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The Benefit of Affliction.

The Benefit of Affliction.

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Psalm cxix. 71.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Psalm cxix. 71.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 06, 2013
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THE BEEFIT OF AFFLICTIO.REV. R. CECILPsalm cxix. 71.It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.Though the word of God furnishes a minister witha rich variety of topics ; yet his discourses will bemuch influenced by his feelings, and coloured by hisown experience. Is he a man strong in faith? likeone standing upon a mountain, he will naturally dis-course to others on the firmness of the foundation onwhich he stands, and will describe to them the beau-ties of the prospects around him. Does he, on thecontrary, tread the valley of tears ? he will then natu-rally become the companion of the afflicted, and pointout to them what he himself learns in the vale.The hand of God is discernible in all this, brethren.He teaches men, by men. As the Apostle speaks,"Whether we be afflicted ... or whether we becomforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."Thus, in the text, we find David, who was an em-inent prophet and preacher, leaving on record a partof his own experience : "It is good for me that 1 havebeen afflicted ; that I might learn thy statutes."From these words I shall take occasion to discourseon the following observation : — Sanctified afflictions^stand among the best expositors of God's word.In discoursing on this observation, let us inquire,1. When affliction may be said to be sanctified.92 SERMO IX.2. How it helps to explain the word of God.1. When is affliction sanctified?
By sanctified afflictions, those afflictions may beunderstood which man receives and employs to holypurposes. Sanctified afflictions are those stripes, bywhich the heart is made better. While some menfaint under these strokes, and others despise them,sanctified afflictions become a wholesome disciplineand administer inestimable instruction to God's disci-ple. He not only learns his way by them, but theyteach him to go forward in his way : such afflictionsbring a wanderer, like David, back to his God, to hisneighbour, and to himself.Still the question returns, When is affliction sanc-tified ]1. Affliction is sanctified, when, — instead of as-cribing it to accident, talking of chance, or dwellingon what man can do, and going to creatures for com-fort, — we mark the finger of (rod in whatever befallsus, and say. with Job, "The Lord gave, and the Lordhath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord:"or when wc are taught to say with holy David, "Idumb, and opened not my mouth, because thoudidst it :" or when, under reproaches, we again say,with David. "So let him curse, because the Lordhath said unto him, Curse David.*'2. Affliction is sanctified, when a man is broughtinto his place*To bring the prodigal back to his father, is the de-of every dispensation ; dors he say, "1 will ariseand go to my Father .'" does he say, " I have sinnedagainsl thee." o Lord? — "Wherefore," then, "shalla living man complain — a man f<>r the punishment of his sins . ? Let us search and try our ways, and turnTHE BEEFIT OF AFFLICTIO. 93unto the Lord, for he will still hear !" — Is this hislanguage ? — It is then the language of a sanctifiedheart.3. Affliction is sanctified lohen the word of God
becomes precious.The man has not only a Bible in his house, but henow takes it down, reads it, and makes it the grandresource of his afflicted soul : it is now read as a real-ity. When affliction is sanctified, the word of Godis leaned on as a staff: it is taken as a cordial. When,in short, the soul can cast anchor on that word, andthe man can say, " Remember thy word unto thy ser-vant, O Lord, on which thou hast caused me to putmy trust," then are his afflictions sanctified.4. Affliction is sanctified, when it awakens a manfrom his carnal security ; when it drives him fromhis refuges of lies ; when it reminds him of his secrettemptations, and sets before hkn sins unrepented of and almost forgotten.Take an instance of this. "We are verily guilty,"said the brethren of Joseph, i: we are verily guiltyconcerning our brother, in that we saw the anguishof his soul, when he besought us and we would nothear : therefore is this distress come upon us." Whatlanguage is this? " We are guilty ! we are verilyguilty !" How strange that the sons of a pious fa-ther should not perceive their sins before ! So is itwith us, my friends, till the enchantments of thisworld are broken.5. Affliction is sanctified, when faith is joinedwith repentance ; when the soul, under its sufferings,still clings to the mercy of God in Christ ; crying out,with Job, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust inhim :" or, with Jacob, when he wrestled with God,94 SERMO IX."I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Thataffliction is not only sanctified, but eminently blessed,which brings a sinner to Christ, which teaches us towait his time, and to acknowledge his mercy in allthings.II. I propose to consider how sanctified afflictionexplains God's word.

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