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We ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions.2 Thess. i. 4.
be afraid of a man that shall die, &c. be made known unto God.-Phil. and forgettest the Lord thy Maker?— Isa. li. 7. 12, 13. Matt. x. 28. 31. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, &c. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lam. iii. 22. 25, 26.
The three children being threatened, said, Our God, &c. will deliver us out of thy hand.-Dan. iii. 16, 17.
When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord.-Jonah ii. 7. None upright among men, they all lie in wait to shed blood, &c. that they may do evil with both hands earnestly, &c. The son dishonoureth the father, &c. therefore I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation.-Micah vii. 2-7.
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.-Nahum i. 7.
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, &c. Who, when he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.-1 Pet. ii. 21. 23.
If ye suffer, &c. be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord, &c.-1 Pet. iii. 14, 15. Heb. xiii. 6. Rev. ii. 10.
Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. -1 Pet. iv. 19.
SECONDLY. The Duties of Believers, how they ought to behave toward Enemies and Persecutors, in a time of Persecution and Suffering from them.
Take no thought how or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you I. in that same hour what ye shall speak.-Matt. x. 19, 20. 28.31. vi. 27.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.—Matt. xi. 28.
When they shall deliver you up, &c. study not beforehand what ye shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. Mark xiii. 11. Luke xxiv. 14, &c. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.― 1 Cor. x. 13.
We should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the dead: who delivereth us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust, that he will yet deliver us.— 2 Cor. i. 9, 10. Judges xiii. 22, 23. 1 Sam. xvii. 34-37.
To be patient, quiet, and sober to
ward them: not revenge, or return Evil for Evil, or Reviling for Reviling; but forgive them.
JOSEPH, instead of revenging upon his brethren their injury of him, spake kindly to his brethren, and said, Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life, &c. So now, it was not that sent me hither, but God, &c.-Gen. xlv. 5-8. 1. 19—21.
Though Saul hunted for David's life, yet would not David avenge himself upon him.-1 Sam. xxiv. xxvi.
When Shimei cursed David, he bore it quietly, and would not avenge himself.-2 Sam. xvi. 7—11.
And afterward Abishai said to David, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the
In nothing terrified by your adver- Lord's anointed &c. David said saries. Phil. i. 28.
Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer, &c. let your requests
unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die.2 Sam. xix. 21-23.
Job quarrelled not with the in
He was oppressed, &c. yet he opened not his mouth, &c. as a sheep, &c. so he opened not his mouth.Isa. liii. 7. Ps. xxxviii. 13, 14.
Jeremiah said, As for me, behold, I am in your hand, do with me as seemeth good, &c.-Jer. xxvi. 11. 14.
Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.-Matt. v. 38, 39.
If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.—Matt. vi. 14, 15.
When one of Christ's disciples drew his sword, &c. he bid him put it up, &c.-Matt. xxvi. 51, 52.
James and John said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned and rebuked them: and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy mens' lives, but to save them.-Luke ix. 53-56.
Ye shall be hated, &c. In your patience possess ye your souls, &c.Luke xxi. 17. 19.
Paul said to Festus (when he had said, He was beside himself), I am not mad, most noble Festus, &c.-Acts xxvi. 24, 25.
Recompense to no man evil for evil, &c. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.-Rom. xii. 17. 19. Deut. xxxii. 35.
Being reviled, we bless, &c. being defamed, we intreat.-1 Cor. iv. 12, 13. See that none render evil for evil unto any man.-1 Thess. v. 15.
Ye have condemned and killed the just, and he doth not resist you.James v. 6.
So is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, &c. Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps, &c. who, when he was reviled, reviled not again when he suffered, he threatened not.--1 Pet. ii. 15. 21. 23. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, &c.-1 Pet. iii. 9.
II. Not to desire, or rejoice in the hurt of Enemies and Persecutors.
David mourned and wept when Saul was slain, although he had been his deadly enemy; and hated and pursued him several years.—2 Sam, i. 4, &c.
Abner, his great enemy, who set up Ishbosheth in opposition to him, being slain, David said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the Lord for ever, &c. He commands all the people to mourn for him and himself mourned, and followed him to his funeral.. -2 Sam. iii. 27-29. 31, 32.
So David, instead of rejoicing that Ishbosheth was slain, commanded his young men to kill those who slew him.-2 Sam. iv. 8—12.
When Israel had conquered Judah, the prophet commanded them to let the captives go, feed them, and clothe them, and not insult over them.2 Chron. xxviii. 9, &c.
If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.-Job xxxi. 29, 30.
He that is glad at calamities, shall not be unpunished.-Prov. xvii. 5.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be
glad when he stumbleth; lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. Prov. xxiv. 17, 18.
III. To pray for, and do good to our Persecutors and Enemies.
If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again, &c.— Exod. xxiii. 4.
Miriam had spoken against Moses; yet he prayed for her, to heal her leprosy.-Numb. xii. 1. 10. 13.
Saul said to David, Thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.-1 Sam. xxiv. 17.
Israel came and fought against Judah; and being overcome, Judah shewed them kindness.-2 Chron. xxviii.
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, &c. -Prov. xxv. 21. Rom. xii. 20.
Seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captives and pray unto the Lord for it.-Jer. xxix. 7.
I say unto you, Love your enemies : bless them that curse you do good to them that hate you; and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil, &c. If you love them which love you, &c. do not even the publicans the same?-Matt. v. 44-48.
Christ said (when upon the cross), Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.-Luke xxiii. 34.
They stoned Stephen; and he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Acts vii. 59, 60.
Paul prayed for Agrippa, that he were not only almost, but altogether such as he, except his bonds.-Acts xxvi. 28, 29.
Bless them which persecute you, &c. Therefore if thine enemy hunger,
feed him, &c. be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.Rom. xii. 14. 20, 21.
Being reviled, we bless; being defamed, we intreat.-1 Cor. iv. 12, 13. IV. To use lawful and honest means for avoiding and delivering themselves from Afflictions and Persecutions. Matt. iv. 5-7.
When there was a famine in the land where Abraham was, he removed to Egypt.-Gen. xii. 10.
When Abraham had heard that Lot was taken, &c. he pursued the enemy, and rescued him.-Gen. xiv. 14, &c..
When Jacob heard of his brother Esau's coming against him, he was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, &c. and said, If Esau come to the one company and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape, &c. And he took of that which came to his hand, a present for his brother Esau, &c. for he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, &c.-Gen. xxxii. 6-8.13.20. xxxiii.3. 8. 13, 14.
Joseph, in the dungeon, desired the king's cupbearer to speak to the king on his behalf.-Gen. xl. 14, &c.
Saul sought to smite David, &c. but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, &c. and escaped that night. Saul also sent messengers unto David's house to watch him, and to slay him, &c. His wife let him down through a window, and he went and fled, and escaped.-1 Sam. xix. 10-12.
David consulted with Jonathan about his safety from Saul.-1 Sam. xx.
David consulted with Hushai, and directed him what to do in order to his defeating of the counsel of Ahithophel.-2 Sam. xv. 32-37.
Elijah being threatened by Jezebel, arose, and went for his life, &c.— 1 Kings xix. 2, 3.
Hezekiah laid figs to his sore, by the prophet's direction, and he recovered.-2 Kings xx. 7.
Sanballat, &c. conspired all of them
together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder the work nevertheless, we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. -Neh. iv. 7, 8.
Sanballat sent often to Nehemiah, to come unto him, but he refused: because he knew they thought to do him some mischief.-Neh. vi. 2-4.
Esther and Mordecai did many things to procure the Jew's escape. -Esth. viii. ix. Prov. xxiv. 11.
Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts.-Prov. xxxi. 6.
Jeremiah intreated the king that he might not return to the prison, lest he should die there.-Jer. xxxvii. 18. 20. xxxviii. 7, &c.
Daniel applied himself to the captain of the king's guard, and to the king himself, for himself and friends. -Dan. ii. 13-16.
When Herod sought Christ, to kill him, the angel said unto Joseph, &c. Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there, &c. for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.Matt. ii. 13-15.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves, &c. And when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another. Matt. x. 16. 23.
The Pharisees, &c. held a council against him, how they might destroy him but when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence, &c. he charged the multitude not to make him known. Matt. xii. 14-16. Mark iii. 6, 7.
When Jesus heard that John was beheaded, he departed thence by a ship into a desert place apart.-Matt. xiv. 12, 13.
Though Christ was free, and ought not to be charged with tribute money; yet he said to Peter, Notwithstanding lest we should offend them, go, &c.
take, and give unto them for thee and me.-Matt. xvii. 24-27.
When Christ had raised the ruler's daughter from the dead, he commanded that something should be given her to eat.-Mark v. 41-43.
Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.—John vii. 1.
They took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out, &c. and so passed by.-John viii. 59.
From that day forth they took counsel together to put him to death: Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence into a country near the wilderness.-John xi. 53, 54.
The doors were shut where the
disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews.-John xx. 19.
When Saul persecuted the church at Jerusalem, the brethren were scattered abroad.--Acts viii. 1. 3, 4. xi. 19.
The Jews took counsel to kill Paul; but their laying await was known unto Saul, and they watched the gates day and night to kill him: then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket, &c. The Grecians went about to slay him; which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cæsarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus.-Acts ix. 23-25. 29, 30. xix. 30, 31. xvii. 10. 14, 15. 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33.
Paul and Barnabas being at Iconium, the Jews and Gentiles made an assault to use them despitefully, and to stone them: they were aware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, &c.-Acts xiv. 1. 5, 6.
When the magistrates sent to let the apostles go, Paul said, Let them come themselves,&c.-Acts xvi.36,37.
When Paul was in danger, the brethren often sent him and others away from the place.-Acts xvii. 5. 10. 13. xix. 30, 31.
The captain commanded that Paul should be examined by scourging, &c. Paul said, Is it lawful for you to
scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? which prevented his being scourged.-Acts xxii. 24-26.29. xvi. 37, 38.
Paul said to Ananias, Sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? &c. But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; of the hope and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question (whereupon the council divided, and broke up). When Paul understood that there was a conspiracy to kill him, he gave notice thereof to the chief captain, who conveyed him away from them.-Acts xxiii.3. 6-9.14,&c. Paul pleaded in his defence before Felix ; and afterward appealed unto Cæsar.-Acts xxiv. 10, &c. xxv. 8, 9. xxvi. 1, &c.
Paul persuaded those in the ship to eat meat, when they were in danger, saying, This is for your health, &c.-Acts xxvii. 33-35.
I beseech you, brethren, &c. that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea.-Rom. xv. 30, 31. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil, &c. of whom be thou aware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words.-2 Tim. iv. 14, 15.
Some, of whom the world was not worthy, wandered in deserts, and in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.-Heb. xi. 38.
V. To look to the cause of our Sufferings, that it be for well doing, for the sake of Christ, and a good Conscience and not as Busybodies or Evildoers.
They also that render me evil for good, are mine adversaries: because I follow the thing that is good.-Ps. xxxviii. 20. xxxv. 20. cix. 4, 5.
Do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image? &c. but if ye
worship not, ye shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.— Dan. iii. 14, 15. 18.
Daniel cast into the lions' den for praying to God contrary to the king's decree.-Dan. vi. 7, &c.
Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time, for it is an evil time.-Amos v. 13. Ps. xxxix. 1.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, &c. falsely for my sake, &c. for ighteousness' sake.-Matt.v. 10,11.
When they charged the apostles not to teach in Christ's name, they said, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.-Acts iv. 17-20.
The high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that you should not teach in this name? &c. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.-Acts v. 27-29.
But in all things approving ourselves, &c. as deceivers, and yet true. 2 Cor. vi. 4. 8.
If I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.Gal. v. 11. vi. 12.
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, &c. So is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, &c. This is thankworthy, if a man for confering wrongfully.-1 Pet. ii. 12. 15. 19. science toward God endure grief, suf
happy are ye: and be not afraid, &c. If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.-1 Pet. iii. 14. 17.
of Christ, happy are ye, &c. but let If ye be reproached for the name none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other mens' matters: yet