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On the Benefits of Affliction.

On the Benefits of Affliction.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THE REV. THOMAS PICTON, A M.



Rom. viii. 28. — " And we know that all tliing;s work together for good to them that love God."
BY THE REV. THOMAS PICTON, A M.



Rom. viii. 28. — " And we know that all tliing;s work together for good to them that love God."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 08, 2014
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O THE BEEFITS OF AFFLICTIO. BY THE REV. THOMAS PICTO, A M. Rom. viii. 28. — " And we know that all tliing;s work together for good to them that love God." SO numerous and so various are the afflictions of tlie christian, that he is, sometimes, ready to say, with the good old patriarch Jacob, " All these things are against me." AVhen the hand of poverty presses heavily upon liini, — when those, whom he once called friends, prove treacherous, — when his real friends are torn away, by death, fpom his arms ; — and when he himself is languish- ing with disease ; is it surprising that he should, occa- sionally, yield to dejection ? But he is never left to remain without hope and cons€h lation. In the midst of all his darkness, light will arise. Amidst all his sorrows, sources of comfort are still left in open to him. AVhilst he is assured, that aJl things work together for liis good, he has no reason to repine. ay, he finds daily cause to bless the sovereign hand, that chastises in mercy. The sentiment contained in the text has been the sup- port and consolation of many believers, when dangers threatened, and afflictions pressed. In order to afford relief to a distressed heart, you must place hope before it. It is of the utmost importance that this hope be well founded, and the reason of it be perceived. Although the Apostle speaks with the greatest confidence — " we trnow that all things work together for good to them
 
2#4 EW-JERSEV PREACHER. that love God," — and although we might safely restthi» matter vlioSly on his authority ; yei, as we may not, im- mediately, perceive the J'oun elation of this hiessed assu> ranee, I shall endeavour, in the First place, to illustrate, in a few propositions, the truth of this consoling sentiment: so that we may, at length, arrive at the same degree of assurance, " that all things work together for good to them that love God." — For this purpose, let it be observed, 1. That the Almighty is the governor of the world, and the disposer of human events. o truth is more obvious than that there is a divine providence, which governs the world. Even among the ancient Heathen, this doctrine was universally admitted ; except by the disciples of Epicurus, who abandoned themselves to sensuality and libertinism. Some of the heathen writers compare the Almighty to a pilot, sitting at the helm, and steering the ship : others, to a general, who marshals his hosts, and directs all their movements. Some speak of him as one who guides a chariot whither- soever he pleases ; and others represent him as ',. mighty monarch, sitting on his throne, and giving laws to his sulijccts: — all evidently intimating, that he has the di- rection and management of human affairs. The altars,^ which they erected, and the Avorship, which they per- former!, eleaily prove, that they helieved, not only in the being of God, hut also that he interfered with the conceits of mortals. — I mention this, to shew, that even the light of natnrc gives strong intimations of a Livine Provi- dence. In the sacred volume^ also, we find this doctrine fre- quently inculcated, and better explained. Therein, we
 
are taught to believe, that He, who created the worlds. THOMAS PICTOX, A. M. m. governs it by his providence : so that nothing happens by chance to him. He, whose mind conceived, and whose power executed, the vast plan of the universe, directs all its movements, cither by his immediate and invisible en- ergy, or through the intervention of secondary cau- ses. His providence extends to the state and condition of all his creatures. *' He covereth the heaven with clouds. He prepareth rain for the earth, and maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to tlie beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry," Psalm cxlvii. 8, 9. " He doeth according to his will in the array of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth," Dan. iv. 35. And not even a sparrow falleth on the ground without his knowledge : but the very hairs of our head are all numbered. See Mat. x. 29, 30. Since the providence of God is thus conversant about the minutest affairs, it follows, of course, in the second place, that he is intimately acquainted with the par-- licular state of every good man. Although the divine providence extends to all crea» tures, and all worlds, yet, in the holy scriptures, Ave are taught, that it has a peculiar reference to the condition, and actions, of intelligent beings. Man, the favoured child of heaven, is an object of the Almighty's particu- lar attention. To us, whose powers are so limited, it may be diffl- ' cult to conceive, how the particular state of all human beings, scattered over the face of the whole earth, may be distinctly known at once. But let us remember, that it is an attribute of Deity, whose knowledge is boundless, and whose wisdom is infinite, AVhatever con-

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