« PrécédentContinuer »
ings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the church. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble; that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead". Our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. For I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death. For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men*. Even unto this present hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; and labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat'; giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering", by honour and dishonour, by evil report, and good report; as deceivers, and yet true"; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body: for we which live, are always delivered unto death for Jesus'
Col. i. 23, 24. i 2 Cor. vii. 5.
m2 Cor. vi. 3-6.
Acts, v. 41.
1 Cor. iv. 9. n 2 Cor. vi. 8.
2 Cor. i. 8, 9.
11 Cor. iv. 11, 12, 13. 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10.
sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh P.
SECT. 11. Under all our afflictions we are called to abide steadfastly in the way of our duty.
Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God: In nothing terrified by your adversaries; which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. Wherefore we sent Timotheus to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith; that no man should be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily when we were with you, we told you before, that we should suffer tribulation, even as it came to pass, and ye know. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. If ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for welldoing, than for evil-doing. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye take it patiently?. but if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, in as much as ye
are made partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of God and of glory resteth upon you. On their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busy body in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf: Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him, in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator h. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you'. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly*.
SECT. 12. And with patience to wait on God for support and for deliverance.
Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved, and longed for, stand fast in the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer. There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have
h 1 Pet. iv. 19.
i 1 Pet. v. 6, 7.
b Rom. xii. 12.
1 Pet. iv. 12-16. *Rom. xvi. 20.
§ 12. Phil. iv. 1.
2 Pet. ii. 9.
1 Cor. x. 13.
spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold we count them happy which 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' yf. Wherefore be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Some were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings, and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins, and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect". Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them. which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith. we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ: and our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation'.
SECT. 13. To this conduct we are encouraged by the view of the blessed fruits of affliction to the servants of God.
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting
nothing. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth; and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? for they verily for a few days chastened us, after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastisement for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness, unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet; lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it be rather healed. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
SECT. 14. By our being assured that the Christian's sufferings will soon have an end.
This I say, brethren, the time is short. It remaineth, that they that weep, be as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that used this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away". For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands,
b Heb. xii. 4-10.
e Heb. xii. 11, 12, 13.
§ 13. * James, i. 2, 3, 4. d Rom. viii. 28.
§ 14.* 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31.