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God can make you useful

At the same time, you don’t know what God may do for you. Moses had not been so magnified by God if Aaron and Miriam had not abused him and abased him. (Nu. 12) Something may fall out that shall more signalize you and magnify you among the People of God than anything  that has befallen you.

God is to be adored in such things; but though I make the briefest mention o fhtem that is possible, I would not have mentioned them at all, if the things had not been of so frequent occurrence as to be worth your observation. And at the same time, I know you will desire concerning most of them that they may not occur in your own experience. You had rather see God saving of your personal enemies, than for you sake smiting of them. And, if you saw the uplifted hand of God ready to discharge thunderbolts upon them, you would beg for them, Lord, spare them, spare them.


I will conclude with this advice.

PRAYER, PRAYER, which has heretofore doubtless been the breath of your life, outhgt now more htan ever to be so. The best resolution that you can take up is that of the Psalmist, “For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.” (Psalm 109:2) But I give myself to prayer.

            Know the Scripture

If the storm of obloquy upon you be more than ordinary, it looks as if the Lord called you unto something more of retirement; silence alone for a while and keeping silence and putting your mouth into the dust; while you give your cheek to him that smites you, and you are filled full of reproach. How many Psalms will you in this retirement and religion of the closet find prepared for you, to direct you, to support you, to supply your supplications? Especially the third, the thirteenth, the seventeenth, the twenty-seventh, the thirty-first, the thirty-eighth, the forty-first, the fifty-fourth, the fifty-sixth, the eighty-sixth, the ninety-first, the hundrend and ninth, the hundred and thirty-eighth, the hundred and forty-second, the hundred and forty third.

The worst of dragons have been charmed by such Psalms as these.

My friend, the foot-steps of God, even when his is treading on you, will drop fatness [blessing] into your soul. If you are brought unto such employments and being thus fruitful (though in a low valley) you may shout & also sing for joy. Even when thrown into a dung cart, you may be (as the martyr in that case expressed it), as a sweet odor to God yea, and unto his faithful people, too.

Be concerned thus to glorify the Name of your Holy Lord and fear not. He will take a sufficient care of your name.

And at the very time when your name is trod into the dirt, among men on earth, it will be written in heaven be precious among the angles of heaven, to whom you and your bringing forth fruit with patience are made a spectacle. And where a crown of glory is ready waiting for you.

Having brought you thither, I cannot break off anywhere more agreeably but there (whither my friend all you present sufferings are carrying you!). There, I leave you.


Thus, you have seen the true way of shaking off a viper. When the viper coiled about the hand of the servant of Christ (for Bochart[1] will allow him to do no more; not consenting to [agreeing with] who will have the teeth of the viper struck into him), it was, as one wittily says, Non laedert, sed ut ornaret; not an injury, but an ornament unto him. The ancients had indeed a sort of bracelet called a “wrist serpent” mentioned in Atheneaus and Hesychius and others. Our defamers will adorn more than they annoy us, if we take this method with them, which we have now agreed upon.

When Paul shook off the beast into the fire (Acts 28:1-6), some ingenious men and Arator[2] among the rest make it a type of our great adversary Satan cast into hell for assaulting the faithful people of God.

But oh! Let us lift-up our hands to heaven with fervent cries to the God of all grace that he would bring all our human defamers (though we were ever so inhumanely treated by them) thither even to Heaven; there to share with us in happiness, to which even they have promoted our arrival.


Thou shall victorious tread on the black serpent, and the asp; the dragon and the great dragon thou shalt trample under foot.

Melius responderi non potest calumniatorum maledicentiae quam non respondendo[3]

Melc. Adam. in Vita Beza.

A Speech of the Martyr Vineditirus.

Rage and do the worst, that Malignity can set thee at work to do;

Thou shalt see the Spirit of GOD strengthen the Sufferer,

more than the Devil can do the Inflicter.


[1] Samuel Bochart (30 May 1599 – 16 May 1667) was a French Protestant biblical scholar. For his works see, http://www.prdl.org/author_view.php?a_id=150

[2] A commentator I have been unable to identify.

[3] There can be no better answer to the curse of the slanderers than by not answering.