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Benefit of Affliction.

Benefit of Affliction.

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Published by glennpease


Ps. cxix. 71. It is good for me that Ihave heen afflicted; that I
might learn thy statutes.


Ps. cxix. 71. It is good for me that Ihave heen afflicted; that I
might learn thy statutes.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 21, 2014
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BEEFIT OF AFFLICTIO. BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.Ps. cxix. 71. It is good for me that Ihave heen afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. DAVID had " been afflicted from his youth up" and we think it highly probable th^t to that very circumstance he was indebted, under God, for those extraordinary attainments in devotion and holiness, which have rendered him a pattern for the saints in all future ages. By means of his trials he was constrained to take refuge in his God : and by constant communion with God, he obtained a deep insight into his revealed will, and a rich experience of his superabounding grace. This seems at least to have been his own view of the case, long after his afflictions had ceased : for to his familiarity with affliction he ascribes his enlarged acquaintance with the statutes of his God : " It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." In confirmation of his testimony, we shall shew, I. The benefit of affliction, as leading to knowledge — Affliction, in itself considered, is an evil : but, if viewed in connexion with the benefits resulting from it, it may justly be esteemed '* a good." Thousands there are who have reason to bless God for it, as instrumental to the bringing of them to the know- ledge of a Saviour, whom, without such trials, they would have continued to neglect. Indeed it is eminently and extensively useful in this view : 1. It opens our ears to instruction —
[People who are at ease, however eager they may be after human knowledge, have no desire after that which is spiritual and divine. If it be tendered to them, they reject it : if it be pressed upon tliem, they cast it behind their backs with indigna- tion and scorn. To one who would instruct them in arts or sciences, they would feel thankful : but to one who would lead them to the knowledge of the true God, they make no return, but that of contempt and hatred^. But when heavy affliction is come upon them, they are softened : * John lii, J p. Matt. vii. 20. 416 PSALMS, cxix. 71. [424. softened : they will listen to advice ; they will even be thankful for it: they will read the Scriptures, or some other religious book : and will pay considerable attention to those subjects which hitherto have provoked only their derision. With this view, and for the production of this very effect, God frequently vouchsafes to send it'' : and those who are brought by it to this measure of thoughtfulness about their souls, have reason rather to be thankful for it as a benefit, than to com- plain of it as a judgment.] 2. It makes us sensible of our need of better things than this world can give — [In the midst of carnal enjoyments a man wishes for nothing more : but when trials of various kinds oppress his mind, his taste for earthly gratifications is weakened : their insufficiency to remove, or even to alleviate, trouble is felt ; and they no longer afford him that kind of satisfaction which they once did. Amusements, and company, have lost their relish : his mind is indisposed for them : they are become to him insipid, unde-
sirable, irksome, odious. Something more substantial is now wanted : something on which his soul may rest, as conducive to its present and eternal welfare. This was the effect produced upon the Prodigal. Whilst he could revel in luxury and pleasure, he cared for nothing ; but when his money was expended, and he was a prey to want, and could find no help, no pity, from man, then he began to reflect on the abundance that there was in his Father's house, and to desire a participation of it, though in the lowest and most menial office there. And had he not reason to be thankful for the trials which produced so blessed an effect ? In like manner then we also should acknowledge as a blessing every trial that is sent us for the accomplishment of so good an end.] 3. It drives us to God in prayer — [Those who never called upon God in the time of their prosperity, are often stirred up to seek him in a season of adver- sity. " In their affliction," says God, " they will seek me early '^ :" and to the same effect the Prophet testifies, *' Lord, in trouble have they visited thee ; they poured forth a prayer when thy chastening was upon them^." In the 107th Psalm this effect of troubles is marked in every instance : " Then cried they unto the Lord in their trouble^:" and in every instance this was the prelude to their deliverance. Who then that experiences this effect from his trials has not reason to be thankful for them ? Let it only be said of us, " Behold, he prayeth ;" and we shall have no cause for complaint, though we should have been struck blind, •'Job xxxvi. 8 — 10. " Hos. v. 15. " Isai. xxvi. I6. * ver. 6, 13, ig, 28. 424.] THE BilEFIT OF A l- ^LleTI0^7. 417 blind, like Saul, and had our blindness continued to the latest

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