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THE PROMISED STRENGTH.
In our progress through the wilderness to the land of promise, we meet with numerous difficulties, and are subjected to various trials. We are soldiers, and must fight the good fight of faith ;-we are pilgrims, and must "go forward” in the midst of danger ;-we are servants, and must implicitly obey our Master's will; we are children, and must neither despise the chastening of our Father, nor faint when we are rebuked of him ;-we are candidates for a crown of glory, and must run with patience the race which is set before us. There are duties to perform; temptations to overcome; propensities to subdue; and sorrows to bear: which press heavily upon our spirits. Our conflict is Iong; our cross is wearisome; it is through much tribulation that we are slowly passing to our rest.
We must " be strong,” therefore, “and of good courage,” if we would manfully persevere in our toilsome path. There must be no hesitation--no indolence--no fear-no self
indulgence; but a steady, earnest, patient continuance in well-doing.
It is easy to say this—to feel this; the difficulty is to act up to it.
Ah! we are so soon daunted, so easily defeated. sciousness of our weakness, and the remembrance of our many failures, make us sigh over the past, and shrink from the future. And especially as old age creeps on, and bodily and mental infirmities increase, do we feel painfully sensible of the inadequacy of our natural strength to sustain spiritual conflict, or to endure physical suffering. We sometimes fear lest in coming seasons of trial we should prove unequal to the contest.
It is well, in every period of the Christian life, to have a right estimate of our own strength. The advanced believer is as unable by his own power to defend himself from sin and sorrow, as the youthful Christian. But to each—and with peculiar force to the aged pilgrim whose lengthened experience and deepened humility make him so distrustful of self—the promise comes of Almighty help and succour. days,” says the God of Israel, “so shall thy
In every moment of need, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God.”+ When difficulties and dangers arise in your path, let not the
+ Isa, xii. 10.
Deut. xxxiii. 25.
thought of your own weakness and insufficiency discourage you, for “I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."* • Without me you can do nothing;”+ but, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Take courage, aged Christian, as you listen to these cheering assurances of the most high God; and rejoice that he is able to “supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."|| For remember, the strength which his promises guarantee to you is adequate strength. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be;" the one fully commensurate with the other. Your present necessities, and your future wants, might well fill you with distress and apprehension, did not Ğod stand engaged to prepare you for every emergency, and to sustain
you under every burden. But since the omnipotent Creator has pledged himself to furnish his people with whatever spiritual energy they require in their perpetual conflict, you may gratefully exclaim with the psalmist, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust. Yes; “trust in him at all times, §
” “ for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting
† John xv. 5. 1 2 Cor. xii. 9. || Philip. iv. 19. § Psa. xviii. 2.
Is. xli. 10.
strength.” Let no misgivings disturb your mind as you think of approaching and aug. mented trials; for with the increased demand for strength, you may confidently calculate upon an increased supply.
Now you are looking, perhaps, at some great trouble in the distance, and you are feeling as if, when it arrives, you must sink under it. Ah, you are estimating your power of endurance then by what it is now; you are supposing that, with your present weakness, you are moned to a more arduous encounter than you have hitherto met with, and you are mournfully anticipating an inevitable failure. But do you not perceive that your conclusion is drawn from wrong premises ? You will not have to grapple with increased difficulties, before you are able to surmount them. God will never call you to the fulfilment of any duty, nor the endurance of any trial, without having first provided for you sufficient strength for the occasion.
But the promised strength is daily strength. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” You must not expect to have a large stock on hand which will last you for a long time; nor endeavour to make the strength of to-day suffice for the wants of to-morrow; but in every fresh period of conflict and suffering, you must seek for fresh strength from above. You
cannot live upon past supplies, but you may safely rely upon present and future succour. The spiritual aid which you require will always be vouchsafed at the right time. Each day, each season of renewed solicitude, will bring with it its own appointed strength. It may be that you are advanced, not in years only, but also in Christian experience; still you must depend as perpetually, and as entirely now upon the help of God, as you did at the commencement of your religious life. Day by day; hour by hour; moment by moment, you must trust in him, and look to him.
And the strength which he grants to his children, is appropriate strength. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” The days of the spiritual life are as varied as the days of the natural life. Sometimes they are bright with hope and prosperity; sometimes they are dark with disappointment and sorrow.
There are days when our path lies through green and flowery meadows; and there are days when our road is through a tangled forest, or along the edge of a precipice. At one time we have to toil up the Hill Difficulty: at another, to fight our way through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Now there is a beautiful adaptation in God's grace to the diversified circumstances of his people's history. Have you not found it to be so, dear reader? Have