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The Influence of Religion in Prosperity and Adversity.

The Influence of Religion in Prosperity and Adversity.

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I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 21, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE IFLUECE OF RELIGIO I PROS PERITY AD ADVERSITY. BY THE REV. MILES JACKSOI can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. PHILLIPPIAS, iv. 13. FEW things are more calculated to weaken the hands of a minister of Christ, and bring discredit on the cause which he is aiming to promote, than the accommo dating mode of expounding scripture ; the practice of attempting to establish important but obnoxious truths, by appealing to the authority of texts, which were never in tended to bear upon them, instead of those which directlv prove them. Except much 258 caution and explicitness be used, in this mode of handling the word of God, and the accommodating scheme be openly an nounced ; and the accommodated sense of a text be actually declared to be not the real one, there is great danger lest passages of scripture, by regular and constant mis application, should, in time, be completely perverted. It matters not how true the point may be which is thus to be esta blished ; the Bible no longer gives a dis tinct and certain sound ; many of the es sential truths of revelation are involved in mists and darkness ; and it becomes no easy matter to distinguish between truth and error.
The text I have chosen for the following discourse is one which, by almost common consent, has been thus incautiously accom modated, with a constancy and uniformity, which have nearly wrested it from its ori ginal application. The apostle s declara tion, " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me ;" is generally ex plained as if the apostle meant to assert, that his ability to mortify sin, to keep God s commandments, to glorify his name, and to walk in every respect worthy of God who had called him to his kingdom and glory, was derived from Christ strengthen ing him. othing indeed can be more true than that all power to will, and to do, comes from Christ strengthening us, or 259 from God working in us ; for, this is ex pressly asserted in the word of God ; but then, either this is not the truth taught in the text ; or, if the text be so comprehen sive as to contain it, is not the principal and primary truth which it teaches. It is necessary to consider the scope and drift of the inspired writers, if we would study and apply scripture, in a way that is both safe and useful. The meaning of the text will be quite clear, when you consult the passage in which it is found. " I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, there with to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound : every where, and in all things, I am in structed, both to be full and to be hungry;
both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me. otwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. 5 * I need scarcely tell you, after reading the passage, that the all things which the apostle here says he is able to do through Christ strengthening him, have a direct reference to his condi tion in the world ; to his abasement, or to his abundance. He could do all things that adversity demanded ; all things that pros perity imposed. It is this sense of the words, limited thus to the spirit, and tem per of mind, in which he contemplated all eaf thly advantages and disadvantages ; that 260 he would press upon the attention of the Philippians. This is the principle of the text. And the subject which, in accord ance with this principle, now demands our notice, is the influence of piety on the fashion of this world ; the feeling of a re newed mind, when called upon to be full or to be hungry ; to abound, or to suffer want. Since all are subject to the vicissi tudes of time and chance, few topics can be more generally interesting, than the in fluence of genuine piety, on their worldly condition. Let us, then, enquire how a man who can do all things, through Christ strengthening him, bears I. Prosperity. What an imposing glare, what an over

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