Not Stronger than Christ and I

From “Comfort in Temptation,” The Love and Wisdom of God 250-251 (1876)

This Book of Job will give to the man who reads it carefully comfort in his temptations, because it shows who it is that tempts him — the devil — and that he can only go as far, and no further than God permits. Therefore, be not afraid, but watch. Again, it shows you at what age the man was buffeted; therefore, if you feel temptations keeping on trying you, do not despair, the age at which Job is revealed as being tempted is for our comfort. Thirdly, if you are tempted to think that so much trouble must mean that you are bad, think of this man and his upright life.

And we know what the end of His sorrow was, it was, ” I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, and now mine eye seeth Thee.” Yes, that was when temptation had done its work, not when it overcame him, it purified the man, gave him a clearer vision of God, now I can see thee with mine eye, and “therefore I abhor myself.”

Temptation is sent to make me mistrust myself and cling to Christ, and know that but for him I should be lost. This I confess to God, Satan is stronger than I, but not stronger than Christ and I.

And remember the end. God gave to Job twice as much as he had before, and greater still. He tells those who had been troubling him to go to him and he should pray for them and they should then be accepted. So this man who had suffered so much is not only not to be lost himself, but the end of the drama is that he is seen in the favor of God himself, declares that he enjoys the vision of God, and people are told to go to him and ask him for his prayers.

Yes, my brethren, many a man has gone through that course since Job’s day, he has been buffeted, tempted, but clinging to Christ, with Christ has conquered; then when he was converted, he strengthened his brethren, praying for them, working for them; not contented, so to speak, with his own salvation, but doing all he can to work with Christ to renew others. Is it not a lesson of comfort?

Edward King (1829-1910) was one of the great leaders of late nineteenth century Anglo-Catholicism, widely admired for his courage and personal holiness. He was Regius Professor of Moral Theology at Oxford and played a key role in the founding of St. Stephen’s House, Oxford. He became Bishop of Lincoln in 1889, serving until his death. “The Love and Wisdom of God” was preached to a group of men at Oxford’s Church of St. Philip & St. James. King is commemorated on the calendar of the Church of England on March 8.

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