Christ our Example
THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS
Caroline Fry (1787 – 1846)
Extracted from Christ our Example
“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” “All his days are sorrows, and his travail grief.” “Because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:
cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” This is a fact which no one can deny, with the only explanation that ever has been given. No one can deny the fact: and if they deny the explanation they can substitute no other in its stead. Infidelity may reject and folly may despise the narrative of the fall, and treat affliction as if it came forth of the dust and sorrow as if it sprang out of the ground; but no man has attempted to deny that he is born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward.
The world has subsisted now six thousand years and man has found no remedy; the sentence is not remitted; his sorrows are not diminished. Experience has perfected his faculties and increased his powers. A thousand inventions and discoveries have added to his natural capabilities; improvements of every kind Â— the growth of arts Â— the increase of knowledge Â— the experience of accumulated ages Â— all is indicative of progress to the present time. In one thing only there is no progression Â— man has found no defence, no security from sorrow; every new source of enjoyment has opened a fresh inlet of suffering to the heart, but never a weapon to defend the entry. Parents still see their children break their hearts and die. Children still see the grey hairs of their parents brought with sorrow to the grave. The most gifted, the most admired of men, still rush desperately into eternity, because they cannot bear the weight of misery that is upon them.
Man may turn the current of his sorrows, but he cannot lessen them. And when we consider this, together with the extraordinary powers over nature which he seems to possess, there is no way of understanding it, the researches of philosophy, the observation of ages, have found no way of accounting for it, but by those revealed words:
In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” We may say to the unbeliever, “If it is not so, how is it?” And if he were honest, he would own his mouth is closed. He who pronounces the curse alone can explain it; and no remedy can be found for it but that which has proceeded whence the curse was issued: none has prevailed to lighten it but He who laid it on.
Of the cup thus filled for all men, there was one who drank so much more deeply than the rest, that He has emphatically been called “the Man of sorrows,” as if there were no other. “His visage was so marred more than any man.” “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”
The Son of God was made liable to every sorrow to which sin has subjected us, except the consciousness of having committed it, and the pain proceeding from its actual commission. These, it is evident He could not feel. The writhing of wounded pride, the yearnings of unsatisfied ambition, the blank of bereaved idolatry, the bitterness of remorse, and the chill of deserved shame Â— these and the thousand scorpion stings with which sin torments the bosom it inhabits, a pure and holy Being could not feel.
Excepting His fast in the wilderness, we are not told to what corporeal sufferings Jesus was exposed previous to His condemnation to a painful death. In all beings the capability of sufferings seems proportioned to the other powers. From the bare sensation of the scarcely living zoophyte, through the rising gradations of animal existence, to the acute perceptions of man; and from man, animalised, unrefined, uneducated, to the intense sensibilities of the most exalted natures; the power to suffer keeps pace, I believe, with the mental capacity. By what measure, then, can we calculate the sufferings of our Lord? As much greater than those of any mere mortal could be under like circumstances, as His nature was more exalted and refined. How much they were still further increased by the connexion of that nature with Deity, we can still less estimate. He had only common language to express it in, and that was insufficient. It says all it can say indicative of the bodily suffering that attends on mental anguish. “I am poured out like water and all my bones are out
of joint…. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws.”
Bodily sufferings, which form so large a portion of the primeval curse upon our race, can have no connexion, in themselves, with our conformity to the image of Christ. As expiatory, they are useless: His only could atone for sin. As voluntary, they are not required at our hands. As laid on us by Providence in judgment or in mercy, it is neither sinful to feel nor meritorious to endure them. Any conformity to our Lord’s example required of us in respect of bodily sufferings, must be sought for in the spirit with which they are received and borne; with reference to which we may observe, that these were
not the sorrows Jesus felt the most. He makes but little complaint of them, and that little was between Himself and God: in the Gospel narrative there is none.
Twice in the narrative of Jesus’ life, we are told by those who saw Him, that He wept. Observe the occasion of His tears: at neither time did He shed them for Himself. The one occasion (John, 9, 35) exhibits the exquisite sympathy, the extreme sensitiveness with which Jesus regards the sorrows of His people. He knew the mourning of that beloved family would soon be turned into joy. He knew what He was about to do. But they did not know; and His sensibility yielded to the impression of their transient sorrow. A beautiful representation of what He is in heaven; touched with the feeling of our infirmities while He delays to remove them Â— mourning with us, while He waits to be gracious Â— sharing every present sorrow, while preparing to change it into everlasting joy.
His own sorrows were kept for His own bosom, or poured in secret into His Father’s ear; we find no expression of them to those about Him till the time of His latest agony. In the secret outpourings of His holy soul, we read at once the depth and the character of His sufferings; externally, they may seem no more than other men’s: the secret of their intenseness was within; in the purity and exaltation of the soul that was to bear them Â— in the spiritual nature of His inflictions, and their undeservedness, so abhorrent to His high and holy nature Â— in the mental anguish of imputed sin and divine abandonment Â— in that power of unlimited suffering derived from His own infinity: these were the hidden depths of the Redeemer’s sorrow. Men think lightly of it, because they think lightly of Him. They think of Him only as a man; other men have been scorned and buffeted Â— other men have been tortured and put to death unjustly Â— martyrs have been seen to bear as much as this; Â— or they think of Him only as God, deriving from His Deity such support as left Him little more than a fictitious rehearsal of a sorrow He was too great to feel. How false an estimate! His pure manhood made Him susceptible of the faintest touch of evil to which the noblest natures must ever be the most averse: His Godhead made Him capable of suffering it to an infinite extent.
“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me, why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not: and in the night season, and am not silent.” Such language needs no comment Â— it admits of none. If we have experienced what it is to feel as if forsaken of God when we have put our whole trust in Him: to cry day and night to
Him and receive no answer; to remember how others have been helped when they prayed while we remain confounded: to be abandoned, perhaps taunted, by those who should have given us support, and triumphed over by Satan and our spiritual enemies, exulting in our seeming abandonment; nature sinking, the strength failing, the body wasting upon the rack of mental anguish! Â— if we have felt this, we may perhaps conceive Â— no, it is not possible, mere mortality can form no idea of the agonies of that holy Being in His time of separation and abandonment. Every kind of sorrow had been accumulated upon His head Â— His enemies were triumphing around Him Â— His own people were bringing the curse of His blood upon themselves and their children; of those who had been His familiar friends, witnesses of all His works that He had done. one had betrayed Him, and one denied Him, and the rest had forsaken Him and fled. All this had drawn no audible complaining from His lips. One anguish only was too much to be suppressed Â— “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” When it came to that, there was nothing to be added Â— sorrow had reached its utmost Â— the expiation was perfected. He said, “It is finished.” and departed.
Has conscience spoken while we read? Has memory flown back through all our days of sorrow, and numbered our bygone tears to find how many of them fell for causes such as these? Â— how many for man’s destruction? Â— how many for God’s outraged laws and His averted countenance? Â— how many for our sins? Christ requires those who would come after Him to take up their cross and follow Him. Paul speaks of believers as “planted together in the likeness of His death;” and of himself he says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;” and Peter, “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” And again, “Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example.” And God has promised that if we suffer we shall also reign with Him.
Respecting this sorrow which characterises the people of God. begetting in them a feature of likeness to their blessed Lord, there have been many and great mistakes; but this cannot abrogate the Word of God, that there should be no such thing, or that it should not be required of His people. It is not for man’s perversions to deprive the Word of God of meaning and leave it an empty letter. It makes one shrink to hear thoughtless people say. This thing or that thing is my cross,’ ‘We have all our cross.’ No, we have not all a cross; if we had, we should all hereafter have a crown. Your curse it
may be, but it is not your cross, unless it be suffered in Christ Jesus. The sorrows of a natural man are a part of, and not instead of, that primeval curse, and must remain a curse in all their progress, as well as in their issue, unless redeeming grace convert the whole to good, making of the sorrow a blessing, and of the curse a cross indeed, though not a meritorious one. No one’s can be that but the Son of God’s: for His only was voluntary, undeserved, and unalloyed with evil. If there is one sin outstanding in the Book of God against us, of which His suffering has not purchased the remission, no suffering of ours will ever blot it out. If there is one eternal blessing not already purchased for us by His passion, no endurance of ours will ever buy it. It is for a quite different purpose we are to be conformed to the likeness of His death.
There are two distinct sources, then, of human sorrow Â— the curse of Adam and the cross of Christ. Jesus bore them both. If we are His people we must, in a sense, bear them both Â— the one because we bear the image of the earthly Adam, the other because we must also bear the image of the heavenly: the one in fellowship with all mankind, the other in union with the members of Christ’s mystical body, the church militant upon earth. But we must not mistake them. In the world generally, men sorrow after the similitude of Adam, not after the similitude of Christ. This Paul signifies, when he says, “The sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Cor. 7, 10.) Some suffering we all have; it would be good for us to compare it with the sufferings of our Lord. If we are still the victims of the curse Â— still dying that miserable death the apostle speaks of, it would be well to be aware of our condition. If we have exchanged it for that godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation, we shall not find reason to regard it with feelings of self-complacency, as something propitiatory in the eyes of God.
The springs of natural sorrow are so numberless, so inexplicable, it is impossible to lay them open. And when the origin is the same, the. streams flow so diverse through each separate bosom, no man is competent to unfold another’s woe. There are what are called external ills, such as the loss of property, the tearing asunder of domestic ties, sickness, poverty, disgrace, and injury, and a thousand more, which most men can appreciate. But beneath all these, more deeply buried and more deeply felt, unknown and unappreciated, are the individual sorrows of each separate bosom. We cannot reach them; perhaps we could not understand them if we did. “The heart knoweth his own bitterness.” To the heart therefore we commit it, of each one in particular, to examine the source and character of his own sorrows and compare them with those of our Lord. We can but
speak generally Â— conscience must make the application. In this general view how much of earthly suffering must be marked off at once, as the offspring of wilful and indulged sin! There is the voluptuary’s sorrow for his ruined health; the gamester’s sorrow for his wasted fortunes; the swindler’s sorrow in his detected frauds; the tyrant’s sorrow in defeat and deposition; with the thousand lesser penalties that follow lesser crimes. And then there are the stirrings of ungodly passions, when roused by external crimes, to be the torment of the bosom they inhabit. Self-love, ambition, avarice, pride, resentment Â— what a host! any one of which, wounded by an adverse weapon from without, can put the soul to torture. It is needless to say these pangs of unrepented sin are not our cross: the stamping of the curse is plain upon them: there were none like them in the Saviour’s bosom. That sentence which passed over the natural soil, fell doubly heavy on the soil within us. Thorns and briers has it borne from thence till now: grace may root them out, but cannot change their fruits. Jesus felt them when they were gathered to bind about His brow, but they never grew in His own holy bosom.
Of natural sorrow there is besides an incalculable sum, not brought upon us by our personal sins. Sorrow for the privation of some earthly good, or the blighting of some earthly expectation Â— sorrow from sympathy with the temporal ills of others Â— from the unkindness of earthly friends, or injuries that cannot reach beyond the grave, or any other that has earth for its source, and earth for its object, and earth for its termination. These are legitimate sorrows;
they come from God: they are the fulfilling of His revealed purpose Â— “in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” These are the things of which Solomon says that one event happeneth to the just and the unjust. These it is not sinful to suffer or to feel but they are essentially of earth. One who denies his Saviour and defies his God must likewise share them, so that they can be no evidence of our union with Christ. They are not suffered for His sake, or occasioned by our love” of Him, or of the Father, by care for the souls of others or our own. There needs a great and mysterious change to convert these natural sorrows into the cross of Christ. Some of them He did
indeed endure: but the bitterness that is in them may differ in character while the source appears the same.
When Jesus speaks of enemies. He complains of them as the enemies of His soul; when of injuries, it is of the outrage committed on His Father’s laws; when of insults, it is as offered to the Deity manifested in Him. Whether mourning for the griefs of others, or His own, it is the thought of sin that gives bitterness to His complaint. They who have drunk deep of this world’s sorrow, know
whether there has been any such ingredient in the cup Â— whether it has been aggravated by one such thought, embittered by one such feeling. It may have been so. We may in time of trial have been more jealous for God’s honour than our own Â— more watchful of our spiritual than our temporal safety Â— and more sorry for the sin of the evil-doers than for the wrong inflicted on ourselves. Spiritual sorrows may, in a greater or less degree, have mixed with our earthly ones and given them a diviner character; so that in them, though not by them, we have borne the image of our Lord.
I can suppose that many an honest mind, not wishing to be deceived or take its dross for gold, is doubting at this moment where the similitude is to be looked for, whether it really exists, in any human bosom. They know many excellent and, as they think, religious men, whom they never heard to complain of other griefs than are common to all mankind, which yet we have shown to bear little resemblance to the cross of Christ; surely it is in vain to look for conformity anywhere if such men have it not. To every honest mind that reasons thus we may reply, “Let God be true, and every man a liar;” the witness of God’s Word must be taken against the testimony of the best of men, if they should be found in opposition. And the language of the Scriptures upon this point is peculiarly strong. They speak of being crucified with Christ Â— of dying with Him Â— of being buried with Him. This cannot be otherwise understood than as requiring a conformity to His suffering in the character of our own. A literal crucifixion is not to be supposed. A few persons there have been appointed thereto, and we fancy it less difficult to trace in these the required conformity. But by no means is it exclusively, or even prominently, manifested by acts of martyrdom. It is the spirit and the motive only that makes these a cross; for a man may give his body to be burned, and yet be nothing; and the same spirit and motive will impart a like character to every other suffering. But as these were not the ills of which the Man of sorrows most complained, so neither are they the severest His people bear in union with Him. When Paul was in prison and in chains he sang; when he wept, and mourned in spirit, and was grieved, it was for very different causes.
The greatest affliction Jesus knew was the privation of God’s presence, Â— “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” It is so to the believer. When he has once perceived the delight of spiritual communion with his Maker and the shining of God’s countenance upon his soul, the loss of it is insupportable; his spirit can take no rest, Â— he walks as in midnight darkness. He seeks Him on the right hand, and He is not there; on the left, where He doth work,
but cannot find Him. He may know what has provoked his Father to withdraw, or he may not. Perhaps he doubts if he will return, or perhaps he does not. It is all the same, Â— Jesus knew all yet He could not endure the absence. Neither can the believer; he may hold fast his faith and yet be more intensely miserable than any earthly loss could make him; a misery proportioned to his love and past experience of God’s presence,Â— small in degree, therefore, compared with Christ’s; but still the same kind. “Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.” “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger.” “I cried unto thee, and thou didst not hear; I called unto thee, and thou didst not answer.” “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in the times of trouble?” “I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?” This was the language of Christ, and it is that of His people in seasons of spiritual darkness. It is not, as it seems to be to those that never felt it, the conventional language attached to a certain profession of religion. It is what passes in secret between every true believer and his God. Unconnected with, as it is unlike to, every earthly sorrow, it may be suffered amid the abundance of this world’s good, impotent to shed one ray of comfort upon the mourning spirit. All earth is nothing Â— all heaven itself would be nothing to the child of God without the presence of his Father, when he has once discovered what it is. ‘ Perhaps some will ask, Does God really forsake His people? Are not these sufferings an evidence of the weakness of our faith?
It matters little to the anguish of them how they are produced;
and come whence they may, none but a child of God can feel them, for none but he will ever miss his Father. But I think they are not a proof of want of faith. They originate, I conceive, in some defection on our part Â— some coldness of devotion or carelessness of life Â— some voluntary exposure to temptation and ungodly influence, neglect of spiritual exercises, or undue compromise with the world. By such means God is provoked to withdraw His countenance from us for a season, that we may feel our misery and be reproved. But in the season of darkness that ensues, when in anguish of spirit we seek God and cannot find Him, faith may be very strong Â— stronger, perhaps, than at any moment of our lives. Never is it put to so severe a proof as when, without any consciousness of God’s presence, or sensible enjoyment of His love, we still trust Him Â— still confidently call Him Father. In such an hour as this, the triumph of our Redeemer’s faith was perfected. Why should that prove the weakness of our faith which proved the strength of His? Let not the suffering believer think so. If we did not love Him we should not miss Him; if we did not believe in Him we should not cry after Him. The return of such seasons, when we have tried their bitterness, will ever be our
greatest dread, but they should bring with them no despondency, and in the remembrance of them there is much encouragement. In paths so dark as these, there is yet light enough to trace the Redeemer’s steps, where He has trodden before us.
Second only to this sorrow is the contact and the weight of sin. Between Christ and His people there is a difference here, but there is a likeness also. Jesus bore unexpiated sin; the curse yet remaining in it Â— the penalty unpaid Â— the guilt unpardoned. We feel the burden of indwelling sin, but without the penalty, Â— without the curse. It is difficult to conceive what it would be to bear even one sin in the manner that He bore the whole. Yet is our likeness to Him in this sorrow a very prominent mark of a regenerate character; for, as sin was’ His greatest enemy, so is it ours, Â— the object of our dread and our abhorrence, “the remembrance of it is grievous to us, the burthen is intolerable.” This is strong language, uttered by thousands who never felt a sorrow of the kind. But it is not too strong to express that anguish of spirit which has drawn bitterest tears from eyes that would have looked calmly on the martyr’s fire. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” It was not the dread of approaching martyrdom at Rome that drew this cry from Paul. The approved disciple of Christ has no fears of punishment hereafter; he knows no record of his sins is kept in heaven, as certainly as if he had seen the hand of mercy blot them from the book, for God has told him so. But still, under the sense of those forgiven sins, he can feel a sorrow more intense than anything in this world can inflict. Many a living saint, as well as many a departed martyr, in whose cross every kind of infliction has been mingled, can testify that this was the bitterest draught of all. “Mine iniquities have taken such hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” “My life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity.” “Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me.”
Sorrow for sin and love for Christ must live and grow in equal measure; a cold repentance will beget but feeble love, and a faint love will beget but little grief for that which afflicted Him and grieves His Holy Spirit. It might well be asked, Which thinkest thou will love Him most? Nature could answer that; and experience answers it every day before your eyes. To them who have no deep and abiding sense of sin, who think little of it and care little about it, Â— treat it rather as a misfortune than a fault, a hereditary disease entailed upon them by their father’s fall, an evil that necessity excuses, and God forgives, and death will remedy: is Christ really precious?
Do they love the mention of His name? Do they make it very prominent in their devotion, and like to have it very prominent in every question or discourse about religion? I believe not. They deny, or hold for little, the conversion of heart, the renewal to righteousness, the change from a state of nature to a state of grace, because they do not know that they require it. But this fundamental deficiency affects the conduct as it affects the principles. Their ignorance of the real nature of sin renders their perception of it so obtuse, they cannot detect it in its more specious forms, and they expose themselves with most unholy courage to its influence. They play with it as the idiot with a weapon of which he never felt the edge. The believer does not so. He fears sin as he fears not anything beside;
because the sorrow it causes him is greater than any other sorrow. He flies from it as from a baleful pestilence. He may, in the fine sensibility which experience of its bitterness has given, Â— he may sometimes even fancy it where it is not. But he errs on the right side. Blessed are they that so mourn, for they shall be comforted. The Father loveth a broken and a contrite spirit. The Son remembers with tenderest sympathy His deep participation in such sorrow, when
He who knew no sin was made sin for us, and sank beneath this burden.
The Holy Spirit has His peculiar dwelling-place with them that are of a contrite heart. It is true that Satan takes advantage of moments of weakness in our faith to mix fear with this godly sorrow, and makes us mistake for a mark of reprobation this strongest evidence of our acceptance with God. If he is permitted to succeed in the delusion, the anguish becomes too much for human sufferance. The sense of sin, without an equal sense of redeeming love, has sometimes overthrown the intellect of the sufferer; and where Christ is fully known, if the faith be weak, it sometimes produces a season of morbid despondency. But though “sorrow may endure for a night, joy cometh in the morning.” While the heart thus learns to loathe itself, the Saviour becomes more precious, the sorrow and the love grow on together; one may for a season be forgotten in the other, but it is on the increase meantime, and will manifest itself presently. Even in the darkest hours of such mourning the believer may find comfort if he can remember that his sorrow resembles the sorrow of his Lord; it is that which the apostle contrasts with the death working sorrow of the world, Â— that which “worketh repentance to salvation.”
From this improved sensibility to the nature and the consequence of sin arises another feature of the divine character, another grief that assimilates the believer with his Lord: Â— the pain
he feels in contemplation of another’s sins Â— arising from two sources, the sinner’s danger, and God’s insulted majesty. What this trial must have been to the pure and compassionate Jesus is not for us to estimate. We know it becomes more painful to ourselves in proportion to the increase of our love to God, our delight in His law, desire for His glory, and belief in His written Word. Mark the indifference of the world to sin when it does not invade the peace of society. Observe the lightness with which things most offensive to God and destructive of the souls of men are spoken of in society. Who feels any sorrow for God’s dishonoured law and man’s eternal misery enhanced? Not they who can amuse themselves in scenes of vice, on the cold plea that it does them no harm. Nor those who can laugh at the ungodly jest, and enjoy the mirth of sinners, content with abstaining from their worst practices. Such was not the mind of Christ.
It is interesting to watch the growth of this feature in the character of God’s people. How, gradually, they become distressed by customs and practices in which they sometimes saw no harm! How painful it becomes to them to associate with the ungodly! what a holy aversion grows up in them for anything that seems to affect the glory of God, and do dishonour to His name! Pleasure ceases to be pleasure if it brings them in contact with sin; and among their severest trials is the difficulty of avoiding such contact in the necessary business of life. What natural benevolence feels for the sufferings of mankind, is surpassed by what the renewed spirit feels in contemplation of their vices. Like Lot, when he abode in Sodom, the child of God vexes his holy soul from day to day with the ungodly deeds that are committed around him till he is ready to exclaim with David, “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.”
It was with such sorrow that Jesus looked upon Jerusalem, the beloved city. Should not His people feel it? There is no difference, indeed, between our sorrow for our beloved, and His; if it were not so, it would be more than our weakness could endure. We have hope and prayer, and all the encouraging words of the gospel, protracted to the latest moment of their day of grace. Jesus knew the day of grace was ended, and the ruin of His people irretrievable. No sorrow can be like unto His sorrow, whencesoever it arise; but many and bitter are the tears of the righteous from this cause, shed before Heaven with groanings that cannot be uttered.
St. Paul knew the measure of this sorrow, when he could have wished that himself were accursed from Christ for his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh. Moses knew, when he exclaimed,
“Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin Â— and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Many others of God’s people have as deeply partaken of this bitterness; none, perhaps, are entirely exempted from it. Of the world I need not ask if they have felt it. Jerusalem wept not for herself, nor for her children. They stop not even to consider how much of the sin they witness they may have contributed to cause; how many of their dependants they have led into transgression of God’s laws. They shed no tears at night for the encouragement each has given to the other through the day, by their unhallowed levity, to keep God out of mind. Are these they who talk of Christ’s example and the morality of the Gospel? Did Jesus so?
“Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized.” That sorrow to the Christian which once proceeded in so large a measure from the world’s hatred has very nearly ceased. Individuals in private life are still called upon to suffer reproaches for the Name of Christ, and to make the sacrifice, if not of life and lands, of things more dear to natural affection. In the petty persecutions of domestic strife, many a gentle spirit suffers an obscure martyrdom. But for the Church generally, not only have the rack and the fire disappeared, but the tongue of the scorner has lost its sting. A man of God, whose conduct honours his profession, is held in higher estimation, even by the world; or if one world casts him off, there is another as affluent, as enlightened, and as influential, ready to receive him and advance his interests. But the words of Christ remain and I cannot agree with those that say the cross has ceased to be borne, religion has become easy, and the way of life too smooth. The profession of religion has, but not the reality. I cannot help thinking that those who find the way so broad, have mistaken the gate. I doubt if they who find their enemies so few have been upon the field. I am sure the enemies that martyrs and apostles feared are still in equal force upon the ground.
Satan is there, and sin