benevolent purpose. By thee they will be overruled for good, & be made to answer some great & infinitely important end. So that it shall be made eventually to appear, that the highest good of the universe would not be served so well in any other way. Yes the inspired word directs the afflicted. devoutly to ascribe righteousness & truth to God, & to say righteous art thou when thou inflictest thy rod, in mercy, & in righteousness hast thou visited me, for my afflictions are lighter than what my sins deserve.
Shall we tell the afflicted that their dear earthly friends could have administered
substantial happiness to them under the ills of life, if they had been continued? Such instruction, would not be calculated, to asuage their sorrows while drinking the bitter cup of affliction; but if we tell any that their friends were faiding & short lived enjoyments, never designed by God to afford durable happiness, but to be improved for his glory while they were continued; & that their removal has been benevolently designed, to excite the surviving friends to cease from making the creature their portion, & trust, & to excite them to make God their portion, & eternal inheritance.
Such instruction will be calculated to lead our afflicted friends to inquire with what frames of mind, they receive their strokes of God, & his hand toward them, with adversity, to inquire whether they have improved his blessings aright while they were continued, & whether they are improving their removal
from them to excite them to prepare to follow after them into the eternal world, to appear before God with acceptance.
When persons are in affliction it is suitable to attempt to administer consolation to them, by directing them to humble themselves befor God; to see to it that by what they suffer they learn obedience, that they learn to rely upon God as their portion & supporter, in the
exercise of repentance toward God. of faith on the son of God, & submission to his will.
In this our pity to them most operate in a tender concern for the good of their souls; not only in administering such counsel & instruction, as is calculated to lead them to be followers of Christ as dear children, but in patience to possess their souls.
In this we may be allowed to exhort & intreat them, not to murrmur nor repine, but to study submission to God's will; to look into their hearts, & to study to know their need of divine support & to look to God for a sanctified improvement of their afflictions.
Moreover, we may with propriety remind our friends, that if they
feel themselves so deeply afflicted because the hand of God hath touched them, in the removal of their earthly friends from them then, their afflictions must by & by be great indeed, if they do not see to it that they submit to God, & lay up for themselves treasures in heaven, beyond the reach of worldly losses & disappointments.
When God comes by his afflictive providences into our families & removes from us our dear earthly friends & connexions; the call of his providence then consider with the calls of his word to us, to awake to righteousness & sin not, to watch and pray lest we fall into temptation, to stand with our lamps trimmed & burning, not to sleep as do others, knowing that we shall die & not live & that we may expect soon to