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FROM THE PREFATORY ADDRESS
PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN ENGLAND AND IRELAND.
BLEEDING hearts, you are honoured to be baptized with Christ's baptism, to pledge your dear Saviour, in his own cup. Count not, call not honour, misery. The wine in your cup is red indeed, but without dregs to you; Christ's drinking first, hath sweetened it well to saints. Wrath makes sufferings misery. Let the world howl in their wounds, but do not you complain. Let them curse, as bearing Cain's mark, but do you bless God, and glory as bearing the marks of the Lord Jesus. Christ pours out love upon the soul, when the body pours out blood upon the truth. A spirit of glory is a bleeding christian's glory. There is inward advancement when outward debasement. The soul is in heaven when the body is in hell for Christ. Was that a dungeon or a heaven, in which they sang so sweetly at midnight? Acts xvi. God's dealings are righteous, when man's dealings are wicked. A man might bear suffering upon this ground, that he hath sinned; but how sweetly may they be borne, when sugared with love, and all sin forgiven!
SERMONS ON COLOSSIANS I. 11, 12.
BALM FOR ENGLAND.
COLOSSIANS I. 11.
STRENGTHENED WITH ALL MIGHT, ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS POWER, UNTO ALL PATIENCE AND LONG-SUFFERING WITH JOYFULNESS.
PRAYER in this verse is still continued, and still suited to present and imminent distress. The state of the christians at Colosse was a suffering state, and likely to be more so; and therefore prayer is made for answerable relief, for divine strengthening, for bearing and suffering grace, for shoulders suitable to every burden. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness."
The terms of this text are very weighty, I shall, therefore, deal with them one after another: their difficulty lies both in matter and word; yet one hand on which we lean, will carry us through both, to God's glory and man's edification. I begin with the first
It points principally at the spirit of man, which is the bearer up of all. A man is what he is, from the fortitude of his inward man. According to this scope and sense the apostle explains himself, using the same word to the
Ephesians, and applying it to the inner man.
Doctrine. GOD EXERCISETH A RELIEVING POWER IN A CHRISTIAN.-As he exercises a creating power, whereby he makes a christian, so he exercises a strengthening and relieving power, whereby he maintains a christian; "Who are kept by the power of God," 1 Pet. i. 5. It is the same word with this in my text, "Strengthened with all might." DIVINE POWER makes, and then it upholds.
Divine power, as it works towards a christian, hath its peculiar properties. As it works towards a christian, it works tenderly. Such a power working about the soul, works and works again. It makes lambs, and then it makes arms to carry lambs, to preserve them to be sheep for the fold of Christ. "He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young," Isa. xl. 11. As chere is a gathering, so there is a carrying and a leading power exercised about a christian. All these sweet expressions aptly point out this in my text; namely, that strengthening and relieving power which carries along and finishes the first work; "Strengthened with all might," &c.
Divine power, as it works towards a christian, works effectually. "The word of God which effectually worketh also in you that believe," 1 Thess. ii. 13. An effectual power subjected to work for man, works and works again, and never leaves working till it hath effected its work, which is, preservation unto salvation; grace unto life. This power works by creating and strengthening. It