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A Description of Persons who are directed to commit the keeping of their souls to God

[A DESCRIPTION OF THE PERSONS WHO ARE DIRECTED

TO COMMIT THE KEEPING OF THEIR SOULS TO GOD.]

SECOND. I shall now come to the second thing contained in the text, namely, to give you a more distinct description of the men that are thus bid to commit the keeping of their souls to God.

And they are thus described: they that “suffer according to the will of God.” “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

Two things are here to be inquired into.

FIRST, What the apostle here means by the will of God.

SECOND, What suffering according to the will of God is.

FIRST, For the will of God, it is divers ways taken in the scriptures; as, sometimes, for electing, justifying, sanctifying acts of God; sometimes for faith, good life, and sometimes for suffering for his name (Rom 9; Eph 1:11; John 7:17; 1 John 3:23; 1 Thess 4:3; Matt 7:21). But, by will of God here we must,

First, Understand HIS LAW AND TESTAMENT.

Second, HIS ORDER AND DESIGNMENT.

[THE WILL OF GOD MEANS HIS LAW AND TESTAMENT.]

First, By his will I understand his law and testament. This is called the revealed will of God, or that by which he has made himself, and how he will be worshiped, known unto the children of men. Now, I, understanding these words thus, must, before I go further, make this distinction, to wit, that there is a difference to be put betwixt them that suffer for the breach and those that suffer for keeping of this law and testament; for though both of them may suffer by the will of God, yet they are not both concerned in this text. A malefactor that suffereth for his evil deeds the due punishment thereof, suffereth, as other texts declare, according to the will of God. But, I say, this text doth not concern itself with them; for both this text and this epistle is writ for the counsel and comfort of those that suffer for keeping the law and testament of God; that suffer for well-doing (1 Peter 3:13,14,17; 4:13,14).

The man then that is concerned in this advice is he that suffereth from the hands of men for keeping of the word of God; and this is he that has licence, leave, yea, a command to commit the keeping of his soul to God in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. We will a little enlarge upon this.

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

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