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and that was this Joseph, and Benjamin, and Jacob loved Bachel and his twp sons; but it appears that the Lord soon took Rachel from him, and we see that Joseph was soon took from him, and in this historical account we see that he was affraid that he was in great danger of being bereaved of Benjamin, and his trials and troubles were so great that he almost thought it would bring down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. And now if we ponder and weigh well and rightly consider upon these things, we must believe that Jacob's trials and troubles were very great, but he being like Abraham by grace and faith he waited patiently for the mercy and goodness of God, and at his good time he delivered him out of all his fears, for he lost not Benjamin, and his son Joseph was restored unto him again, for he had the pleasure of meeting with him again in Egypt in great prosperity, and they embraced each other with many loves. Then .Jacob was consent, and said, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive. (Gen. xlvi. 29, 30.) Methinks then at that time that Jacob felt something of that happy spirit, and a resignation to the will of God within his soul, as good old Simeon enjoyed when he said, Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. (L ke ii. 29.) Therefore my beloved brethren seeing that these things are so, let us always pray that we may stand our ground in the time of our trials and troubles, so that we may be counted worthy through Christ to inherit the blessing, for if we stand our ground the reward is great, but if we fall O how hard it is to rise again; see my little Book called The Fall of the Righteous. And we see again how that righteous Job was tried when he lost his children, and nearly all his whole substance; and are we prepared to stand our ground like Job? Hear what he saith in the midst of his trials, Naked saith he, came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return, the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord. And we see again how that it was suffered for righteous Job to be afflicted by Satan with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And again in his great afflictions, we see how that he was tried by a woman even by his wife, who had laid at his bosom; even by her he was tempted to curse God and die. (ses chap, ii.) But in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly neither did he attribute folly to God: it r.ppears that it is >th»t God suffered this trial to come upon Job, but then
not without his grace, goodness, wisdom, and equity. And again, we see that Job was counted as a righteous man. (chap. i. 1.) And again, itappears that Job's friends were very wise men, and out of their mouths proceeded some very wise sayings; but at the same time it appears that they rather mistook Job's character, and so it appears that they thought that those trials and troubles were come upon him because of his sins. But I believe that Job's sins were not the cause of his trials and afflictions altogether without any exception, because God had said unto Satan, Thou movedst me against him to destroy him without cause. (chap. ii. 3.) And I believe that there are many people in the world who do err and mistake in such things as these, and are rea iy to say this, that is, when they see the poor Christian brought into any trying circum tance, as adversity, and the such like, then they are ready to say, Ah it is because of his private sins anil hypocrisy, that hast been the cause of God's sending all this evil upon him; but I believe that this is not always the case, neither was it so from the beginning, for our first parents were tried and tempted by Satan in their first and pure state before that they had sinned, and so it is now; I believe that some of the brightest Christians have some of the greatest trials, for the devil is always railing against the cause of God, and to move God to trv the sons of men; and what passe.h between Satan and God at the time of our severe trials and troubles, we cannot tell: but the trial of Job is more fully described in my little Book called The Sufferings of Christ. (see Job xxx.)
0 'tis thou—thou enemy of soulj;
Who disturbs my peaceful rest,
And smite upon my breast,
Why did thou come to trouble me—
Why did thou come, Oh then;
From that infernal den.
But may the Lord rebuke thee, S:itan; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Therefore my beloved brethren, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as thouyh some strange thing happened unto you. (1 Peter iv. 12.) Because your a.versarj the devil as a roaring lion. walking about steking whom he may devour. (chap. v. 8..; But thou O Lord which hast shewed us great and sore troubles shall quicken us again, and shall bring us up again from the depths of the earth. (Psalm lxxi. 20.) And again hear what Saint Paul saith. We are troubled saith he on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. iv. 8, 9.) For our light affliction, saith he which is but for a moment, worketh for us a fir more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (verse 17.) And again we see how that the three holy children, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, were proved and tried when they were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace, but by faith they gave themselves up to endure the midst of the flame, and by the
frace of God they were delivered. (Din. iii.) And so was taniel from the lion's den. (chap. vi. 22, 23.) But concerning the trials' of these holy men, see my little Book, called the Cruelty of the Wicked, and another, called God's care for his People. And again, David also was a man that experienced great trials and troubles in his days; and hear a little what he saith concerning them, Save me, 0 God, saith he, for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: 1 am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail, while I wait for my God. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head. (Psalm lxix. 1.) And in another place the Psalmist cryeth out, and sayetli, Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When will thou comfort me? The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law. They had almost consumed me upon earth: but I forsook not thy precepts. (Psalm cxix.) And in another place, being afflicted, the Psalmist professeth his love and duty to God for his deliverance, where he saith, The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; 0 Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. And then it appears that his humble soul was filled with grace and faith: Gracious th?n saith he is the Lord and righteous: yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, therefore have 1 spoken; I was greatly afflicted. I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm cxvi.) Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now have 1 kept thy word. (Psalm. cxix. 67.) And they that sow in tears, saith he shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoiceing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm cxxvi. 6, 7.) And so we see, my brethren, that all our trials and troubles will work together for our good if we love and serve God, and if we rightly consider, we must allow that David's trials and troubles were vi ry great concerning the cruelty of Saul, when he pursued after him to take away his life, and in that trial concerning his son Absalom; but time would fail me to : speak of all the trials of David; but you may read of them in his Psalms, and in the Book of Samuel, or in the Books of the kings of Israel; and there we fnay see at the Lord's good time he delivered him out of all his troubles. Now, there are some trials come upon us by our own making; and there are some trials very, or somewhat at least mysterious unto us; but hear what Solomon saith, My son despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of his correction, for whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Prov. iii. 11.) And again, the righteous are cast down at times by reason of so many trials and troubles by the way, but it is not always so wilh them, it is true the heart knoweth its own bitterness, but then at other times the stranger do'h not intermeddle with his joy; (Prov. xiv. 1L) that is, they fi.el that joy, at some certain times that the world can neither give nor take away from them. 0 Lord why should a living man complain that thou suffereth him to be tried a little upon the earth, for when we rightly consider, it is all of thy mercy that we are not consumed: therefore it is good for a man that he should both hope, and quietly wait lor thy salvation 0 Lord; it is good tor a man that he bear the yoke in his youth, for thou will not cast us off for ever 0 God; but although we have gritf, yet will thou have compassion, according to the multitude of thy mercies. (see Lam. iii.) Rejoice not against me, 0 my enemy, saith Micah, when I fall, I shall arise again; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. (chap. vii. 8.) And again concerning the trial of our faith, hear the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Zechariah the prophet, And 1 will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (chap. xiii. .&.) And so it is, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. iii. 12.) But now my beloved brethren, take the Prophets, and the Apostles of Christ who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering, affliction, and of patience; Behold we count them happy which endure, ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. (James v. 10.) And again, remember to endure these trials, it will be more precious to us than the gold that perisheth: and there is a reward for the righteous, and behol.l., it is those that endure to the end that shall be saved, it is those I say that endure many trials and temptations and troubles with much patience that shall enter into his rest: therefore for a satisfaction bthold and hear the Revelation to 8t. John the divine. When St. John was in the spirit on the Lord's day he saw and beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed >. ith white robes and palms in their hands; and one of the elders said unto him, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And he said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto him, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst ot the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears fiom their eyes. (Rev. vii.) Blessed be the man that readeth this Book, and pondereth it in his heart, whose life corresponds with those characters mentioned in this Book, for he shall receive the cup of salvation, and enter into the joys of his Lord.