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The example of our suffering Saviour, lays an obligation on us to transcribe his copy; his titles in scripture declare both his eminence and exemplariness. He is our Head, and our Leader, the Captain of our salvation, whom we are bound to follow in taking up our cross: his sufferings were designed not only for our redemption, but for our instruction and imitation. What he commands as God, he performed as man, that we might voluntarily yield up ourselves to the holiness and equity of his law. Thus from the pattern of our Saviour’s deportment, the point of doctrine is this: The entire resignation of our wills to the disposing will of God, is the indispensable duty of Christians under the sharpest affliction.
There are proper temptations that attend the afflicted state. Many are encompassed in a sad circle; their sins procure afflictions, and their afflictions occasion many sins. Indeed, tribulation that is sanctified, by a happy gradation worketh patience ; and patience, experience of the divine mercy; and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed. But when it meets with a stubborn spirit, there are fearful descents of sin: tribulation excites impatience, and impatience causeth perplexity,and that despair, and despair, confusion. The devil lays his trains in every condition, and sometimes by immoderate sorrow, sometimes by inordinate joy, doth mischief to the soul. And as more perish by surfeits than abstinence, yet the diseases that are caused by emptiness, are more dangerous and incurable than those that proceed from fullness : so more are ruined by prosperity than adversity: but the guilty passions that ferment and rage in adversity, are more pernicious, and more hardly tempered and subdued, than the luxurious appetites that are fomented and drawn forth by prosperity. We are directed by our Saviour to pray, that we may ” not be led into temptation, and to be delivered from all evil.”
—William Bates “The Great Duty of Resignation.”