Monday, September 24, 2012

Lessons with Flavel

Commenting on Isaiah 53v7 John Flavel says that one of the uses of this is to press on us Christlike patience in our sufferings.  He suggests by way of practical application that in our sufferings we ought to look in various directions for help.
1. Look upwards when tribulations come upon you: look to the sovereign Lord that commissionates and sends them upon you.  You know that troubles do not rise out of the dust nor spring out of the ground, but are framed in heaven.
2. Look downward - cast your eye downward and see those who lie much lower than you.  Can you see none on the earth in a more miserable state than yourselves.  What is your affliction? Have you lost a relation. Others have lost all....
3. Look inward, cast your eye into you own hearts: consider either the corruptions or grace that are there.  Cannot you find enough weeds there that need such winter weather as this to rot them
4. Look outward - and see who stands by and observes your carriage in trouble.  Are there not many eyes upon you.
5. Look backward,  consult the multitude of experiences past and gone...Is this the first strait that you have ever been in.  If so you have reason to be quiet, yet to bless God that hath spared you so long when others have had their days filled up with sorrow.
6. Look forward to the end of your troubles..... they shall not be everlasting troubles.
7. Look to the right hand  and see how you are shamed, convinced and silenced by other Christians... and yet can not only patiently bear the afflicting hand of God but are blessing.
8. Look to your left hand and there you will see a sad sight..... there you may see a company of wicked graceless wretches carrying themselves under their troubles, but too much like yourselves.  What do they more than fret and murmur; despond and sink... It is time for thee to leave off, when thou seest how near thou art come to them.
...... above all thine eying the great pattern of patience, Jesus Christ; whose Lamb like carriage, under a trial, with which thine is not to be named the same day, is here recommended to thee.  Oh how should this transform thee into a lamb for meekness also.