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done ? is the voice of one thai récollects him félf after ä rashi action ; or the voice of a itaa altopished at the discovery afflictions wake of his lins; but no such voice as this is ordinarily beard among carbal med.
3. Thirdly, Ad unfound profesor, if left to his choice, would rather chafe fia than affliction and sees more evil in that, than io this:
Aod it cannot be doubted, if we consider the principle by which all boregenerate meo ste acted, is seose, not faith. Hence Job's friends would have atgued his hypocrisy, Job xxxvi. 21. And had their applicatioa bees as right as their rule, it would have concluded it ; This (viz. fio) haft thou chefen; rather that affliction.
I do not say that an upright man cannot commit a moral cvil, to escape á penal evil. O that daily observation did not iso pleatifully furbith us withi fad iostances of that kind ! But upright ones di not, dare not; upon a serious deliberate discuss fion and debate, chuse fia rather than affliction; what they may do opoa furpritals, and in the violence of tetaptation, is of another Datore.
But a falfe and uplound heart discovers itfelf in the choice it makes upon deliberation, aad that frequently when fin and trouble come ia coinpetition. Put the cafe, faith Augustine, a ruffiao should with one hand see the cup of drunkennels to thy mouth, and with the other a dagger to thy breast, and say, driok or die ; thou shouldest rather chufe to die fober, than 10 live a drunkard : And many Chrifians have refifted uoto blood, ftriviog agaioft fia, and, with renowaed Moses; chofen afflic. ion, the worst of afflictions, yea, death itself io the soft for midable appearance, rather than fin; and it is the habitual temper aod resolution of every gracious heart fo to do, though those holy resolutions are fometimes over-borne by violence of temptation,
But the hypocrite dreads less the defilement of his foul, than the loss of his estate, liberty, of life. If you ask upon what ground then doth the apostle suppose, 1 Cor. xiii. 3. a man may give his body to be burnt, and not have charity; that the salamander of hypocrify may live in the name of martyrdom? The answer is at hand; They that chuse death in the fenfe of this text, do not chufc it to escape fin, but to feed and indulge it. Those strange adventures (if any fuch be) are rather to 'maititain their own honour, and enrol their names among worthy and famous persoas to posterity; or out of a blind zcal
to their espoused errors and mistakes, than in a due regard to the glory of God, and the preservation of integrity. . ' I fear to • speak it, but it must be spoken, (faith * Hierom), That even . martyrdom ittelf, when suffered for admiration and applause, profits nothing, but that blood is thed in vain.'
4. Fourthly, It is the property of an unregenerate soul, uader. adversity, to turo trom creature to creature for support aod comfort, and not from every creature to God alone. So long as their feet can touch ground, I mean, feel any creature relief or comfort ander them, they can sublift and live in afflictions; but when they lose ground, when all creature refuge fails, then their hearts fail too.
Thus Zedekiah, and the self-deceiving Jews, when they faw their own ftrength failed them, and there was little hope left that they should deliver themselves from the Chaldeans, what. do they io that strait? Do they, with upright Jeholhaphat say, “ Our eyes are upto thee ?”. No, no, their eyes were upon Egypt for fuccour, not upon Heaven; well, Pharaoh and his aids are left ftill, all hope is not gone, Jer. xxxvii. 9. See the like in Ahaz, in a fore plunge and distress he courts the king of Assyria for help, 2 Chroo. xxviii. 22, 23. That project failing, 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 lipeth, though my child die. If an ellate be lost, and a family Sinking, do they with David comfort themselves in the everlast ing covenant, ordered and sure ? No, no; but if one relation die, there is another alive ; if an estate be loft, yet not all; fomething is left still, 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.
5. Fifthly, To conclude; an upsound heart never comes ou! 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 feparated from him; nay, the more they are afflic
* Times dicere, fed dicendum eftmartyrium ipsum fi ideo fat ut admirationi et laudi habeatur a fratribus í fruftra fanguis ef: fufus eft. Hier,
ted, the worse they are. Why should ye be fmitten aby more?
ye will revolt more and more,” Ifa. i. 5. And, to keep to our metaphor, consult Jer. vi. 29. God had put that iQcorrigible people into the furpace of affliction, and kept them long io that fire; and what was the issue? Why, faith the prophet, “ The bellows are burot, the lead is consumed of the « fire, the founder melteth in vain, &c. reprobate filver shall
men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.”.
If the fire of affliction be contioually blowa till the very bellows be bornt, that is, the tongue, or rather the lungs of the prophet, which have some resemblance to bellows; though these be even spent in reproving, and threatening, and denouncing woe upon woe, and judgment upon judgment; and God fulfils his word upon them; yet fill they are as before ; the dross remains: though Jerusalem be made a furnace, aod the in. habitants the Aeth boiling in it, as is noted (pertineatly to my discourse) in Ezek. xxiv. 6, 13, the scum remains with them, and cannot be separated by the fire ; and the reason is plain, because no affliction in itself parges fin, but as it is fanctified, and works in the virtue of God's bleflog, and in pursuance of the promises.
O think on this you that have had thousands of afflictions in one kind and another, and done of them all have done you good; they have not mortified, humbled, or benefited you at all : And thus you see what the effects of adversity are, when it meets with a graceless heart.
SECT. IV. BY Y this time, reader, I suppose thou art desirous to know
what effects adversity and affliction use to have when they meet with an honest and fiocere beart: Only, before I come to particulars, I think it ocedfal to acquaiot thee, that the fruits of afflictions are mostly after-fruits, and not so difcernable 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 doth 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. First, The fiacere and upright foul 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 buffered Paul, “ For this cause (faith 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 fees and owns the hand of God in his afflic. 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, faiib David, 2 Sam. xvi. 10. If she blow come from the hand of a wicked man, yet he fees that wicked haod in God's righteous hand, Palm xvii. 14. And this apprehepsion is fundamental to all that communion co have with God in their afflictions, and to all that peaceablegels and gracious submission of their spirits under the rod : He that lees nothing of God in his troubles, hath nothing of God in his loul.
3. Thirdly, He can justity God in all the amictions apd trogbles that come upon him, be they never fo levere. " art jou in all that is brought upon us," faith Nehemiah, Neh. ix. 33. “ Thou haft punished us less than our iniqui
sies delerve," saith Ezra, Ezra ix, 13." It is of the Lord's
mercy we are not consumed,” faith the church, Lam. iii. 22. Are we in Babylon ? It is a mercy we are opt in hell. If God condema him, yet he will juftify Gad; if God calt 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 foch ufage from the hands of men, yet I have deserved worfe than this at the hands of God.
4. Fourthly, Afflictions use to melt and humble gracious hearts; there is an habitual tenderness planted in their fpirits, and a just occasion quickly draws it forth and fo vfual a thing it is for gracious hearts to be humbled under the affictings 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, . e. he will afflict me with the fight of your fins and disorders; and if a gracions foul be fo apt to be humbled for other mens fios, much more for his own.
5. Fifthly, The upright foul is inquisitive under the rod, to find out that evil for which the Lord contends with him by af fi&tion ; Job x. 2. “ Shew me wherefore thou contendest with
me :' And Job xxxiv. 32. " That which I fee pot, tcach
thou me: If I þave done iniquity. I will do no more." $o Lam: iii. 39, 40.
! Let us search and try our ways, apd corn aos
gain to the Lord." lo afflicting, God searches them, and upder affliction they search themselves : Willing they are to hear the yoice of the rod, and glad of any discovery it makes of their bearts.
Sixthly, The upright heart chụseth to ly under affliction, rather than to be delivered from it by fin. I say, this is the choice and resolution of every upright heart, however it may be fometimes over-borne by the violence of tempration, Heb. xi, 35. Not accepting deliverance, viz. upon fiatal terms and conditions.
They are sensible how the flesh fmarts under the rod, but had rather it should smart, thap confcience should smart vader guilt, Amiction, faith an upright foul, grieyes me, but fio will grieve God; affliction wounds my Aeth, but lin will wound wy foul. Deliverapce I long for, but I will pot pay fo dear for it, how much foever I delire it: Nolo tanti emere poenitentiam : Outward case is sweet, but ipward peace is sweeter.
7. Seventhly, He prizeth the spiritual good gotten by affliction, above deliverance from it, and cap bless God from his heart for those mercies, how dear foever his felh hath paid for them; Psalm cxix. 67, and 7!. " It is good for me that I have “ been afflicted.” Such is the value the people of God have for spiritual graces, that they caopot think them dear, whatçver their flesh hath paid for them. The mortification of one luft, oge discovery of fincerity, one manifestation of God to their souls, doth much more than make amends for all that they have endured under the rud.
Is patience improved, felf-acquaintance increased, the vanity of the creature more effectually taught, longings after heaven eoflamed? O blessed afflictions, that are attended with such blessed fruits ! It was the faying of a holy man, voder a fore trouble for the death of an only fon, when ia that dark day God had gracioung manifested himself to his foul; 0, (faith he) [ I would be contented, if it were poflible, to lay an only foo ia ! the grave every day I have to live in the world, for one such • discovery of the love of God as I now enjoy.'