Affliction Sanctified
分別為聖的患難 (1)

作者:薛伯斯(Richard Sibbes)

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.

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.

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).

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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