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A Brother Born for Adversity.

A Brother Born for Adversity.

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Published by glennpease





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Published by: glennpease on Jul 06, 2013
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A BROTHER BOR FOR ADVERSITY.REV. J. M. EALE, D.D.,"A BROTHER IS BOR FOE ADVERSITY." — PROVERBS XVII.17.Among the saints of the Church, we find all ranks andconditions of men. We have been called to praise Godfor those that were poor and despised : now we arecalled to glorify Him in a King.Edward the Confessor, as he is generally called, wasthe best king who ever sat on the throne of England.He was especially noted for his great meekness andmercy; and no doubt he has long since entered intothat Land of the Living which is promised to the meek,and has obtained that mercy which is to be the portionof the merciful.The text which I have just now read seems to you, Idare say, to have nothing to do with the day. Let ussee whether it has or not."A brother is born for adversity." Solomon doesnot say, A brother must expect to meet adversity ; buthe is born for it : that was the end for which he cameinto the world — to bear it. It seems a strange and ahard saying.180 A Brother born for adversity . [Serm.I do not doubt that, in the first place, it is said of our Lord Jesus. He is our Elder Brother ; and He,indeed, was born for adversity. He tells us so Him-self. " To this end was I born, and for this cause came
I into the world, that I might bear witness to thetruth." And whoever does that knows that it will costhim pain and suffering ! and the more earnestly hedoes it, the more he will have to suffer. There is nokind of adversity for which our Lord was not born.He was born to be poor, in order that He might be ableto feel for those that are poor. He was born to bedespised, in order that those who are despised mightcomfort themselves by remembering that they are now r orse off than their Blessed Master was. He was bornto endure hardships — hunger, thirst, cold, weariness, — in order that those of His servants who are an hun-gered, or a thirst, or cold, or weary, might be able toremember that they are so far like Him. He was bornto die, that He might take away the sting of death.He was born to die in agony, that He might change thevery nature of pain, and might make it a blessing in-stead of a curse. In all these ways, and in a thousandthousand more, this, our Eldest Brother, was born foradversity.And what is true of Him — what is far more true of Him than of any one else — is also true of His servants,and more especially of His Saints. They are all ourbrethren ; and we have never heard of any very greatSaint who was not very greatly tried. The Captain of our Salvation was made perfect through suffering, andHis soldiers can only be made perfect the same way.S. Paul tells us so of the Apostles. " T think," he says," that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as itXXX.] A Brother born for adversity. 181were appointed to death ; for we are made a spectacleunto the world, and to angels, and to men/' That is, asthey had the most of the honour, so also they were tohave the greatest part of the suffering. And there issomething more than this, as the same S. Paul also tells
us. " I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fillup that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ."ow, notice his words. He does not say only, " I re- joice in my sufferings," but "in my sufferings for you."This whole text seems to show us that there is a cer-tain quantity of suffering which it is appointed for theChurch to endure. Therefore, the more that the ser-vants of God suffer themselves, the less they leave fortheir brethren. This is what S. Paul seems to meanwhen he speaks of filling up that w r hich is behind of thesufferings of Christ.But when we speak of our Lord's sufferings andthose of any Saint, we must remember the infinitedifference between them. Our Lord, by His sufferings,made an atonement for sin ; they deserved that sinshould be forgiven. o servant of God can do whatthe Son of God did. But God is pleased to accepttheir sufferings also, not as deserving in themselves thatsins should be forgiven, but as something with whichHe is well pleased, and which He will reward. Thusof the Saints also it may be said, " A brother is bornfor adversity." They suffer, not only to set us an ex-ample how to suffer, but really and truly to fill up thatwhich remains for the Church to endure. It is theircalling to suffer, and to suffer for us, that is, for oursakes.S. Edward, King though he were, was no exceptionto this. He was greatly tried in himself, in his family,182 A Brother born for adversity. [Serm.and in his kingdom ; and, the more he suffered, themore the grace of God shone out in him.One should think that this path of suffering, bywhich Christ Himself went, and by which all His

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