Deut. 33:25--"As your days, so shall your strength be."

The Christian is frequently compared to a pilgrim--traveling onwards through a dreary wilderness, to the promised land of Canaan--and his experience is varied and chequered. The path before him may be steep and arduous--he may have to pass through rough and stony places--through dark, thick forests, and rapid streams, and raging hurricanes--his days may be such, as to require great strength, and energy, and perseverance. Oftentimes, when he strives to anticipate the future, his heart sinks within him, his courage fails, and he is apt to give way to despondency and doubt. But, such a promise as that given to Asher, and to all the true Israel of God, may well suffice to calm the believer's fears, and reanimate his fainting spirit.

It is true, that changes and vicissitudes will come--true, that the heart, which today is cheerful and happy, may tomorrow be wounded and bleeding--true, that the full cup, now held with gladness, may be dashed in pieces, before the lips have tasted the refreshing draught--true, that the bright hope, which, like a guiding star, allures the traveler onwards, may speedily be enwrapped in pitchy gloom--but what of that?

To the child of God, there is a supply of strength to meet the hour of trial. He is not permitted to escape from the burden, the cross, the difficulty--but he is enabled to make his way through them all--to struggle with and finally to overcome them. Many a time, when the believer has been well-near crushed under the oppressive weight--when, conscious that ordinary strength would not avail, he has cried unto the Lord, and a fresh supply of grace has been given to meet the emergency--so that he could say with David, "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God--many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."

It would be easy for God, to make the path heavenward, plain and unobstructed to His children--easy, to remove all care, anxiety, and sorrow--but such is not His purpose. Earth is the training-school for Heaven. He wills that they should be tried--that "through much tribulation they should enter the kingdom"--that their spiritual natures should be refined and purified in the furnace of affliction--and that thus, by the very struggles and pains of their earthly pilgrimage, they should become more and more fit for serving Him in this world, and more and more fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. Even as the racer in a course has to undergo preparation, and, by regimen and exercise, becomes better fitted for the severe trial that awaits him--even as the mariner, by successive voyages on the stormy ocean, becomes more skillful and daring--even as the soldier who has passed through a long and dangerous campaign, becomes bold, courageous, and self-denying--so the Christian, by each difficulty he is called on to encounter, by each trial he is summoned to bear, by each virtue he is required to call into exercise, becomes more vigorous, earnest, faithful, and Christ-like. His soul is gradually training and strengthening--by duty, trial, and endurance here--for glory, honor, and immortality hereafter.

And if, at any time, amid the rough and rugged parts of life's journey, his feet are not kept from falling nor his eyes from tears, the reason most probably is, that he has already failed to improve the strength and grace imparted--that, like a sword lying in the scabbard, his religion has not come into active, daily exercise, amid the lesser duties, trials, and struggles which have marked his previous history. For if, when overwhelming griefs and soul-agonizing troubles come upon us, we would be calm, patient, and submissive, we must have long and sedulously exercised the graces of the Christian character, amid the minor anxieties and the lesser sorrows of daily life.

Reader! imagine not, that only when in severe trials and pressing emergencies, are you required to make religion your stay, and to exercise the spirit which it enjoins--imagine not, that in the time of sickness or the solemn hour of death, you can lay hold of gospel promises at will, and derive from them consolation and support, if, in the season of health and the day of your prosperity, they are not in all your thoughts. If you do, you will be miserably disappointed. To be "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might," when the dark storm gathers overhead, and the rumbling thunder is heard, you must have used the grace given for past emergencies, and exercised the powers which He has already graciously conferred.

Remember, "growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," does not consist so much "in extent of knowledge, as in depth of knowledge--knowing things better--not so much in new duties as in old duties better done, the drudgeries of life gone through in a brighter, happier, and more Christian spirit--knowing that life is made up, in a great measure, of little and common and trivial things, but still doing these little and trivial things with a more single eye to the Lord--with more self-distrust, and therefore with more dependence upon God--with greater humility--with more prayer so that self is gradually but surely extinguished, and we become strong, both to do and endure the will of God."

Yes, believer, you are insensibly, it may be, yet most assuredly increasing your spiritual strength, by each single act of faith and charity and self-denial--by showing in your daily walk, more love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance--by your Christian deportment; in your family circle and in the haunts of business, amid all the occupations and requirements of life. In the right performance of one duty, you will become better fitted for the performance of the next. Every fresh victory over pride--over vanity--over avarice, over selfishness--over fretfulness, makes us stronger for the time to come, and insures the fulfillment of the promise, "As your days, so shall your strength be."

Christian! mark again these words. They do not give the pledge, that we shall not feel the burden and heat of the day. All they promise is, that we shall get safely through. They do not say, that we shall not feel the weight of our duties, trials, temptations, conflicts; all they say is, that we shall have strength to bear their weight, and journey on with our load. The grace imparted, will then be "sufficient" for us--not superabundant, but sufficient for our actual necessities--strength equal to our day.

Christian! distress not yourself about impending evils. You think, you have not strength for the hour of sickness. Use the strength you now have, in the day of health, and the promise will not then fail you. You fear, you have not strength for the thorny path of adversity--tread humbly and thankfully the path of prosperity, and you will not then be refused consolation and support. You fear that you are unprepared to meet the King of Terrors, and to enter the gloomy valley. Live to the glory of God, and, as beseems your Christian profession, and, when you are summoned to depart, His rod and staff will then uphold and comfort you. It is by putting forth the strength already gained, that you may hope to stand your ground, when greater exertion and more vigorous effort are demanded. Strength to encounter the tempest will be given when the tempest rages--strength to breast the foaming surges will be given when the hurricane has actually come--strength to grapple with the last enemy will be given when he comes forth to meet you. Yes, Christian! be assured, grace and strength will be imparted when you need them, as certainly as they will be withheld before you need them. He who guides you, knows your necessities, and, in the day of trouble, will not leave you comfortless. Journey on, then, with firmness--relying on the promise of Him who is faithful and true!--your day is coming--you will, before long, enter into your final rest, and repose from all your labors--you will take possession of the promised inheritance, and will then acknowledge with a grateful heart, "As my days, so my strength has been." Let this be your daily cry–

"O Lord, increase my strength, and give me grace, to use it daily for the promotion of Your glory, and for the healthy development of my own soul, that, in Your good time, I may be prepared for another and a better world."

"Source of my life's refreshing springs,
Whose presence in my heart sustains me,
Your love appoints me pleasant things,
Your mercy orders all that pains me.

"If lonely hearts were never lonely,
If all they wish might always be,
Accepting what they look for only,
They might be glad--but not in Thee.

"Well may Your own beloved, who see
In all their lot their Father's pleasure,
Bear loss of all they love, save Thee,
Their living, everlasting Treasure.

"Well may Your happy children cease
From restless wishes prone to sin,
And, in Your own exceeding peace,
Yield to Your daily discipline.

"We need as much the cross we bear
As air we breathe, as light we see–
It draws us to Your side in prayer,
It binds us to our strength in Thee."
–A. L. Waring


"Dreary and long our course may be,

But, O our God, it leads to Thee!

You are the Light by which we roam,

You are our everlasting Home.

"Earth and its pains we still may feel,

But You are ever near to heal;

Still as our day, our strength shall be,

For all our cares are borne by Thee.

"Your mighty arm to smooth our way,

Your Light to turn our night to day,

Onward with firmer steps we roam,

On to our everlasting Home.

"Afflicted soul, to Christ draw near,

Your Savior's gracious promise hear;

His faithful word declares to thee,

That 'as your day, your strength shall be!'

"Let not your heart despond, and say,

How shall I stand this trying day?

He has engaged, by firm decree,

That 'as your day, your strength shall be!'

"Your faith is weak, your foes are strong,

Perhaps the conflict may be long;

Yet shall at last your sorrows flee,

And 'as your day, your strength shall be!'

"When hovering death appears in view,

Christ's presence shall your fears subdue;

He smiles, and sets your spirit free,

For 'as your days your strength shall be!'

"When in that after-world of rest,

Where ransomed souls are fully blest,

How time in retrospect shall prove,

The word which told you 'all is love!'"


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