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1. Affli&tions alone are not enough to evidence a
man to be blessed and in a happy condition,excepc they prove teaching, sanctifged afflictions. Evidences of Grace and the favour of God consist in inward impressions, not outward dispensations. 'Tis not said, Bleßed is the man whom thon chafenest and delivereft out of trouble, but whom sthom coreetest and teacheft. When God cakes sway the disease, and does not take away the zuilt and dominion of fin, does not pardon and ancti fie che sick person, 'tis not a compleat deliverance, but only a reprieval from prelent exestion. Bare deliverance is not che blessing thou houldst desire: The blessing of affliction is Dicrine Instruction. Therefore chose who are puc y God inco the School of affliction should seriusly apply chemselves to learn those lessons which in chat School they oughc co learn. And hey are such as thefe.
1. Obediential submission to the will of God. Ve must not dispute our Crofe, but take it up.
A aron held his peace, Lev.10.3. We may ina eed and ought to seek unto the Lord, and to se lawful means (as I said before ) for deliverace from a sickneß, or ocher affliction; but yec rich refignation of our felves co his holy will.
acience is not a stupidity, or insensiblenesse of Gods hand, but a calmnesse of mind upon wise nd holy grounds: And therefore, if the socknella & sends upon us, prove either very long, or te.
dious and painful, yet we must take beed of murmuring, or repinining, or charging God for lishly. For God is fo juft, he is not co be que stion'd; so good, he is not to be suspected, and so strong, he is not to be reffted." Impacience therefore, will but augment our pain, and en crease our guilt. 'Tis indeed a hard matter when we are afflicted, in patience to poßefe oss fonds, But we should consider not so much what we feel as what we deserve. Any ching on this fide Hell, is mercy, and will so appear co a cruly humbled soul.
• 2. To pray more earneftly and fervently. They that were wont before co content themselves with cold, short, sight, seepy, formal devotions, w (by Janctified afflictions ) learn to pray better more heartily and fervently, and to cry mightın unco God for pardon and Grace, for help andre lief.
3. To be better acquainted with our own her: Afi ctions sanctified discover che unknown as secret corruptions of the heart, Deut. 8.2.1 Lord thy God led thee these fourty years in the s. dernes, to humble tbee and to prove thee, to kgwhat was in thine heart.
4. To understand these three things more cks and experimentally. 1. the evil and danger of 2. The emptinefse of the Creature. 3. The pri oufneffe of Christ, and what a high value ought to set upon his fufferings.
5. To mind and esteem the promises of God ? more. Through diffractions without in time I of health) and corruptions within, people ( ma. ny
times ) neglect to study the promises of God. But in time of socknelle, or other distres, there e are no cordials like unto them.
6. To enquire into, and examine our evidence's for Heaven ; not to venture our foules on general ungrounded hopes and sinking foundations.
7. To live by Faith. Faith takes the soul off from creature-confidences, and teaches it to stay ic self on God alone. The right course to obtain mercies from God, is in the way of an humble trust. When we see and apprehend our own inJufficiency, and Gods All Jufficiency, and cast our selves on his wisdom, power, and goodnes, then he usually affords help and succour co
8. To price communion with God more, and to be more Heavenly minded. In the glaring of profperity we are too apt to forget God, and to concenc our selves wich Creature- enjoyments : Buc in che night of adversity, and in sad dispensations ; Oh how delightful is a beam of his love and fa
9. To be more humble. By afflictions God takes down the pride of the bears, and makes it huma. Ele, and soft and pliable to his will.
10. To be more thankful for the mercies we enoy. We seldom are fufficiently sensiple of the Ppz
worth of our mercies till God begin to deprive as of them.
11. To set a high value and price upon time: Sicknesle cries aloud in our eares, redeem time, O redeem time, for praying, for meditating, for clearing our evidences for Heavex, &c. How many are there, who when their time is almof done, have cheir great work then to begix. O in what a fad condition are they?
There, and such like lelons should be learned in the School of affliction. But now they whom God shall please to bring forth out of their trombles, to deliver from their ficknesle, and rener the lease of their lives, should be exhorced to the five things.
1. Let them consider what they have learned is the School of affliction: What the Spirit of Go hathtaught them? If they find they have lear ed ( in some measure ) those lessons before-meoned, then lec chem study to be thankful. Le them consider, God hath done more for cher than if he had never brought them into afflictio. He bach given them deliverance and instruction boch. He hach curned their water inco wine.
2. Let them take heed of forgetting the letou they have learned. Let them labour to keep alr: the teachings of Gods Spirit upon their hearts Let chem study to maintain that sweet, gracias humble frame of spirit into which God broust them by their afflictions. If they be notes
ceeding watchful, they will quickly find a great deal of difference between their hearts under affictions, and when the affli&tion is taken off. There is much of a Pharaoh-like disposition in every man : We are very prone to harden when the storm is over.
3. Let them renew often upon their souls the remembrance of the sharpnes and bitternes of their afflictions. Let chem call to mind their fad difcourses and reasonings, their
fears and tremblings, the mis-givings of heart and sad apprehensions they had in time of their distresse. Lec them remember their aptnesse to impatience and to bard thoughts of God. Let them recall how happy they chought those thac were free from their troubles and paines: These remembrances kepe alive will make them humble and thankful.
4. Let them remember their vowes and promises made to God in time of their sickneffe and di"stresse. Let them labour to be such out of sicknesse, as they promised God, themselves , and ( poffibly) others, they would be, when chey were in it. The Emperor Sigismond demanded of King Alphonsus, what was the directeft course 'to be bappy ; Perform (saies he) when thou art well, what thou promisedft when thou wert sick. 'Tis very remarkable what is recorded of the mariners, Fonab 1. 15,16. And the Sea ceased from herraging, then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made