分別為聖的患難(1)

Affliction Sanctified
分別為聖的患難 (1)

作者:薛伯斯(Richard Sibbes)
譯者:李朋

1. Whatsoever is good for God’s children they shall have it, for all is theirs to further them to heaven; therefore, if poverty be good, they shall have it; if disgrace be good, they shall have it; if crosses be good, they shall have them; if misery be good, they shall have it; for all is ours, to serve for our greatest good.
凡是有益於神的兒女的事物,他們都應該擁有,因為一切都是他們的,為了讓他們進天國。因此,如果貧窮是有益的,他們應該擁有它。如果恥辱是有益的,他們應該擁有它。如果十字架是有益的,他們應該擁有它。如果痛苦是有益的,他們應該擁有它。因為一切都是我們的,為了叫我們得著最大的益處。

2. God’s children have these outward things with God Himself; they are as conduits to convey His favor to us, and the same love that moved God to give us heaven and happiness, moves Him to give us our daily bread.
神的兒女不僅擁有神,還擁有這些外在的事物。這些事物是神賜予我們恩寵的管道。感動神賜予我們天堂和幸福的那一份愛,同樣感動著祂賜予我們每日的飲食。

3. God pities our weakness in all our troubles and afflictions; He will not stay too long, lest we put forth our hands to evil; He will not suffer the rod of the wicked to rest upon the lot of the righteous (Psalm 125:3).
神憐憫我們在一切困苦患難中的軟弱。祂不會長久不眷顧我們,以免我們伸手作惡。祂不會讓惡人的杖常落在義人的分上。(詩一二五3)

4. Is it not an unreasonable speech for a man at midnight to say, “It will never be day?" So it is an unreasonable thing for a man that is in trouble to say, “O Lord, I shall never get free of this; it will always be thus with me."
一個人在午夜時分說:「永遠不會有天明;」這難道不是無理之談嗎?因此,如果一個人在困境中說:「噢,神啊,我將永遠不能脫離這苦楚,從此以後它將一直隨著我,」這也是一件不切實際的事情。

5. God takes a safe course with His children, that they may not be condemned with the world. He permits the world to condemn them, that they may not love the world. The world hates them, that they may not love the world; that they may be crucified to it, the world is to be crucified to them. Therefore they meet with such crosses and abuses and wrongs in the world. Because He will not suffer them to perish with the world, He sends them afflictions in and by the world.
神為祂的兒女預備了一趟安全的旅程,使他們不與世人一起被定罪。祂允許世界定他們的罪,這樣他們就不會愛這個世界了。世界憎恨他們,使得他們不再愛這個世界,使得他們就世界而論是被釘於十字架上的,世界就他們而論也是被釘於十字架的。因此,他們在世界上遇到諸多這類的十字架、羞辱和誤解。因為祂不忍見他們與世界一同滅亡,所以神在世界中、也藉著這個世界為他們帶來患難。

6. Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.
榮耀在苦難以後,不像是黑夜之後的白天,而更像是冬天過後的春天。因為,冬天為春天預備了泥土,分別為聖的患難也同樣為榮耀預備好了靈魂。

7. When God visits with sickness, we should think (in the use of means) our work is more in heaven with God than with men or with medicine. When David dealt directly and plainly with God and confessed his sins, then God forgave them and healed his body too.
當神將疾病帶來時,我們應該想到,在治療方式上,我們與天上的神之間的關係大過我們與醫生或藥物之間的關係。當大衛直接坦然地與神交談,認罪之後,神就赦免他們,醫治他的身體。

8. Christ chiefly manifests Himself to the Christian in times of affliction because then the soul unites itself most closely by faith to Christ. The soul in time of prosperity, scatters its affections and loses itself in the creature, but there is a uniting power in sanctified afflictions by which the soul (as in rain the hen collects her brood) gathers his best affections unto his Father and his God.
基督主要向受苦中的基督徒顯現,因為那時的靈魂通過信心將自己與基督最緊密地聯合在一起。在昌盛的時候,靈魂的情感是渙散的,以至在受造物中失去自我。但在聖潔的苦難中,有一種聯合的力量,如同雨中的母雞聚集小雞,靈魂也聚集他最寶貴的情感,向父神敞開。

9. Though God deliver us not out of trouble yet He delivers us from the evil of trouble, from despair in trouble, by supporting the spirit. Nay, He delivers by trouble, for He sanctifies the trouble to cure the soul, and by little troubles He delivers us from greater.
雖然神不使我們脫離麻煩,但是他扶持我們的靈,使我們脫離麻煩中的惡者,脫離絕望。不僅如此,藉著麻煩事他拯救我們,因為他使之成為聖潔,來治癒我們的靈魂。他通過小麻煩拯救我們脫離大麻煩。

10. There are in the world many of the poor who yet are exceeding proud, but God sanctifies outward poverty to His children so that it promotes true poverty of spirit. As they are poor, so they have a mean esteem of themselves; it makes them inwardly more humble and more tractable to God’s government. Therefore when we are under any cross let us observe how it works, see whether we join with God or not. When He afflicts us outwardly, whether inwardly we be more humble. When He humbles us and makes us poor, whether we become also poor in spirit. When God designs to humble us we should labor through grace to abase ourselves and mortify pride.
世上的貧窮人中,有許多是非常驕傲的。然而,神將外部的貧窮加在他的兒女身上,使之成為聖潔的,以此破碎他們靈裡的貧窮。因為貧窮,他們就會自卑;自卑讓他們的內在更加謙卑和馴服於神的管教。因此,當我們處於任何艱難困阻的時候,看一看它要成就什麼,我們是否與神聯合?當他在外面擊打我們,我們是否在裡面更加謙卑?當他使我們降卑和貧窮時,我們是否在靈裡也謙卑?當神旨在使我們謙卑的時候,我們應在恩典中努力降卑自己、克制驕傲。

摘譯自《神聖的默想》(Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations),《薛伯斯全集》(Works of Richard Sibbes),VII:179-228

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文士受教作天國的門徒
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