God orders the sufferings of the church for his own glory, and his people’s good. He orders them for his own glory; providence is admirable in preserving a suffering church. The ark floats upon the waters, and drowns not: the bush burns, and is not consumed the lily is among thorns, and withers not; the saints are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Strength comes forth out of weakness; light arises out of darkness; the bones, though sometimes dry and hopeless, live; the witnesses are slain, and revive again; pressures multiply the church, and sufferings propagate it; and what a sight is this? Who may think much at those sufferings, in which so much of God appears? Again, he orders them for his people’s good; the fan will purge away their vanity; the furnace will melt out their dross; every name of persecution will lift them up nearer to heaven; their sufferings will make them white; their graces will come forth as gold out of the fire in their pure lustre; the rod will blossom, and bring forth peaceable fruit of righteousness; the Holy Spirit will come down upon them in larger effusions of grace and comfort: and what things are these? Who can imagine those sufferings needless, which have so excellent an issue?
A Preparation for Suffering