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Chapter XLVII.

Sentences, And Examples Of Patience And Consolation.

We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.Acts 14:22.

As the life of a Christian consists of crosses and afflictions, through which he must enter into the kingdom of God; so he must arm himself with patience, and beg it earnestly of God. We must not think that we are born for pastime and diversion, but for many afflictions and trials of patience. And here we will consider three several arguments. The first shall contain some select sentences and testimonies of Scripture. The second, examples. And the third, encouragements.

I. Some Sentences And Testimonies Of Scripture.

2. Patience submits itself with meekness, quietness, and humility, to the cross; receiving all kinds of afflictions, calamities, and persecutions, whether bodily or spiritual, as the cross and yoke of Christ. By this we follow our blessed Saviour, not murmuring against God, but acknowledging in faith, that God is reconciled to us through Christ, and comforting ourselves under the severest trials, with the hopes of deliverance. This is also called meekness towards them that injure and persecute us, leaving the avenging of our quarrel to God; not upon a principle of reason or worldly policy, but arising from the grace of God, as the fruit and effect of true faith.

3. The parts of this description are—1. Obedience. 2. Imitation. 3. Not to murmur. 4. To consider God as reconciled to us through Christ. 5. To lessen our afflictions by hope. 6. To behave ourselves with meekness towards our persecutors. 7. Not to exercise revenge. And so it contains in it faith, hope, charity, humility, meekness, and obedience.

4. These virtues are to be practised and exercised by all the disciples of Christ, who are purchased for heaven and eternal life: for against such the devil, that great dragon and old serpent (Rev. 12:7-9), yea, and the 330 whole world, are fighting continually. Hence it is said, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12:17. To this also may be referred the following: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it” (Matt. 16:24, 25): that is, Whosoever shall refuse to bear the cross for Christ's sake, and shall flee from it, shall lose his soul.

5. “Ye shall be hated of all men, for my name's sake.” Mark 13:13. This is indeed a heavy cross, to be hated of all men; but as it is for Christ's sake, this affords great consolation.

6. Concerning religious persecutions, our blessed Saviour prophesies, “They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.—In your patience possess ye your souls.” Luke 21:12, 19.

7. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18, 19, 20.

8. “They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2.

9. When St. Paul had been stoned at Lystra, but encouraged by the discourses of the disciples, “he confirmed the souls of the disciples,—exhorting them to continue in the faith: and that we must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22.

10. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” 2 Cor. 4:8.

11. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. If a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Tim. 2:3, 5, 12. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” 2 Tim. 3:12.

12. “Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Heb. 10: 36.

13. “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For, consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Heb. 12:1-3.

14. “Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith might be found much more precious than of gold that perisheth.” 1 Peter 1:6, 7.

15. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Rev. 2:10.

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II. Examples Of Patience.

16. Abraham suffered many things from the Chaldeans, Canaanites, and Egyptians. “Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on. And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.” Acts 7:4-6. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:8, 9. “He delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Peter 2:7, 9. Isaac refused not to be offered up for a burnt sacrifice. Gen. 22:9. Jacob also had a great share of suffering. He fled from his brother Esau, passing over Jordan with his staff. Gen. 32:10. “By his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto him.” Hosea 12:3, 4. He saith unto Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil.” Gen. 47:9. “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.” Jam. 5:11. Moses was meek, and afflicted above all the men that were upon the face of the earth. Numb. 12:3. He “chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” Heb. 11:25. How many afflictions did David suffer, who was a type of Christ! “O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust; save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.” Ps. 7:1. “Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble.” Ps. 10:17. Solomon's motto was, “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before (the) honor (that is, of the next world) is humility.” Prov. 15:33. What patience had not the three men in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:21), and the holy Apostles and Martyrs! The patience of Christ exceeds all these examples. 1. Because he was most obedient upon the cross. 2. Because he murmured not against God. 3. Because he held fast his confidence in God, and called him his God, though forsaken by him. Matt. 27:46. 4. Because he heartily prayed for his enemies; and revenged not himself when it was in his power.

III. Consolations.

17. “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30. In these words there is a fivefold consolation. 1. That the afflicted may come to Christ. 2. May be refreshed. 3. May take up his yoke. 4. May find rest unto their souls. 5. That his yoke is easy. For when it is borne for Christ's sake, it is not burdensome, but refreshing. Hence St. Paul saith, “We glory in tribulations; knowing that tribulation worketh 332 patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope, and hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 5:3, 4, 5. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”—“All things work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 8:35, 28. “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:23. “I have fought a good fight.” 2 Tim. 4:7.

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