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ske inspired volume. They now ties which they owe to God and feel that God's word is a light to each other. What a wide dif. unto their feet and a lamp unto ference is there, in ordinary cases, their paths, while passing through between the prayers which are the darkness and temptations of made in a day of adversity and the present world.
those which are made in prosper. Psalm cxix. 50, 54. “ This is
ous seasons ? Those who feel my comfort in my afflition for thy
themselves to be burdened with word hath quickened me.
guilt and forrow, and are con
Thy fatutes have been my songs in
vinced that God is a rewarder of the house of my pilgrimage.”
those who diligently seek him, The Psalmist declares in the fame
will feel themselves engaged to Psalm, “ The law of thy mouth
go to the throne of grace, and to is better unto me than thousands
feek for merey. of gold and filer. How sweet
Prayer is not to them an un. are thy words unto my tafte ! Yea
welcome task, but is the delight sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
of their souls. When they find (verses 72, 103. Afiliations are
Satan and their wicked hearts necessary to lead persons to un.
striving to throw hindrances in derstand many parts of the Bible,
the way of the performance of
this duty, they will not rest until particularly those which relate to fufferings, and the divine support
they have, in some degree, obtain. under them. Who understandeth
ed the victory, and can fervently like the good man under the rod,
pour out their hearts to God. how tribulation worketh patience;
He is pleased sometimes remarkaand patience, experience ; and ex
bly to fill their mouths with argu. perience, hope? Who understand
ments, when all worldly appear. eth like the patient fufferer how
ances are against them, while they confolation aboundeth by Christ,
are bowing at his footstool. They as the fruit of chastisement. The
are uncommonly aflifted in pray. beft of men do not know how
ing for themfelves, for their fammuch they trust in themselves and
ilies and friends, for enemies, for in the world, until their attach.
the whole human race, and espe. ment is tried and broken by the
cially for the peace and prosperity
of Zion. rod. Now they see more fully than ever their own folly in plac.
. It is painful to those who de ing such confidence, in the things
rive benefit from their affli&ions which perish. They will blefs
to be deprived, by ill health, or God for ever for that discipline
other means, of attending on the which hath opened to them the
worship and ordinances of God's pride and deceitfulness of their
house. These are objects for hearts, and hath brought them
which they find an increasing rel: to' discern the worth and glory
Tish as they are emptied from velof that kingdom, which cannot
fel to veffel, by their trying chanbe moved. True Christians have
ges. Hence when they are exclurarely so clear evidence of their
ded from the place which they adoption as when their earthly
love, they can adopt the language
of David, when he was wandering hopes are dalhed in pieces.
in the wildernefs of Judah, by the Sanctified afflictions lead men perfecutions of Saul. “06 to be more attentive to the du. I thou art my God; carly will s
seek thee: my soul thirfteth for discharge this duty, and to come thec, in a dry and thirsty land, home to the conscience than en. where no water is; to see thy during chastisement from the hand power and thy glory as I have of our heavenly Father. His glofeen thee, in the sanctuary.” (Pl. ry appears to them of such worth, Ixiii, 1, 2.)
and the souls of men are so ten. Sanctified afflictions are instru- derly loved, that they dare not mental of stirring up persons to a be filent when called to sprak in faithful discharge of the duties of a way of warning and reproof. the second table of the law. There The other duty which I fhall are two in particular, which I mention in this place is compasshall name. The first is the duty fion and kindnels to those who of adminiftering juft reproof. This are afflicted. We are commanded duty can never be rightly per- to bear one another's burdens, to formed without much felf-denial. love as brethren, to be pitiful, It is too common either to back and to be courteous. bite those who do wrong, or to There are men whose inward reprove them in anger. Both are thought is, that their houses shall forbidden by the word of God. continue for ever and their dwellWe are bound to tell our neigh- ing places to all generations, bor, and especially a Christian They are intoxicated with their brother, to his face, what we prosperity, and presume that no think amiss in his behavior, and painful changes await them. They to intermingle meekness with firm- ; look with contempt upon the ness. When we feel calm and I needy and afflicted, and are dis. tender, we hate to wound the feels posed to charge them with bring. ings of another, but the spirit of ing their troubles upon themselves, the gospel requires us to reprove or continuing them by their im. fin in others, whatever may be prudence or timidity. Job xii. 5, the consequences. A mind so. * He that is ready to dip with lemnized by prayer, and commun- | his feet, is as a lamp despised in ion with God in other duties, the thoughts of him that is at a mind which seeth the exceed. ease.” The sons of carnal please ing finfulness of finand is bro't ure make their boast that they to the footstool by the rod, is pre- have kept themselves clear from pared to adminifter reproof, with the troubles which fall upon othout being overwhelmed with a ers, and say, “ we shall never be Stavish dread of the wrath of the reduced to their late, or if we offender, and to do it in a manner should, we will soon extricate our. which is best suited to work a felves by our wisdom and forti. reformation. What boldness, and tude. Let those poor wretches at the same time what meekness, suffer, it is good enough for them, did the prophets and apostles dif- but as for us, we feel above subcover, in reproving the ungodly? mitting to the weakness and the and in attempting to pull out of dejection which they discover." the fire their near friends ? We Oye proud boasters, betray no shall, according to our sphere of longer such impious folly and action, imitate them in some de- madness, but remember that the gree if we are governed by the days of adversity will come upon lame fpirit. Nothing has a hap- you like an armed man, and plunge pier tendency to lead persons to | you in misery !
Chriftianity speaks a very dif- / tians love one another !! The different language from that of the ciples of Christ sometimes in the men of the world, Heb. xiii. 3. present world, fall out with each “ Remember them that are in other, and give mutual wounds. bonds, as bound with them, and But joint sufferings have always them which suffer adversity, as been found to check their animosbeing yourselves also in the body.” | ities and to unite them in the Nothing teaches persons to feel closer bonds of affection. When for the children of sorrow like such are the fruits of our afflicexperience in the school of advertions we have not been smitten in sity. This eminently qualifies the vain, but shall derive peace and followers of the compassionate comfort from them in this world; Saviour, to sympathise with the and shall receive a far more exceed. afflicted, and to strive to lightening and eternal weight of glory their woes. They extend their in the world to come.' compassionate feelings to all who IV. Sanctified afflictions are inare under trouble, and especially strumental in weaning men from to those, who are the friends of earthly attachments, and in ripenthe great Redeemer. They will ing them for death and heaven. strive to relieve the wants of thofe | The pious Patriarchs confeffed who are needy, and to bind up themselves amidst their troubles to the broken spirit. 2 Cor. i. 4. be pilgrims and strangers on the « Who comforteth us in all our earth and to be looking for a city tribulation, that we may be able which hath foundations, whose to comfort them which are in any builder and maker is God. The trouble, by the comfort where- primitive Christians took joyfully with we ourselves are comforted the spoiling of their goods. Know. of God.” They labor to turning that they had in heaven, a the attention of their afflicted fel better and an enduring substance. low mortals to the only sources of Pious persons who have suffer. consolation, and to prepare them ed many pains, and endured many for deliverance in the present outward losses and bereavements, world, and immortal glory in the look upon this world as being a world to come. They can cheer- very empty place, and not by any fully welcome to their bosoms, the means worthy to be sought as a humble and patient disciples of the portion. While they give thanks blessed Saviour ; however much to God, for the innumerable temthey are despised by the ungodly poral deliverances and bleflings world. Knowing these to be the which they have received, they excellent of the earth, they are dare not reft their hope of support compassionate and kind to them and enjoyment on any thing befor their Lord and Master's sake, I neath the skies. and rejoice in the prospect of meet. They can discern no earthly, *ing them in the paradise above, prospect which has unadulterated where all forrow and crying shall | charms ; but every thing around be done away.
them wears the appearance of de. The enemies of the primitive cay and dissolution. They watch Christians remarked 'concerning and they pray that they may not them when they saw their strong be ensnared by earthly allure. mutual affe&tion under their fieryments, and that they may be in trials, “ Behold how these Chrif. 'constant readiness for the ap, proaching change by death. The apostle Paul. He was raised up eternal world grows more and for eminent usefulness in the more familiar to their minds, and church of God, and he did more their thoughts are much employed to propagate christianity than any on that state into which they are other mere man who hath ever liv. foon to enter. Many of their ed. He suffered much in his lameditations are employed on death bors to advance and defend the reand on the future judgment. Al. ligion of the bleffed Saviour. To though they cannot determine use his own language, he was in what their views will be, when deathsoft,' while he was travelling they shall be called to walk thro'round the world, to proclaim the the dark valley, yet they believe glad tidings of peace and pardon that the end of the upright man, through a crucified Saviour. The will be peace. They are much in followers of Christ, at large, have prayer to God, that he would not not been called to such services, as forsake them in the hour of death, was the apostle, nor to endure such and believe that the only way in trials as he endured, and therefore which divine confolation is then it is not strange, that their conso. to be expected, is in a humble i lations should fall far below his. walk with God, and in the faith. But remember, ye patient sufferful discharge of every duty while ers, that God is not unmindful of life is continued. What a firm your labor of love, and that he's hope, and what animating prof. is training you up to serve him bet- . peats, were enjoyed by the apostle ter while on earth, and to enjoy when he could declare, as in 2 Cor. a brighter crown in heaven. God v. “ For we know that if our will not break the bruised reed, carthly house of this tabernacle and the smoking flax he will not were diffolved, we have a build. quench. He heareth every figh, ing of God, an house not made and every breathing of the conwith hands eternal in the heavens. trite heart; and will give you grace For in this we groan, earnestly to persevere to the end of your defiring to be cloathed upon with days, and to come off conquerors, our house which is from heaven. yea more than conquerors through We are confident I say, and wil. him who hath loved you, and givling rather to be absent from the en himself to die for you. body, and to be present with the We always find the most heavLord !” How earnestly desirous enly-minded Christians among was our apostle that Christ might those who have smarted most by be magnified in his body, whether the rod. To them meditations by life or by death? He could say have become familiar on that glo. as in Phill. i. " For to me to rious state in which the redeemed live is Christ and to die is gain. will be brought into the immediate But if I live in the flesh, this is presence of God and of the Lamb, the fruit of my labor, yet what I and will unite with the spirits of shall choose, I wot (or know ) not. I just men made perfect, and with For I am in a strait betwixt two, the holy angels in everlasting songs having a desire to depart, and to of praise. However far they may be with Christ which is far better." fall short of rapturous enjoyments
Let not Christians in general in religion, while they see through be discouraged because they have a glais darkly, they discover a not risen to the attainments of the solidity and firmness in their exer
cises, which manifest that their ; conform to the law of benevolence light is shining with increasing towards men ; and in particular, brightness unto the perfect day. will be emboldened to reprove fin,
I have now endeavored to col- and be engaged to exercise comlect and bring into view fome of passion and kindness towards the the principal evidences of sancti. afflicted. Sanctified afflictions are fied affli&ions. Can we say in a inftrumental in weaning men from review of our troubles, as the earthly attachments, and in ripenPfalmift did in a review of his, ing them for death and heaven. « It is good for me that I have These are very plain rules of been afflicted ; that I might learn trial, and such as maft commend thy Atatutes.” Our afflictions have themselves to our minds. If we certainly had some effect upon us; have fought to regard them in either in rendering our hearts ten our practice when we have been der, and our lives obedient, or in in tribulation, we have found true hardening our hearts, and occa- peace ; and can say with the foning us to become more obfti- Psalmist, “ That it is good for nate and open in the practice of us that we have been afflicted." wickedness than ever. If the last Are there not some who can be the effect our cafe is alarming adopt this language, and find indeed, and we have much cause evidence that they are heirs of to fear that to us is reserved the heaven ? And may say in some blackness of darkness for ever. happy moments with the Apostle,
Let us recollect the marks or “ I reckon that the sufferings of evidences of sanctified afflictions the present time are not worthy which have been brought into | to be compared with the glory view, and impartially compare which shall be revealed in us?" ourselves with them.
(Rom. viii. 18.) Let such main. When any derive benefit from tain, at all times, a patient and a their afflictions they acknowl. devout, a watchful and a heaven. edge and adore the hand of God ly temper. "Their days of mours. in them ; and they feel fatisfied | ing will soon be ended, and they with the perfect government of will soon be admitted into the the Most High. The subjects world of everlasting light and joy. of sanctified afflictions are led to How awful is the state of those a clear discovery of their fins, and who have become hardened in all an unreserved confession of the their afflictions? What can such divine justice, and wisdom in their expeet in the course which they chaftisement. They examine their are pursuing but everlasting misehearts and their past lives, and ry ? “ He that being often reprov. abhor themselves as being very ed, hardeneth his neck, shall sudvile in the eyes of infinite purity. denly be destroyed, and that withThey who are afflicted in coven out remedy." (Prov. xxix. 1.) ant faithfulness, will find the grace What cause is there to fear that of the gospel peculiarly endeared all the evils which they have felt to them, and will strive to obey in the present world, are but so God's will in all things. They many presages of endless, vindiawill prize and seek after com ive wrath in the world to come? munion with God in the various Let them be warned let them be exercises of private and public entreated, to search and try their worship. They will endeavor to-/ ways and turn unto the Lord !