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precious than of gold that perisheth, &c—1 Pet. i. 6, 7.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufFerings, &c—1 Pet. iv. 12,13.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried.—Rev. ii. 10.
I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.—Rev. iii. 10.
II. To humble and purge them.
The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness to humble thee, &c. Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, &c—Deut. viii. 2. 16.
So Manasseh made Judah, &c. to err, and to do worse than the heathen: wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh, &c. bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, &c. And God brought him again unto his kingdom, &c. He then took away the strange gods,&c.—2Chron. xxxiii.9—13. 15,16.
Job complains of his afflictions; then saith, What is man that thou shouldest magnify him? &c. I have sinned, what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men?—Job vii. 16—20.
Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? for thou writest bitter things against me.—Job xiii. 25,26.
He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.—Job xxii. 10.
If they be, &c.holden in cords of affliction: then he sheweth them
their work, and their transgressions, that they have exceeded: he openeth their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.— Job xxxvi. 8—10.
Behold, I am vile: what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth: once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no farther.—Job xl. 4,5.
I have heard of thee, &c. but now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, &c.—Job xlii. 5, 6.
Hath he smitten him? &c. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged: and this is all the fruit, to take away his sin.—Isa. xxvii. 7-9.
Ephraim by chastisement was humbled and instructed.-Jer.xxxi. 18,19.
My fury and mine angerwas poured forth, &c. They are not humbled even unto this day; neither have they feared, nor walked in my law.—Jer. xliv. 6. 10.
I will cause you to pass under the rod, &c. and there shall ye remember your ways, &c. and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight.—Ezek. 37,38.43.
Some of them of understanding shall fall, &c. to purge and to make them white.—Dan. xi. 35.
I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver. —Zech. xiii. 9.
Lest I should be exalted above measure, &c. there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet me.—2 Cor. xii. 7.
III. To make them remember God, and things above; to look to, own them, and close with them.
Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, &c. the Lord which saidest unto me, Return, &c. —Gen. xxxii. 7—9.
When Joseph's brethren were dealt roughly with, they remembered their sin against Joseph.—Gen. xlii. 21.
He suffered thee to hunger, &c. that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone, but, &c.—Deut. viii. 3.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel and sought him, he was found of them.— 2 Chron. xv. 4.
When Manasseh was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, &c. then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.—2 Chron. xxxiii. 12,13. Job xxxvi. 9,10.
God hath overthrown me, and hath encompassed me with his net, &c. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, &c. in my flesh shall I see God.—Job xix. 6.25—27.
When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I: for thou hast been a shelter. —Ps. lxi. 2, 3.
When he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned and inquired early after God: and they remembered that God was their rock, &c.—Ps. lxxviii. 34, 35. Isa. ix. 13.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes: the law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.—Ps. cxix. 71, 72.
My beloved hath withdrawn himself, and was gone; my soul failed,
&c. I sought him, &c. Cant.
Such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.—Isa. x. 20, 21.
In that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, &c. At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel; and he shall not look to the altars, &c.—Isa. xvii. 4—8.
In vain have I smitten your children: they received no correction.— Jer. ii. 30. Amos iv. 10.
Wherefore doth a living man complain? &c. Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord.
—Lam.iii. 39,40. Isa. ix. 13. Jer. xxxi. 18,19.
I will cause you to pass under the rod, &c. and ye shall know that I am the Lord.—Ezek. xx. 37, 38.
When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of the enemies' land, &c. then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathens, &c—Ezek. xxxix. 27, 28.
0 king, this is the decree of the most High: they shall drive thee from men, &c. until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.—Dan. iv. 24,25. 32.
Behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, &c. Then shall she say,
1 will go and return to my first husband, for then was it better with me than now, &c.—Hosea ii. 6—8. v. 15.
1 will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek ine early. Come, and let us return unto the Lord; he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will hind us up.— Hosea v. 15. vi. 1.
I will bring a third part through the fire, &c. they shall call on my name, and I will hear them.—Zech. xiii. 9.
We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us, &c.—
2 Cor. i. 9,10.
Our light affliction worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, &c.— 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.
IV. For God's Glory, and the furtherance of the Gospel.
I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them: and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord, &c. And the Egyptians pursued after them, &c. and the children of Israel were sore afraid, &c.-Exod. xiv. 4.9,10.17,18. He fed thee with manna, &c. that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. —Deut. viii. 3.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.—2 Sam. xii. 14.
Hast thou considered my servant Job? &c. and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.—Job ii. 3.
Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.—Ps. lxxvi. 10.
The three children's sufferings made their persecutors to acknowledge and give honour to God.—Dan.iii. 27-29. So Daniel's sufferings made Darius the king (who had caused him to be cast into the lion's den) acknowledge andhonourGod.—Dan. vi. 20.26,27, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents; that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.—John ix. 2, 3.
Jesus said,This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.—John xi. 4.
This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.—John xxi. 19.
We are troubled on every side, &c. that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body: for we which live, arc always delivered unto death, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.— 2 Cor. iv. 8—11.
When Paul was buffeted, &c. he besought the Lord thrice that it might depart: and it was said, My grace is
sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness: most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Cor. xii. 7—10.
I would have you understand, brethren, that the things which have happened to me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel, &c. and many of the brethren in the Lord waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.—Phil. i. 12—14.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit, &c. on your part he is glorified. —1 Pet. iv. 14.
V. For the procuring of great Good and Advantage to those who are exercised therewith.
Joseph's afflictions and sufferings, his being sold by his brethren, and afterwards being imprisoned, happened, through God, to his great honour and advantage: he is advanced to be next the king; his brethren, who sold him, are made to bow to him and honour him, and are nou. rished by him; his father's sorrows are also recompensed, in that Joseph provided for him in the famine.— Gen. xxxvii. 28. 34, 35. xxix. 5. 20. xii. 39—44. xlv. 5. 7, 8. xlvii. 11,12.
But as far you, ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as at this day, to save much people alive.—Gen. l.20.
The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.— Exod. i. II, 12. Ezrav. vi.
And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and his servant Moses.—Exod. xiv. 31.
Who fed thee with manna, &c. that he might humble thee, &c. to do thee good at thy latter end.—Deut. viii. 16.
Hezekiah, left of God, to try him, that he might know all that was m his heart.—2 Chron. xxxii. 31.
When Manasseh was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God; and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him, &c. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God, &c. He took away the strange gods, &c.—2 Chron. xxxiii. 11—13. 15, 16.
Tatnai the governor's opposing the Jews, wrought for their advantage in the end.—Ezra v. vi.
If they be bound in fetters, &c. then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions, that they have exceeded: he openeth also their ear to discipline.—Job xxxvi. 8—10.
Before I was afflicted, Iwentastray; but now have I kept thy word. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes, O Lord. Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.—Ps. cxix. 67. 71. 75.
They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth, and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, &c.—Ps. cxxvi. 5, 6.
It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living.will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.—Eccles. vii. 2, 3.
When Christ withdrew from the spouse, he endeared himself the more to her.—Cant. v. 6. 10, 11.
When the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, &c. Such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon the Lord, &c.—Isa. x. 12. 20.
When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.—Isa. xxvi. 9.
So will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom 1 have sent out of this place
into the land of the Chaldeans, for their good; for I will set mine eyes upon them for good.—Jer. xxiv. 5, 6.
God's chastening of Ephraim did him much good in the end.—Jer. xxxi. 18—20.
They shall bear the punishment of their iniquity, &c. that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions: butthatthey may be my people, and I may be their God.—Ezek. xiv. 10, 11.
I will cause you to pass under the rod; and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.—Ezek. xx. 37.
Daniel and the three children, by their afflictions, were more advanced. —Dan. iii. vi.
I will hedge up thy way with thorns, &c. Then shall she say, I will go and return to myfirst husband, for then was it better with me than now. I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably (or friendly) unto her.—Hosea ii. 6—8. 14.
1 will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people; and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.—Zeph. iii. 12.
He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it: for what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?—Matt. x. 39. Mark viii. 36.
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, &c. or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.—Matt. xix. 27. 29.
Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, &c.-Rom.v. 3-5.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.—Rom. viii. 28. Ps. xxv. 10.
Excommunication designed for good, that the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.—1 Cor. v. 5.
When we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.— 1 Cor. xi. 32.
Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day: for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not
at the things which are seen 2 Cor.
iv. 16—18. Heb. x. 34—36.
In nothing terrified by your adversaries; which is to them an evident token of perdition; but to you of salvation, and that of God.—Phil. i.28.
Tribulations, that ye endure, &c. that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.—2 Thess. i. 4, 5.
It is a faithful saying, &c. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.— 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. Rom. viii. 17, 18. 1 Pet. iv. 13.
We have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? for they,&c. chastened us after their own pleasure; but he, for our profit, &c No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.—Heb. xii. 9—11.
Ye are in heaviness, &c. that the trial of your faith, &c. might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.—1 Pet. i. 6, 7. See Second Consideration following.
Sect. in. The Considerations which should stay, bear up, and comfort the Spirits of Christians in their afflictions, and under Persecutions.
Cons. I. That it is their Portion, •which God appointed them to in this Life; and that too for good Ends.
Cons. II. That such who are so exercised, are blessed and happy, and so pronounced in Scripture; a Seal of their Sottship, and God's choice Love to them, and of their Salvation.
Behold, happy is the man whom God
correcteth, &c. for he maketh sore, and bindeth up, &c.—Job v. 17, 18.
Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord; and teachest him out of thy law—Ps. xciv. 12.
Whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.—Prov. iii. 12.
He that spareth the rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes.—Prov. xiii. 24.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, &c. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake: rejoice, and be exceeding glad. —Matt. v. 4. 10—12.
Blessed are ye that hunger now, &c. that weep now, &c. But woe unto you that are rich, &c. that are full, &c. that laugh now, &c. when all men speak well of you.— Luke vi. 21, 22. 24—26.
In nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition; but to you of salvation, and that of God: for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.—Phil. i. 28,29.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons: for what son is there? &c. If ye be without chastisement,&c.then are ye bastards, and not sons.—Heb. xii. 7, 8.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, &c. —James i. 11.
Wecountthemhappy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job. —James-v. 11.
If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ve: and be not afraid.— 1 Pet. iii. 14.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you, &c.—1 Pet. iv. 14.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.—Rev. iii. 19.