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" As thy
not have it given you on Saturday night; you shall have it
day by day”—no more than you want, no less than you want. I do not believe God's people are to be trusted with a week's
grace all at once. They are like many of our workmen: they get their wages on Saturday night, and then they go and have Saint Monday and Saint Tuesday, and never do a stroke of work till Wednesday, when they go to the pawnbrokers with their tools to help them over till the next Satur. day night. Now, I think God's children would do the same. If they had grace given them on Saturday to last them all through the week, I question whether the devil would not get a good deal of it—whether they would not be pawning some of their old evidences before the week was out, in order to live upon them: spending all their grace on Monday and Tuesday, spending very much of their strength in indulging in pride and boasting, instead of walking humbly with their God. No; "as thy days, so shall thy strength be."
Now, having said that the promise is limited, perhaps I am bound to add-what an extensive promise this is ! days, so shall thy strength be.” Some days are very little things; in our pocket book we have very little to put down, for there was nothing done of any importance. But some days are very big days. Ah! I have known a big day—a day of great duties, when great things had to be done for Godtoo great, it seemed, for one man to do; and when great duty was but half done there came great trouble, such as my poor heart had never felt before.
Oh! what a great day it was ! there was a night of lamentation in this place, and the cry of weeping, and of mourning, and of death. Ah! but blessed be God's name, though the day was big with tempest, and though it swelled with horror, yet as that day was, so was God's strength. Look at poor Job. What a great day he had once! Master,” says one, “the oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away.” In comes another, and he says,
66 The fire of God hath fallen on the sheep.”
“Oh,” says another, “the Chaldeans have fallen upon the camels and taken them away, and I, only I, am left
to tell thee." Still, you see, grace kept growing with the day. Still strength grew as the trouble grew. At last comes the back stroke: “A great wind came from the wilderness, and smote the house where thy sons and daughters were feasting, and they are dead, and I, only. I, am left to tell thee.” Grace still kept growing, and at last the grace did overflow the trouble, and the poor old patriarch cried, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Ah! Job, that was a big day indeed, and it was big grace that went with that big day. Satan sometimes blows up our days with his black breath till they grow to such a cursed height that we know not how great the days must be. Our head whirls at the thought of passing through such a sea of trouble in so short a space of time. But oh! how sweet it is to think that the bed of grace is never shorter than a man can stretch himself upon it ; nor is the covering of Almighty love ever shorter than that it may cover us. We never need be afraid. If our troubles should become as high as mountains, God's grace would become like Noah's flood: it would go twenty cubits higher till the mountains were covered. If God should send to you and to me a day such as there was none like it, neither should be any more, he would send us strength such as there was none like it, neither should there be any more.
Do you see Martin Luther riding into Worms? There is a solitary monk going before a great council : he knows they will burn him; did not they burn John Huss, and Jerome of Prague ? Both those men had a safe conduct, and it was violated, and they were put to death by Papists, who said that no faith was to be kept with heretics. Luther placed very little reliance on his safe conduct; and you would have expected as he rode into Worms, that he would have a dejected countenance. Not so. No sooner does he catch sight of Worms, than some one advises him not to go into the city. Said he, “If there were as many devils in Worms, as there are tiles on the roofs of the houses, I would enter.” And he does ride in. He goes
to the inn, and eats his bread, and drinks his beer, as complacently as if he were at his own fireside ; and then he
goes quietly to bed. When summoned before the council, and asked to retract his opinion, he does not want time to consider, or debate about it; but he says, " These things that I have written, are the truth of God, and by them will I stand till I die; so help me God!” The whole assembly trembles, but there is not a flush upon the cheek of the brave monk, nor do his knees knock together. He is in the midst of armed men, and those who seek his blood. There sit fierce cardinals, and blood-thirsty bishops, and the Pope's legate ; like spiders, longing to suck his blood. He cares for none of them; he walks away, and is confident that “God is his refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” “ Ah! but,” you say, “I could not do that.” Yes you could, if God called you to it. Any child of God car do what any other child of God has done, if God gives him the strength. You could not do what you are doing even now, without God's strength; and you could do ten thousand times more, if he should be pleased to fill you with his might. What an expansive promise this is !
Once more, what a varying promise it is ! I do not mean that the promise varies, but, adapts itself to all our changes. “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Here is a fine sunshiny morning; all the world is laughing ; every thing looks glad; the birds are singing, the trees seem to be all alive with music. “My strength shall be as my day is,” says the pilgrim. Ah! pilgrim, there is a little black cloud gathering. Soon it increases; the flash of lightning wounds the heaven, and it begins to bleed in showers. Pilgrim, “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” The birds have done singing, and the world has done laughing; but," as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Now the dark night comes on, and another day approaches-a day of tempest, and whirlwind, and storm. Dost thou tremble, pilgrim ?—“ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” “But there are robbers in the wood.” “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” “But there are lions which shall devour
“ “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” “ But there are rivers ; how shall I swim them ?" Here is a boat to carry thee over : “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”. there are fires: how shall I pass through them ?” Here is the garment that will protect thee: “ As thy days, so shall thy
66 As thy
I had no
strength be.” “But there are arrows that fly by day.” Here is thy shield: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” "But there is the pestilence that walketh in darkness.” Here is thy antidote: “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Whereever you may be, and whatever trouble awaits you, days, so shall thy strength be." Children of God, can not you say that this has been true hitherto ? I can.
It might seem egotistical if I were to talk of the evidence I have received of this during the past week, but nevertheless I can not help recording my praise to God. I left this pulpit last Sabbath as sick as any man ever left the pulpit, and I left this country too, as ill as I could be; but no sooner had I set my foot upon the other shore, where I was to preach the gospel, than my wonted strength entirely returned to me. sooner buckled on the harness to go forth and fight my Master's battle, than every ache and pain was gone, and all my sickness fled; and as my day was, so certainly was my strength. I believe, if I were lying upon a dying couch, if God called me to preach in America, and I had but faith to be carried down to the boat, I should have strength given me, though I seemed to be dying, to minister as the Lord had appointed me. And so would each of you, wherever you might be, find that as your day was, so your strength should be.
And in conclusion, what a long promise this is ! You may live till you are never so old, but this promise will outlive you. When thou comest into the depths of the river Jordan, thy days, so shall thy strength be;" thou shalt have confidence to face the last grim tyrant, and grace to smile even in the jaws of the grave. And when thou shalt rise again in the terrible morning of the resurrection," as thy days, so shall thy strength be;" though the earth be reeling with dismay, thou shalt know no fear; though the heavens are tottering with confusion, thou shalt know no trouble. “ As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” And when thou shalt see God face to face, though thy weakness were enough to make thee die, thou shalt have strength to bear the beatific vision; thou shalt see him face to face, and thou shalt live; thou shalt lie in the bosom of thy God; immortalized and made full of strength, thou shalt be able to bear even the brightness of the Most High.
III. What INFERENCE shall I draw except this ? Children of the living God, be rid of your doubts, be rid of your trouble and your fear. Young Christians, do not be afraid to set forward on the heavenly race. You bashful Christians, that, like Nicodemus, are ashamed to come out and make an open profession, don't be afraid ; “as your day is, so shall your strength be.” Why need you fear? You are afraid of disgracing your profession, you shall not ; your day shall never be more troublesome, or more full of temptation, than your strength shall be full of deliverance.
And as for you that have not God to be yours, I must draw one inference for you. Your strength is decaying. You are growing old, and your old age will not be like your youth. You have strength-strength which you prostitute to the cause of Satan, which you misuse in the service of the devil. When you grow old, as you will do, unless your wickedness shall bring you to an early grave; they that look out of the windows must be darkened, and the grasshopper must be a burden to you; and your strength shall not be as your day. And when you come to die, as die you must, then you will have no strength to die with; you must die alone; you must hear yon iron gates creak on their hinges, and no guardian angel to comfort you, as you go through the dreary vault. And you must stand at God's great bar at the day of resurrection, and no one to strengthen you there. How will your cheek blanch with terror! How will your soul be affrighted with horror, when you shall hear it said, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” You have no such promise as this to cheer you onward, but you have this to drive you to despair : your days shall become heavier, but your strength shall become lighter; your sorrows shall be multiplied, and your joys shall be diminished; your days shall shorten, and your nights shall lengthen ; your summers shall become dimmer, and your winters shall become blacker; all your hopes shall die, and your fears shall live. Ye shall reap the harvest of your sins in the dreadful vintage of eternal wrath. May God give us all grace, so that when days and years are past, we all may meet in heaven.