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Chapter First.

THE CHRISTIAN AFFLICTED.

Divine Sympathy. 1" ALTHOUGH affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. ? But like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. He maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole; the heareth the cry of the afflicted, 5 and the Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, and will make all his bed in his sickness; for the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." 1 Job v, 6, 7. ? Ps. ciii, 13, 14. 3 Job v, 18. 4 Job xxxiv, 28.

6 Ps. xli, 3. 6 Jas. V, 16. Prayer for restoration to health. 1« Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears. Make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is : that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth ; and my age is as nothing before thee : verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Wearisome nights are appointed to me. When I lie down, I say,

B

When shall I arise, and the night be gone?' and I am full of tossings. to and fro unto the dawning of the day. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in

my

affliction : for thy word hath quickened me. Make me glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted me. 50 Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction; 6 be merciful unto me and raise me

up;

70 spare me, that I may recover strength, before I

go hence, and be no more.” 1 Ps. xxxix, 12, 4, 5. 2 Job vii, 3, 4. 3 Ps. cxix, 49, 50. 4 Ps. xc, 15. 5 Jer. xvi, 19. 6 Ps. xli, 10. 7 Ps. xxxix, 13.

ILLUSTRATION. Hezekiah raised up from sickness.

1“Hezekiah, king of Judah, 2 was sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah came to him, and said unto him; “Thus saith the Lord : Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.' Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore, and said; 'Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. In the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living : I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: he will cut me off with pining sickness : from day even to night wilt

thou make an end of me. Mine

eyes

fail with looking upward : O Lord, I am oppressed ;undertake for me.' 4"And it came to

pass

before Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying ; "Turn again, and tell Hezekiah, the captain of my people : Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father; I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears : behold, I will heal thee. On the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord; and I will add unto thy days fifteen years.' 12 Kings xvii, 14. 2 2 Kings xx, 1. 3 Is. xxxviii, 2, 3, 10-12, 14.

4 2 Kings xx, 4-6.

Exhortation to patience and resignation. 1“The Lord doth not afflict willingly: 2 therefore, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction : for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

36Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.Behold, we count them happy who endure.Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord ;—that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

4“Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 5 And our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for

us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 6 And I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

86. The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus,

after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.' 1 Lam. iii, 31, 33. 2 Prov. iii, 11, 12. 3 Jas. V, 10, 11. 4 Rom. v, 3-5. 52 Cor. iv, 17, 18. 6 Rom. viii, 18. 72 Cor. v, 1. 8 1 Pet. v, 10, 11.

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