And God himself will have his servants, and his graces, tried and exercised by difficulties. He never intended us the reward for sitting still; nor the crown of victory, without a fight; nor a fight, without an enemy and opposition. Innocent Adam was unfit for his state of confirmation and reward, till he had been tried by temptation. therefore the martyrs have the most glorious crown, as having undergone the greatest trial. and shall we presume to murmur at the method of God?
And Satan, having liberty to tempt and try us, will quickly raise up storms and waves before us, as soon as we are set to sea: which make young beginners often fear, that they shall never live to reach the haven. He will show thee the greatness of thy former sins, to persuade thee that they shall not be pardoned. he will show thee the strength of thy passions and corruption, to make thee think they will never be overcome. he will show thee the greatness of the opposition and suffering which thou art like to undergo, to make thee think thou shall never persevere. He will do his worst to poverty, losses , crosses, injuries, vexations, and cruelties, yea , and unkind dearest friends, as he did by Job, to ill of God, or of His service.
If he can , he will make them thy enemies that are of thine own household. He will stir up thy own father, or mother, or husband, or wife, or brother, or sister, or children, against thee, to persuade or persecute thee from Christ: therefore Christ tells us, that if we hate not all these that is cannot forsake them, and use them as men do hated things; when they would turn us from him, we cannot be his disciples". Look for the worst that the devil can do against thee, if thou hast once lifted thyself against him, in the army of Christ, and resolvest, whatever it cost thee, to be saved. Read heb.xi. But How little cause you have to be discouraged, though earth and hell should do their worst , you may perceive by these few considerations.
God is on your side, who hath all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke them, or destroy them in a moment. O what is the breath or fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty? "If God be for us, who can be against us?" read often that chapter, Rom. viii. In the day when thou didst enter into covenant with God, and he with thee, thou didst enter into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and house thyself in that castle of defense, where thought mayst (modestly)defy all adverse powers of earth or hell. If God cannot save thee, he is not God. And if he will not save thee, he must break his covenant. Indeed, he may resolve to save thee, not from affliction and persecution, but in it, and by it. But in all these sufferings you will "be more than conquerors, through Christ that loveth you;" that is, it is far more desirable and excellent, to conquer by patience, in suffering for Christ, than to conquer our persecutors in the field, by force arms. O think on the saints triumphant boastings in their God:" God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble: therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea". when his " enemies were many" and "wrested his words daily," and "fought against him, and all their thoughts were against him, " yet he saith, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. in God I will praise his word; in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do unto me". Remember Christ's charge, " Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you , Fear him" if all the world were on they side, thou might yet have cause to fear; but to have God on thy side, is infinitely more.
Practical works of Richard Baxter,Ch 2 Directions to Weak Christians for Their Establishment and Growth, page 43.