The Necessity and Benefit of Affliction -- Jean Taffin

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Puritanboard Librarian
Jean Taffin, Of the Marks of the Children of God (1634 English edition, modernized spelling - not included in the 2003 reprint):

Great trouble and vexation,
the righteous shall sustain:
By God's determination,
whilst here they do remaine.
Which grievous is and irksome both,
for flesh and blood to bear:
Because by nature we are loath,
to want our pleasure here.
And eke because our enemy,
that ancient deadly foe,
Satan, with cruel tyranny,
the worker of our woe,
Doth still provoke the wicked sort,
in sin which do delight,
To please themselves and make great sport,
to vex us with despite.
Yet do the righteous by the cross,
more blessed things obtain:
Than any way can be the loss,
the doler, or the pain.
The loss is that which in few days
would pass, fade and decay
Even of itself: the gain always
can no man take away.
All earthly estimation
the Cross may clean deface:
But heavenly consolation
the soul doth then embrace.
Afflictions worldly pleasures will
abandon out of mind:
The is the soul more earnest still,
the joys of heaven to find.
The worldly riches, goods and wealth
by troubles may depart:
The inward joys and saving health,
may wholly rule the heart.
In trouble friends do start aside,
as clouds do with the wind:
But God's assistance doth abide
to cheer the troubled mind.
If we should feel these losses all
at once, by sudden change:
We may not be dismayed withall,
though it seem very strange.
Job lost his friends, he lost his wealth,
and comfort of his wife:
He lost his children and his health,
yea, all but wretched life.
When all was gone, the Lord above
did still with him remain:
With mercy, kindness and with love
assuaging all his pain.
Teaching him by experience,
that all things fickle be,
(which subject are to human sense)
and yield all misery:
But godliness within the heart,
remaineth ever sure,
In wealth and woe, it is her part,
true comfort to procure.
Affliction turneth these worldly joys
to greater pain and woe:
Because the love was linked with toyes:
religion is not so.
For when man's heart doth most delight
in pleasure, wealth and pride:
Religion then will take her flight,
she may not there abide.
Whereby our souls in woeful plight
continually remain:
Yet have not we the grace or might,
from such lusts to refrain.
In which estate most willingly,
(though tending right to hell)
We count our chief felicity,
and love therein to dwell.
Therefore the Lord which is above,
regarding us below,
With mercy, pity, grace and love,
that always from him flow,
Doth mix with grief these earthly things,
wherein we do delight,
Which to our souls all sorrow brings,
or else removeth them quite.
Then doth the holy word of God,
most comfortable seem:
Which we (before we felt the rod)
more folly did esteem.
The world which erst most pleasant was,
now loathsome seemeth to be.
It doth appear (as in a glass)
all fraught with misery.
Then fear we hell, then fly we sin,
then seek we heaven the more:
To use good means we then begin,
which we despised before.
Then can we pray, then can we call,
to God for strength and grace:
Which things before might not at all,
with us have any place.
Then hear we with attentiveness,
then read we with all care:
Then pray we with great ferventness,
no travail then we spare.
Then shall we see, feel and confess,
the state wherein we dwelt,
To be nothing but wretchedness,
though worldly joys we felt.
Because the soul by godliness,
more comfort doth receive
In one day, than by our worldliness,
in many we achieve.
Then we with David shall confess,
that God from heaven above,
(By humbling us) doth well express
his mercy and his love.
For ere we felt the scourging rod,
we erred and went astray:
But now we keep the law of God,
and wait thereon alway.
Then for Religion love the cross,
though it does bring some pain:
The joy is great, small is the loss,
but infinite is the gain.
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