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New. Brooks addressed this book ''To all afflicted, distressed, disquieted, dissatisfied, and discomposed Christians throughout the world. '' Dear Hearts, he says, ''The choicest saints are ''born to troubles as the sparks fly upwards'' (Job. 5: 7). ''Many are the troubles of the righteous'' (Ps. 84: 19); if they are many, and not troubles, then, as it is in the proverb, the more the merrier. Or, if they were troubles and not many, then the fewer the better cheer. But God, who is infinite in wisdom and matchless in goodness, has ordered troubles, yea, many troubles to come trooping in on every side. As our mercies, so our crosses seldom come single; they usually come treading one upon the heels of another. They are like April showers, no sooner is one over but another comes. And yet, Christians, it is mercy, it is rich mercy, that every affliction is not an execution, that every correction is not a condemnation. The higher the waters rise, the nearer Noah s ark was lifted up to Heaven. The more your afflictions are increased, the more your heart shall be raised heavenward. '' ''Afflictions are a golden key by which the Lord opens the rich treasure of His Word to the souls of His people. '' ''I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it'' (Ps. 39: 9). ''Why must Christians be mute and silent under the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and the sharpest trials...? '' I answer: That they may the better hear and understand the voice of the rod. That they may distinguish themselves from the world. That they may be [like] Christ their Head, who was dumb and silent under His sorest trials: ''He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter...'' There is no better guide than Brooks to teach one to bear and forbear when God s providence is sculpting him into shape to conform to His image. Brooks (1608-1680) is the liveliest of the Puritans; he entertains as he teaches the deep things of God....
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