From the connection we conclude that the righteous are saved with difficulty because of the strictness of Divine rule.2. It requires that the goal be kept in sight. You were never quite comfortable in spiritual society on earth.5. The rescue must be effected by moral, not by physical means, and the problem is to make the moral means powerful enough for the purpose. So much sin as gets in, so much peace will go out. Carrying our thought of this character a step further, observe, secondly, that in this Biblical phrase is included the truth that God has some regular method in whatever He does. The "springs of the valleys give drink to the beasts of the field." There is none for the ungodly and sinner. Though we may sometimes deem it a mystery we may readily see that it is a mercy — it is according to the will of God — both as to the end to be answered by it, and as to the measure and degree.II. THE DIFFICULTY OF THE SALVATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS.1. In the Book we read, from one end to the other, that God has the charge of our existence; that He acknowledges our claim, as His creatures, as His children, on His bounty and wisdom and love. (5) The opposition they meet with from the world. That the state of God's children is to suffer, yea, to suffer of God; for sometimes He seems to be an enemy to His dearest servants, as unto Job. Yet without faith is it not impossible that the ungodly and sinners should be saved?2. Further, the righteous are saved with difficulty, because they are exposed to failure, in measure, in holiness, through difficulty in certain parts of obedience. When we are tempted to any sin or unlawful course, consider thus with ourselves: "Shall I, for a pleasure that will end, have a judgment that shall never end? Again, the holiness of the righteous is exposed to failure through trials. Leighton.This imports not any uncertainty in the thing itself as to the end, in respect of the purpose and performance of God, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way, "fightings without, and fears within." If, then, the sinner cannot be saved and go to heaven, WHERE SHALL HE APPEAR? If saints are so sorely chastened, what will justice mete out to the openly defiant sinner? )The righteous scarcely savedT. Other Scriptures ascribe to Him characters more transcendent, and the very glory of them renders God to our thought unspeakable and high as the heavens above us. The entire voluntary department of his being must be renovated. This is an act of faith resting on His promise of salvation through a Mediator.2. The external causes of the difficulty are around believers — the world, which is in league with their infected nature, and offers corresponding objects to all its evil propensities. See the dignity, wealth, and happiness of God's people; He loves and protects them, and is their portion (Psalm 44:16).2. Another aggravation of sins against the gospel is that they sin against the better covenant.(R. 2. He that suffers for Christ's testimony is confident of God's mercy.IV. (1) Why God's children must suffer here. From sin, both from the guilt, filth, power, and being of it. God may and does employ physical agencies to act morally, but never to act physically. After a conflicting life peace is welcome; heaven is heaven indeed after trouble. For this God is educating you. The other particular which I would bring out from this general truth of the methodicalness which the faithful Creator observes is this: a good method, as we know, is not to be set aside every now and then because it may seem not to meet exactly all cases and contingencies. Not surely in a saved state. )Commit the keeping of their souls to HimThe saint's hiding place in the evil dayR. In a word, let them "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling," and "give all diligence to make their calling and election sure."(C. As man has chosen that he shall not be educated by standing firm, he must be educated by and through his very fall. (2) That there must be a careful and attentive mind to pursue this design. THAT THERE IS AN END TO THE UNCONVERTED.II. How is that?1. THE TEXT SHOWS US WHO ALONE IS QUALIFIED TO BE THE KEEPER OF THIS INVALUABLE TREASURE — OUR IMMORTAL SOUL.1. God is responsible. But, positively, one difficulty is found in the nature of God's government, and in the nature of free agency in this world. (2) How dreadful must it be! The peace of heaven forbids that you should go there in your sins. H. Coleman.Let us consider the solemn truth assumed — "If the righteous be scarcely saved." H. Two helpful things in particular let me mention as of daily importance for us in the methodical habit of the Divine faithfulness; the one is that because God all through nature and history has been following His one chosen method, we can study what He has been doing, and find out to some extent at least what His method is, and as we find it out we can trust it and adjust our plans of life and our efforts and hopes to it. We must carry ourselves generally well in all our sufferings.2. Coleman. The great difficulty is living to please self rather than God. But take heed of walking in any way of sin, for that will unsettle thy confidence. The great difficulty is living to please self rather than God. It is the day of battle that tests the valour and fidelity of soldiers. It could have been for no insignificant position and service that He did actually make men in His own likeness, giving them the high honour of resembling Himself in those spiritual characteristics which constitute the essence of His being. There is a man chained to a wife who is a constant source of temptation and trial to him. Seeing that your reproaches and sufferings are not endless, yea, that they are short, they shall quickly end in glory, be not troubled about them, overlook them. Watkinson. (2) That God offers His gracious assistance for the performance of them.II. If Satan have always ruled it, God will not embrace it.2. L. When they suffer for the maintenance and defence of any necessary and fundamental article of it, though they be not required to renounce the whole Christian religion.5. "But," say others, "God is infinitely merciful, and the very idea of eternal suffering is opposed to that attribute." For the more excellent and desirable the happiness is, the more it is worth the while for us to take pains about it; especially when there is a certainty of attaining it(2) The difficulties in our way to salvation are not such but we may reasonably hope to overcome them; i.e., if we set ourselves about it; otherwise a very mean difficulty will appear too great for us.And there are two things to show that we may hope to overcome them. But observe further, that we never suffer but when God will. A real distinction exists, and will eventually be manifested. What can they do who have no Saviour? How many impulses must be withstood and overcome l how great the change that must be wrought in both the physical and moral state of the man! Poverty; Christ so suffered; so did His disciples; bodily affliction, etc.2. If Satan have always ruled it, God will not embrace it.2. Physical force can have no direct application to mind for the purpose of determining its moral action. In respect of God's will. "Who then can be saved?"3. Braden.Suppose, in the place of God as Creator, we substitute chance, or fate, or law, what a blank we have at once in the highest regions of thought and feeling! We should have an eye to God, and an eye to ourselves, and an eye to others, and an eye to the cause in hand; so we shall do well. Comfort is nothing else but reasons stronger than the evil which doth afflict us; when the reasons are more forcible to ease the mind than the grievance is to trouble it. There is none for the ungodly and sinner. The same, and more yet dangers await him than await the Christian.Remarks:1. He will not deny Himself in the being and the powers of life, of thought, of love, which He has given you and them. He will be faithful to His own gifts. It must be in the way of righteousness. Note the folly of those who persecute the Church of God (Isaiah 54:17). Now though it be impossible for him to hinder their salvation, yet he may so molest them as to make it difficult to obtain salvation, so that they shall find they are but scarcely saved.This further appears —(1) From the frequent apprehensions they have of their being in danger of hell and destruction. "Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" Mark, also, why Christians are exhorted to spend the time of their sojourning here in fear, and to walk softly and carefully, as before God, through all the meanderings of their pilgrimage. IN WHAT SENSE THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SAID TO BE SCARCELY SAVED. We have implied THE MEANING OF RELIGION. In no desirable place or position — certainly. The righteous. WHY THE SALVATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS DIFFICULT. But the ungodly and sinners neglect them altogether. Because there is much ado to get Lot out of Sodom, to get Israel out of Egypt.2. To the day of judgment. 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