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vation. And if you .comply with the Divine Methods, God hath promised to Work in you; that is, To help and assist you. .Confider therefore, and be encouraged, poor afflicted diftrefsed Soul, who art wearied with Sickness, and oppreffed with Pain : God is now working in you. For this light Affliction , which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Core 4. 17.
But how is it that it workerh for us ? Not by way of Merit and Satisfaction; For as when ye Aball have done all those things which are commanded you, fay, but are uniprofitable Servants: we have done that which was our Duty to do. Luk. 17. 10. In like manner, When you shall have Suffered the very utmost that you can, you must still confess; You are unprofitable Servants.: : ;
· There is therefore no more Merit in Suffering, than in Dos ing. :
But, I say, this light and momentany Atfiction worketh for your Good; By Fitting and Disposing, by Qualifying and Preparing your Soul, for the enjoyment of a far more exceeding and Eternal Weight of Glory. * From this Consideration, we may be inftructed in the true Reason; Why good and pious Men are so often, and so highly Afflicted in this world.: 115
á As to Matter of Fatt: That Good Men have been afways thus Amicted, is a general Obfervation and Complaint. : Not only Heathens, but fews and Christians have been ofteri perplext about this Matter. And have found it difficult, to reconeile the Providence of God, with the Sufferings of Good Men....
To fay; That the Sufferings of Good Men in this world, are an undeniable Proof of another Life after this, wherein they hall be fully recompensed , for all their present Afflictions; is indeed a true, but not a fuil Answer. . - For it may easily be Replyed; · Why are not Good Men happy in this World, as well as in the next? Why are they not Translated from one Happiness to another ? Why are not they as much at Ease, as Healthful, and as Prosperous as, other Men: Why are they so often in Sickness and in Pain, in Poverty and Disgrace? Are not they as capable of Worldly Eafe and Happiness; cannot they relish these Outward Satisfactions as well as Others? Have not they the fame Senses, the fame Inclinations to be Gratified ?: What: Reason therefore can be assigned ; Why Almighty God, who truly Loves
them, and who delights in doing Good, should deny his Obedient Creatures any lawful Satisfactions? Contamina . ;! Ja! W
Amongst many other Reasons that are assigned for the Afflicti. ons of Good Men, this feems to be the Chief, and gives the most full and fatisfactory Account of that Matter. Viz..11:
That our Gracious God truly loves his Obedient Creatures : And as an instance of that Love and Favour, hath not only provided good Accommodations in this World ; ( which are too mean to satisfy an Immortal Soul), but also Joys unspeakable, and full of Glory, in the next..
. :)., fin s ! = But fince no unholy, no unclean Thing can partake of those pure and spotless Joys; There fore, before fuch a Rebelliousi Polluted Creature as falln Man, can be admitted into Heaven,
he must be not only pardoned, but purified and refined. As his Person must be Justified, so his Nature must be Sanctified. And by the Work of God's Blessed Spirit, and by a Train of Providential Dispenfations, his polluted Soul must not only be cleansed in this Life, but also Qualified and Prepared for such a Station, as the Wisdom of God fhall design it in the next.
It is therefore undeniable , That a peculiar Temper and Disposition of Soul is necessary, to make us capable of Eternal Happiness. :
Which I shall further explain in the following Instance.
As there are different Stations in this World, so there are different Degrees of Glory in the next. Now this difference of Conditions in this World, doth occasion a great deal of Pride, Envy, and Malice ; with many