PRESE T SUFFERI GS A D FUTURE GLORY. BY REY. JAMES L. GROVER.

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us," Rom. Ym, 18. The first point of illustration suggested in the text, is the 6C sufferings of this 'present time." By this expression must be understood the various afflictions, and sorrows, and trials of the present life. These tribulations and sufferings have been entailed upon us in consequence of original sin. They are portions of the original curse from which we shall never be released in the present world. Whether we are righteous or wicked, we must still feel the effects of that act of disobedience, on the part of our first parents, which "brought death into our world with all our woes." "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 1 ' "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble " His flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.' ' Where is the heart that has not been riven with anguish? Where is the home that has not been rendered desolate by death ? Where is the

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eye that has not been filled with the tears of sadness? Look out upon the world in all directions ; survey the

varied scenes of human life, and you will find the history of earth, like the prophet's roll, "written within and without with lamentation, and mourning, and woe." In addition to those common afflictions, of which all are partakers, the follower of Christ has some peculiar trials to which the man of the world is a stranger. That there are trials peculiar to the Christian, in this life, is plainly asserted in the Bible. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous." Moses, it is said, chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The offense of the cross has not yet ceased, and, indeed, it will not cease, till the world shall be renovated by divine grace. The storm of bloody persecution, with its fires, and racks, and tortures, may long since have passed away ; but it is still a standing truth, that those who will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. The finger of scorn will be pointed at them, and they will become the jest of the foolish and wicked. That this is the case, is not only confirmed by observation, and the word of God, but the reason of its being so is explained by Jesus Christ. "Ye are not of the world," says he, "for then the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you." With reference to the sufferings of the present time, so far as the Christian is concerned, I make the three following remarks : In thej^r^ place, the follower of Christ has the promise of grace to sustain him in all the afflictions and trials of life. While the man of the world is left single-handed and alone to contend with the buffetings of Satan and the infirmities and afflictions that surround him, the promise to the Christian is, "My grace shall be sufficient." He

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will temper the wind to the shorn lamb. You have a merciful and faithful High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of your infirmities. He is no stranger to the sorrows and afflictions of life ; for in the days of his incarnation he leaned upon the staff of suffering till it pierced his hands, his feet, his side. He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able to bear. The furnace of affliction will never be heated beyond your power of endurance. In the darkest hours of conflict and suffering the Christian will hear the voice of the good Shepherd, "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God." While he is thus comforted and sustained, he will realize that "Labor is rest, and pain is sweet, If thou, my God, art near." In the second place, when suffering the afflictions of the present time, the Christian is assured that they will all be sanctified to his good. They are intended to bring him nearer the Savior in this life, and to work for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the world to come. That these results will be produced by the "sufferings of this present time/' we learn from the positive teachings of the word of God. " Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." Here you perceive that the virtues and gTaces of the Christian are matured and perfected in consequence of the tribulations of the present life. And with reference to their influence upon the Christian in the future world, it is said by the apostle "that the trial of your faith being much more precious than that of gold, which perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and glory, and honor, at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

If, then, the afflictions of this life are intended to strengthen and mature the graces of the Christian, to purify his heart, and elevate hrs affections, and secure to him everlasting

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life in heaven, surely, when pressed beneath the weight of care and affliction, as the cart beneath the weighty sheaves, he should glory in his infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon him. In the third place, the afflictions of the Christian are confined to the present life, and, of course, will soon terminate. This fact is suggested in the language of the text. The apostle speaks of them as the "sufferings of this present time;" that is, the present mode of existence. Death will soon wind up for you and for me the history of our joys and sorrows, so far as the present life is concerned. How rapid is the journey from the cradle to the grave ! Time, in its noiseless flight, is rapidly bearing us away ! While it is a solemn truth, on the one hand, that death will soon put an end to all the good that the wicked will ever enjoy, it is equally true, on the ©ther hand, that death will put an end to all the evil that the righteous will ever suffer. The afflictions of the righteous are of* but momentary duration ; they will continue but for a season. What, then, are threescore years and ten of suffering and conflict, compared with an eternity of joy in the world to come? The sufferings of this present time, it must not be forgotten, are always attended with mitigating circumstances. You never saw an example of suffering so extreme but might have been augmented. Indeed, to

the Christian there is far more of pleasure than pain, of joy than of sorrow, in the present world. But however mixed the cup of happiness may be, in this life, there will be no admixture of evil in the cup of the believer's happiness in heaven. o sigh of sorrow will ever be wafted on the breezes of glory ; no tear of sadness will ever be seen in heaven ; there, no bosom will ever swell with anguish ; no wave of trouble will ever roll across our peaceful breast. Surely, then, we need no further illustration of the fact, that the "sufferings of this present time are

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not worthy to be compared with the joys of heaven." There is no proportion between them. The proportion is less than between the smallest particle of sand on the ocean shore and the mighty globe we inhabit. "The sufferings of the present time" are momentary, while, on the other hand, the joys of heaven are unending. "The sufferings of the present time" are always attended with mitigating circumstances ; in every case they might be increased ; while, on the other hand, the joys of heaven will be pure, unalloyed, perfect; joy without sorrow; pleasure without pain; health without sickness; life without death. Such, then, are some of the "sufferings of the present time," and such the sources of consolation to the Christian, when called to endure those sufferings and trials. In the second place, our attention is directed in the text to the "glory that shall be revealed in us." And, first, % glorious change will take place in these bodies of ours.

Our bodies have undergone a great change since they came from the Creator's hand. The body was not originally subject to disease, or infirmity, or death. If the body did not originally contain in itself the elements of immortality, yet, by having uninterrupted access to the "tree of life," its existence would have been perpetuated forever. But in consequence of original sin, our bodies have been made subject to disease, and suffering, and death. The decree has gone forth, " Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." But at the last day, in the morning of the resurrection, our bodies will be raised in incorruption, and beauty, and glory. With reference to the resurrected body the apostle says, "It is sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it shall be raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body." It is here

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claimed, I am aware, that the apostle denies the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. It is insisted that he teaches that our bodies will be spirits, and that being the case, the material body will be forever lost in the grave. It is worthy of especial remark, that the apostle does not say that our bodies will become S2nrits, but spiritual. When, then, may a body be said to be spiritual? A body may be said to be spiritual, when it resembles a spirit in some important particulars. In what important particulars will our bodies be made to resemble spirits ? They will resemble spirits in this, that they will no more be subject to infirmity, or corruption, or death. They

will be so refined and purified by the power of God, that, like spirits, they will never need rest, or food, or sleep to restore and preserve their powers and energies. The gross materials entering into the composition of these bodies will be thrown off, for "flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of heaven." In every congregation in this world, you see the marks of infirmity and age. With some the silver cord is loosening, and the golden bowl is breaking; the almond-tree begins to flourish; those that look out of the windows are darkened ; the grinders cease because they are few; the strong men bow themselves, and the daughters of music are brought low. But in heaven it will not be so. Among all the countless multitudes who will stand redeemed and blood-washed upon the mount of God, and through all the endless ages of eternity, there will be no trembling limbs, nor furrowed cheeks, nor palpitating hearts, nor heads blossoming to the grave ; but in health, and youth, and beauty, our bodies shall live forever, the fit companions of glorified spirits, and with the velocity of thought may move and fly over the hills and plains of immortality, while above, and beneath, and around, and afar, and within, and without, all shall be heaven — pure, holy, and happy; "where,

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day without night, we shall feast in his sight, and all eternity employ in songs around the throne." In the second place, the glory of God will be revealed in the place prepared for the residence of his people. This is a beautiful world that we now inhabit. We can not

look upon it, in its continents and islands ; its hills, and valleys, and plains, and fields, and forests ; its oceans, and rivers, and fountains, and streams ; its minerals, and fruits, and flowers ; the varied productions of air, and earth, and seas, without being led to admire the Hand that has spread these blessings around us in such rich profusion. But this earth is not to be the final abode of man. The curse of God rests upon it in consequence of sin. Much of its original beauty has faded away. Though well adapted to the wants and condition of man, in this life, it would not be adapted to his wants and condition in the future world. Hence, Jesus Christ has gone to "prepare a place" for us. He has fitted up for his people a glorious home, where there shall be nothing to hurt or destroy. And with the idea of heaven we associate every thing beautiful and brilliant, every thing sweet and melodious — where there are trees of life, and pastures green, and peaceful bowers, and crystal fountains— every thing to meet our wants, and satisfy our desires forever and ever. There all tears shall be wiped from all faces. Sickness and sorrow, pain and death, will be felt and feared no more. There friends shall meet again who have loved ; and when we have been there as many millions of ages as there are stars in the firmament, or spears of grass on the green earth, multiplied by millions and millions more, heaven, with all its swelling joys, will spread out before us with infinite beauty and glory. " Our days of praise shall ne'er be past, 'While life, or thought, or being lasts, Or immortality endures."

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In the third place, the glory of God will be revealed in us in the enlargement of our intellectual 'powers and faculties, Here knowledge is acquired with care, and labor, and toil The mind, with all its powers, the memory, and judgment, and will, have suffered greatly from the fall. We are liable to a thousand mistakes and errors ; and, after the closest study and the most careful and diligent research, how little do we know of God, or of ourselves, or the world around us ! We find ourselves surrounded with mystery on every hand. We can not comprehend the most familiar truths of nature. "I have," said Isaac ewton, the great philosopher, "gathered a few diamonds from the shore of truth ; but the great ocean is still before me." Many are compelled to remain in comparative ignorance, for the want of means or opportunity of acquiring useful knowledge. This will not be the case with the redeemed and glorified in heaven. There the energies of the mind will not be enfeebled by a body full of infirmity, and tending to corruption. There, in one hour, you will learn more of God and the realities of the future state, of things present and things to come, than could be learned in a lifetime in the present world. "Here we know in part, and we prophesy in part ; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." Here we see through a glass darkly; there we shall see face to face. With angel, and seraphim, and cherubim, and all the spirits of the just made perfect, we shall gaze with unclouded vision and with transports of delight upon the glorious perfections of the Godhead, as they are forever unfolding in the person of Jesus Christ. In heaven, the mind will be making endless progress in knowledge. The powers of the soul will be forever expanding and enlarging — taking in wider ranges of thought, and comprehending the most astonishing developments of truth ; so that in heaven we will be ready to say, with 8

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reference to the grandest discoveries of the human intellect in this world, "'Once I thought as a child; I spake as a child; I understood as a child;' but now I see as I am seen ; I know as I am known ; I now behold things in the light of eternity, where truth, without any admixture of error, is reflected from the great Source of light and joy, in whom are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Lastly: the glory that is to be revealed in us will be manifested in the perfection of our moral nature. Without moral purity there would be no enjoyment in heaven. Xever do I desire to "see the king in his beauty, or behold the land that is afar off," without holiness of heart. Without moral purity, I would sigh for repose though surrounded with joys of the upper world ; I would hunt in vain for heaven amid the bowers of paradise. There must be an adaptation in our moral nature to the condition and the society of the pure and holy, or otherwise we would be utterly miserable in the kingdom of heaven. In this world how much of imperfection is mingled with our very best performances, our songs of praise, and acts of religious devotion ! How many improper and sinful thoughts will be suggested by surrounding circumstances or the devices of Satan ! What a constant effort does it require to keep our minds staid upon God ! But in heaven all traces of impurity will be forever removed. There will be nothing to divert our attention, or lead our affections away from God. He will be the great center of everv thought, and wish, and desire. With bodies renewed by power divine, and souls refined and purified by the precious blood of Christ, "far from a world of grief and sin," where God himself will dwell with his people, and lead them forth to fountains of living water, we will

live, and reign, and triumph forever. If such is to be the glorious position of those who suffer with Christ and for Christ, well may we adopt the language of the text, and say, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."

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