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Readiness for Sufferings

Readiness for sufferings will bring the heart of a Christian to an holy rest and tranquillity, in a suffering hour, and prevent that anxiety, perturbation, and distraction of mind, which puts the sinking weight into afflictions. The more cares, fears, and troubles we have before our sufferings come, the more calm, quiet, and composed we are like to be when our sufferings are come indeed.

It is admirable to consider with what peace and patience Job entertained his troubles, which, considering the kinds, degrees, and manner in which they befel him, one would think they should at least have startled and amazed him, and put his soul (as gracious and mortified as it was) into great disorder and confusion; but you find the contrary: never did the patience of a man triumph at that rate over adversity; he worships God, owns his hand, and resigns himself up to his pleasure (cf. Job 1:20-21). And whence was this? Surely had his troubles come by way of surprise, he could never have carried it at that rate; but in the days of his peace and prosperity he had prepared for such a day as this:  “I was not in safety, neither had I rest; yet trouble came; the thing that I feared (saith he) is come upon me” (Job 3:25-26). He laid it to heart before it came, and therefore it neither distracted, nor brake the heart when it came.

In like manner the prophet Habakkuk stood upon his watch-tower, i.e. he made his observations by the word upon the probable events of providence, whereby he got a clear foresight of those troublesome days that were at hand; which though it made him tremble in himself, yet it gave him rest in the day of evil (cf. Hab 3:16-18).

—John Flavel