2 THESS. ii. 16, 17. “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God,
even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us ever-
lasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your
OUR subject is the trouble of life and the true consolation.
Trouble of some kind is universally diffused among men,
and in the generality pretty equally distributed. Few of
God’s own children get through the world and into the
heavenly home without little trouble by the way. There
is a sense in which Christians drink more deeply of the
cup of trouble than others, for in proportion as they are
really Christians, they have refined and developed sensi-
bilities. Trouble is to us what we ourselves are, and so is
joy, and so is everything. Much of the trouble of life is
and should be borne by Christians silently. Sympathy is
a precious thing, but beyond a certain point every one has
to bear his own burden. And since there is promised
grace, let each bear it like a man. See that you bear it
at least as well as Job did when he said, “My stroke is
heavier than my groaning.” Many a man’s groaning is
a deal heavier than his stroke.
Christianity is not stoicism, and the Christian heart must
have consolation. You drink the cup which your Father
gives, but you do not hold it up again, and say, “Fill it again
and again, and I shall drink.” You say rather, “Let me have
meantime what is best with a view to the ultimate joy, and
by and through these troubles I would rise into the eternal
joy at Thy right hand.” There is a trouble common to
man, and a common yearning after relief and consolation.
I. False consolations.
1. The desperate consolation of complete thoughtless-
2. The presumptuous consolation of concluding that
God is bound to make all turn out well in the end, and
that therefore we need not trouble ourselves.
3. The superficial consolation which soothes the mind
without going down to the roots of things. “If things are
dark to-day—well then, they will be brighter to-morrow.”
True enough: but what of the morrow beyond to-morrow?
The darkness may be back again. We want “the ever-
lasting consolation”—anything short of it is deplorably
less than we need.
II. True consolation. It is everlasting, because it comes
from an everlasting Source—the unchangeable God.
Never can we be consoled for the sorrow of the world
or our own share of it, until we meet with Him, the Father
of our spirits, the God of our salvation, and receive what
we need from Him. All consolation is in Him. He is
everlasting, and He says, from everlasting He hath loved
us. Believe the Gospel, accept its grace, hold its truth,
do its duty, breathe its spirit, and you have the everlasting
consolation of God. Observe, this is how it is to end for us
here practically—in the comfort of our hearts, and stab-
lishment in every good word and work; the everlasting
consolation realized everywhere, amid the cares of the
household, in the honest trade of the city, in the pure
speech and godly habits.
God knows, and that is enough, so I can go on with a
quiet, yea singing heart, seeking that stablishment in every
good word and work which my Father has promised.
Alexander Raleigh, D.D.