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‘Build Not Your Nest Here’: Learning Suffering from the Puritans

The English Puritans and their Scottish counterparts, the Covenanters, skilled intense struggling. Together with their contemporaries, they confronted the conventional hardships of the seventeenth-century world: plagues, sicknesses, and the deaths of infants, kids, and girls in childbirth. Along with these, nonetheless, most of the Puritans endured deep and chronic persecution.

The Stuart monarchs (1603–1685) — James I, Charles I, and Charles II — considered the Puritans as threats to and seditious rebels of the English Commonwealth because of their refusal to evolve to the Church of England and their makes an attempt to deliver “additional reformation” to the Church. Because of this, the magistrates fined, dismembered, and incarcerated Puritans for not adhering to the Ebook of Frequent Prayer and the varied ceremonies of the Church of England. Regardless of the merciless, abusive mistreatment that they acquired on the hand of their tormentors, these Puritans demonstrated brave resolve and Christian perseverance as they remained steadfast of their devotion to their Lord Jesus Christ.

Although our personal hardships will not be the identical, we will study and apply three useful classes about affected by the Puritans’ completely biblical reflections on the trials they endured. Making use of these classes to our personal circumstances helps us to acknowledge them as purifying fires meant to show the genuineness of our religion and enhance our affection for Christ.

A Extra Valuable Christ

The Puritans train us, first, that struggling generally is a catalyst to understanding and experiencing the inestimable worth of Christ, which in flip results in an lively, perpetual treasuring of Christ above all else. Within the midst of his struggling, the Covenanter Samuel Rutherford was in a position to see and embrace Christ as his “Pearl.” Christ was so treasured to him that he refused to “trade the enjoyment of my bonds and imprisonment for Christ with all the enjoyment of this soiled and foul-skinned world.”1

For the Puritans, struggling was a purifying agent to “irritate sinne” in order that “sinne bee the sowrest, and Christ the sweetest, of all issues.”2 Richard Sibbes asserts that struggling yields a “bruising” that allows a Christian to “prize Christ above all.”3 When all is affluent, it’s harder to see the treasure that Christ is, however when trials come, “nothing comforts [the soul] just like the riches of Christ. . . . Nothing makes a Christian sing care away, just like the riches of Christ.”4 At the same time as struggling batters the physique or the thoughts of Christ’s disciple, the soul can turn into extra enamored with the fantastic thing about Christ.

Extreme Mercy

Second, the Puritans reinforce the reality that God is the divine Writer over struggling. Nothing on this life, together with struggling, eludes the sovereign will of God. Subsequently, Christians are to “query not however there’s a beneficial design in [suffering] in the direction of you.”5 God makes use of struggling for his divine functions, which embody the nice and development of his kids, thus displaying at one and the identical time his sovereignty and covenant love. Within the Lord’s sovereign palms, struggling turns into a divine, gracious technique of sanctification, by which “God is however killing your lusts.”6

“Nothing on this life, together with struggling, eludes the sovereign will of God.”

God’s love permeates the struggling of his elect. Each trial that his elect encounter discloses the heat, sweetness, and affection of the Father. He doesn’t intend to harm or destroy. Slightly, “afflictions to the Godly are medicinable,” given to cleanse, to purify his kids.7 Subsequently, struggling is a “certain signe of his love. . . . It’s a signe, he meanes to dwell with us, and enjoyment of us.”8 As we comprehend the love of God for us in our struggling, we study contentment not in our circumstances or in ourselves, however in God alone. Jeremiah Burroughs observes,

Not solely in good issues does a Christian have the dew of God’s blessing, and discover them very candy to him, however in all of the afflictions, all of the evils that befall him, he can see love, and may benefit from the sweetness of affection in his afflictions in addition to in his mercies. The reality is that the afflictions of God’s individuals come from the identical everlasting love that Jesus Christ got here from. . . . Grace allows males to see Love within the very frown of God’s face, and so involves obtain contentment.9

The popularity of God’s love in designing trials can produce a supernatural, indescribable “pleasure and luxury in God.”10 Whereas acknowledging a class for godly tears, godly grief, and godly lamentation, the Puritans maintained that the overarching ethos of the Christian is one among pleasure. Reflecting on his personal expertise of surpassing pleasure within the midst of a trial, Rutherford writes,

Neither want we worry crosses, or sigh or be unhappy for something that’s on this facet of heaven, if we’ve Christ. Our crosses won’t ever draw blood of the enjoyment of the Holy Ghost and peace of conscience. Our pleasure is laid up in such a excessive place that temptations can’t climb as much as take it down.11

Struggling within the lives of the godly produces a candy submission to God’s windfall. By grace, God’s elect needn’t merely put up with or resign themselves to struggling. Slightly, realizing and adoring the truth that “his sovereignty which he exerciseth over you . . . is lustred with mercy,”12 they solid away all “fretting ideas of the holy dispensation of God.”13

Strangers and Exiles

Third and eventually, struggling underscores the truth that we’re strangers and pilgrims on this earth who eagerly anticipate our everlasting heavenly residence. The Puritans lived the proposition of Hebrews 11:13: “[They] acknowledged that they have been strangers and exiles on the earth.” This pilgrim mindset tempered their expectations of life on this earth. Thomas Brooks argues that afflictions “elevate and lift a Saint’s affections to Heaven and heavenly issues.”14 Struggling reminds us that this sin-cursed, sin-ruined world isn’t our everlasting residence, for “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). This momentary “world is a tough, ill-made mattress; no relaxation is in it to your soul.”15 Subsequently, God makes use of struggling to “wean your hearts from a useless world, stopping temptations, and thrilling your wishes after heaven.”16

“As God makes use of afflictions to attract us away from the self-importance of the world, he spiritually transports us nearer to himself.”

As God makes use of afflictions to attract us away from the self-importance of the world, he spiritually transports us nearer to himself. Brooks asserts,

That occasions of affliction have been the occasions, whereby you may have seen the face of God, and heard the voice of God, and sucked sweetness from the brests of God, and fed upon the delicates [delicacies] of God, and drunk deep of the consolations of God, and have been most glad and delighted with the presence and in-comes of God.17

If afflictions yield this type of satisfaction and enjoyment of God, in the event that they train us to spurn the temptation to be satiated with the empty pleasures of the current world, then we will embrace the extreme mercies that stop us from falling away from the residing God.

Candy, Submissive Resilience

The Puritans’ responses to afflictions present for us a mannequin of candy, submissive resilience in our struggling. Burroughs contends {that a} resilient Christian is one whose “gracious sweete and holy mood” stays unaltered by afflictions, as a result of that Christian “submit[s] to the dispose [disposal] of God in each situation.”18 In a world the place illness and dying are ubiquitous, Christ seems extra treasured, and the loving windfall of God extra candy.

These classes instruct and remind us that our sufferings don’t have the ultimate phrase. Neither do they offer us excuses for breaking fellowship with the Lord or being much less godly. Slightly, struggling is God’s gateway to recent outpourings of his infinite sustaining grace as we more and more discover Christ to be all-sufficient.

Even when our tribulations now could seem notably difficult, they “will not be price evaluating with the glory that’s to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). Christian, the compass of struggling factors true north to God’s everlasting dwelling place. Subsequently, “construct not your nest right here,” however search and “want a greater nation, that’s, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).19 Your Lord will graciously maintain and bear you thru your ache and struggling on this life, and in his timing, usher you into his presence, the place there can be no extra dying, mourning, crying, or ache (Revelation 21:4).


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