Essex Congregational Remembrancer
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith…
I. THE ROAD TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The text does not mean that all who are the subjects of suffering shall be the inheritors of glory. So far is the one from securing the other, that unless suffering is improved, the trials of this life will only add to the guilt and misery of eternity. What is meant is that tribulation is found a means of sanctifying the family of God, and that it is a means so extensively employed and blessed for that purpose that it may with propriety be represented as the road to the kingdom of God.
II. THE TRAVELLERS — The disciples. There are many who walk in the paths of suffering who are not Christ's disciples; but the path now in view is the path of holy suffering: Jesus Christ Himself travelled this road. The best friends of God, in every age of time, have travelled it. The prophets (James 5:10). The apostles (1 Corinthians 4:9-13). Let, then, the traveller on this road know, not only that God's best friends have preceded him, and that many will follow Him; but let him also know that he forms a part of a large and goodly fellowship (1 Peter 5:9).
III. THE NECESSITY FOR THEIR TRAVELLING BY THIS ROAD. As men we are fallen sinful creatures, and therefore we must meet with punishment, and as Christians we are imperfect creatures, and therefore we must meet with discipline.
IV. ITS TERMINATION. It conducts to God's heavenly kingdom. The world receives a very different treatment from the master it serves, from that which Christians receive at the hands of Jesus Christ. The prince of this world promises his servants a happiness in this life, which he can never afford; but is either altogether silent about the end of their course, or deceives them with the expectation of a felicity which they will never attain. Christ predicts tribulation; but then He more than counterbalances the tribulation by the present joys of religion; while He promises glory at the end of their course. In the kingdom of God there will be no more tribulation. Sin, which is the grand scourge of man, will obtain no admittance there; consequently sorrow, which is the inseparable companion of sin, shall be equally excluded (Revelation 21:4; Psalm 16:11). In the kingdom of God the tribulations of this life will increase the happiness of the former sufferer (Hebrews 12:10, 11; Revelation 7:14-17).
(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.