The Benefits of Sanctified Afflictions
(New England Tract Society, 1820)
Apostate man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. This is the language of inspiration, and it is the language of experience. While God is daily conferring favors upon us, he is at the same time bearing constant testimony against our sins, by giving to us the cup of sorrow. Disappointed hopes, losses, pains, and natural death, must be endured by man. Roses, scattered by the side of his path through life, are found to grow on thorns. His present state is every way suited to be a state of disappointment and trial.
It ought to be our constant endeavor to derive benefit from our afflictions. If they are sanctified to us, we shall be enabled to say with the Psalmist, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." The pious man found his troubles working for his spiritual and everlasting good. He was excited by his afflictions to learn God's statutes, or to study and obey his revealed will. Divine truth became sweeter than honey to his taste. His love to God's character, law, government, and grace was increased, and he was engaged to the way of his commandments with the greater delight.
It is the design of this article to point out some of the Evidences and Benefits of Sanctified Afflictions; and if it shall be the means of imparting true consolation to any afflicted soul, the writer will have an abundant reward.
The subject is one in which all are interested, for all are exposed to afflictions; but it is especially interesting to the children of sorrow, now suffering under the chastening rod of their heavenly Father; for it is a subject which occupies their thoughts, and furnishes matter for daily self-examination.
1. Our afflictions promote our best good when we acknowledge and adore the hand of God in bringing them upon us.
God is the universal Creator. All creatures and events, both in the natural and moral worlds, are, and forever must remain under his government. If creatures could uphold their own existence, they would become independent of God, and might control his designs.
To suppose any part of the creation to be freed from the divine government, would be attended with the same absurd consequences. If any part of the creation could govern itself, that part might set up a claim in opposition to the designs of Jehovah, and defeat his purposes in bringing forth his creatures. Some contend that God maintains a general providence, but not a particular one, over the works of his hand; and represent it as beneath the dignity of the Infinite Mind to regard the minute parts of creation. But let such persons consider, that a general providence implies the government of all the particular things of which it is composed, and that all parts of the divine plan are connected, and therefore a denial of a particular providence goes to a denial that God governs the world.
There may be a connection, which is discerned in the divine mind, between the opening of a flower, and the rise of a nation; the direction of a mote, and the fall of an empire. Though such knowledge is too high for us, it is not too high for the mind of Jehovah, and heightens the idea of his infinite greatness. When we consider him as governing all creatures and events, both great and small, we may discover something of that glory which demands our admiration and praise.
It is abundantly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, that the troubles which men endure are inflicted by Divine Providence. "Shall there be disaster in a city, and the Lord has not done it?" Amos 3:6. "Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" Lamentations 3:38. It is unnecessary to spend time in proving a doctrine which is so abundantly revealed in the inspired volume. If it were a fact that our troubles were the fruit of accident or chance, or blind fate, we must be inconsolable under them. But we are certain that "For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble spring from the ground." Job 5:6
We may be rationally convinced, that the troubles which we endure proceed from the hand of God; and yet we may practically refuse to acknowledge and adore his agency. There is a wide difference, in the present case; between acknowledging and murmuring; and acknowledging and adoring. The former conduct characterizes the wicked; the latter characterizes the righteous.
What a vast difference was there between the acknowledgment which Pharaoh paid to Jehovah, and that which was paid by Moses. Pharaoh was compelled to acknowledge the hand of Jehovah in bringing the plagues upon Egypt; but while he made this confession, his heart rose up against Israel and their God. Moses acknowledged the divine hand in bringing judgments upon the Egyptians and the Israelites, and at the same time he adored or reverenced him who was revealing his wrath against the disobedient.
The devils acknowledge the existence of the only living and true God; but in the moment of the confession, they tremble with horror, and are filled with pain. All the godly have a pleasing belief in the divine government, in the most trying seasons, and rejoice more or less, in the dominion of infinite wisdom and love. They see the hand which is stretched out in a way of correction, as well as in a way of mercy.
When Job's substance and children were taken from him in one day, he said, "the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." And when the Lord smote him with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown, and he took a potsherd to scrape himself with, and sat down among the ashes, he replied to the bitter reproaches of his wife, "What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips."
The Apostle says, "Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!" Hebrews 12:9
From these instances, with many more which might be adduced, it is evident that pious men acknowledge and adore the divine hand in laying troubles upon them. If, when we are afflicted, we eventually find our minds driven further from God and a cheerful acknowledgment of his chastising hand—we have just cause to be alarmed with ourselves. But let us not conclude in a moment, when we first enter into the furnace of affliction, that God has forsaken us, because we have not that lively sense of his perfection and his providence, which we may have had heretofore. If we find within ourselves, that amidst all the tumult and darkness of our minds, we have a fixed determination to trust in God though he slays us, we shall find some encouragement to hope that hereafter light will break in upon our minds, and that the present scourge will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
So long as we look no higher than second causes to find the author of our troubles—we shall pay no homage to God, and shall murmur at his dealings. Let the heart be placed upon the perfect character and government of the Most High, and we shall be stilled from complaining of our lot, and shall with Moses, Job, David, and other saints, both in the Old Testament and in the New—feel a holy reverence towards him who is pleased to chastise us.
No affliction for the present is joyous, but grievous; but
when it is sanctified, it produces a peace and a joy, to which the men of this
world are strangers. All things work together for the good of those who love
God. The light and momentary afflictions of this life will work for them a far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the world to come.
2. It is good for us to have been under the chastening rod, when we are led to a clear discovery of our sins, and a cordial acknowledgment of the divine justice and wisdom in our chastisement.
"I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that you in faithfulness have afflicted me." The eyes of the pious Psalmist were opened more clearly than ever upon his sins, and he felt that God was perfectly just in the present affliction.
Job says, in his address to the Lord, near the close of his long and heavy trials, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Observe the language of the faithful, while Jerusalem lay in ruins, and its inhabitants were either slain by the sword, or gone into captivity, "Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." The penitent Jews, after their return from Babylon, confessed that God was just in all that he had brought upon them—that he had done right, and that they had done wickedly.
The primitive Christians, while they were in bonds and imprisonment, and were exposed to meet death in its most dreadful forms, had a deep impression that they were among the chief of sinners, and thought themselves honored by being accounted worthy to suffer shame for Christ's name.
Even Christians have but a small degree of knowledge of the depravity of their hearts and the sins of their lives—until they are called to pass through some painful trials. Prosperity is apt to lull the mind to sleep, to abate its devotion, to slacken its watchfulness, and to throw a languor over all its exertions. How natural is it for us to say, when our mountain seems to stand strong—that we shall never be moved, or that adversity will never overtake us. When Christians are indulging this frame, they are preparing the way to meet with some disappointment, worldly loss or bereavement; or to be scourged in their own persons. When God is pleased to afflict them, they will be roused to self-examination and prayer. They will not pretend to the knowledge of all the reasons why God is now contending with them, but they will see enough in themselves to reveal to them the fitness, the necessity, and the justice of the present chastening rod.
Instead of wondering that they are taken in hand by the present correction, they will rather wonder that they have escaped so long, and have enjoyed so much prosperity.
Says the patient Christian in his afflictions, "I am convinced that I am a great sinner; and that I deserve all the expressions of divine wrath against the wicked, in time and in eternity. How have I forsaken God which made me; how have I lightly esteemed the Rock of my salvation. I have refused to give God the throne in my heart, and have been setting up idols there. I have shamefully neglected to reverence God's name and day, and have attended the ordinances of his house with coldness and indifference. I have not placed a just value on the faith once delivered to the saints, and have not been valiant for the truth upon the earth. How unfaithful have I been in the discharge of the duties which I owe to my family, to the church, and to the commonwealth. I have neglected to instruct, counsel, and warn those to whom I have had near access; and have said to them, by my example—that religion is of no importance, and that worldly glory constitutes the happiness of man. What abundant cause have I to mourn before God, that I have indulged so much malice towards my fellow men; that I have been so unwilling to forgive my enemies; and have been so ready to rejoice at their overthrow. What impure thoughts have I indulged, and how much have I done to encourage the licentious in their conduct. I have not maintained the justice, the mercy, or the truth, which the divine law and the Gospel require. I have coveted my neighbor's substance and enjoyments; I have envied his superior prosperity and gifts, and have been discontented with the place which God has assigned me in the world.
"How often have I despised the only Savior of sinful men. And since I have been numbered among his followers, how unfaithful have I been to the duties of my holy profession. I have solemnly engaged to view myself as my own no more, and to be wholly devoted to the Redeemer, in life and in death. How cold have been my affections towards him, who is the great Immanuel, God with us. In how many ways have I sought to shun the cross, and to enjoy the smiles of an ungodly world. Christ's kingdom is of infinite worth, but I have refused to promote its interest as befit me, and have fell in with the god of this world. I have abundant cause for deep humiliation, that I have abused my mercies, and have been so incorrigible under afflictions. Many promises of amendment have I broken, and I have paid little regard to my covenant bonds. I might justly be crushed by the present rod, and become a monument of God's everlasting wrath. I should have no just cause of complaint, were I deprived of all hope, and doomed to dwell in the regions of eternal despair. But, O God of grace! save me, I beseech you! Correct me in measure and in mercy. Let it be the fruit of this affliction to take away sin, and to prepare me for the service and enjoyment of yourself forever!"
When such are the breathings of the heart, in a time of trouble, affliction is not sent in vain.
When God's children are under the chastening rod, they will be convinced of the wisdom, as well as the justice of the present chastisement. O Christian, is your worldly substance taken from you? You will be led to inquire whether your heart has not been too much placed upon it, and whether this extraordinary attachment has not rendered it necessary that your present loss should be sustained. Set your affections more abundantly on things which are above, and be more engaged than ever in laying up a treasure in Heaven.
Have you met with ingratitude and unkindness from one of your fellow-creatures, on whom you have conferred many benefits? Let this requital of evil for good, serve to teach you the folly of trusting in an arm of flesh, and engage you to trust in the living God.
Have you not fondly doted on the person who now seeks to pierce you to your heart? Let the reception of evil for good bring your benevolence to the trial, and engage you to imitate your Savior in the forgiveness of enemies.
Has God taken from you, by death, your bosom friend, or the child of your love? Ask yourself whether the deceased had not taken the place of God in your heart, and rendered the present blow a necessary one for your best good. Be assured that you must be divorced from your idols—or from God. And as you are one of his children, he will take from you the object of your idolatrous love. Your case would be deplorable indeed, if under your bereavement you could justly say, with Micah, "You have taken away my gods, and what have I more?"
Are you in a state of languishment, or pain of body, and have you wearisome days and wearisome nights appointed unto you? Inquire whether you were not too confident of the continuance of health in former days, and whether you were not unthankful to him who was the health of your countenance.
Perhaps you had some favorite plan to accomplish, and were confident that your strength and vigor would be continued until you had realized your strong hopes. Is it not just and wise in God to convince you of your arrogant presumption, by making you to feel that your breath is in your nostrils, and that you must soon be laid in the grave? Have you not cause to bless God, that he is now teaching you the vanity of this world, and preparing you for the joys of a glorious immortality?
We are inclined to say that some other affliction would be better suited to promote our best good, than the present; and that some other time would be a more fit time than the period that was chosen. But how incompetent judges are we as to what is wisest and best to be done! If we were to be our own judges in the present case, we would strive to pitch upon a trial, and a time of suffering, which would lead us to avoid the cross, and leave us strangers to our own hearts. We might, indeed, by planning for ourselves, be involved in far greater difficulty than the present, and sink into despair.
God, who knows our particular frame and temper, best knows when and how to try us, and how long to continue us under the chastening rod. If we derive spiritual benefit from the afflictions which we endure, we shall be humbled for our sins, and we shall be still and know that the Lord he is God. We shall no longer say, any other trouble rather than the present, and any other time to endure it rather than the present; but we shall say, "O Lord, may your will be done, both as to the kind and continuance of affliction. Oh, cause me to adore your justice and your wisdom, and humbly to implore your mercy."
Those who make the knowledge of their hearts their study,
will not pass through days of adversity, without discovering, more than ever
before, their sins, nor without viewing them in new points of aggravation. Sins
which had been forgotten, will be called to remembrance, and the aggravating
circumstances which attended them will rush upon the mind. In the view of them,
the humble penitent will feel that the divine justice would have shone with
distinguished brightness in his eternal condemnation, and will be excited with
great and earnest importunity to implore the divine mercy.
3. The subjects of sanctified afflictions will find the grace of the Gospel peculiarly endeared to them.
"Before I was afflicted," says the Psalmist, "I went astray; but now I have kept your word." Here we may observe, that the pious Psalmist was led, by means of his afflictions, to love more than ever the book of God's grace, and to conform to it in his practice. "We glory in tribulation; knowing that tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given unto us." Romans 5:3-5. "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." 2 Corinthians 15:9
The more deeply any are impressed with a sense of their sins and of the divine justice in their punishment—the more fully are they convinced of the necessity of Gospel grace, and the more clearly do they see the glory of the Gospel plan of salvation. Seasons of suffering have often proved seasons of high enjoyment to the people of God. The patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and the primitive Christians in general, under their trials, were favored with abundant communications of divine grace, and rejoiced in the hope of the glory of God. We may observe, at the present time, that true Christians shine brightest when in God's furnace. To them Christ appears peculiarly precious, and they appear, at times, to be cheerful in giving up all things for his sake. They discover that they count not their lives dear unto themselves, that they may finish their course with joy.
Christians, when under the chastening rod, read the Holy Scriptures with special attention and uncommon engagedness, and manifest a strong relish for the truths contained in the inspired volume. They now feel that God's word is a light unto their feet, and a lamp unto their path, while passing through the darkness and temptations of the present world. "This is my comfort," says the Psalmist, "in my affliction, for your word has quickened me. Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. The law of your mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver. How sweet are your words unto my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth."
Afflictions are necessary to lead us to understand many parts of the Bible, particularly those which relate to sufferings and the divine support under them. Who understands, like the godly man under the chastening rod, how tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope? Who understands, like the patient sufferer, how consolation abounds by Christ, as the fruit of chastisement?
The best of men do not know how much they trust in themselves
and in the world, until their attachment is tried, and broken by the chastening
rod. Now they see more fully than ever their own folly in placing such
confidence in the things which perish. They will bless God forever for that
discipline which has opened to them the pride and deceitfulness of their hearts,
and has brought them to discern the worth and glory of that kingdom which cannot
be moved. True Christians have rarely such clear evidence of their divine
adoption, as when their earthly hopes are dashed in pieces.
4. Sanctified afflictions lead men to be more attentive to the duties which they owe more immediately to God.
What a wide difference is there, in ordinary cases, between the prayers which are made in a day of adversity, and those which are made in prosperous seasons! Those who feel themselves to be burdened with guilt and sorrow, and are convinced that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, will feel themselves engaged to go to the throne of grace, and to seek for mercy.
Prayer is not to them an unwelcome task, but is the delight of their souls. When they find Satan and their wicked hearts striving to throw hindrances in the way of the performance of this duty, they will not rest, until they have in some degree obtained the victory, and can fervently pour out their hearts to God. He is pleased sometimes remarkably to fill their hearts with comforts, when all worldly appearances are against them, while they are bowing at his footstool. They are uncommonly assisted in praying for themselves, for their families and friends, for enemies, for the whole human race, and especially for the peace and prosperity of Zion.
It is painful to those who derive benefit from their afflictions, to be deprived, by ill health or other means, of attending on the worship and ordinances of God's house.
These are objects for which they find an increasing relish,
as they are emptied from vessel to vessel by their trying changes. Hence, when
they are excluded from the place they love, they can adopt the language of David
when he was wandering in the wilderness of Judea, by the persecutions of Saul:
"O God, you are my God; early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you, in a dry
and thirsty land, where there is no water; to see your power and your glory, as
I have seen you in the sanctuary." Psalm 63:1, 2
5. Sanctified afflictions are instrumental in stirring us up to a faithful discharge of the duties of the second table of the law.
There are two in particular which I shall name. The first is the duty of administering just reproof. A mind solemnized by prayer, and communion with God in other duties; a mind which sees the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and is brought to God's footstool by the chastening rod, is prepared to administer reproof, without being overwhelmed with a slavish dread of the anger of the offender, and to do it in a manner which is best suited to work a reformation. Nothing has a happier tendency to lead persons to discharge this duty, and to come home to the conscience, than enduring chastisement from the hand of our heavenly Father. His glory appears to them of such worth, and the souls of men are so tenderly loved, that they dare not be silent when called to speak in a way of warning and reproof.
The other duty, which I shall mention in this place, is compassion and kindness to those who are afflicted. We are commanded to bear one another's burdens, to live as brethren, to be pitiful, and to be courteous. There are men whose inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations. They are intoxicated with their prosperity, and presume that no painful changes await them. They look with contempt upon the needy and afflicted, and are disposed to charge them with bringing their troubles on themselves, or continuing them by their imprudence or timidity.
But Christianity speaks a very different language. "Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them, and those who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." Nothing teaches us to feel for the children of sorrow, like experience in the school of adversity.
This eminently qualifies the followers of the compassionate Savior to sympathize with the afflicted, and to strive to lighten their woes. They extend their compassionate feelings to all who are under trouble, and especially to those who are the friends of the great Redeemer. They will strive to relieve the needs of those who are needy, and to bind up the broken spirit. "Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:4
They labor to turn the attention of their afflicted fellow-mortals to the only source of consolation, and to prepare them for deliverance in the present world, and immortal glory in the world to come. They can cheerfully welcome to their bosoms the humble and patient disciples of the blessed Savior, however much they are despised by the ungodly world. Knowing these to be the excellent of the earth, they are compassionate and kind to them for their Lord and Master's sake, and rejoice in the blessed prospect of meeting them in the heavenly paradise above, where all sorrow and crying shall be done away.
The enemies of the primitive Christians remarked concerning them, when they saw their strong mutual affection under their fiery trials, "Behold, how these Christians love one another!" The disciples of Christ sometimes, in the present world, contend with each other, and give mutual wounds. But joint sufferings have always been found to check their animosities, and to unite them in the closer bonds of affection.
When such are the fruits of our afflictions, we have not been
smitten in vain, but shall derive peace and comfort from them in this world, and
shall receive a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in the world to
6. Sanctified afflictions are instrumental in weaning men from earthly attachments, and in ripening them for death and Heaven.
The pious patriarchs confessed themselves, amidst their troubles, to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth, and to be looking for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. The primitive Christians took joyfully the confiscation of their goods, knowing that they had in Heaven better and enduring possessions.
Pious Christians, who have suffered many pains, and endured many
outward losses and bereavements, look upon this world as a very empty place, and not by any means worthy to be sought as a portion. While they give thanks to God for the innumerable temporal blessings they have received, they dare not rest their hope of support and enjoyment on anything beneath the skies.
They can discern no earthly prospect which has unadulterated charms; but everything around them wears the appearance of decay and dissolution. They watch and they pray that they may not be ensnared by earthly allurements, and that they may be in constant readiness for death and eternity. The eternal world grows more and more familiar to their minds, and their thoughts are much employed on that state into which they are soon to enter. Many of their meditations are employed on death and on the future judgment. Although they cannot determine what their views will be, when they shall be called to walk through the dark valley—yet they believe that the end of the upright man will be peace. They are much in prayer to God, that he would not forsake them in the hour of death; and believe that the only way in which divine consolation is then to be expected, is in a humble walk with God, and in the faithful discharge of every duty, while life is continued.
What a firm hope, and what animating prospects were enjoyed by the apostle, when he could declare, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. We are confident and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord!" 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2, 8. How earnestly desirous was our apostle, that Christ might be magnified in his body, whether by life or by death. He could say, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:21-23
Let not Christians in general be discouraged because they have not risen to the attainments of the apostle Paul. He was raised up for eminent usefulness in the church of God, and he did more to propagate Christianity than any other man who has ever lived. He suffered much in his labors to advance and defend the religion of the blessed Savior. To use his own language, he was "in deaths often," while traveling round the world, to proclaim the glad tidings of peace and salvation through a crucified Savior. The followers of Christ, at large, have not been called to such services as was the apostle, nor to endure such trials as he endured, and therefore it is not strange that their consolations should fall far below his. But remember, O patient sufferers, that God is not unmindful of your labor of love, and that he is training you up to serve him better on earth, and to enjoy a brighter crown in Heaven. God will not break the bruised reed, and he will not quench the smoking flax. He hears every sigh, and every breathing of the contrite heart, and will give you grace to persevere to the end of your days, and to come off conquerors, yes, more than conquerors, through him who has loved you, and given himself to die for you!
We always find the most heavenly-minded Christians among those who have smarted most by the chastening rod. To them, meditations have become familiar on that glorious state in which the redeemed will be brought into the immediate presence of God and the Lamb, and will unite with the spirits of just men made perfect, and with the holy angels in everlasting songs of praise. However far they may fall short of rapturous enjoyments in religion, while they see through a glass darkly, they discover a solidity and firmness in their exercises, which manifest that their light is shining with increasing brightness unto the perfect day.
I have now endeavored to collect and bring into view some of the principal evidences of sanctified afflictions. Can we say, in a review of our troubles, as the Psalmist did in a review of his, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted—that I might learn your statutes." Our afflictions have certainly had some effect upon us; either in rendering our hearts tender, and our lives obedient—or in hardening our hearts, and occasioning us to become more obstinate and open in the practice of wickedness than ever. If the last is the effect, then our case is alarming indeed, and we have much cause to fear that to us is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
Let us recollect the marks or evidences of sanctified afflictions which have been brought into view; and impartially compare ourselves with them. When any derive benefit from their afflictions, they acknowledge the hand of God in them; and they feel satisfied with the perfect government of the Most High. The subjects of sanctified afflictions are led to a clear discovery of their sins, and an unreserved confession of the divine justice and wisdom in their chastisement. They examine their hearts and their past lives, and abhor themselves, as being very vile in the eyes of infinite purity. Those who are afflicted in covenant faithfulness, will find the grace of the Gospel peculiarly endeared to them, and will strive to obey God's will in all things. They will prize and seek after communion with God in the various exercises of private and public worship. They will endeavor to conform to the law of benevolence towards men; and in particular, will be emboldened to reprove sin, and be engaged to exercise compassion and kindness towards the afflicted. Sanctified afflictions are instrumental in weaning men from earthly attachments, and in ripening them for death and Heaven.
These are very plain rules of trial, and such as must commend themselves to our minds. If we have sought to regard them in our practice, when we have been in tribulation—then we have found true peace and can say with the Psalmist, "that it is good for us that we have been afflicted." Are there not some, who can adopt this language, and find evidence that they are heirs of Heaven? And may say, in some happy moments, with the Apostle, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18. Let such maintain, at all times, a patient and a devout, and a watchful and a heavenly temper. Their days of mourning will soon be ended, and they will soon be admitted into the world of everlasting light and glory.
How awful is the state of those who have become hardened in all their afflictions! What can such expect, in the course which they are pursuing, but everlasting misery! "He who being often reproved, hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Proverbs 29:1. What cause is there to fear that all the evils which they have felt in the present world, are but so many presages of endless, punitive wrath in the world to come! Let them be warned let them be entreated, to search and try their ways, and turn unto the Lord!