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mislead us, no passion to transport us, no preju-
dice to blind us ; no sloth, no pride, no envy, no
strife ; but the light of God's countenance, and a
pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, pro-
ceeding out of the throne. That is our home;
here we are but on pilgrimage, and Christ is call-
ing us home. He calls us to his many mansions
which He has prepared ; and the Spirit and the
Bride call us too, and all things will be ready for
us by the time of our coming. " Seeing then that
we have a great High Priest that is passed into the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast
our profession 3 ;" seeing that we have " so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight ',' '
" let us labour to enter into our rest* ;" " let us come
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need V


1 Rev. vii. 14. 16. * Rev. xxi. 4. s Heb. iv. 11.

Hcb. xii. 1. Ileb. iv. 11. 16.



" Our light affliction, which is but for a mo-
ment, worketh for us a fur more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory V

Methinks this consideration alone should be so
effectual to teach us patience, that we should
scarce have patience to hear any more ! Shall
our glory superabound, as our sufferings have
abounded ? Shall our eternal refreshings be mea-
sured out to us by the cup of afflictions we have
drunk of ? Doth God beat and hammer us, only
to make us vessels unto honour ? Shall all sor-
row and sighing flee away, and everlasting joy be
upon our heads ? Wherefore, then, thy fretting
and fuming, O Christian? Wherefore complain
because God taketh a course to make thee too
glorious ? Doth God do thee an injury to fit thee
for a higher place in heaven than thou carest to
possess ? Thy impatience can free thee from no
other weight but one, and that is " an exceeding
and eternal weight of glory."



1 Pet. iv. 19. " Wherefore let them that suffer
according to the will of God commit the keeping
of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a
faithful Creator."

1 2 Cor. iv. 17.


Nothing does so establish the mind amidst the
rollings and turbulence of present things, as both
a look above them, and a look beyond them ;
above them to the steady and good hand by which
they are ruled, and beyond them to the sweet and
beautiful end to which by that hand they shall be

If men would have inward peace amidst out-
ward trouble, they must walk by the rule of
peace, and keep strictly to it. If you would com-
mit your soul to the keeping of God, know that
He is a holy God ; and an unholy soul that walks
in any way of wickedness, whether known or
secret, is no fit commodity to put into his pure
hand to keep.

You that would have safety in God in evil
times, beware of evil ways, for in these it cannot
be. If you will be safe in Him, you must stay
with Him, and in all your ways keep within Him
" as your fortress." Now, in the ways of sin you
run out from Him.

Study pure and holy walking, if you would have
your confidence firm, and have boldness and joy
in God. You will find that a little sin will shake
your trust, and disturb your peace, more than the
greatest sufferings : yea, in those sufferings your
assurance and joy in God will grow and abound
most if sin be kept out. All the winds which
blow about the earth from all points, stir it not ;
only that within the bowels of it, makes the earth


quake. I do not mean that for infirmities a Chris-
tian ought to be discouraged. But take heed of
walking in any way of sin, for that will unsettle
thy confidence. Innocency and holy walking
make the soul of a sound constitution, which the
counterblasts of affliction wear not out, nor alter.
Sin makes it so sickly and crazy, that it can en-
dure nothing. Therefore, study to keep your con-
sciences pure, and they shall be peaceable, yea, in
the worst times commonly most peaceable, and best
furnished with spiritual confidence and comfort.

Faith " rolls ' " the soul over on God, ventures
it into his hand, and rests satisfied concerning it,
being there. There is no way but this to be quiet
within, to be impregnable and immovable in all
assaults, and fixed in all changes, believing in his
free love. Therefore, be persuaded to resolve on
that ; not doubting and disputing, Whether shall
I believe, or not ? Shall I think He will suffer
me to lay my soul upon Him, to keep so un-
worthy, so guilty a soul ? "Were it not presump-
tion ? Oh ! what sayest thou ? Why dost thou
thus dishonour Him, and disquiet thyself? If
thou hast a purpose to walk in any way of wicked-
ness, indeed thou art not for Him ; yea, thou
comest not near Him to give Him thy soul. But
wouldst thou have it delivered from sin rather
than from trouble ; yea, rather than from hell ?

1 "Casting all our care" (1 Pet. v. 7), literally "rolling."


Is that the chief safety thou seekest, to be kept
from iniquity, from thine own iniquity, thy beloved
sins? Dost thou desire to dwell in Him, and
walk with Him ? Then, whatsoever be thy guilti-
ness and un worthiness, come forward, and give
Him thy soul to keep. If He should seem to
refuse it, press it on Him. If He stretch not
forth his hand, lay it down at his foot, and leave
it there, and resolve not to take it back. Say,
Lord, Thou hast made us these souls, Thou callest
for them again to be committed to Thee : here
is one. It is unworthy, but what soul is not so ?
It is most unworthy, but therein will the riches of
thy grace appear most in receiving it. And thus
leave it with Him, and know He will make thee a
good account of it.

There are in the words, other two grounds of
quietness of spirit in sufferings. It is according
to the will of God. The believing soul, subjected
and levelled to that will, complying with his good
pleasure in all, cannot have a more powerful per-
suasive than this, that all is ordered by his will.
This settled in the heart would settle it much,
and make it even in all things ; not only to know,
but wisely and deeply to consider that it is thus
that all is measured in heaven, every drachm of
thy troubles weighed by that skilful hand which
doth all things by weight, number, and measure.

And then consider Him as thy God and Father,


who hath taken special charge of thee, and of thy
soul; thou hast given it to Him, and He hath
received it. And upon this consideration, study
to follow his will in all, to have no will but his.
This is thy duty and thy wisdom. Nothing is
gained by spurning and struggling, but to hurt
and vex thyself; but by complying all is gained ;
sweet peace. It is the very secret, the mystery
of solid peace within, to resign all to his will, to
be disposed of at his pleasure, without the least
contrary thought. And thus, like two-faced pic-
tures, those sufferings and troubles, and what-
soever else, while beheld on the one side as
painful to the flesh, hath an unpleasant visage ;
yet, go about a little, and look upon it as thy
Father's will, and then it is smiling, beautiful,
and lovely. This I would recommend to you,
not only for temporals, as easier there, but in
spiritual things, your comforts and sensible en-
largements, to love all that He does. It is the
sum of Christianity to have thy will crucified, and
the will of thy Lord thy only desire. Whether
joy or sorrow, sickness or health, life or death, in
all, in aU, " Thy will be done."

The other ground of quietness is contained in
the first word, which looks back on the fore-
going discourse, "Wherefore" what? Seeing that
your reproachings and sufferings are not endless,
yea, that they are short, they shall end, quickly

32 G. T. NOEL.

end, and end in glory, be not troubled about
them ; overlook them. The eye of faith will do it.
A moment gone, and what are they ? This is the
great cause of our disquietness in present trou-
bles and griefs : we forget their end. We are
affected by our condition in this present life, as if
it were all, and it is nothing. Oh, how quickly
shall all the enjoyments and all the sufferings of
this life pass away, and be as if they had not


Our first object, even in conversion, is to feel
rich ; but God's design is to make us feel poor,
that we may know how to value our ultimate and
eternal inheritance in Him. He might break at
once our chains, and set us free ; He might at
once exchange the garments of our defilement for
the robes of celestial purity. He might in one
instant sicallow tip death in victory, and place us
with healed heart and diademed brow before the
everlasting throne. Perhaps, in some cases, He
has done this ; for who shall limit the actings of
his power ? But this is not the apparent process
of his cure, or the mode of his munificence. This
rapidity of salvation would destroy the exercise of
moral discipline, would draw a veil over many a
beautiful manifestation of the Divine character,


and would reveal his tenderness, his patience, and
his fidelity, rather as inscriptions to be read, than
as events to be seen. It is by the slow progress
of spiritual character, by the sad resistance of our
evil to His good, by the mistakes, and falls, and
agonies which we experience, and which He miti-
gates, and repairs, and counteracts ; it is by bitter
self-knowledge, acquired, not by theory and art,
but by fact, and shame, and sorrow ; it is by ten
thousand proofs of long-suffering, proofs exhibited
in the very face and contrast of our rebellion,
fretfulness, and haste ; it is by these things that
He makes us wise, in order that at last He may
make us happy ; in order that with deep convic-
tion we may know ourselves in Him, and be pre-
pared with accents, otherwise to man unspeakable,
to exclaim in higher and holier regions than these,
"Unto Him that hath loved us, and washed us
from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory,
and blessing, and honour, and dominion, hence-
forth and for ever V G. T. NOEL.


On Jesus may our affections fix ; on Him, the
Healer, the Restorer of humanity, may our hearts
learn to lean the secret burden of their being ;
and this not in words only, in which we are all

1 Row i. 5, 6,



ready enough to do so, but in very deed and

If earthly trouble is upon us, let us fly to Him ;
let us beware of all those who would cheer us
without Him ; let us be always sure that the
poison of the asp is hidden under their softest and
most enticing words. Do they profess to put
away from us our heavy thoughts ? Let us beware,
lest instead of this, they rob us of the very reality
of our lives. False friends, indeed, are all such ;
for they would keep us from the only source of
true peace ; they would mock our thirsty spirits,
as we cross, parched and weary, the burning
sands of this desert world, with the lying promise
of unreal water. From all such comforters, then,
let us turn away. Let us beware of every thing,
which under any promise would take us out of
ourselves, and separate us from God. At such
seasons, let us even keep ourselves as free as may
be from necessary business ; let us strive to hush
our spirits into silence, that there may be nothing
to intercept that voice which will speak to us if
we wait for it ; let us fear lest we be led to seek
for any other shelter of our spirits short of Him
their Lord, that so we may find ourselves to be
alone with Him, that He may frame and fashion
us, may mould our hearts as He will, may purify,
and enlighten, and soften, and strengthen, and
deepen them by His presence in the cloud and


mystery of sorrow. Let us remember always the
love which is smiting us, nor dare to look at our
griefs but in the light of His presence, lest looking
at them alone we be soured by their sharpness, or
become fretful, or dull, or even desperate, and so
reprobate. Let us cast ourselves upon the as-
surance of His love, even though it bear the
semblance of the flame-breath of the furnace ; and
walk humbly with Him, lest we mar or hinder the
blessed purpose of His mercy towards us.



Under the expression, "To me to live is Christ 1 ,"
St. Paul must evidently have meant, first, that
Christ was the source of new life to him ; and
secondly, that He was the object for which he
lived. But this was not all. Christ was also his
joy, his hope, his comfort. We think far too little
of the sources of happiness which are in Him !
The Apostle had formerly drawn his earthly satis-
factions, and we may say, his heavenly satisfactions,
(for he did seek heaven after the manner of a
proud and diligent Pharisee,) from other sources.
Honour, favour, a high place, a famous reputation,
the applause of the great, and the society of the
learned, these had been the objects for which he
lived. To obtain these objects, he had set oif from

1 Phil. i. 21.
D 2


Jerusalem to Damascus, "breathing out threaten-
ings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ 1 ."
"Who, (he expected to hear it said,) who so zealous
as Saul for the traditions of the fathers ? who
so mighty against the Crucified ? Short expecta-
tion of sad boast! He is changed that very
Crucified has changed him ! he is a meek disciple
of that lowly, lofty Saviour ! And now, that de-
spised One is all his joy : he sees Him, bows
before Him, adores Him, loves Him, finds all
his happiness in His smile, all his consolation in
His companionship. He finds now that " to live
is Christ," for enjoyment, as well as for exertion.
The summer springs of earth's boasted joys, its
pomp, its learning, its ambition, its roses of plea-
sure, its palm of victory, are all faded and dry ;
the sight of Jesus has destroyed their charms:
he " counts all things but loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord V Let
none think lightly of this branch of the subject ;
Are the consolations of God small or few ? Is the
fellowship of the Holy Ghost unsatisfying ? 18
the smile of Jesus, the favour of our great High
Priest, like the world's love ? is it cold and un-
certain, like a winter's sun? Nay, rather, we
cannot too highly value ft ! There is no sorrow
which it cannot heal, no burden which it cannot
*vell enable us to bear, no loss which it cannot
1 Acts ix. 1. 2 PM. ft. 8>


supply. If there be any here bowed down by
suffering, any who mourn over a friend, or brother,
or husband, or wife, called away by God, and
lying in the cold grave, is Jesus nigh ? He can
turn your loss to gain. He has done so in mul-
titudes of cases. He that can make the desert
bloom, can make the churchyard smile. No end to
the riches of his grace, or to the consolations of his
presence ! If a mourner can say, " To me to live
is Christ," he has attained the object of his afflic-
tion ; God's purpose is so far accomplished ; he
stands on the same ground with the persecuted
Apostle ; nay, more, he stands with Jesus Himself,
and in such presence he must be blessed. It is
true that natural tears will flow ; Christianity
does not seal up the fountains of affection, nay, it
rather more widely opens them. But while it
expands, it sanctifies them : when the Christian
mourns, Jesus mourns with him : and the very
thought of so blessed a fellow-mourner is peace.
Ixet us rest therefore on this blessed assurance,
that if there be any who is making Christ the
object of his life, any who is setting Christ before
him in his daily walk, Christ will make that man's
happiness and security his daily care. It must be
so. He is far better to us than we are to Him ;
and if we seek His glory, we cannot doubt but
that He will seek our good.

" To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
We cannot think of any thing much more glorious


than an Apostle's life, except it be an Apostle's
death. The life of all true Christians must be a
life of much patient endurance, of much and con-
stant suffering. We have all need of patience :
life is labour; and labour with weak hands, and
with frail bodies, and corrupted hearts, is always
more or less burdensome. We are not like the
angels that " excel' in strength ;" we have not
their speedy feet, or fiery wings, or uncorrupted
hearts. We are the painful tenants of polluted
clay, weighed down with many cares, and vexed
and tried by many temptations. Even St Paul
felt this. He counted up his labours, not as if
they were no labour, because he was a converted
man ; labour and sorrow were still labour and
sorrow, though Christ was his fellow-mourner,
and the Holy Ghost his fellow-labourer. He was
abundant in sorrow and in toil, " afflictions,
necessities, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tu-
mults, labours, watchings, fastings V "In weari-
ness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and naked-
ness V It is not in human nature, converted or
unconverted, to love such trials : it is not in flesh
and blood to be enamoured of torture, or weariness,
or pain. Hence it follows, that death is great
" gain " to all Christ's faithful followers. It is an
escape from daily burden, daily trouble, daily cor-
ruption. " Oh, that I had wings like a dove ! "
1 2 Cor. vi. 4, 5. 2 Cor. xi. 27.


who has not often felt and cried with David?
" Oh, that I had wings like a dove, then would
I flee away, and be at rest I would hasten my
escape from the windy storm and tempest '." Not
that we ought to desire that which God does not
give us. We must wait His pleasure ; but while
we wait His pleasure, we ought to long for the
enjoyment of His presence. But then this cannot
be except through death ; and who wishes for
death ? It is too true that the number is but
small. To leave this world, to change our state
of being, to go from the comforts and enjoyments
of life, to the dark uncertainties of that state
which is entered through death ; to have done
with time, and to commence an awful eternity ;
to finish trial and probation, and to stand at
Christ's judgment-seat ; to be uncovered, bare,
naked, stripped to the very heart and conscience
of every disguise, and to seem exactly what we are !
No wonder that when such is the character of
death, and such its inevitable consequences, so
many .shrink from it ! It is not many that can
say with apostolic confidence, "To me to die is
gain." But why not ? "Why should they not
thus feel ? It is because they cannot say, " To
me to live is Christ ! " It is because they are not
living wholly to Him, that they dare not lay down
their weary forms upon the bed of death, as the
> Ps. lv. 6.8.


tired labourer, after a day of toil, sinks gladly on
his bed of repose. Nevertheless, death is to the
true and faithful Christian immense gain : it is
the door that lets us out of all suffering, and lets
us into all joy : there are no clouds or care in
that glorious world ; there is no sin or sickness
there ; there are no bad men, no tempting spirits,
no fightings without, or fears within ; no dis-
tresses, labours, persecutions ! How bright, how
happy does that world appear ! To have God
for our ever-present Father ; to hold ineffable
communion with Jesus and the Spirit of Love ;
to have angels and purified spirits for our com-
panions ; to talk with Abel, and Enoch, and Mel-
chisedec ; with Abraham, and Moses, and Isaiah,
and Daniel, and St. John, and St. Paul, and St.
Peter ; and with the martyrs and confessors of the
primitive Church ; to meet again those blessed
saints whose eyes we have closed in death, and
whose bodies we have laid in the grave ; and all
this, in a house built of God, and in an atmosphere
of unclouded serenity may we not, in contem-
plation of this joy, well exclaim, " To die is
gain ? " Yes, it is so to the Christian, to him
whose " life is Christ ;" for, however blessed his
state now, it shall be ten thousand times more
blessed then : if the consolations of God are not
small to him now, they shall be immeasurably
great then : if he has pleasures now " such as eye


hath not seen," those pleasures shall be incon-
ceivably increased when he receives them into an
uncorrupted heart, and enjoys them in a glorified


" And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine
alms are come up for a memorial before God '."
What a blessed thing to have memorials before
God ! How blessed to have something before
Him which may put Him in mind of us ! We
often give keepsakes to our friends, that when
they look on them they may remember us. It
cheers our hearts in absence and separation to
think that this can be. It comforts our sad souls,
to think that our friends are reminded of us.
How much more should it do so to think that
God is put in mind of us, that He remembers us !
High as He sits above us, throned above the
heavens, infinitely great and infinitely glorious,
yet such poor worms as we are not forgotten !
While He guides the stars in their orbits, and
speeds the comets on their shining way, He does
not forget one single heart that " hopes in His
mercy." "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord
thinketh upon me V Our memorials are all be-
fore Him !

In the words cited above we have two things laid
1 Acts x. 4. * Ps, xl. 17.


down, by which God will remember us. The first
is prayer. There is no true prayer thrown away ;
there is no true prayer forgotten. .

It is a wonderful thought how far a prayer
can go. Shoot up an arrow into the sky ; it will
seem to mount very high, but it will soon fall back
to the earth ; its own weight will be sufficient to
draw it down. Uncage a lark and let it fly into the
air, let it mount and sing till it is almost out of
sight ; yet it cannot always rise : the little warbler
will be soon baffled and beaten back by the winds,
or it will come to an atmosphere which it cannot
breathe, and so will sink down with weary wing to
the earth 'again. The eagle 'may soar skywards;
it may mount on its strong pinions, and tower far
above the snow mountains ; but its daring ascent
will soon find its limit, and as certainly as the little
lark, it will return back to its nest in the rock. But
send up a prayer ! send up a true prayer, and no-
thing will, nothing can, draw it back again. It will
rise above the hills, above the clouds, above the
stars, and pierce even to the very throne of God.
The man that offered it remains below ; he is
smiting on his breast like the poor publican, or in
a prison like the chained Apostle ; but his prayer is
rising high and rapid on its way ; and neither the
stars in their courses, nor the wandering winds,
nor the prince of the power of the air, can pre-
vent it from reaching the heaven of its destina-


tion. Is this the case of all prayers ? Yes, un-
doubtedly, of all true prayers. Not of those which
are formal and lifeless ; not of lip prayers, how-
ever beautiful ; not of all liturgical prayers, how-
ever sublime ; not of all litanies, however solemn ;
but of all prayers that are true, and humble, and
earnest, and offered up in the name of Jesus, with
faith in His most blessed intercession. Pause,
then, and consider the value of prayer. You may
sow your corn seed, but worms may destroy it, or
moisture may waste and injure it, and all your
expectations may be disappointed, but let your
seed be prayer, and let heaven be your field ; sow
there that precious grain, and there shall be no
disappointment. God receives it, God guards it,
God breathes upon it, and in due time it will re-
turn to your bosom again, with increase of thirty,
or sixty, or even an hundred-fold.



The Christian's joy with regard to " things pre-
sent " is this, that he has precisely that allotment
which comes proportioned by a Father's wisdom,
and accompanied by the blessing of a Father's
love : and this to the grateful heart of a true child
of God is better, infinitely better, than all the sur-
feiting abundance of him who could cry, " Soul,


thou hast much goods laid up for many years ;
take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry V

The Apostle, however, in the text (1 Cor. iii.
21 23) does not limit the Christian's possession
to "life and things present." but he declares that
" death and things to come " are yours.

This is indeed a striking peculiarity of the
believer's lot.

The man of the world may say, Things past
have been mine, things present are mine ; but we

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