Still our apostle proceeds in assigning reasons why all the afflictions which himself and others met with, were not only tolerable, but joyous; namely, because,
1. His afflictions were light:
2. Because they were short.
They were light; but how? Not considered in themselves; so they were hard and heavy: thrice he was beaten with rods, five times he received forty stripes save one: but light, compared with the glory expected.
Again, they were short; but for a moment, compared with eternity. Mark the gradation for affliction there is glory: for light affliciton, a weight of glory; and for light affliction, which is but for a moment, an eternal weight of glory.
Observe farther, The apostle doth not barely say, that glory will be the consequent of affliction, but that affliction will be the cause of glory; it worketh for us.
Not as a meritorious cause: for alas! how can our afflictions deserve this happiness! What proportion can there be betwixt light and momentary afflictions, and an eternal weight of glory?
But they work for us, as they are sanctified by God to us. His infinite mercy and goodness, his covenant truth and faithfulness, make his saints' afflictions a whipping-post to their corruptions; they purge our iniquity, and take away our sin, if we belong to God as his covenant children. But for wicked and obdurate sinners, alas! it is much otherwise: instead of being refined from their dross, and purged from their filth, by being in the furnace of affliction, it boils their scum and impurity more into them; and like flints in the fire, they fly in the very face of God their refiner.