David Black.

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elsewhere said, Let none of you suffer as a
murderer, or a thief, or as an evil-doer, or
as a busy-(}ody in other mens matters. Yet
if any man suffer as a Christian., let him


not be ashamed,) hut let him glorify God on
this behalf. Such, my Brethren, is the
wonderful efficacy of faith, in overcoming
the terrors of the world.

2. Faith enables the Christian to over-
come the terrors of the world by setting
before him the example of the great Author
and Finisher of our faith.

Our blessed Redeemer was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
No flatteries could allure, no threatenings
could move his spotless and innocent soul.
He vanquished every temptation, he tri-
umphed over every enemy, and his victory
is both the pattern and the pledge of ours.
Hence the example of Christ is so frequent-
ly mentioned as a support and encourage-
ment to Christians under every kind of suf-
fering for conscience sake. //*, when ye da
welU and suffer for it, ye take it patient-
ly, this is acceptable with God. For even
hereunto were ye called, because Christ al-
so suffered for us, Icavinif us an eiample^
that we should follow his steps. U ho did


no sin, neither was guile found in his
mouth : who, when he was reviled, reviled
not again ; when he suffered, he threaten-
ed not, but committed himself to Him that
judgeth righteouslif.

How confirming and animating to the
Cliristian is such an example ! ' I may be

* despised and persecuted by the world/
may he say, ' but I cannot be worse treat-

* ed than my blessed Master. Why should
' I be unwilling to bear a little reproach for

* him who bore so much shame and con-

* tempt for me ! Why should I shrink at tak-

* ing up the cross in my waj?^ to heaven, when
' I behold the glorious Captain of salvation

* himself made perfect thro' sufferings? Why

* should I refuse the cup of affliction from

* his hands, who, to accomplish my redemp-
' tion, drank the cup of wrath that was due

* to me for sin. Take courage then, O my

* soul, and march boldly on under the con-

* duct of such a Leader, nor fear the difli-
' culties and dangers of the way/

3. Faith enables the Christian to over-

280 faith's victory Ser. 9,

come the terrors of the world, by the glo-
rious hopes with which it ins[)ires him.

Let not your heart be troubled ; ye be-
lieve hi (jocI, believe also in me. In inij
Father a house are many mansions ; if if
were not 50, J would have told you : I go
to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come a-
gain and receive you unto myself., that
where I am., there ye may be also.

Blessed reviviiigr words ! How well fitted
to bear up the mind under the greatest suf-
ferino's ! What though we sufter now, if we
shall reign hereafter ! What though the
way be strait and narrow, if it lead to the
heavenly mansions ! The journey may be
troublesome, but the rest that remains is
glorious. The passage may be stormy, but
it will land us safe on Immanuel's happy

Animated by these enlivening hopes, Mo-
:!tes, the servant of God, forsook the land of
Egypt, and refuj»ed to be called the son of


Pharaoh's daughter, choosing ratlier to suf-
fer affliction with the people of God, than
to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a sea-
son. Animated by these hopes, the behev-
ing Hebrews took joyfully the spoiling of
their goods : knowing in themselves, that
they had in heaven a better and an endur-
ing substance. Animated by the same
hopes, the apostles and first teachers of
Christianity rehnquished all that was dear
to them in the world, and were willing to
be accounted the filth of the zvorld, and the
off scour ing of all things. For they reck-
oned that the sufferings of the piresent time
were not worthy to be compared with the
glory to be revealed ; and that their light
affliction, which was but for a moment, was
\torking tor them a far more exceeding and
an eternal weia;ht of (rlory. Hence that
astonishing fortitude with which they en-
countered and surmounted e^'ery danger,
rising superior to all the malice and rage of
earth and hell.

In this mariner, then, does faith enable
the Christian to obtain the victory over the


terrors, as well as the allurements of the
world. Such are the triumphs of this di-
vine irrace : such the wonderful effects of
that glorious gospel which a blinded world
neglects and despises.

I shall now apply this subject to some
practical uses.

1. It furnishes us with a rule by which to
judge whether our faith be genuine. Does
it overcome the world ? Does it render us
superior to its smiles and frowns, its allure-
ments and terrors ? This is the certain and
uniform effect of true faith in the gospel.
But alas ! my Brethren, how many profess-
ing Christians are evidently destitute of this
faith, walking after their own lusts, and
according: to the course of this evil world.
Did religion consist, as too many by their
conduct seem to suppose, in bare specula-
tive notions, or in mere external decency,
then it would be no difficult matter to be-
come a Christian. But if it requires some-
thing vastly superior to this ; if to be a Chri-
stian indeed, it is necessary that a man be


born again ; that he deny himself, take up
his cross, and follow Chrisc ; renouncing
whatever he knows to be contrary to the
will of God, and simply following the path
of duty, however opposite it may be to his
sinful inclination or worldly interest ' if to
be a Christian indeed, it is necessary, in
some degree, to live above the' world, to be
dead to its vanities, and undismayed by its
terrors, then how few are there to whom this
character belongs. Yet this, my Brethren,
is the religion that will stand the test. This
is the Christianity so beautifully delineated
in the New Testament, and so happily ex-
emplified in the lives of the primitive Chri-
stians. Vain are our pretensions to the
faith of the gospel, if the love of sin and of the
world predominate in our heart. True faith
never fails to purify the heart, and tu over-
come the world. It is a living, powerful,
operative principle ; and proves itself to be
divine by the blessed effects which it pro-
duces on the temper and conduct. Let us
not deceive ourselves, then, with a name to
live if we are spiritually dead ; with the mere
iorm of godliness, if we are destitute of its

284 faith's victory ser. 9.

power. Examine yourselves whether you
be in the faith; prove your ownselves. Are
you indeed striving, under the influence of
faith, to overcome the world ? Are you set-
ting yourselves in opposition to its sinful max-
ims, its evil customs, and its corrupt prac-
tices : Or, on the contrary, do you suffer
yourselves without resistance to be carried
down the stream of worldly pleasures and
pursuits? Is passion or interest your great
governing principle in the common inter-
course of life ? and, provided you attain the
object of your wishes, have you little con-
cern about what is to be done for God,
for his cause, and kingdom, and glory in the

2. From what has been said, we may in-
fer the danger of worldly prosperity.

How liardly shall they that have riches
enter into the Jdngdom of God. For it is
easier for a camel to go through the eye of
a needle^ than for a rich, man to enter into
the kingdom of God. The difiicuity which
our Saviour expresses in these words arises


from the intoxicating notions of worldly-
prosperity. As a man's circumstances prosr
per, his temptations increase. A long con-
tinued course of worldly prosperity is ar)t
to produce pride, self-sufficiency, forgetiul-
ness of God, and insensibility to spiritual
objects. Hence it is that we find so few
in affluence or high rank who are pcssess' d
of real religion. Nay, how many instan-
(Ces are there of persons, who possessed some
reo'ard to reliiiion whilst in low or moder-
^te circumstances, wlio, on beh:ig raised to
greater dignity and affluence, have thrown
off every restraint, and became openly pro-
fane. Should not this consideration make
us dread, rather than covet great things for
ourselves in the world ; since the higher we
are raised, the more is the difficulty encreas-
ed of entering into the kingdom of God.
Even on the minds of real Christians, what
an unhappy influence often has worldly
prosperity ! How uncommon is it to behold
a Christian maintaining the lively e?:ercise
of divine faith in the midst of ease and af-
fluence ! Outward prosperity, therefore, is
not the common lot of the people of God.


It is not the most friendly soil for the growth
of the Christian graces. This leads me to

3. The benefit of sanctified afflictions.

O my Christian Friends, what cause have
you to bless God for afflictions, for this,
among other reasons, that they tend to pro-
mote your victory over the world ! It has
generally been found in experience, more
difficult to overcome its smiles than its
frov/ns. Prosperity has a natural tenden-
cy to attach us to present objects. But af-
flictions discover them in their true and
proper liaht. They aid us in the exercise
of faith. They quicken us to prayer, and
raise our thoughts towards our heavenly rest.
Bless God, then, ye afflicted followers of a
crucified master. Envy not the men who
are placed in more prosperous circumstan-
ces than yourselves. In various respects
their situation is more dangerous than yours,
and their difficulties in overcoming the
w^orld far o;reater, than vou are well able to


It must be observed, at the same time,
that there is no situation in which the power
of faith in overcomina; the world does not
appear. Though in general not many ricliy
not many mighty, not many noble are call-
ed, jet, blessed be God, some such there
have been in every age, who have proved
distin2:uished ornaments to the Christian
profession, and shewn the possibility of
maintaining the strictest godliness in the
most unfavourable situations.

Joseph was enabled to preserve his inte-
grity, even when raised to the highest
power among the idolatrous Egyptians.
Daniel could dare to be devout amono- the
courtiers of Babylon : And it is recorded of
Cornelius, a centurion of the Roman armv,
that his prayers and his alms came up for a
memorial before God. These, and many
other instances that might be mentioned,
shew, that, in every situation of life, this is
the victory that overcometh the world, even
our faith.

288 Faith's VICTORY seh. 9,

And now, Brethren, let me exhort all
who hear me, earnestly to engage in this
honoarable warfare. All men have not
faith. See then that you be possessed of this
heavenly grace. Do not content yourselves
with a cold wavering assent to the truths
of Scripture, for this can never produce
any lasting effect upon the temper and
conduct. Apply yourselves closely to the
study of those sacred oracles, w hich ' con-
tain the words of eternal life. Remember
that there is nothing in the world that con-
cerns you so much as the salvation of your
souls • and that a mistake here, may be at-
tended with the most fatal and irretrieva-
ble consequences. Count all things but
loss, then, for the excellency of the know-
ledge of Christ ; yea, dross and dung that
yea may win Christ, and be found in him.

If you are possessed of true faith, you
shall become conquerors, and more than
conquerors, through him that loved you.
Sin, Satan, and the world Mill fall before
you ; and in due time you shall reach the
end of your faith, and hope, and patience-


and be crowned with unfading glory and
never-ending bliss. Be strong, tnerefore,
in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Take unto ifou the whole armour of Gody O

that you may he able to withstand in the
evil day, and, having done all to stand.
Fight the goodjight of faith, lay hold on
eternal life. And, for your encourage-
ment, remember the cheering, animating
words of the glorious Captain of our salva-
tion, To him that overcometh, will I grant
io sit with me on my throne, even as I al^
so overcame, and am sat down with my Fa-
ther on his throne.




Acts iv. 13.

A7id they took knowledge of them, that
they had been

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Online LibraryDavid BlackSermons on important subjects → online text (page 14 of 23)