Flavel, Fountain of Life, File 29.
( ...continued from File 28)
Sermon 29. Of the manner of Christ's Death, in respect of the 
Patience thereof. 
Isaiah 53:7 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: 
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her 
shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 
How our Lord Jesus Christ carried on the work of our redemption in 
his humble state, both in his incarnation, life, and death, has in 
part been discovered in the former sermons. I have shewed you the 
kind or nature of that death he died; and am now engaged, by the 
method proposed, to open the manner of his death. The solitariness 
or loneliness of Christ in his sufferings, was the subject of the 
last sermon. The patience and meekness of Christ in his sufferings, 
come in order, to be opened in this. 
    This chapter treats wholly of the sufferings of Christ, and the 
blessed fruits thereof. Hornbeck tells us of a learned Jew, "that 
ingenuously confessed this very chapter converted him to the 
Christian faith. And such delight he had in it, that he read it more 
than a thousand times over." Such is the clearness of this prophecy, 
that he who penned it, is deservedly stiled the evangelical prophet. 
I cannot allow time to annualise the chapter; but my work lying in 
the seventh verse, I shall speak to these two branches or parts of 
it, viz. The grievous sufferings of Christ, and the glorious 
ornament he put upon them. 
    First, Christ's grievous sufferings; "he was afflicted, and he 
was oppressed, brought to the slaughter, and shorn as a sheep," i.e. 
he lost both fleece and blood, life, and comforts of life. "He was 
oppressed;" the word signifies both "to answer and oppress, humble 
or depress." The other word, rendered afflicted, signifies "to exact 
and afflict," and so implies Christ to stand before God, as a surety 
before the creditor; who exacts the utmost satisfaction from him, by 
causing him to suffer according to the utmost rigour and severity of 
the law. It did not suffice that he was shorn as a sheep, i.e. that 
he was stripped and deprived of his riches, ornaments and comforts; 
but his blood and life must go for it also. He is brought to the 
slaughter. These were his grievous sufferings. 
    Secondly, Here is the glorious ornament he put upon those 
grievous sufferings, even the ornament of a meek and patient spirit. 
He opened not his mouth: but went as a sheep to be shorn, or a lamb 
to the slaughter. The lamb goes as quiet to the slaughter-house, as 
to the fold. By this lively and lovely similitude, the patience of 
Christ is here expressed to us. Yet Christ's dumbness and silence is 
not to be understood simply, but universally; as though he spake 
nothing at all when he suffered; for he uttered many excellent and 
weighty words upon the cross, as you shall hear in the following 
discourses; but it must be understood respectively, i.e. he never 
opened his mouth repiningly, passionately, or revengefully, under 
his greatest tortures and highest provocations. Whence the note is, 
    Doct. That Jesus Christ supported the burden of his sufferings, 
    with admirable patience and meekness of spirit. 
    It is a true observation, that meekness inviteth injury, but 
always to its own cost. And it was evidently verified in the 
sufferings of Christ. Christ's meekness triumphed over the affronts 
and injuries of his enemies, much more than they triumphed over him. 
Patience never had a more glorious triumph, than it had upon the 
    The meekness and patience of his spirit, amidst injuries and 
provocations, is excellently set forth in 1 Pet. 2: 22, "Who did no 
sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, 
reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed 
himself to him that judgeth righteously." 
    In this point we have these three things to open doctrinally. 
    1. The burden of sufferings, and provocations that Jesus Christ 
was oppressed with. 
    2. The meekness and admirable patience with which he supported 
that burden. 
    3. The causes and grounds of that perfect patience which he 
then exercised. 
    First, The burden of sufferings and provocations which Christ 
supported, was very great; for on him met all sorts and kinds of 
trouble at once, and those in their highest degrees and fullest 
strength. Troubles in his soul, and these were the soul of his 
troubles. His soul was laden with spiritual horrors and troubles, as 
deep as it could swim, Mark 14: 33. "He began to be sore amazed and 
very heavy." The wrath of an infinite dreadful God beat him down to 
the dust. His body full of pain and exquisite tortures in every 
part. Not a member or sense but was the seat and subject of torment. 
    His name and honour suffered the vilest indignities, 
blasphemies, and horrid reproaches that the malignity of Satan and 
wicked men could belch out against it. He was called a blasphemer, 
seditious, one that had a devil, a glutton, a wine-bibber, a friend 
of publicans and harlots, the carpenter's son, this fellow. He that 
was God's fellow, as you heard lately, now this fellow. Contempt was 
poured upon all his offices. Upon his kingly office, when they 
crowned him with thorns, arrayed him with purple, bowed the knee in 
mockery to him and cried, "Hail king of the Jews." His prophetical, 
office, when they blinded him, and then bid him "prophesy who smote 
him." His priestly office, when they reviled him on the cross, 
saying, "He saved others, himself he cannot save." They scourged 
him, spit in his face; and smote him on the head and face. Besides, 
the very kind of death they put him to, was reproachful and 
ignominious; as you heard before. 
    Now all this, and much more than this, meeting at once upon an 
innocent and dignified person; one that was greater than all; that 
lay in the bosom of God; and from eternity had his smiles and 
honours; upon one that could have crushed all his enemies as a moth; 
I say, for him to bear all this, without the least discomposure of 
spirit, or breach of patience, is the highest triumph of patience 
that ever was in the world. It was one of the greatest wonders of 
that wonderful day: 
    Secondly, And that is the next thing we have to consider, even 
this almighty patience and unpatterned meekness of Christ, 
supporting such a burden with such evenness and steadiness of 
spirit. Christian patience, or the grace of patience, is an ability 
or power to suffer hard and heavy things, according to the will of 
    It is a power, and a glorious power, that strengthens the 
suffering soul to bear. It is our passive fortitude, Col. 1: 11. 
"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto 
all patience, and long suffering, with joyfulness;" i.e. 
strengthened with the might or power of God himself: Or such as 
might appear to be the proper impress and image of that divine 
power, who is both its principle and pattern. For the patience which 
God exercises towards sinners, that daily wrong and load him, is 
called power, and great power, Numb. 14: 17. "Let the power of my 
Lord be great, as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is 
longsuffering, forgiving," &c. Hence it is observed, Prov. 24: 10. 
That the loss or breaking of our patience under adversity, argues a 
decay of strength in the soul. "If thou faint in the day of 
adversity, thy strength is small." 
    It is a power or ability in the soul, to bear hard, heavy, and 
difficult things. Such only are the objects of patience. God has 
several sorts of burdens to impose upon his people. Some heavier, 
others lighter; some to be carried but a few hours, others many 
days; others all our days: some more spiritual, bearing upon the 
soul, some more external, touching or punishing the flesh 
immediately; and the spirit by way of sympathy: and sometimes both 
sorts are laid on together. So they were at this time on Christ. His 
soul burdened as deep as it could swim; full of the sense, the 
bitter sense and apprehension of the wrath of God: his body filled 
with tortures: in every member and sense grief took up its lodging. 
Here was the highest exercise of patience. 
    It is a power to bear hard and heavy things, according to the 
will of God. Considering it in that respect, patience, the Christian 
grace, differs from patience the moral virtue. So the apostle 
describes it, 1 Pet. 4: 19. "Let them that suffer according to the 
will of God," &c. i.e. who exercise patience graciously, as God 
would have them. 
    And then our patience is, as Christ's most exactly was, 
according to the will of God; when it is as extensive, as intensive, 
and as protensive as God requires it to be. 
    First, When it is as extensive, as God would have it. So was 
Christ's patience. It was a patience that stretched and extended 
itself to all, and every trouble and affliction, that came upon him. 
Troubles came upon him in troops, in multitudes. It is said, Psal. 
40: 12. "Innumerable evils have compassed me about." Yet he found 
patience enough to receive them all. It is not with us. Our patience 
is often worn out. And like sick people, we fancy, if we were in 
another chamber, or bed, it would be better. If it were any other 
trouble than this, we could bear it. Christ had no exceptions at any 
burden his Father would lay on. His patience was as large as his 
trouble, and that was large indeed. 
    Secondly, It is then according to the will of God, when it is 
as intensive as God requires it to be, i.e. in the apostle's phrase, 
Jam. 1: 4. When it has its perfect work, or exercise; when it is not 
only extended to all kinds of troubles; but when it works in the 
highest and most perfect degree. And then may patience be said to be 
perfect (as it was in Christ) when it is plenum sui, et prohibens 
alieni, full of itself, and exclusive of its opposite. Christ's 
patience was full of itself, (i.e.) it included all that belonged to 
it. It was full of submission, peace, and serenity; full of 
obedience and complacency in his Father's will. He was in a perfect 
calm. As a lamb or sheep, (saith the text) that howls not, opposes 
not, but is dumb and quiet. And as his external behaviour, so his 
internal frame and temper of soul was most serene and calm. Not one 
repining thought against God. Not one revengeful thought against man 
once ruffled his spirit, "Father forgive them, for they know not 
what they do," was all the hurt he wished his worst enemies. And as 
it included all that belonged to it, so his perfect patience 
excluded all its opposites. No discontents, murmurings, 
despondencies had place in his heart. So that his patience was a 
most intensive, perfect patience. And as it was as extensive, and as 
intensive, so it was, 
    Thirdly, As protensive as God required it to be, (i.e.) it held 
out to the end of his trial. He did not faint at last. His troubles 
did not out-live his patience. He indeed was strengthened with all 
might unto all patience, and long suffering. This was the patience 
of Christ our perfect pattern. He had not only patience but 
    Thirdly, In the last place, let us inquire into the grounds and 
reasons of this his most perfect patience. And if you do so, you 
shall find perfect holiness, wisdom, fore knowledge, faith, heavenly 
mindedness, and obedience, at the root of this perfect patience. 
    First, This admirable patience and meekness of Christ, was the 
fruit and offspring of his perfect holiness. His nature was free 
from those corruptions, that ours groan and labour under; otherwise 
he could never have carried it at this rate. Take the meek Moses who 
excelled all others in that grace, and let him be tried in that very 
grace, wherein he excels, and see how "unadvisedly he may speak with 
his lips," Psal. 106: 33. Take a Job, whose famous patience is 
trumpeted and resounded over all the world; ye have heard of the 
patience of Job; and let him be tried by outward and inward 
troubles, meeting upon him in one day; and even a Job may curse the 
day wherein he was born. Envy, revenge, discontent, despondencies, 
are weeds naturally springing up in the corrupt soil of our sinful 
natures, "I saw a little child grow pale with envy," said Austin. 
And the spirit that is in us, lusteth unto envy, (saith the apostle) 
Jam. 4: 5. The principles of all these evils being in our natures, 
they will show themselves in time of trial. The old man is fretful 
and passionate. But it was otherwise with Christ. His nature was 
like a pure crystal glass, full of pure fountain water, which though 
shaken and agitated never so much, cannot show, because it has no 
dregs. "The prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me," John 
14: 30. No principle of corruption, for a handle to temptation. Our 
high-priest was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, 
Heb. 7: 26. 
    Secondly, The meekness and patience of Christ proceeded from 
the infinite wisdom with which he was filled. The wiser any man is, 
the more patient he is. Hence meekness, the fruit, is denominated 
from patience, the root that bears it, Jam. 3: 13. "The meekness of 
wisdom." And anger is lodged in folly, its proper cause, Eccl. 7: 9. 
"Anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Seneca would allow no place 
for passion in a wise man's breast. Wise men use to ponder, 
consider, and weigh things deliberately in their judgements, before 
they suffer their affections and passions to be stirred and enraged. 
Hence come the constancy and serenity of their spirits. As wise 
Solomon has observed, Prov. 17: 27. "A man of understanding is of an 
excellent (or as the Hebrew is) a cool, spirit." 
    Now wisdom filled the soul of Christ. He is wisdom in the 
abstract, Prov. 8. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom, Col. 
2: 3. Hence it was that he was no otherwise moved with the revilings 
and abuses of his enemies, than a wise physician is with the 
impertinencies of his distempered, and crazy patient. 
    Thirdly, And as his patience flowed from his perfect wisdom and 
knowledge, so also from his foreknowledge. He had a perfect prospect 
of all those things from eternity, which befell him afterwards. They 
came not upon him by way of surprisal. And therefore he wondered not 
at them when they came, as if some strange thing had happened. He 
foresaw all these things long before, Mark 8: 31. "And he began to 
teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be 
rejected of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be 
killed." Yea, he had compacted and agreed with his Father to endure 
all this for our sakes, before he assumed our flesh. Hence, Isa. 1. 
6. "I gave my back to the smilers, and my cheeks to them that 
plucked off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting." 
    Now look as Christ in John 16: 4. obviates all future offences 
his disciples might take at suffering for his sake, by telling them 
beforehand what they must expect. "These things (saith he) I told 
you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you 
of them:" So he, foreknowing what himself must suffer, and having 
agreed so to do, bare those sufferings with singular patience. 
"Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon him, went 
forth, and said unto them, whom seek ye?" John 18: 4. 
    Fourthly, As his patience sprang from his fore-knowledge of his 
sufferings; so from his faith which he exercised under all that he 
suffered in this world. His faith looked through all those black and 
dismal clouds, to the joy proposed, Heb. 12: 2. He knew that though 
Pilate condemned, God would justify him, Isa. 50: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. And 
he set one over-against the other: he balanced the glory, into which 
he was to enter, with the sufferings, through which he was to enter 
into it. He acted faith upon God for divine support and assistance 
under suffering, as well as for glory, the fruit and reward of them, 
Psal. 16: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. I have set (or as the apostle varies it) 
"I foresaw the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand 
I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory 
rejoiceth." There is faith acted by Christ, for strength to carry 
him through. And then it follows, "My flesh also shall rest in hope; 
for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer 
thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of 
life. In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right-hand there are 
pleasures for evermore." There is his faith acting spoil the glory 
into which he was to enter, after he had suffered these things: this 
filled him with peace. 
    Fifthly, As his faith, eyeing the glory into which he was 
passing, made him endure all things; so the heavenliness of his 
Spirit also filled him with a heavenly tranquillity and calmness of 
spirit under all his abuses and injuries. It is a certain truth, 
that the more heavenly any man's spirit is, the more sedate, 
composed and peaceful. "As the higher heavens (saith Seneca) are 
more ordinate and tranquil; there are neither clouds nor winds, 
storms nor tempests; they are the inferior heavens that lighten and 
thunder: the nearer the earth the more tempestuous and unquiet: even 
so the sublime and heavenly mind is placed in a calm and quiet 
    Certainly that heart which is sweetened frequently with 
heavenly, delightful communion with God, is not very apt to be 
embittered with wrath, or soured with revenge against men. The peace 
of God does "brabeuein", appease and end all strifes and 
differences, as an umpire: so much that word, Col. 3: 15. imports. 
The heavenly Spirit marvellously affects a sedate and quiet breast. 
    Now, never was there such a heavenly soul on earth, since man 
inhabited it, as Christ was: he had most sweet and wonderful 
communion with God: he had meat to eat, which others, yea, and those 
his greatest intimates, knew not of. The Son of man was in heaven 
upon earth, John 3: 13. Even in respect of that blessed heavenly 
communion he had with God, as well as in respect of his immense 
Deity: and that his heart was in heaven when he so patiently endured 
and digested the pain and shame of the cross is evident from Heb. 
12: 2. "For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising 
the shame." See where his eye and heart were, when he went as a lamb 
to the slaughter. 
    Sixthly, And lastly, As his meekness and patience sprang from 
the heavenliness and sublimity of his spirit; so likewise, from the 
complete and absolute obedience of it to his Father's will and 
pleasure: he could most quietly submit to all the will of God, and 
never regret at any part at the work assigned him by his Father. For 
thou must know, that Christ's death in him was an act of obedience; 
he all along eyeing his Father's command and counsel in what he 
suffered, Phil. 2: 7, 8. John 18: 11. Ps. 40: 6, 7, 8. Now look, as 
the eyeing and considering the hand of God in an affliction, 
presently becalms and quiets a gracious soul; as you see in David, 2 
Sam. 16: 11. "Let him alone, it may be God that has bid him curse 
David;" So much more it quieted Jesus Christ, who was privy to the 
design and end of his Father, with whose will he all along complied; 
looking on Jews and Gentiles but as the instruments ignorantly 
fulfilling God's pleasure, and serving that great design of his 
Father; this was big patience, and these the grounds of it. 
    Use 1. I might variously improve this point; but the direct and 
main use of it is, to press us to a Christ-like patience in all our 
sufferings and troubles. And seeing in nothing we are more generally 
defective, and that defects of Christians herein, are so prejudicial 
to religion, and uncomfortable to themselves; I resolve to wave all 
other uses, and spend the remaining time wholly upon this branch; 
even a persuasive to Christians unto all patience, in tribulations; 
to imitate their lamb-like Saviour. Unto this (Christians) you are 
expressly called, 1 Pet. 2: 21, 22. "Because Christ also suffered 
for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. Who 
did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was 
reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but 
committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Here is your 
pattern; a perfect pattern! a lovely and excellent pattern! Will you 
be persuaded to the imputation of Christ herein? Methinks I should 
persuade you to it: yea, every thing about you persuades to patience 
in your sufferings, as well as I: look which way you will, upward or 
downward, inward or outward, backward or forward, to the right-hand, 
or to the left, you shall find all things persuading and urging the 
doctrine of patience upon you. 
    First, Look upwards, when tribulations come upon you: look to 
that sovereign Lord, that commissionates and sends them upon you. 
You know troubles do not rise out of the dust, nor spring out of the 
ground, but are framed in heaven, Jer. 18: 11. "Behold I frame evil, 
and devise a device against you." Troubles and afflictions are of 
the Lord's framing and devising, to reduce his wandering people to 
himself: much like that device of Absalom, in setting Joab's field 
of corn on fire, to bring Joab to him, 2 Sam. 14: 30. In the frame 
of your afflictions, you may observe much of divine wisdom in the 
choice, measure, and season of your troubles: sovereignty, in 
electing the instruments of your affliction; in making them as 
afflictive as he pleaseth; and in making them obedient both to his 
call, in coming and going, when he pleaseth. Now, could you in times 
of trouble look up to this sovereign hand, in which your souls, 
bodies, and all their comforts and mercies are; how quiet would your 
hearts be! Psal. 39: 9. "I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, 
because it is thy doing." 1 Sam. 3: 18. "It is the Lord, let him do 
what seemeth him good." Oh, when we have to do with men, and look no 
higher, how do our spirits swell and rise with revenge and 
impatience! But if you once come to see, that man as a rod in your 
Father's hand, you will be quiet; Psal. 46: 10. "Be still, and know 
that I am God;" q.d. consider with whom you have to do; not with 
your fellow, but with your God, who can puff you to destruction with 
one blast of his mouth; in whose hand you are, as the clay in the 
potter's hand. It is for want of looking up to God in our troubles, 
that we fret, murmur, and despond at the rate we do. 
    Secondly, Look downward, and see what is below you, as well as 
up to that which is above you. You are afflicted, and you cannot 
bear it. Oh! no trouble like your trouble! never man in such a case 
as you are! Well, well, cast the eye of your mind downward, and see 
those who lie much lower than you. Can you see none on earth in a 
more miserable state than yourselves? Are you at the very bottom, 
and not a man below you? sure there are thousands in a sadder case 
than you on earth. What is your affliction? Have you lost a 
relation? others have lost all. Have you lost an estate, and are 
become poor? Well, but there are some you read of, Job 30: 4, 5, 6, 
7. "Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper-roots for their 
meat. They are driven forth from among men, they cried after them as 
after a thief. They dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in caves of 
the earth, and in the rocks. Among the bushes they braved, under the 
nettles they were gathered together." What difference, as to manner 
of life, do you find between the persons here described, and the 
wild beasts, that herd together in a desolate p]ace? Are you 
persecuted and afflicted for Christ's sake? What think you of their 
sufferings, Heb. 11: 36, 37. "Who had trial of cruel dockings; yea, 
moreover of bands and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were 
sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered 
about in sheep skins and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, 
tormented." And are you better than they? I know not what you are; 
but I am sure, these were such "of whom the world was not worthy," 
ver. 38. 
    Or are your afflictions more spiritual and inward? Say not the 
Lord never dealt more bitterly with the soul of any, than he has 
with yours. What think you of the case of David, Heman, Job, Asaph, 
whose doleful cries, by reason of the terrors of the Almighty, are 
able to melt the stoniest heart that reads their stories? the 
Almighty was a terror to them: the arrows at God were within them; 
they roared by reason of the disquietness of their hearts. 
    Or are your afflictions outward and inward together; an 
afflicted soul in an afflicted body? Are you fallen, like the ship 
in which Paul sailed, into a place where two seas meet! Well, so it 
was with Paul, Job, and many other of those worthies gone before 
you. Sure you may see many on earth who have been, and are in far 
lower and sadder states than yourselves. 
    Or if not on earth, doubtless, you will yield there are many in 
hell, who would be glad to change conditions with you, as bad as you 
think yours to be. And were not all these mounded out of the same 
lump with you? Surely, if you can see any creature below you, 
especially any reasonable being, you have no reason to return so 
ungratefully upon your God, and accuse your Maker of severity; or 
charge God foolishly. Look down, and you shall see grounds enough to 
be quiet. 
    Thirdly, Look inward, you discontented spirits, and see if you 
can find nothing there to quiet you. Cast year eye into your own 
hearts; consider either the corruptions or the graces that are 
there. Cannot you find weeds enough there, that need such winter 
breather as this to rot them? Has not that proud heart need enough 
of all this to humble it? That carnal heart need of such things as 
these to mortify it? That backsliding, wandering heart need of all 
this to reduce and recover it to its God? "If need be, ye are in 
heaviness," 1 Pet. 1: 6. O Christian! Didst thou not see need of 
this before thou camest into trouble? Or has not God shown thee the 
need of it since thou wast under the rod? It is much thou shouldest 
not see it; but be assured, if thou dost not, thy God does: he knows 
thou wouldest be ruined for ever, if he should not take this course 
with thee. 
    Thy corruptions require all this to kill them. Thy lusts will 
take all this, it may be more than this, and all little enough. And 
as your corruptions call for it, so do year graces too. Wherefore 
think ye the Lord planted the principles of faith, humility, 
patience, &c. in your souls? What, were they put there for nothing? 
Did the Lord intend they should lie sleeping in their drowsy habits? 
Or were they not planted there in order to exercise? And how shall 
they be exercised without tribulations? Can you tell? Does not 
"tribulation work patience, and patience experience, and experience 
hope?" Rom. 5: 3, 4. Is not "the trial of your faith much more 
precious, than of gold which perishes," 1 Pet. 1: 7. O look inward, 
and you will be quiet. 
    Fourthly, Look outward, and see who stands by and observes your 
carriage under trouble. Are there not many eyes upon you: yea, many 
envious observers round about you. It was David's request, Psal. 5: 
8. "Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies;" 
or, as the Hebrew word there might be rendered, because of mine 
observers or watchers. There is many an envious eye upon you. To the 
wicked there can scarcely be an higher gratification and pleasure, 
than to see your carriage under trouble so like their own; for 
thereby they are confirmed in their prejudices against religion, and 
in their good opinion of themselves. These may talk and profess more 
than we; but when they are tried, and put to it, it appears plainly 
enough, their religion enables them to do no more than we do; they 
talk of heaven's glory, and their future expectancies; but it is but 
talk, for it is apparent enough their hopes cannot balance a small 
afflictions with all the happiness they talk of. Oh, how do you 
dishonour Christ before his enemies, when you make them think all 
your religion lies in talking of it! Consider who looks on. 
    Fifthly, Look backward, and see if there be nothing behind you 
that may hush and quiet your impatient spirits; consult the 
multitude of experiences past and gone; both your own and others. Is 
this the first strait that ever you were in? If so, you have reason 
to be quiet, yet to bless God that has spared you so long, when 
others have had their days filled up with sorrow. But if you have 
been in troubles formerly, and the Lord has helped you; if you have 
past through the fire, and not been burnt; through the waters, and 
not drowned; if God has stood by you, and hitherto helped you. O 
what cause have you to be quiet now, and patiently wait for the 
salvation of God! Did he help you then, and cannot he do so now? Did 
he give waters, and cannot he give bread also? Is he the God of the 
hills only, and not the God of the valleys also? O call to mind the 
days of old, the years of the right hand of the Most High. "These 
things I call to mind, therefore I have hope," Lam. 3: 21. Have you 
kept no records of past experiences? How ungrateful then have you 
been to your God, and how injurious to yourselves, if you have not 
read them over in such a day as this? for to that end were they 
given you. 
    O when you shall consider what a God he has been to you, at a 
pinch; how faithfully Jehovah-jireh has stood by you; that this is 
not the first time your hearts and hopes have been low; as well as 
your condition, and yet God has raised you again; surely you will 
find your present troubles made light, by a glance back upon your 
past experiences. 
    Sixthly, Look forward, to the end of your troubles; yea, look 
to a double end of them, the end of their duration, and the end of 
their operation. Look ye to the end of their duration, and that is 
just by you: they shall not be everlasting troubles, if you be such 
as fear the Lord. "The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his 
eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have [suffered a while] 
make you perfect," 1 Pet. 5: 10. "These light afflictions are but 
for a moment," 2 Cor. 4: 18. They are no more comparatively, with 
that vast eternity that is before you. Alas! what are a few days and 
nights of sorrows, when they are past? Are they not swallowed up as 
a spoonful of water in the vast ocean? But more especially look to 
the end of their operation. What do all these afflictions tend to 
and effect? Do they not work out an exceeding weight of glory? Are 
you not by them made partakers of his holiness?" Heb. 12: Is not 
this all the fruit to take away your sins? What, and be impatient at 
this; fret and repine, because God is, this way, perfecting your 
happiness? O ungrateful soul! Is this a due requital of that love 
that disdains not to stoop to so low an employment, as to scour and 
cleanse your souls, that they might be shining vessels of honour to 
all eternity? 
    O look forward to the end of your troubles: the end of their 
duration and operation. 
    Seventhly, Look to the right-hand, and see how you are shamed, 
convinced and silenced by other Christians; and it may be such too, 
as never made that profession you have done; and yet can not only 
patiently bear the afflicting hand of God, but are blessing, 
praising, and admiring God under their troubles; whilst you are 
sinning against, and dishonouring him under smaller ones. It may be 
you will find some poor Christians that know not where to have their 
next bread, and yet are speaking of the bounty of their God; while 
you are repining in the midst of plenty. Ah! if there be any 
ingenuity in you, let this shame you. If this will not, then, 
    Eighthly, Look to your left-hand, and there you will see a sad 
sight, and what one would think should quiet you. There you may see 
a company of wicked, graceless wretches, carrying themselves under 
their troubles, but too much like yourselves. What do they more, 
than fret and murmur, despond and sink, mix sin with their 
afflictions, when the rod of God is upon them? 
    It is time for thee to leave off, when thou sees how near thou 
art come to them, whom thou hopest thou shalt never be ranked and 
numbered with. Reader, such considerations as these, I am persuaded, 
would be of singular use to thy soul at such a time, but above all, 
thine eyeing the great pattern of patience, Jesus Christ; whose Lamb- 
like damage, under a trial, with which thine is not to be named the 
same day, is here recommended to thee. O how should this transform 
thee into a lamb, for meekness also! 

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flafn-29.txt