That which causes a sensation of pain. Calamity or distress of any kind. The afflictions of the saints are represented in the scripture, as appointed, 1Th_3:3. Job_5:6-7; numerous, Psa_34:19; transient, 2Co_4:17. Feb. 10: 37; and when sanctified, beneficial, 1Pe_1:6. As. 119: 67, 71. They wean from the world; work submission; produce humility; excite to diligence; stir up to prayer; and conform us to the divine image. To bear them with patience, we should consider our own unworthiness; the design of God in sending them; the promises of support under them; and the real good they are productive of. The afflictions of a good man, says an elegant writer, never befall without a cause, nor are sent but upon a proper errand. These storms are never allowed to rise but in order to dispel some noxious vapors, and restore salubrity to the moral atmosphere. Who that for the first time beheld the earth in the midst of winter, bound up with frost, or drenched in floods of rain, or covered with snow, would have imagined that Nature, in this dreary and torpid state, was working towards its own renovation in the spring?
Yet we by experience know that those vicissitudes of winter are necessary for fertilizing the earth; and that under wintry rains and snows lies concealed the seeds of those roses that are to blossom in the spring; of those fruits that are to ripen in the summer; and of the corn and wine which are in harvest to make glad the heart of man. It would be more agreeable to us to be always entertained with a fair and clear atmosphere, with cloudless skies, and perpetual sunshine: yet in such climates as we have most knowledge of, the earth, were it always to remain in such a state, would refuse to yield its fruits; and, in the midst of our imagined scenes of beauty, the starved inhabitants would perish for want of food. Let us, therefore, quietly submit to Providence. Let us conceive this life to be the winter of our existence. Now the rains must fall, and the winds must roar around us; but, sheltering ourselves under him who is the "covert from the tempest, " let us wait with patience till the storms of life shall terminate in an everlasting calm. Blair's Ser. vol. 5: ser. 5; Vincent Case and Addington, on Affliction; Willison's Afflicted Man's Companion.