Hence St. Peter, who at first was in such amazement and trouble at his Lord's afflictions, bids us not look on suffering as a strange thing, "as though some strange thing happened to us, but rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy." Again, St. Paul says, "We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience." And again, "If so be we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." And again, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." And St. John, "The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." "We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." [1 Pet. iv. 12, 13. Rom. v. 3. 2 Tim. ii. 12. 1 John iii. 1, 2.] What is here said of persecution will apply of course to all trials, and much more to those lesser trials which are the utmost which Christians have commonly to endure now. Yet I suppose it is a long time before any one of us recognises and understands that his own state on earth is in one shape or other a state of trial and sorrow; and that if he has intervals of external peace, this is all gain, and more than he has a right to expect. Yet how different must the state of the Church appear to beings who can contemplate it as a whole, who have contemplated it for ages,—as the Angels! We know what experience does for us in this world. Men get to see and understand the course of things, and by what rules it proceeds; and they can foretell what will happen, and they are not surprised at what does happen. They take the history of things as a matter of course. They are not startled that things happen in one way, not in another; it is the rule. Night comes after day; winter after summer; cold, frost, and snow, in their season. Certain illnesses have their times of recurrence, or visit at certain ages. All things go through a process,—they have a beginning and an end. Grown men know this, but it is otherwise with children. To them every thing that they see is strange and surprising. They by turns feel wonder, admiration, or fear at every thing that happens; they do not know whether it will happen again or not; and they know nothing of the regular operation of causes, or the connexion of those effects which result from one and the same cause. And so too as regards the state of our souls under the Covenant of mercy; the heavenly hosts, who see what is going on upon earth, well understand, even from having seen it often, what is the course of a soul travelling from hell to heaven. They have seen, again and again, in numberless instances, that suffering is the path to peace; that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy; and that what was true of Christ is fulfilled in a measure in His followers.

P&P 6/16

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