The Christian Professor

John Angell James, 1837


"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)

It is hard to say which is the more difficult and dangerous effort, to ascend or descend a steep and rocky mountain. In either case, to proceed with safety, is no easy matter. So is it a difficulty with some to decide, whether prosperity or adversity is more perilous to the Christian. Each has its snares, and each requires caution, watchfulness, and prayer. Each brings on a crisis in our religious history—and makes us either better or worse.

It is an undoubted fact, that by far the greater number of God's people have been found, hitherto, in the humble valley of poverty, or in the secluded retreats of adversity; a fact, which, in connection with what the Scriptures say, is a strong presumption, that in the judgment of omniscient and infallible wisdom, piety is likely to flourish most in the shade. God could cause the sun always to shine upon his people, and prevent any cloud from obscuring his rays for a moment! It is not for lack of power to make them rich, that he allows any of his children to be poor. All things are at his disposal and under his direction; he could give them all a rich inheritance in this world, which would exalt them above their fellows. He could make them all by acquisition, great in fame, and rank, and wealth—but he does not—and therefore it must be best that he does not.

Each of them may look at the cross and say with an apostle, "He who spared not his own Son—but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" There is no answering that logic—the conclusion is as just as the premises are true. The disproportion between a 'crumb' and a 'kingdom' is not so great as that between a kingdom and God's only-begotten Son. He who has the Son may infer, with absolute certainty—that he has everything else, which infinite wisdom sees it best he should have. There is nothing more certain under the heavens, than that 'infinite Love', after having given his Son to die for our sins—can withhold nothing else that is for his real good.

How then should a professor conduct himself in adversity, so as to glorify God? By adversity, I intend three classes of people—the poor—the unfortunate—and the afflicted. I am aware that the word is usually restricted to the middle class; but if I were to use it in this limited sense, I should exclude many whom I wish to address.

There are some duties which are COMMON to all these three classes alike.

SUBMISSION to the will of God is one of them. By submission, I mean the repression of all repining language, the resistance of all rebellious feeling, and the determined opposition of all hard thoughts of God, as if he had dealt unkindly or severely with us; together with an acquiescence in all he does—as being right and good. The temper, for instance, which is expressed in such language as this—"It is the Lord—let him do what seems good to him." "I was silent, I opened not my mouth; because you did it."

The GROUNDS of submission are clear views and a firm belief of God's power, wisdom, and love—such a deep sense of our sins as leads us to say, "It is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, why then should a man complain, a living man for the punishment of his sins, since he has not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." A strong and steady faith in Christ for pardon, peace, and hope—a vivid apprehension of eternal glory—and a settled assurance that all things work together for good to those who love God. These are the grounds of submission, which cannot exist where they are not, and cannot be absent where they are. A murmuring, complaining, fretful, and peevish Christian, whose words approach as near as possible to rebellion against God, disgraces and belies every principle of his profession.

Somewhat of Christian CHEERFULNESS should be manifested by all people in adversity. If they would glorify God; if they would cause the light of their principles to shine forth; if they would adorn the doctrine of God their Savior; if they would appear different from other men; they must break the silence even of submission with the words of contentment, and if possible with the notes of praise. They must sing like the nightingale during the dark night season—and shine like the glow-worm in the dark. They must rejoice in the Lord, delight themselves in God, repose their aching heart on the covenant of grace, and exult in the assurance that in heaven they have an enduring substance.

As they sit amidst the fragments of their broken cisterns, they must be heard singing the words of the prophet, "With joy will I draw water out of the wells of salvation!" Thus will they glorify God, when the smile of cheerfulness on their countenance looks like the rainbow upon the cloud, and they render the dark scene of their sorrows, a means of displaying the resplendent beauties of the Sun of Righteousness. O, how is God honored by the Christian in adversity, when all his conduct as well as his words seem to say—"I have lost much—but I still possess infinitely more than I have lost, or can lose. With Christ as my Savior, God as my Father, salvation as my portion, and heaven as my home; how can I be thought poor or wretched?"

There are also duties PECULIAR to each of the three classes which I have specified.

1. The POOR should be contented, and exhibit to all around the power of religion in reconciling them to their situation in life. A large proportion of the Lord's people are in the humbler walks of society. "I have left in the midst of you," said Jehovah to Jerusalem, "a poor and an afflicted people." Christ seemed to mark them out as the objects of his special attention, when he said, "The poor have the gospel preached to them." This shows the beneficent spirit of the gospel, and distinguishes it from every system of philosophy, or art, and false religion. What have the founders of empires, the teachers of science, or the inventors of religions cared about the poor? Sunk in the low abyss of poverty, they lay neglected, no one caring to raise them from the depths of ignorance, vice and misery—to knowledge, virtue, and bliss. Age succeeded to age, and school to school; a thousand sects and systems rose, flourished and fell; but the degradation of the multitude remained. No Howard descended to explore their deep, dark, and cheerless dungeon, to ascertain the weight of their chains, to let the light of heaven in upon their rayless abode, or to sweeten their cup of woe, by the cordial of sympathy; until one infinitely greater than Howard, and one from whose heart of boundless love, that distinguished philanthropist derived its mercy, appeared upon the stage of our world.

The Son of God, and Savior of mankind, when he came down to earth—arrived in the humble valley of poverty—grew up to manhood amidst poverties privations—drank its bitter waters—chose his apostles from the same lowly place, and gathered his first followers, and founded his church chiefly from among the sons and daughters of poverty. Thus, by his example, his conduct, and his benedictions, Christ seemed not only to strip poverty of its terrors—but to invest it with a kind of endearing honor, as long at least, as it is associated with holiness.

Consider this, you poor of the flock. Are you as destitute as Christ was? Can you say as he did, "The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests—but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head?" Did he not depend on charity for everything? His home, his bread, his grave? Shall the disciple think it hard to be as his master? How easily, how speedily, and how delightfully would it pluck the sting from poverty, when it begins to wound you, and cover its imaginary disgrace, when you are in danger of blushing over it—to recollect, that the character of a holy poor man, was the state in which the Lord of life and glory chose to dwell, during his temporary sojourn in our world.

Besides, remember that the Lord has chosen for you this lot of poverty, and he knows your disposition better than you know it yourselves. Some plants thrive best in a poor soil, and sheltered from the sun—and you are among the number. In the eye of Omniscient Wisdom, your present privations agree best with the possession of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the enjoyment of your incorruptible, undefiled and imperishable inheritance! You are like an heir to an immense estate, whom his father judges it best for his future character and happiness, to keep poor during his youth. Trust in God! "If he has loved you so as not to spare his own Son—but delivered him up for you, how shall he not with him, freely give you all things?" After that amazing gift of his Son—you may expect everything that would do you real good. A thousand worlds compared with our eternal salvation; are not as much as a farthing, compared to a kingdom. Would you be rich for this world—and ruined for eternity? Would you be wealthy in time—to be poor throughout eternity? Would you sell heaven—for all the fortunes upon earth? Would you not rather be poor as you are, and poorer too, with saving religion—than rich as the wealthiest man in the kingdom without it?

Consider what you have, what grace has given you—though Providence has denied you many things given to others. You have, or will have, all that the love of the Father designed from eternity for his people, all that the death of Christ obtained, all that the Bible promises, all that heaven contains! And is not this enough to satisfy and bless you, without gold and silver, houses and lands? Is not Christ in a cottage, to be infinitely preferred to a palace without him? "Better is little that a righteous man has—than the riches of many wicked." Psalm 37:16. Do you believe this? Then reconcile yourselves to your poverty, and hush every murmuring word, and repress every repining feeling!

Recollect, if you have not the gratification of riches—you have neither the snares nor cares of riches! You mistake, if you suppose, that happiness expands with increased material possessions. As to the greater calamities of life, I mean sickness, pain, and death; together with those mental sorrows which are produced by ingratitude and unkindness, by disappointment, envy and jealousy; these are as heavily laid upon the rich as well as the poor, and perhaps more so; while all the more substantial enjoyments of our present lot, are as freely bestowed upon the poor as the rich. The poor have health, appetite, sleep, peace of mind, social relationships; the bright sun, the blue sky, the green earth, the balmy air, the cheerful day, the still night, as well as the rich.

And in addition, if they are Christians, they have all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ—they possess an interest in him, who is the fountain of all blessedness, and the possessor of heaven and earth; they have a charter to all that is good for them, which cannot be revoked—they are enriched through the operations of the Holy Spirit, and the influence of faith—purifying their hearts, with a temper of mind and disposition, which are the seeds of true happiness. They have the well-grounded prospect of a state beyond the grave, where every source of sorrow shall be dried up, and every spring of joy opened! And is not this enough to comfort them under the privations of poverty?

Let them also remember how short is the term of their destitute state. What a force and a balm are there in the words of the Apostle, "Let those that weep, be as though they wept not, for THE TIME IS SHORT!" Tears that are so soon to cease forever—may be wiped away with a smile. There remains a rest for the people of God. When the laboring man lays down the implements of labor, he knows not that he shall ever be called to resume them. Soon, perhaps sooner than he expects, the flail and the hammer will drop from his hands, to be substituted by the harp of gold, and the palm of victory. How sweet it is to gather up his tools on Saturday evening, and to reflect, "Tomorrow I shall rest all day." Let him recollect that the Saturday evening of life is at hand, to be followed by the dawn of an eternal Sabbath, whose sun shall never set. When the labors of the day and its weariness, shall extort an involuntary exclamation, "How long," or when, with a feeling bordering on repining, he shall throw down his instruments of toil, to wipe away the sweat off his moistened brow, let him hear the voice which says to him, "The end of all things is at hand, when you shall sleep in Jesus, and rest from your labors." And oh! how will the privations, and hardships, and sorrows of poverty, prepare for the enjoyment of that fulness of joy, and those pleasures forevermore, which await the Christian at the right hand of God? Extremes magnify each other, and what will the delectable mountains of heaven be, whose tops are ever gilded with celestial glory, to the man who has ascended to them from the gloomy valley which has never been illumined by the sun of worldly prosperity.

Yes, there's a better world or high,
Hope on, you pious breast;
Faint not you traveler to the sky,
Your weary feet shall rest.

The poor should check all feelings of envy, all disposition of ill will towards the rich, for this of course is contrary to Christian contentment. They should avoid all tendency to misconstrue the actions and misconceive the motives of their wealthier brethren; and should sedulously guard against all those who would excite their prejudices by unfounded insinuations, and stir them up to turbulent discontent and insubordination.

They should endeavor to combine, with a just self-respect, an equal degree of respect for those whom Providence has raised to higher stations. Conscious that in the sight of God they are upon a perfect level with the richest and the greatest, they should yet so far regard the distinctions of society, as to be respectful, courteous, and submissive towards those who are their superiors in rank and wealth, though not in nature or in Christian privilege. A forward, bold, obtrusive poor man is certainly no credit to the Christian professor.

II. I now state the duties of the second class, those who in the most specific sense of the term, are in adversity. I mean the UNFORTUNATE, if indeed the word "UNFORTUNATE" ought to be admitted to the vocabulary of a Christian. How numerous is this class, how many are there in this trading country who are continually sliding down from wealth or competence into comparative, or actual poverty. What sudden and painful reverses are some called to experience, and others to witness! What shiftings of wealth are perpetually going on! And oh, how much is the credit of religion, and the honor of the Christian profession involved in these vicissitudes. How comparatively few descend with honor into the valley below, and dwell there with dignity and grace! How many lose their reputation in losing their fortune! Not that they are designing cheats or determined knaves; but are misled by the deceitfulness of the heart to do many things in endeavoring to avert the impending ruin, which, with whatever specious pretexts they are first prompted and then defended, cannot be justified by the strict rule of Christian integrity.

The credit of religion, as I have repeatedly remarked already, has suffered incalculable and irreparable injury in the world's estimation, from the dishonorable conduct of Christian tradesmen, who have been involved in difficulties; and even from the misconduct of those whose piety could not be reasonably doubted by any who knew them. There is unusual surprise felt when a professor fails. A fine tribute this to religion, as if it contained, which it does, a power to bless in this world, as well as the next; and there is also unusual disgust and reproach expressed when he fails under circumstances unfavorable to his reputation; another tribute to religion, as in itself intended to produce whatever things are just, honest, and of good report. Hence, then, it is a matter of indescribable importance that a Christian who is beginning to decline, should make up his mind never, by God's help, to attempt to save himself by sinning against God in violating the least rule of morality; never to prop his falling fortunes by anything that is contrary to the principles of fair and honorable trading. A professor involved in commercial difficulties is in the most imminent peril. It is the severest trial of his integrity; a kind of martyrdom, and a most difficult one too. His very regard to his reputation, and the credit of religion, are sometimes really among the temptations to which he yields in doing what is wrong. He dreads a failure, for he knows that with no serious ground of reproach he shall be suspected by the ignorant, blamed by the censorious, and calumniated by the malicious. To avert a calamity so great, he resorts to means which, though far enough off from downright dishonesty, are still improper and censurable; he adopts various and doubtful experiments for raising money; he borrows of friends with promises of repayment which he might know, if he reflected for a moment, he has no hope of fulfilling; he draws in the unwary by bargains which he must be quite sure they would never make if they knew his circumstances; he speculates with part of his little capital, and which in fact is not his, in hope to retain and increase the remainder; and if, while doing all this, conscience suggests, as it sometimes will do, that it cannot be right, he quiets the awakened and troublesome monitor, by the allegation that it is designed to prevent a catastrophe, which, if it occurs, will bring certain disgrace upon his profession—but which, if it should be thus averted, will leave all those questionable transactions in concealment. The catastrophe, however, in spite of all these improper expedients comes on, and with it the exposure of what was done to ward it off, and the character and credit of the professor are lost in the wreck, though the salvation of the Christian is secured, yet so as by fire.

I would by no means become the apologist for such conduct. It cannot be defended—but must be condemned; yet I believe it has been pursued by many a man whose heart will be found at the last day, to have been right with God. The great difficulty with an sinking tradesman, is to know when to stop. Like a gamester he is led on by the delusive expectation that the next throw will recover all he has lost. In nineteen cases out of twenty, this hope of recovery proves fallacious, and only plunges him deeper into ruin. Unfortunately the present age offers too many expedients by which men of declining prosperity, may endeavor by some sudden effort in speculation to avert the impending stroke, and be saved from bankruptcy. How much better would it be, as soon as they are aware of their perilous situation, to consult their creditors as to the propriety of proceeding, who would thus be made responsible for whatever risks would be incurred by their continuance. Or, if this be not prudent, as in some cases it may not, how important is it to take counsel with some judicious friend, to whom the whole state of their affairs should be laid open. Nothing, however, is more common, in such cases, than for the person who asks a friend's opinion to disclose only half the real truth and make a partial representation of even that; just as clients do who consult an attorney in a bad business, and whom they mislead by making him acquainted with only that part of the case which is in their favor.

A very considerable degree of difficulty arises sometimes, both on the part of a distressed tradesman and his pious friends, on the subject of borrowing and lending money to assist him out of his dilemma. The Scripture is certainly explicit in its injunctions on this head. Our Lord says, "From he who would borrow from you, do not turn away." Matt. 5:42. This, however, it is plain must be interpreted with a just regard to the rules of prudence. An indiscreet and lavish system of lending, would soon reduce even an affluent professor to ruin, and act as a premium upon imprudence and knavery in others. Yet there is the law, and it is also involved in other passages, which speak of our "bearing one another's burdens," and helping one another in difficulty. I believe that one great reason why this rule is so much neglected, is the improper conduct of some who have borrowed when there was no rational prospect of repayment, and whose failure has not only brought discredit on themselves—but produced a determination on the part of many not to lend to anyone. A man who is really in difficulty, ought to be extremely cautious about asking money in a way of loan from friends; nothing far short of an absolute certainty of being able to return it, should allow him to solicit their aid. He should, of course, lay open to them even the very worst of his affairs, that they may be in full possession of all particulars before the advance is made.

Christians ought to help one another—but no one ought to put the property of his friends in jeopardy. Much discredit has been thrown on the Christian profession by a neglect of this rule. To save themselves from ruin many have dragged others down with them. It is not that they imposed upon others so much as that they imposed upon themselves. They did not say what they did not believe at the time to be true—but they believed what they ought not to have believed; and are therefore responsible for their practical errors as others are for their doctrinal ones. It is bad policy, as well as bad morality, to jeopardize the property of others, as it often drains the resources which at the time they were not utilizing—but which afterwards would be of considerable service to them. Where assistance is needed by a suffering brother, whose difficulties cannot be referred to his own imprudence, and who can be effectually served without much risk, such a man ought not to be allowed to sink.

Christian tradesmen, hear the word of exhortation. Carry your profession with you into your business, and let your character as a tradesman, sustain the honor of your profession. Let the principle of integrity guide you in your shop, and the practice of economy in your house. Avoid, I beseech you, a showy and extravagant style of living! Do not be ambitious of obtaining a large luxurious house, elegant furniture, fine expensive clothing, and a country residence. What are these things to a man whose heart should be above? Much less have them, or even covet them, until you are quite sure you can pay for them. Do not let the first flush of a precarious prosperity prompt you to launch out into expenses, which you could not be authorized to incur until after a long trial of your success. And then when the tide begins to run, and the ebb has commenced, immediately curtail, and retrench. Do not continue to hold conveniences and luxuries at the risk of your creditors, determined never to relinquish them until they are torn from you, by the strong hand of law. Let no false shame make you afraid of being suspected to be poor. Have an honest principle which makes you determine never to have a single enjoyment at other people's expense, or even risk.

If your adversity has been in any measure induced by any fault of your own, confess it both to God and man. Do not blind yourself to your own misconduct. Do not shut the windows of the soul, and resolve that no light of conviction shall come in, to reveal what is wrong. Struggle not against public opinion; much less resist the expostulations, or despise the censures of your brethren. Your peace, and honor, and safety, all depend upon an sincere confession. The man who says, and says it with a magnanimous frankness, "I have done wrong," rises as he sinks; is exalted by his humiliation, and manifests a remaining power of inward piety and principle, which bursting forth from his soul, like the sun dispersing the mist which had for a season veiled his luster, scatters the cloud with which for a while he had enveloped his character.

But I now proceed to give some directions to those who are in adversity and who may not be conscious of any special fault, to which they can look, as the cause of their misfortunes.

If your troubles have been brought upon you by the imprudence or injustice of others, neither allow your minds to dwell upon their conduct with resentful feelings, nor to stop in the contemplation of second causes. God has permitted it, or they could not have done it. He employs wicked men—and even the wickedness of the wicked—for the fulfillment of his purposes towards his children.

Do not act atheistically in your affliction, and complain and fret as if your adversity was the result of chance—but let it be seen that you believe in the doctrine of Providence.

Manifest a dignified composure, a calm and tranquil mind, that can stand the shock of these storms without having your confidence in God uprooted. It is said of the righteous "He shall not be moved. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings, his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord."

Watch against a despairing, reckless temper; a disposition to give up all for lost; a feeling of hopelessness, as if you were irrevocably doomed to adversity, and it were useless to make further attempts to gather up into any other scheme the fragments of your broken fortunes. "If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small," and what is this despondency but fainting? It is always too soon to despair in this world, in reference either to temporal or spiritual things. Earth is the region of hope. The severest part of winter is just before spring; the tide is lowest just before it begins to rise; the break of day issues from the deepest gloom of midnight. Job sunk from a mansion to an ash-heap; and then rose from an ash-heap to a nobler mansion still. Hope in God; his best gifts of an earthly nature may be yet to come. Banish despondency. Be of good courage—wait on the Lord, and he shall strengthen your heart.

Besides, consider what mercies are still left. Set one thing over against another; God does, and so ought you. "All is lost," wrote the King of France, to his mother, after the battle of Pavia, "but our honor." Christian integrity, which still remains with you, is worth infinitely more than all you have lost. You have health, friends, reason, still. But you have richer blessings left than these. Perhaps your children are with you in Christ, and traveling by your side to heaven. You have all the blessings of grace in hand, and all the blessings of glory in hope. You have lost your wealth—but not your salvation. Earth has fallen from your left hand—but your right lays hold on heaven. You are poorer for time—but perhaps it is only to be richer for eternity. Be comforted, ALL IS WORKING TOGETHER FOR GOOD! You cannot tell how; that is not your business. It is God's business to say how—your concern is to believe it will be good.

Watch and strive against a spirit of envy. Perhaps in your descent into the valley of adversity, you have passed some on their way, going up the hill of prosperity. Pray for grace to rejoice with them who rejoice; this is the best way to make them weep with you who weep. We ought to cast our own cares upon God, and empty our hearts as much as possible of our own sorrows, that there might be room in them for both the joys and sorrows of others. Envy will make the wounds of our mind fester and mortify, and add something of the 'torments of hell' to the trials of earth. Envy is poison in the cup of woe. And it is of importance also that you should avoid a jealous and suspicious temper; a constant susceptibility to be easily offended. Your situation will produce a tendency to this. Aware that you have sunk in wealth, you will be apt to think you have sunk in esteem and importance, and that in consequence of this you are slighted and neglected. This will induce a petulant, querulous, and contentious temper; destructive of your peace, and injurious to your profession. I admit that every man in whom dwells the spirit of Christian charity, will be doubly assiduous and watchful, not to aggravate the sorrows of adversity, by making you feel that you have sunk; but unintentional and only apparent neglects will sometimes occur, which, if you are not vigilant, and blessed with an eminent degree of humility and meekness, will chafe and irritate your mind, and prevent your light from shining in darkness.

It should be the study, the endeavor, and the prayer of every Christian, to make his adversity subservient to his growth in grace. He should make the depression of his circumstances, the means of his moral and spiritual elevation. In many cases it has been so, and spectators have been delighted and astonished to witness a grand and beautiful development of character, where they supposed that even the principle of piety scarcely lived before. That which looked all earthly matter, and impure mixture, when subjected to the searching test of fire, glowed in the furnace, and sent forth a stream of pure and liquid gold. Yes, the adhesions of pride, worldly-mindedness, and a harsh severity of temper which had encrusted over, hidden and disfigured the character, were separated—and the profession so imperfect, and even doubtful before—came forth exhibiting not only the loftier graces of faith and submission—but even the minuter beauties of holiness, in a spirit of humility, meekness and affection.

Nor ought I to omit, that professors singularly glorify God in adversity, by feeling, and causing it to be seen that they feel it to be one of its bitterest sorrows, that they have been the means of injuring others. They have unintentionally—but still materially, perhaps, involved many in loss. To see a man reckless of the property, and regardless of the misfortunes of his friends, misfortunes of which he has been the cause, is not honesty, much less honor, or Christianity. It should be the aim and determination of every Christian, that by the most unwearied labor, the most persevering diligence, and the most rigid economy, he may at length pay every creditor to the full amount of his demands. A legal clearance by bankruptcy, is not a moral one. It is a disgraceful sight, even for a man of the world, to be seen rising out of adversity, and living in splendor, while his creditors have not received, probably one half or one quarter of their just due! Such a person may not be called a rogue—but who will call him an honest man?

III. To the third class, I mean those who are IN AFFLICTION from any of the various causes of human sorrow, whether it be personal or relative trouble, it is not necessary I should say much in addition to what I have already advanced. Let them restrain their grief, and not be swallowed up of overmuch sorrow. An excessive degree of distress, a refusal to be comforted, a disposition to nourish grief, is a temper dishonorable to a professor, who, in the darkest and dreariest scenes of human life, ought not to appear like those who are without God and without hope. PATIENCE must have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. RESIGNATION must not only suppress the murmur—but dictate words of confidence and peace. "Though he slays me, yet will I trust in him," must be your declaration, as well as your purpose. FAITH—strong, steady faith—which cleaves closer to Christ, in proportion as other things fail, must be in exercise. HOPE, as the anchor of your soul, must keep your little bark safe amidst the storm. MEEKNESS must put forth all its power and beauty in preventing peevishness, and producing a sweetness of temper in the midst of perplexing and ruffling circumstances. ASSURANCE that all things are working together for good, should bear the soul above the low and cloudy horizon of present trials, and enable it to spot eternal sunshine beyond the storm, and rendered the brighter by the gloom, from the midst of which it is contemplated. While at the same time, a deep concern should be manifested for a sanctified use of every affliction. Concern should be manifested to glorify God in the fires, to have every corruption mortified, and every grace strengthened; to die to earth, and live for heaven.

Thus may the various classes of Christians in adversity, support, adorn, and recommend the religion they profess; and enjoy consolation in their trouble, derived from the consideration that their affliction has yielded something for the advancement of God's cause, and the manifestation of his glory in the world; while it has been ripening them for that blessed, eternal state of glory. "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:14-17)