Francis Covell Sermons

Seven Troubles And Untouched

[Notes Of A Sermon Preached At Croydon, By The Late Mr. F. Covell, On Wednesday Evening, July 16th, 1873]

“He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven, there shall no evil touch thee.”—Job 5:19

How true every child of God finds the Word of God to be! As soon as our first parents broke the law by eating of the forbidden fruit, God said, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the clays of thy life;” and there is not one of the children of God now in heaven but what proved this to be true, and we daily prove the same thing. Now, besides being afflicted with temporal troubles, in common with the rest of mankind, the child of God has troubles which are no troubles to the world. God has made sin to be a trouble to those that fear Him, and they never can be at rest until they by faith receive the remission of it through the precious blood of Christ; and oh, how troubled they are at times lest they should have no part in the blood of sprinkling! But Jesus says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” And what a trouble it is to the children of God lest they should not be found in the right way! We want to be found right. We would not miss that way for all the world. Our earnest, simple, and real cry is, “O God, guide us in Thy way; lead us in Thy paths.” We want to be found while living walking in the paths of the children of God, and at last to stand among the redeemed that praise and glorify His name in heaven. I have no doubt that there are some here before God that have been beseeching Him for weeks, or perhaps months, to assure them that it is so with them—that He has a favour towards them—that He will give them to realize His eternal love in their hearts, and will grant them His Holy Spirit to guide and keep them to the end. They would endure anything rather than be deceived at last. Sinner, all those now in heaven had the same doubts and fears, but not one of them ever missed the path; and may you be enabled to say—

“How hard soe’er the way, 

Dear Saviour, still lead on.”

David cries out (and we like to have good companions), “Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men.” You do not want to walk with such. You do not want to be found in the paths of the ungodly. We can say in heart—at least some of us can—“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” John says, “I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation.” Well, then, here are some good companions. Now, one would have thought that, if any one could have escaped trouble, and gone by a mossy path to heaven, it would have been this man, that lay upon the bosom of the blessed Son of God, who is called “the disciple that Jesus loved;” who was such a humble, loving man, and that had such sweet and glorious thing revealed to him. But what do we find? He is, according to tradition, first thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. What! a man that Christ came from heaven to die for, and to bring into the presence of God—that was one of God’s elect, “predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself”? What! such a man as this to be thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil? Yes, even he. But God brings him out of it. The oil does him no hurt, so he is banished unto the isle of Patmos. There they thought he was sure to be starved, or be killed by robbers or wild beasts. But you will find that, where trials abound, there will consolation abound also. John is banished by a cruel tyrant to this desolate place, and down comes the Son of God and blesses him with most heavenly and sacred revelations. “I was,” says he, “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet;” and then he is made to see such glorious and blessed things. “Ah!” say you, “how I should like to have such revelations as he had!” Should you like to suffer as he suffered? Should you like to be banished among robbers and wicked men? “Oh, no,” say you, “I should not like that.” Well, remember the one goes with the other. When we read of Paul being caught up into the third heaven, and seeing and hearing such wonderful things, we say, “Oh, how nice! How I should have liked to have been with him!” But then look at the dangers he encountered, the perils he was in: “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers! in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” Here are dangers and trials for you. Should you like to go through such as these? “No,” say you, “I don’t think I could endure that.” Sometimes, when I am reading of the great faith with which the Puritans were blessed, I say, “Oh, how favoured these men were! I wish I was blessed with faith as they were!” But as I read on, I find that these men walked about day by day with their lives in their hands. They were liable at any moment to be haled to prison and to death, and so they were blessed with faith as they needed it. But we do not read so much of their being puffed at by the devil—so tried with unbelief and a hard heart—so, although they endured things which we think we could not, yet they did not have so much to contend with from within. Now, although we are not so persecuted as they were, yet we have to contend with these inward evils, and so find the truth of my text as they did, that we shall have troubles. As John Bunyan has it—

“The Christian man is seldom long at ease;

When one trouble’s gone, another does him seize.”

Now, what think you of Christ? “Well,” say some, “if this is the way to win Christ, let me have it. I would rather walk in this way and be found in Him, than I would have all the wealth of the world and miss Him.” Ah! you are the man for heaven, and you are the man that will get there. You are just the man John Bunyan speaks of in another place, where he says that the Interpreter took Christian to a beautiful palace, in the door of which sat a man with an ink-horn and book, to put down the names of those that entered; and he saw also that in the doorway stood a number of armed men, resolved to do what hurt and mischief they could to all that went in, which made the people outside afraid to try. At last he saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sit there to write, saying, “Put down my name, sir.” He then drew his sword, and fell to cutting and hacking the armed men most fiercely; and, though he received many wounds, he at last cut his way through them, and entered the palace, when those inside said—

“Come in, come in; 

Eternal glory thou shalt win.”

“Well,” say you, “if it is trouble all the way, let me have it.” You are the man for Christ, and you may depend upon it that you will find the truth of my text; and you will find this also to be true, that “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust;” yea, “He shall deliver thee in six troubles.”

Now, whenever the Lord is pleased to take us out of trouble, and make the way a little easy for us, our prayers mostly are very lukewarm, very cold, very formal, not worth picking up; but it is when we are in trouble that we cry earnestly to God to deliver us. Oh, how we cry unto Him day and night, and come before Him continually in prayer! This is pleasing to God, and He says, “Ye shall find Me when ye search for Me with all your heart;” and this is what God will have. Whatever trouble God brings us into, there is a way out of it; so He says in my text, “He shall deliver thee in six troubles.” He not only delivers us out of our troubles, but He delivers us in our troubles. “How do you mean?” say some. In seeking the face of God in prayer, when there is such a submission in the heart, such a resignation in the spirit, bringing our will to be so swallowed up in God’s that we say, “Not my will, but Thine be done;” for, when the mind is brought into submission, and the will of God is our will, then it ceases to be a trouble; so God delivers us in our trouble, and He also delivers us out of our trouble. This shows how our spirit is moulded to God’s; therefore says the Son of God, when He is teaching His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” In the Scripture a definite is often put for an indefinite number; so, in this case, it does not mean that God will only deliver us out of six or seven troubles. No, no. If God was only to do that, there would be no hope for me, nor yet for you. But, if thou art a follower of Jesus, He will appear for thee in all thy troubles, and bring thee safe to His kingdom at last; so, however great have been your troubles, you will say, “Many have been my troubles, but God has delivered me out of them all.” Look in the case of David. No sooner is he out of one trouble than he falls into another; but yet he says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all” Look again at Jacob. He tells Pharaoh, “Few and evil are the days of thy servant.” “How can that agree with your text?” say you. Look at the end, sinner. See him when he comes to die: “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;” as though he said, “I have had plenty of trouble, plenty of sorrow, but the Lord hath delivered me out of it all.” And let God put you into any trouble, and bring you out of it—let it be as great as it may—you will see in the end whether you have not had to bless God for it, and to say that “He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” “The just man falleth seven times, but he riseth again.” He comes out of the furnace like gold purified seven times. You know in your spirit that you would not have cried so to God if He had not put you into trouble; so He puts us into trouble that good may come out of it. You would never have understood some parts of God’s Word if it had not been for trouble. You would never have cried to Him, nor sought His face in prayer as you have done, if it had not been for trouble; and, my friends, you will never have a place in heaven if you have no trouble, for Paul says, “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” No trouble at present is joyous, but grievous; but then God is making it work for our good. Whatever trouble God brings us into, whatever may be our trials, remember this, that they do not separate us from Christ. Let it be as strong and as fiery as it may, it does not separate us from God, nor can it. The great Apostle says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Now, sinner, what can be stronger than that? The great Apostle had great trials and tribulations, so he ought to know whether they would separate us from God; but he says nothing can do it. He runs through the things most likely to do it, and then says that neither these nor any other thing shall separate us from the love of God—no, for God will deliver us out of them all. “He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven no evil shall touch thee.”

Now, sometimes God makes a little thing a great trouble to us. It may be but a little thing of itself, but He may make it to us a very grievous burden, a great trouble. It may make you very uncomfortable, and make you sick of the world and sick of yourself. It may make you often fall on your knees and seek the face of God in prayer, and beseech Him to deliver you from it; and yet it may be in itself but a little trouble, and a man with a great one may wonder how such a little thing can trouble you at all, while you would give anything to get it set right, little though it is in other men’s estimation.

There is one thing which is at times a great trouble to the child of God, though it is nothing to carnal men and mere professors, and this is, to “make your calling and election sure.” Now, you may be persuaded that there is a change in you, but is it a saving change? Is it a right change? Is it being born of God? Oh, what a trouble this is to you! Your earnest cry is—

“Assure my conscience of her part 

In the Redeemer’s blood;”


“’Tis a point I long to know, 

Am I His or am I not?”

“Oh,” say some, “this has tried me; this has been a trouble to me. When I have been reading the experience of the saints in the word of God, and have seen how sure they were of it, I say, ‘Ah! I never had anything like that!’ When I have been reading of David, and have seen how sure he was of it, I say, ‘Oh, if I only had the assurances he had!’ When I have heard the servant of God talking about faith, I would give anything to know that I was right—that I was not being deceived. How often I have gone to God in secret: ‘O Lord, put me right, and save my poor sin-bitten and sin-ruined soul!'” He will, sinner. He will save all that thus come to Him. “He shall deliver thee in six troubles, and in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” He will smile upon thee one of these days, and enable thee to say, ‘’Now I know, now I know that the Lord is mine and I am His. I will sing and give praise.” “He shall deliver thee.”

What trouble at times is the child of God in from the buffetings of Satan! How he does perplex and torment you, and at times you think that, if you were one of God’s people, He would deliver you from him. So He will, so He will. The devil does not vex and trouble carnal men like this. They have no doubts and fears. You will hear them say that God is a merciful God, but they do not feel that He is a just God, a holy God—that He hates sin, and that He will punish the wicked. “Oh,” they say, “we have done this and that good thing, and He is a merciful God, so we shall be all right at last.” They are not troubled as you are with temptation; they are at ease. But the devil will hurl temptations at you. He will tell you that there is no truth in God’s Word. Well, then, if it is wrong, why does he take so much trouble to tell us it is a lie? If it was not true, He would not take the trouble to set you against it. If it is a lie, why does he not let us believe it, and at last drop into hell? He knows it is right, and that is why he takes so much pains to make us believe it is wrong.

Now, says the Scripture, “There is no temptation taken us but what is common to man;” and so, if there are any here before God that doubt the truth of His Word, I will (God willing) set you right. It is true. He has shed such a light into my heart, that I am as sure of the truth of it as I am that I am a living man. This trouble will make you cry out to God, “Lord, work faith in my heart to believe it;” and you will prove this to be true—that it is of no use your arguing with the devil. He will argue you out of it. He laughs at the shaking of a spear. God must do it for you, and the good Spirit will move upon your heart, and put all these things right, and make you praise and bless God. He will set you on high from him that puffeth at you. He will set you up more firm in the truth than all the persons in the world could do; and, though in this world you shall have tribulation, yet, says the Holy Ghost by the great Apostle, “There remaineth therefore a rest unto the people of God,” and a glorious rest it is. A little while longer and we shall reach it, when the Son of God, with a sweet and blessed welcome, will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” But it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom, and we shall find trouble will come in one way or another; but we shall have to praise Him for it, and bless His name for ever and ever for what He has wrought by it. Therefore say the words of my text, “He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” Amen.

Francis Covell (1808-1879) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He was appointed the Pastor of Providence Chapel, Croydon, England.

Francis Covell Sermons