The last pang, and groan, and tear!
(J. A. James, "Afflictions")
The Christian also looks to the end of afflictions!
may sometimes come in this world. In reference to this, the
utmost that the believer can be sure of is--that they will end
in God's time. They may last for his whole life. The sickness
which afflicts his body may be unto death! The loss which he
has sustained in his property may be irreparable, and poverty
may go down with him to the grave! The trial which beclouds
and distresses his spirits may be his lot for life! But on the other
hand, they may not! God may be bringing him "through fire and
through water to bring him out into a wealthy place." But the
Christian leaves this in the hand of God, and endeavors to
maintain a hope which shall save him from despondency--
checked at the same time by a reverence that guards him
from unwarranted presumption.
But if the end of the trial should not come in this world--it will
come in the next world--when they will not only forever cease,
but leave an eternal blessing behind! "I reckon that the sufferings
of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us!" "Our light affliction, which is but
for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory!" Four things are set forth in these passages.
1. Our afflictions will have a termination! This is sweet. They are
to end--they are not to last forever! The last pang,
and tear are at hand--and how near the Christian never knows!
2. Our afflictions are not to end like those of the brute creation--in
the grave merely--but in heaven! The last pang, and groan, and
tear are to usher in that blessed state
of which it is so beautifully
said, "The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them,
and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters--and God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes!" Heaven shall terminate the
afflictions of the righteous!
3. Heaven is so glorious, that the first view of its scenes, and
the first moment of its enjoyment, shall make amends for the
longest life of the most protracted and intense sufferings!
4. The sufferings of our earthly pilgrimage will
enhance and increase the felicities of heaven!
Their submissive endurance;
the graces which they
call into exercise;
the sanctification which they
the heavenly temper which they cultivate,
will be the means of ripening the spirit, and
it fit for its eternal inheritance!
Every tear that is shed;
every groan that is heaved;
every loss that is sustained;
every moment of suffering that is endured;
every disappointment that is experienced, which is borne
with patience, with resignation, with unwearied holiness--
will not only be followed with millions of ages of ineffable
felicity--but will prepare the soul for its enjoyment, and
add something to its weight and its luster!