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done ? is the voice of one thai recollects himself after ä ralli aétion; or the voice of a mio altopilhed at the discovery afflic.
tions make of his las; but no fuch voice as this is ordinarily * heard among carbal med.
3. Thirdly, Ad unsound professor, if left to his choice, would råthet chúfs fia thañ affliction ; abd sees more evil io that, thai
And it cannot be doubted, if we consider the principle by Di Which all böregenerate men ate acted, is seose, not faith. Hence
Job's friends would have argued his hypocrisy, Job xxxvi. 21. And had their application been as right as their rule, it would have concluded it; This (viz. fio) haft thou chofen; rather than
affliétion. no I do not faộ that an upright man cambot commit a moral
evil, to escape á penal evil. O that daily obfervation did not
too pleatifully furbith us withi fad jostances of that kind! But si upright ones do not, dare not, upon a serious deliberate discuss le lion and debate, chuse fia rather than affliction; what they int may do upoo furpritals, and in the violence of temptation, is of apother nature.
But falfe and vöfound heart discovers itfelf in the choice ič į makes úpon deliberation, and that frequently when fin and
trouble come io coinpetition. Put the cafe, faith Augustine,
å ruffiao should with one hand set the cup of drunkennels to is thy mouth, and with the other a dagger to thy breast, and say,
drink or die ; thou shouldell rather chufe to die fober, than 10 live a drunkard : Aod many Chrifians have relifted upto blood,
Ittiving agaiolt fia, and, with renowned Moses; chofen afflic. ition, the worst of afflictiods, yèa, death itself ió the most for: sé midable appearance, rather than fin; and it is the habitual tem
per and resolution of every gracious heart fo to do, though
thole holy refòlutloos are fometimes over-borne by violence of - temptation,
But the hypocrite dreads less the defilement of his soul, than the loss of his estate, liberty, of life. If you ask upon what ground then doth the apostle suppose, i Cor. xiii. 3. a man may give his body to be burnt, and not have charity; that the salamander of hypocrisy may live in the fame of martyr.' dom? The an fwer is at hand; They that churc death in the leale of this text; do not chuse it to escape fin, but to feed aod indulge it. Tho fe ftrange adventures (if any such be) are raiher to maititain their own honour, and eprol their oames among orthy and famous persoas to posterity; or out of a bliad zeal Yot. VII.
to their espoused crrors aod mistakes, chan in a due regard to the glory of God, and the preservation of integrity. ,' I fear to ! speak it, but it must be spokea, (laith * Hierom), That even
martyrdom ittelf, when suffered for admiration and applause, i profits nothing, but that blood is thed in vain.'
4. Fourthly, It is the property of an unregenerate soul, under, adversity, to turo from creature to creature for support aod comfort, and not from every creature to God, alone. So long as their feet can touch grouod, I mean, feel any creature relief or comfort ander them, they can sublitt aod live in afflictions; but when they lole grouod, when all creature refuge fails,, then, their hearts fail too..
Thus Zedekiah, and the self-deceiving Jews, when they faw their own strength failed them, and there was little hope left that they should deliver themselves from the Chaldeans, what. do they in that Strait ? Do they, with upright Jeholhaphat say, “ Our eyes are voto thee?”. No, no, their eyes were upon Egypt for fuccour, not upon Heaven; well, Pharaoh and his aids are left still, all hope is not gone, Jer. xxxvii. 9. See the like in Ahaz, in a fore plunge and distress he courts the king of. Affyria for help, 2 Chroo. xxviii. 22, 23. That project falling, why then he will try what the gods of Damascus can do for him; any way rather than the right way, Flectere fi nequeam, superos, Acheronta movebo. ..
So it is with many others : if one child die, what do they do, rug to God, and comfort themselves in this, the Lord livoth, though my child die. If an ellate be lost, and a family fipking, do they with David comfort themselves in the everlasting covenant, ordered and sure? No, no; but if one relation die, there is another alive ; if an esate be lost, yet oot all; something is left fill, and the case will mend.
As long as ever tuch men have any visible encouragement, they will hang upon it, and not make up all in Christ, and encourage themselves in the Lord. To tell them of rejoicing in the Lord, when the fig-tree blossoms not, is what they cannot understand. I
5. Fifthly, To conclude; an upsound heirt never comes out of the furnace of affliction purged, mortified, and more fpiritual and holy than when he was cast into it; his scum and dross is not there separated from him; nay, the more they are afflic
* Times dicere, fed dicendum eft; martyrium ipfum fi ideo fiat ut admirationi et laudi habeatur a fratribus í fruftra fanguis ef: fufus eft. Hier,
ted, the worse they are. “ Why should ye be smitten aby « more? ge will revolt more and more," Ifa. i. 5. And, to keep to our metaphor, consult Jer. vi. 29. God had put that incorrigible people into the furpace of affliction, and kept them long io that fire; and what was the issue? Why, saith the prophet, “ The bellows are burnt, the lead is conlumed of the « fire, the founder melteth in vain, &c. reprobate silver shall “ men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.”
If the fire of affliction be contioually blowa till the very bellows be borot, that is, the tongue, or rather the lungs of the prophet, which have some resemblance to bellows; though these be even spent io reproving, and threatening, and denouncing woe upon woc, and judgment upon judgment; and God fulfils his word upon them; yet still they are as before ; the drofs remains: though Jerusalem be made a furnace, and the inhabitants the Aeth boiliog in it, as is noted (pertinently
to my discourse) in Ezek. xxiv, 6, 13. the scum remains i with them, and cannot be separated by the fire ; and the reason
is plain, because no affliction in itself purges fin, but as it is sé fanctified, and works in the virtue of God's bleflag, and in
pursuance of the promises. . . . :: O think on this you that have had thousands of afflictions in i one kind and another, and none of them all have done you
good; they have not mortified, humbled, or bcnefited you at all : And thus you see what the effects of adversity are, when it meets with a graceless heart...
SECT. IV. RY this time, reader, I suppose thou art desirous to know D what effects adversity and affliction use to have when they meet with an honest and fiocere heart; Oply, before I come to particulars, I think it acedful to acquaint thee, that the fruits of afflictions are mostly after-fruits, and not so discernable by the Christian himself under the rod, as after he hath been exercifed by it, Heb. xii, 11. and calmly relects upon what is past; nor doch every Christiao attain the same measure and degree; some rejoice, others commonly submit ; but I think these seven effects are ordinarily found in all upright hearts that pass under the rod.
1. Firft, The fincere and upright soul betakes itself to God in affliction ; Job i. 20. When God was smiring, Job was praying; when God afflicted, Job worshipped : So David, Pfalm cxvi. 3, 4. " I found sorrow and trouble, then called I
“ upon the name of the Lord.” And when the messenger of Satan buffe ied Paul, “ For this caufe (saith he) I belought the « Lord thrice, " 2 Cor. xii. 8. Alas! whither should a child go in distress, but to its father?
2. Secondly, He sees and owas the hapd of God in his amie , tions, how much or little foever of the instruments of trouble appear. The Lord hath taken away, taith Job, Job i. 21. God hath bidden him, saith David, 2 Sam. xvi. 1o. If she blow come from the hand of a wicked man, yet he fees that wicked haod io God's righ.cous hand, Plalm xvii, 14. And this approheosion is fundamental to all that communion neo have with God io their afflictions, and to all that, peaceablegels and gracious submission of their spirits under the rod : He that lees pothing of God in his troubles, bath nothing of God in his topl.
3. Thirdly, He can justity God in all the afflictions and trogbles that come upon him, be they never fo levere. " Thou 4 art jou in all that is brought upon us," faith Nehemiah, Neh. ix. 33. "Thou hast punished us less than our iniqui
sies delerve,” saith Ezra, Ezra ix, 13. " It is of the Lord's % mercy we are not consumed," saith the church, Lan. iii. 27. Are we in Babylon ? ļt is a mercy we are not in hell. If God çoodema him, yet he will juftify God; if God cast him into a sea of trouble, yet he will ackoowledge, in all that lea of trou. ble, there is not one drop of injustice. If I have not deserved such usage from the hands of nien, yet I have deserved worse than this at the hands of God."
4. Fourthly, Afflictions use to melt and humble gracious hearts; there is an habicual tenderness planted in their fpirits, and a just occasion quickly draws it forth : And so usual a thing it is for gracious hearts to be humbled yoder the afflictings of God, that affliction is upon that score called humiliation : The effect put for the cause, to Thew where one is, the other will be, 2 Cor. xii. 21. My God will humble me, 2. e. he will affic me with the fight of your Gas and disorders ; and if a gracious foul be fo' apt to be humbled for other mens fins, much more for his own.
5. Fifthly, The uprighę foul is inquisitive under the rod, to find out that evil for which the Lord contends with him by af fiction ; Job x. 2. '" Shew me wherefore thou contendest with “ me:" And Job xxxiv. 32. " That wbich I fee pot, tcach " thou me: If I ave done iniquity. I will do no more," So Lam: iii. 39, 40. ! Let us search and try our ways, apd corn a¢ gain to the Lord." lo afflicting, God searches them, and upder affliction they search themselves : Willing they are to hear the voice of the rod, and glad of any discovery it makes of their hearts.
Sixthly, The upright heart chuseth 10 ly under afflictioa, rather than to be delivered from it by sin. I say, this is the choice and resolution of every upright heart, however it may be sometimes over-borne by the violence of tempration, Heb. xi. 35. Not accepting deliverance, viz. upon fipful terms and conditions.
They are sensible how the flesh fmarts under the rod, but had father it quid smart, than conscience should foart yader guilt, Afiction, fạith an upright fon), grieyes me, but fio will grieve God; affliction voynds my Bela, byt lin will wound my soul. Deliverapce I lobg for, but I will not pay so dear for it, how much foever I delire it : Nolo tanti emere poenitentiam : Oute ward case is sweet, but ipward peace is sweeter.
7. Seventhly, He prizęth the spiritual good gotten by affliction, above deliverance from it, and cap bless God from his
heart for those mercies, how dear foever his feln hath paid for i them; Pfalm cxix. 67, and 71. " It is good for me that I have
“ been afflicted.” Such is the value the people of God have i for fpiritual graces, that they caopot think them dear, what
ever their felh hath paid for them. The mortification of oņe
last, one discovery of sincerity, oge manifestation of God to in their souls, doth much more than make ameods for all that they s bave endured under the rød. .
Is patience improved, felf-acquaiotaace increased, the vanity of the creature more effectually caught, longings after heaven çoflamed ? o blessed afflictions, that are attended with such blessed fruits ! It was the saying of a holy man, voder a fore trouble for the death of an only fop, when ia that dark day God bad gracioung manifested himself to his soul; 'O, (faith he) [ would be contented, if it were poflible, to lay an only son in
the grave every day I have to live in the world, for one such i discovery of the love of God as I now cojoy. .