Martin Luther, whose life seemed to be all an inward struggle and who, while he was braveon the outside, was often a trembler within! When they write my life, they will tell you that I had strong faith, but theywill not tell you all about the other side of it. And then you will, perhaps, get to thinking, "Oh, I cannot reach even tosuch a height as Mr. Spurgeon attained!" That all comes of your not knowing the inside of us, for if you knew the inside andthe outside of the man who walks nearest to God-if he is a sincere, true-hearted man, he will tell you that the temptationsyou have to endure are just such temptations as he has had and, as he expects to have again and again and that, as the Apostlesays, "there has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man."
Then, again, no temptation has assailed you but such as fit for men to be tried with while they are in this state of trialThis is not the time for the final victory, Brothers and Sisters, this is the hour of battle! And the weapons that are usedagainst us are only such as have been employed against the armies of the faithful in all ages. You and I never were temptedas were the angels who kept their first estate and overcame the temptation. I cannot tell you how the Prince of Darkness wastempted, or how he went about tempting his fellow servants from their loyalty to the great King. But of this I am sure-youwere never tried with a temptation suitable to an angel! Your temptation has only been such as is suitable to a man, and whichas other men, like yourself, have overcome. Others have fought valiantly against similar temptations as yours and you mustdo the same, yes, and you shall do the same by the power of God's Spirit resting upon you!
It is said, in the affairs of common life, that what man has done, man can do, and that is true with regard to the spirituallife. Temptations that have been grappled with by other men, can be grappled with by you if you seek the same source of strengthand seek it in the same name as they did. The strength to overcome temptation comes from God, alone, and the conquering nameis the name of Jesus Christ! Therefore, go forward in that strength and in that name against all your temptations. Up andat them, for they have been routed long before, and you shall rout them again! Tremble not to go from fight to fight and fromvictory to victory, even as did the others who have gone before you and who have now entered into their rest-
"Once they were mourning here below, And wet their couch with tears. They wrestled hard, as we do now, With sins, and doubts,and fears."
If you ask them from where their victory came, they ascribe it to the resources which are as open to you as they were to them-evento the mighty working of God the Holy Spirit and the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ! There has no temptationhappened to you but such as human beings can grapple with and overcome by the help of God!
Again, there has no temptation ever happened to you but such as is common to man in this sense-that Christ has endured it.That great Head of manhood, that representative Man has suffered from the very temptation which is now pestering you. "Inall their affliction-that is, the affliction of His people in the wilderness, which is just the same as yours if you are inthe wilderness-"in all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them." He was compassed withinfirmity, "a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief." To repeat the text I have already quoted, and which is so suitablehere, He "was, in all points, tempted like as we are." "In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, thatHe might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.For in that He, Himself, has suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." He knows all about the caseof each one of us and He knows how to deal with it, and how to bear us up and bear us through.
So you see, dear Friends, there has no temptation happened to you but such as is common to man in the sense of having beenendured by men like yourselves, having been overcome by men such as you are and having been endured and vanquished by yourblessed Representative, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Come, then, Beloved, let all mystery with regard to your temptations be banished! Mystery puts an edge upon the sword of trial.Perhaps the hand that wrote upon the wall would not have frightened Belshazzar if he could have seen the body to which thathand belonged. There is no mystery, after all, about your trouble! Though you did write it down as being bigger than any thatever happened to a human being, that is not the truth-you are not an emperor in the realm of misery! You cannot truly say,"I am the man that has seen affliction above all others," for your Lord endured far more than you have ever done-and manyof His saints, who passed from the stake to the crown, must have suffered much more than you have been called to undergo thusfar.
II. Now let us turn to the second comfort revealed in our text. That is, THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD-"There has no temptationtaken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful."
Oh, what a blessed word is this, "God is faithful"! Therefore, He is true to His promise. Even Balaam said, "God is not aman, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it ? Or has He spoken,and shall He not make it good?" One of God's promises is, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." "God is faithful," soHe will fulfill that promise! Here is one of the promises of Christ, and Christ is God-"My sheep hear My voice, and I knowthem, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck themout of My hand." "God is faithful," so that promise shall be fulfilled! You have often heard this promise, "As your days,so shall your strength be." Do you believe it, or will you make God a liar? If you believe it, then banish from your mindall dark forebodings with this blessed little sentence, "God is faithful."
Notice, next, that not only is God faithful, but He is master of the situation, so that He can keep His promise. Note whatthe text says. "Who will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able to bear." Then you could not have been temptedif God had not allowed it to happen to you. God is far mightier than Satan. The devil could not touch Job except by Divinepermission, neither can he try and tempt you except as God allows him. He must have a permit from the King of Kings beforehe can tempt a single saint! Why, Satan is not allowed to keep the key of his own house, for the keys of death and of Hellhang at the belt of Christ! And without God's permission, the dog of Hell cannot even open his mouth to bark at a child ofGod, much less can he come and worry any of the sheep whom the Lord has called by His Grace into His fold! So, then, Beloved,you have great cause for comfort from the fact that the temptation that tries you is still under the control of the faithfulCreator, "who will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able."
That is a second reason for comfort-roll it under your tongue as a sweet morsel.
III. The third comfort lies in THE RESTRAINT WHICH GOD PUTS UPON TEMPTATION. He "will not suffer you to be tempted beyondwhat you are able." The tide of trial shall rise to high-water mark and then God shall say, "Hitherto shall you come, butno further: and here shall your proud waves be stayed."
He "will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able." That may apply, sometimes, to the period when the temptationcomes. I have carefully watched how God times the trials of His people. If such-and-such a trial had come to one of His childrenwhen he was young, I believe he could not have borne it. Or if he had lost some dear friend while he was, himself, sick, thedouble trouble would have crushed him. But God sends our trials at the right time and if He puts an extra burden on in oneway, He takes something off in another. "He stays His rough wind in the day of the East wind." It is a very simple thing tosay, but it is true-if the wind blows from the North, it does not, at the same time, blow from the South. And if one set oftroubles comes to a Christian, another set of troubles generally departs from him. John Bradford, the famous martyr, was oftensubject to rheumatism and depression of spirit-in which I can greatly sympathize with him-but when he was laid by the heelsin a foul damp dungeon and knew that he would never come out except to die, he wrote, "It is an amazing thing that ever sinceI have been in this prison and have had other trials to bear, I have had no touch of my rheumatism or my depression of spirit."Was not that a very blessed thing? And you will usually find that it is so-you shall not be tempted above what you are ableto bear because God will permit the trial to come at a time when you are best able to stand up under it.
There is also great kindness on God's part in the continuance of a trial. If some of our trials lasted much longer, they wouldbe too heavy for us to bear. Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, our Lord said, "Except those days should be shortened,there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." And I have no doubt that, oftentimes,God makes quick work of His children's trials because if they were continued longer, they would have not a good, but an evileffect upon us. If a child must be whipped, let not the punishment last as if he were a criminal who must be sentenced fora long period-let him have his chastisement and have done with it. So is it often in the discipline of God's house, yet thereare other trials which are protracted year after year because trial is an ingredient in their efficacy and they might notbe blessed to us if they were shortened. In every case there is Infinite Wisdom which makes our troubles to be just as longas they are and no longer.
So there is in the number of the trials. Blessed be God-
"If He ordains the number ten, They never can be eleven."
If He intends His servants to pass through the fire and not through the water, Satan himself cannot make them go through thewater! God counts the drops of bitter tonic that He administers to His ailing saints and not one drop more shall they possiblyhave than He measures out to them. So, dear tried children of God, you shall not be tempted above what you are able so faras the number of your temptations and trials is concerned.
It is the same, also, in the stress with which the temptation comes. Have you ever seen a great tree in the full blast ofa tremendous tempest? It sways to and fro and seems scarcely able to recover itself from the powerful blows of the storm,yet the roots hold it. But now comes another tornado and it seems as if the tree must be torn up out of the earth, but thestrain ceases just in time for the old oak to rock back into its place, again. But if there were a pound or two more forcein that tremendous blast, the tree would be laid prone upon the grass! But God, in His people's case, at any rate, stops justat the right point. You may be tried till you have not an ounce of strength left. Sometimes, the Lord tests His people tillit seems as if one more breath from Him would assuredly cause them to sink. Then it is that He puts under them the everlastingarms and no further trial is laid upon them. This is a blessed thing, for all of you have troubles of one sort or another,and you who are the people of God may take this text and rely implicitly upon it-"God is faithful, who will not suffer youto be tempted beyond what you are able."
As for you who are not His people, I am very sorry for you. I am holding up these precious things, but they are not for you.God's Word declares, "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked." If you have not God to flee to, what will you do when the stormsbeat upon your boat? To whom or where can you flee? As for the Christian, he can sing-
"Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Your bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high!
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, Till the storm of life is past Safe into the haven guide. Oh receive my soul at last!
But, poor dear souls who love not Christ, where can you find comfort in your seasons of sorrow and trial? You who have lostwife and children-you who are pinched with poverty-you who are racked with sickness and yet have no Savior, what can you do?Poor houseless people in a snowstorm-what can they do without even a bush to shelter them? That is your state and I grievefor you, and plead with you not to remain in such a pitiful condition a moment longer!-
"Come, guilty souls, and flee away
Like doves to Jesus' wounds.
This is the welcome Gospel-day,
Wherein free Grace abounds!
Oh, that your sense of need might drive you to accept Christ as your Savior this very hour! As for His believing people, thereis this solid comfort for them-they shall never be tempted above what they are able.
IV. The next comfort we gather from our text relates to THE PROVISION WHICH THE LORD MAKES FOR THE TEMPTED "God is faithful,who...will with the temptation also make a way to escape."
The Greek has it, "who will with the temptation also make the way to escape," for there is a proper way to escape from a temptation.There are 20 improper ways and woe to the man who makes use of any of them! But there is only one proper way out of a trialand that is the straight way, the way that God has made for His people to travel. God has made through all trials the wayby which His servants may rightly come out of them. When the brave young Jews were tried by Nebuchadnezzar, there was oneway by which they might have kept out of the burning fiery furnace. They had only to bow their knees before the great imagewhen the flute, harp, sackbut and psaltery sounded. That way of escape would never have answered, for it was not the rightone! The way for them was to be thrown into the furnace and there to have the Son of God walking with them in the midst ofthe fire that could not hurt them! In like manner, whenever you are exposed to any trial, mind that you do not try to escapefrom it in a wrong way.
Notice especially that the right way is always of God's making and, therefore, any of you who are now exposed to temptationor trial have not to make your own way of escape out of it. God, and God alone, has to make it for you, so do not attemptto make it for yourselves. I knew a man who was in trouble because he was short of money-and the way he made for himself wasto use somebody else's money with which he had been entrusted. That was not God's way of escape for him, so he only plungedhimself into a worse trial than he was in before! I have known a man of business in great trouble and things were going wrongwith him, so he speculated, gambled and ruined both his business and his personal character. That was not God's way for himto escape from his troubles! Sometimes the best thing a man in trouble can do is to do nothing at all-but to leave all inthe hands of God. "Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord."
When the Israelites came out of Egypt, God led them in a way at which men might well have quibbled. There was nothing beforethem but the sea and behind them came Pharaoh in all his rage, crying, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide thespoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them." Now, then, what was God'sway of escape for them? Right through the Red Sea! And on the other side they sang, when the Egyptians were drowned, "Singyou to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea." It would have beena great pity if they had tried to escape by any way of their own, or had attempted to turn around and fight Pharaoh-that wouldnot have done at all-but the Lord made for His people the very best way of escape that could possibly have been devised.
Notice, also, that the Lord makes the way of escape "with the temptation." He suffered the trial to come and, at the sametime He made the way of escape from it. God has planned it all, my Brothers and Sisters, how you, His champion, shall go forthand fight valiantly in His strength-and how He will be your shield and your exceedingly great reward. He will lead you intothe dangerous situation, but He can see the way out of it as well as the way into it, and He will take you safely through.Did not the Psalmist sing, "To Him which led His people through the wilderness: for His mercy endures forever"? He not onlyled them into the wilderness, but He led them through it, blessed be His holy name! And if He has brought you into the wildernessof trouble and affliction, He made the way out of it at the same time that He made the trouble. "Trust in the Lord, and dogood; so shall you dwell in the land, and verily you shall be fed. Delight yourself, also, in the Lord; and He shall giveyou the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shallbring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him:fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass." "Seek youfirst the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," and all else that you need shall be added unto you. Keep clear of the sinof the temptation and you need not fear the sorrow of the temptation. If the trials do not drive you to your own devices,but drive you to your knees, they will, after all, be blessings to you.
That is the fourth comfort, that God has made the way of escape for His people out of their trials. "Well, then," says someone,"I shall escape from this trial." Wait a moment, my Friend, and listen to the closing words of the text, with which I willconclude my discourse.
V. This is the last point of comfort, THE SUPPORT WHICH GOD SUPPLIES IN THE TRIAL-"that you may be able to bear it."
God's way of escape from trial is not for His people to avoid it, so as not to pass through it, but such an escape as leadsthem through the trouble and out at the other end-not an escape from the Red Sea, but an escape through the Red Sea from astill greater trial! If you, Beloved, are exposed to trial or temptation, you are to be made able to bear it. Now, pray, beforeyou leave this building, that this last word, upon which I have not time to enlarge, may be fulfilled in your experience-"thatyou may be able to bear it."
Suppose you are to be poor. Well, if God has so appointed it, you willbe poor, therefore pray that you may be able to bearit. With honest industry and stern integrity, struggle to attain to a better position, but, if all your efforts fail, thensay to the Lord, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Perhaps your dear child is dying, or your wife is sickening.You dread the thought of losing them and you would willingly give your life, if you could, for them. Well, do all you canfor their recovery, for life is precious, and any money spent to save it will be well spent. But, if health is not to be grantedto them, pray that you may be able to bear even that heavy trial. It is wonderful how God helps His people to bear troubleswhich they thought would crush them. I have seen poor feeble women that I thought would die under their bereavement, becomebrave and strong! And I have seen men who were faint-hearted in the prospect of trouble, nevertheless bless the Lord for itwhen the blow has actually fallen! And you may do the same.
Suppose you are to be sick. Well, that is a sore trial and I know that, personally, I would do anything I could to escapefrom the affliction that often besets me, but if it must not be, then I must change my note and pray that I may be able tobear it. I had a letter from a man of God, this morning, which sustained me very much. He said, "My dear Brother, I was sorryto hear that you were again in pain and depressed in spirit, and so forth, but, as I remembered how God had blessed you inso many ways, I thought to myself, 'Perhaps Mr. Spurgeon would not have kept to preaching the Doctrines of Grace, and wouldnot have been so able to comfort God's poor people if he did not get these smart touches sometimes.' So," he said, "I congratulateyou upon these trials!" And I accepted the congratulations. Will not you do the same, my afflicted Brother or Sister? Pray,"Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me," but, if it must not, then here comes that other form of comfort, "thatI may be able to bear it."
And remember, dear Friends, while I tell you to make this passage into a prayer, it is really a promise, and there is no prayerlike a promise that is turned, as it were, roundabout, and cut prayer-wise! God Himself has said, by His inspired Apostle,that He "will not suffer you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,that you may be able to bear it." Up with the banners, then! Forward, whatever obstructs the way! Let us sing, with good oldJohn Ryland-
"Through floods and flames, if Jesus leads, I'll follow where He goes! 'Hinder me not, 'shall be my cry, Though earth andHell oppose!" The immortal life within us can never be destroyed! The Divine Nature, which God, the Holy Spirit, has implanted,shall never be trodden under foot! "Rejoice not against me, O my enemy. When I fall, I shall arise. When I sit in darkness,the Lord shall be a light unto me."
But, oh, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry am I, from the bottom of my soul, for you who know not the Lord, for this comfort is notfor you! Seek Him, I pray you! Seek Him as your Savior. Look to Him and trust in Him-and then all the blessings of the EverlastingCovenant shall be yours, for the Father has given Him to be a Leader and Commander unto the people, and they that look toHim, and follow Him, shall live forever and ever! God bless you, for Christ's sake! Amen.