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Rewards for Enduring Temptation

Rewards for Enduring Temptation

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. THOMAS RENNELL, B.D.




JAMES i. 12.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ;for when he
is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the
Lord hath prepared for them that love him.
BY REV. THOMAS RENNELL, B.D.




JAMES i. 12.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ;for when he
is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the
Lord hath prepared for them that love him.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 27, 2013
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REWARDS FOR EDURIG TEMPTATIOBY REV. THOMAS REELL, B.D.JAMES i. 12.Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ;for when heis tried he shall receive the crown of life, which theLord hath prepared for them that love him.HAVIG in my two preceding discourses endeavoured to shew that the terms of our disciplineand trial are such as infinite wisdom and benevolence would propose, I now proceed to considerthe consequences of that trial in the distributionof future rewards and punishments. Thoughthe words "rewards and punishments" are thebest perhaps that language could afford, yet wemust ever remember, that they express in a veryinadequate manner, the promises of the Gospelupon this momentous subject, The reward proposed is not so much a recompense, as a freegift ; a gift, wholly disproportionate tp the servicerequired. The life and immortality which theGospel has brought to light, is a state whichGod has prepared for them that love him, ante-SERMO IX. 107cedently to any notion of their service. Ourpresent life is given to us to try whether we willmake ourselves by preparation fit objects for thatwhich is to come. If we shall hereafter be received into heaven, it will be, not because anyservice of ours could have purchased the right
 
of such an inheritance, but because by our tempers and our obedience we shall have shewnourselves fitted for a higher degree of the divinebounty. Our own consciences will too surelytestify, that, in the words of the Redeemer, weare " unprofitable servants," not so much fromthe deficiency of the powers with which Gqd hasendowed us, as from their neglect or abuse. Buton the other hand, if God has been pleased todeclare his acceptance of our imperfect services,it ill becomes us to controvert so merciful a decision. It is well that we should be deeply convinced of our own absolute unworthiness, thatwe may the better estimate both the mercies andthe terms of our acceptance with God. Ouractions indeed in themselves are far from meritorious, but the Almighty for Christ s sake, hasbeen pleased to attach to them both a merit anda value, and to place his undeserved bounty inthe light not of a gift, but of a reward. And toimpress the notion of a reward still strongerupon our minds, our future happiness is to beproportionate to our present obedience. With108 SERMO IX.the terms and the proportion of future happiness,placed at the disposal of our own free will, letus neither forget the value of our actions, northe source from which that value alone can proceed. But all these considerations increase uponus, when we contemplate the nature of that tribunal, before which the value of our actions willhereafter be estimated. Though the light of natural reason led men to the anticipation of astate of future rewards and punishments, yet atwhat time and in what manner, and to whatextent these rewards and punishments were to
 
be distributed, natural reason never could discover. Fabulous representations were consequently invented, so absurd in their nature, andso improbable in their circumstances, that scarcea child would give credence to them. It was notto the Jew or to the Barbarian, but it was to theAthenians that St. Paul declared the new, theawful tidings, " that God hath appointed a day,in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that hehath raised him from the dead." The appointment of a day, when high and low, rich andpoor shall rise together to meet their Judge, is ameasure peculiarly calculated to conclude a stateof probation. The appointment of this greatday, when the elements of the natural world shall9SERMOK IX. 109be dissolved, and time itself shall be no more,marks in the strongest manner, the general design of God in the creation both of ourselves,and the world which we inhabit. It marks thatall things here below, were intended as a preparation only for things above, to lead us throughan imperfect and infant state, onward to the fullness of perfection and glory. Divesting all thenotions of future rewards and punishmentswhich natural reason could suggest, of theirchildish fables, we shall find that no system whichthe wisdom of man has devised, ever arrived atthis important point. atural reason would make

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