James Smith, 1842
"I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
The trials of the Lord's people are various and great. They often suffer much from the weakness of the mind — which fills them with a thousand fears, and surrounds them with imaginary evils. A feeble constitution renders the body a clog to the soul; and the spirit groans being daily burdened. Disease rooted in the frame occasions severe suffering, and the life is little more than a lingering death.
Others of the Lord's family are tried by unfaithful friends, whose unkindness makes them weep; and in anguish of spirit exclaim, "It was not an enemy that reproached me — then I could have borne it; neither was it he who hated me, who set himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. But it was you — my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance!"
A frowning world often unites with false professors, or unkind saints — to harass and distress; and sometimes ungrateful and selfish relatives join with them, so that the believer feels for a time depressed beyond measure; and his sufferings appear greater than he can bear.
But, however great or various our sufferings may be, they "are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The poor sickly feeble body — will be raised a spiritual, glorified body: free from all defects, disease, and pain — full of health, clothed with beauty, and robed in glory — exactly like the glorified body of our dear Redeemer! The soul, perfect in purity and knowledge, will enjoy sweet repose. No more racked with tormenting fears, or harassed with perplexing cares — it will forever drink of the river of pleasure which is at God's right hand. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him."
Therefore the Apostle concluded that there was no comparison between present suffering — and future glory. And the Apostle knew what it was to suffer: hence, speaking of His own personal sufferings, he says, "I have been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked!" 2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Reader, what are your trials compared to these? And yet Paul thought these sufferings not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to be revealed in us. And he knew what glory was — hence he says, "I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, caught up into the third Heaven," etc. He had seen the glory and the glorified; he had weighed the present with the future; he compared them, and decided that they were not to be placed the one against the other.
Our present trials are short — but the glory to be revealed is eternal. Our present trials are bounded on every side — but glory is unbounded. Our trials, however painful — are mixed with the sweetest mercies; our deepest sufferings — are mixed with the choicest comforts. We are supported by a sense of pardon, by fellowship with our heavenly Father, and by the hope of glory.
Our glory will be unmixed — no gloomy doubts there — no distressing fears there — no sharp pains there.
Beloved, this world is our only suffering time — and our sufferings are only those of children, on their road home; of heirs who are going to take possession of an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fades not away, reserved in Heaven for us. The glory prepared awaits our arrival, and we shall soon taste of the joys which are unspeakable and glorious, which flow from God's right hand for evermore.
Oh the contrast between the present and the future!
Now we are poor — then rich!
Now suffering — then forever rejoicing!
Now vile and sinful — then perfectly holy and glorious forever!
Now racked with pain — then full and perfect health forever.
Let us not, then, look at the things which are seen — but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal — but the things which are not seen are eternal.