Monday, December 28, 2015

light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall only work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

"The good man is happy in whatsoever condition he is in; and that, First, because no worldly evils can do him any real hurt; secondly, because of those advantages, spiritual joys and satisfactions, he enjoys while here; and thirdly, more especially from the joyful hope and certain expectation, of the enjoyment of the perfection of happiness, eternally, hereafter. But, First. Because no worldly evils can do him any real hurt. The good [man] is exalted out of the reach of all worldly evils; they cannot send forth their baneful influences so high as to touch him, and all the hurt they can do him is but as a sharp medicine. Although it be bitter, yet [it] takes away those diseases that would in the end, if they were let alone, be a thousand times more painful and troublesome to him. A good man may look down upon all the whole army of worldly afflictions under his feet with a slight and disregard (that is, as evils, for he ought to have the greatest regard to them as they are for his good), and consider with himself and joy therein that, however great they are and however numerous, let them all join their forces together against him and put on their most rueful and dreadful habits, forms and appearances, and spend all their strength, vigor and violence with endeavors to do him any real hurt or mischief, and it is all in vain. He may triumph over them all knowing this: light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall only work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and, that although sorrow continue for a night, yet joy cometh in the morning: remembering God's promise that all things shall surely work together for his good, and nothing shall offend. If he loses all the worldly good things he has, his estate, friends and relations, or if his body is put to the greatest tortures and pains imaginable, he may consider that it is all best for him that it should be, and that all the hurt they can do him is only to his body. And our Savior has commanded us not to fear them that even kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; and whatever the world does against him, he has that to comfort him, that Christ has overcome the world."

[Jonathan Edwards, from his sermon "Christian Happiness"]

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