THE HAPPINESS OF BEING KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF
“ The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of
SERMON LXVII.-P. 27.
temptations.” — 2 PETER, ii. 9.
Man's condition, with reference to temptation, is
so desperate, that without the assistance of a supe-
rior good spirit he cannot be an equal match for the “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
The text sets forth to us the signal mercy therefore will I keep thee from the hour of temp-
of God to the godly, or truly pious persons, in de tation, which is coming upon all the world, to try
livering them from all temptations or trials, chiefly the inhabitants of the earth." - Rev. ii, 10.
such as are designed to corrupt them.
1st, All the ways of deliverance from temptation Nothing more sets off the greatness of God's
may be reduced to these : 1. Of being kept from it; mercy in delivering his people out of temptation,
2. Of being supported under it ; 3. Of being brought than the critical time of his vouchsafing it. For,
out of it, when the temptation has in some measure Ist, There is a certain proper scason and hour
prevailed ; for there are several degrees, namely, which gives a peculiar force and efficacy to tempta-
seduction, enticement, consent of the will, commis- tion.
sion of sin, and the habitual reigning of sin, — into 2dly, A temptation attains its proper season and
which last state those scarcely fall who are actually hour by these means : 1. By the original, universal
in a state of grace. From the foregoing particulars corruption of man's nature ; 2. By every man's par-
we may learn, 1. The great goodness and wisdom of ticular corruption ; 3. By the continual offer of
God in the severest precepts of religion ; 2. The alluring objects agreeable to it ; 4. By the unspeak-
most effectual method of dealing with a temptation, able malice and activity, the incredible skill and
boldness of the tempter ; 5. By God's just judgment,
2dly, The impulsive causes inducing God thus to in commissioning this evil spirit to tempt at a rate
deliver the godly, are, 1. The free mercy of God; more than ordinary ; 6. By a previous growing
2. The prevailing intercession of Christ. Some ob- familiarity of the mind with the sin which a man is
jections answered, and a case resolved concerning tempted to ; 7. By a long train of gradual, imper-
the fallibility of regenerate persons; and the several ceptible encroachments of the flesh upon the spirit.
assurances of regeneration, and the expectations 3dly, A temptation's proper season, may be dis-
men may have of being delivered, in relation to the cerned by some signs, -as, 1. By an unusual con-
ways of entering into temptation, illustrated by currence of all circumstances and opportunities for
instances of different success ; with a confutation of the commission of any sin ; 2. By a strange averse.
some pretences alleged by some bold men, who ness to, if not a total neglect of, spiritual exercises,
umwarrantably put themselves upon trial.
prayer, reading, and meditation ; 3. By a tempta-
3dly, Deliverance out of temptation is a transcen- tion's unusual restlessness and importunity.
dent privilege, - which will appear from those intol 4thly, Useful inferences may be drawn from this
erable evils consequent upon a prevailing tempta- discourse, — such as these : 1. Every time wherein a
tation, namely, 1. The soul's utter loss and damna man is tempted, is not properly the hour of tempta-
tion ; 2. Loss of a man's peace with God and his own tion; 2. Every man shall assuredly meet with such
conscience ; 3. Temporal judgments of God in some an hour ; 3. The most successful way to be carried
signal and severe affliction ; 4. The disgrace and safe through this hour, is to keep the word of Christ's
reproach which it casts upon our Christian profession. patience.