Tuesday, August 26, 2008


In the Greek gymnasium, the training master would challenge the youths to meet him in combat. He knew how to strike, to guard, to wrestle. Many severe blows the young combatants received from him, but this was a part of their education, preparing them at some future time to appear publicly in the games. He who shirked the trial and declined the encounter with the trainer, received no good from him, even though he would probably be thoroughly well flogged for his cowardice. The youth whose athletic frame was prepared for future struggles, was he who stepped forth boldly to be exercised by his master. If you see afflictions come, and sit down impatiently, and will not be exercised by your trials, then you do not get the peaceable fruit of righteousness; but if, like a man, you say, “Now is my time of trial, I will play the man; wake up my faith to meet the foe; take hold of God; stand with firm foot and slip not; let all my graces be aroused, for here is something to be exercised upon;” it is then that a man’s bone, and sinew, and muscle, all grow stronger. We know that those who strive for the mastery, keep under their body, in order that they may come prepared in the day of contest, and so must the Christian use his afflictions, exercise himself by them to the keeping down of the flesh to the conquest of his evil desires, that he may be as strong as if his flesh were iron, and his muscles hardened steel.

From a sermon entitled "Chastisement - Now And Afterwards," delivered September 6, 1863. Flickr photo by Pixel Addict; some rights reserved.

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