Where Extremity Cowers

Between the blinding bliss of day-span
And sightless doom of night
Comes the mingling hours.
When the soul, mellowed by eventide aspect
Looks upon life in the still half light
Where extremity cowers.
Where, gone from the glare of over-sated mirth
And midnight dearth of dark dismay,
The soul beholds the sketch of the day
Traced forth in lines of a ruby colored grace;
Sees the Lord walking there in the cool of the day,
Where — awestruck — we meet Him,
Him! Whom lesser lights applaud!

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But God is Faithful

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:1, ESV)

I find this bit of Calvin immensely edifying. Sometimes in adversity—more especially when it is extreme—we forget the gentle mercies of our God. Here Calvin reminds us with this brief exposition:

 “But God is faithful. As he exhorted them to be of good courage as to the past, in order that he might stir them up to repentance, so he also comforts them as to the future with a sure hope, on the ground that God would not suffer them to be tempted beyond their strength. He exhorts them, however, to look to the Lord, because a temptation, however slight it may be, will straightway overcome us, and all will be over with us, if we rely upon our own strength. He speaks of the Lord as faithful, not merely as being true to his promises, but as though he had said: The Lord is the sure guardian of his people, under whose protection you are safe, for he never leaves his people destitute. Accordingly, when he has received you under his protection, you have no cause to fear, provided you depend entirely upon him. For certainly this were a species of deception, if he were to withdraw his aid in the time of need, or if he were, on seeing us weak and ready to sink under the load, to lengthen out our trials still farther.*

“Now God helps us in two ways, that we may not be overcome by the temptation; for He supplies us with strength, and He sets limits to the temptation. It is of the second of these ways that the Apostle here chiefly speaks. At the same time, he does not exclude the former—that God alleviates temptations, that they may not overpower us by their weight. For He knows the measure of our power, which He has himself conferred. According to that, He regulates our temptations.” [1]

Father, help me this day to kiss the hand that grips the rod (Hebrews 12:5-13).


* Mr. Fuller of Kettering, when comparing  1 Cor. 10:13, with 2 Cor. 1:8, justly observes: “The ability in the former of these passages, and the strength in the latter, are far from being the same. The one is expressive of that divine support which the Lord has promised to give to his servants under all their trials: the other, of the power which we possess naturally as creatures. We may be tried beyond this, as all the martyrs have been, and yet not beyond the other. The outward man may perish, while the inward man is renewed day by day.”—Fuller’s Works, vol. iii. p. 609.—Ed.

[1] John Calvin and John Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), 1 Co 10:13–18.