So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
~ Jonah 1:6
And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,
~ Acts 20:37
Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
~ 1 Samuel 1:8
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
~ Acts 20:24
What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?
~ Ezekiel 18:2
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
~ Acts 9:16
Discovering the Unreadiness of Multitudes of Professors for Suffering-Work, by John Flavel. The following contains an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen of his work, “Preparations for Sufferings, Or The Best Work in the Worst Times.
Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep, and to break my heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Chapter XIV: Discovering the Unreadiness of Multitudes of Professors for Suffering-Work.
Containing the first use of the point by way of conviction, discovering the unreadiness of multitudes of professors for suffering-work.
You have seen, by all that hath been spoken, what the necessary prerequisites unto a suffering condition are; and what manner of persons you must be, (both for habitual and actual readiness), if ever you honour Christ by bonds, or death for him. And I doubt not but your judgments and consciences yield to the evident necessity of these things, wherein I have placed the Christian’s readiness. But, alas! where shall we find among the throngs and crowds of professors, any considerable numbers thus qualified and prepared? To suffer for Christ is a gift that few have received. We are fallen into the dregs of time. O how little of primitive zeal and simplicity remains among the professors of this age! latter times have produced a sort of professors of another stamp and spirit. These have the light, but they had the love: these see more, but they did and suffered more. How many that are no ornament to religion, do adorn themselves with the name of it!Now, according to this account given of a ready Christian, divers professing persons will be convicted of their unreadiness and stability to manage suffering-work: As first,
1. The politic and hypocritical professors, whose hearts were never set right at first, and therefore cannot be stedfast when trials come, Psal. 78:8. Their hearts were never sound in God’s statutes, and therefore no wonder if they be not only a shame to, but ashamed of their profession, Psalm 119:80. Never wonder if you see that profession which began in hyposrisy, to end in apostasy. These want their habitual readiness for sufferings, and so cannot drink of that cup: Needs must they fall when tried; and when they fall, they fall dreadfully, and often irrecoverably; for they neither have the seed of God in them, nor any promise of God made to them.
And are there not many such to be found in every place? For, (1.) How difficult is it to persuade many of you to any duty that hath loss or hazard attending on it? Doth not the sincere heart stand inclinable and disposed to all the known will of God? Psalm 119:6. Do Christians use to enquire more what is cheap, easy, and safe for them, or what is their duty? Gal. 1:16. Speak conscience, for to thee do I appeal; art thou not conscious of some reserves limitations, and exceptions? Doth not the man, like Naaman, desire the Lord to excuse and pardon him in this or that thing? 2 Kings 5:17. And thinkest thou that this is consistent with sincere obedience, which excepts no duty, nor quarrels with any command, because they all flow equally from the sovereignty of God, Jam. 2:11 and so doth what it doth intuitu voluntatus, upon the sight of God’s will. Say conscience, are there not great strugglings, disputes, and contests betwixt thee and fleshly interests in such cases? And art thou not frequently over-borne? O search your hearts in this particular.
Yea, secondly, I appeal to you, whether there be not many among you that choose sin rather than affliction? This is always the hypocrite’s option and choice: He judges sufferings the greatest evils, and so orders himself in his election. It was merely to avoid persecution that those hypocrites, Gal. 6:12. constrained others to be circumcised only to gratify the Jews; that so by a sinful compliance with them, the offence of the cross might cease. If Paul would have done so, he might have avoided it too, but he durst not whatever he suffered, Gal. 5:11. O this is a shrewd sign of a false heart, Job 36:21. And the contrary disposition is always found in the upright heart, Heb. 11:25.
Nay, are there not some that have, and others that are ready to throw up their professions, when they see into what difficulties it involves them? Whilst they could live upon the profession of truth, they entertained it; but when truth comes to live upon them, they thrust it out, and cry, away with this profession, it will beggar and undo us…