The Church is Strengthened by Persecution

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? – Romans 8:35

Sometimes God has suffered the enemy to exact upon us, and the sword has been used with terrible effect. O, there have been dark and gloomy days for the chosen church of Christ! When persecution has cried, “Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war,” blood has flowed like water over the land! Our enemies have triumphed. the martyr was bound to the stake, or was crucified upon the tree; the pastor was cut off, and the flocks were scattered. Cruel torture-awful suffering was endured by the saints of God. The elect cried, and said, “O Lord, how long? let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants.” The enemy laughed, and said, “Ah, ah! so would we have it.” …Persecution shook the land, and sent forth its burning lava of cruelty, devastating the fair fields of the church of God. But did the enemy prosper? Did he succeed? Did persecution destroy His church? Did the weapon formed against us prosper? No! Each time that the church had a wave pass over her she rose out of it, and lifted her fair countenance, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners. She was all the more glorious for it all. Every time her blood was shed each drop became a man, and each man thus converted stood prepared to pour out the vital current from his veins to defend the cause. Ah! those were times when, instead of the church being diminished and brought low, God did multiply her, and persecution worked for her good instead of causing her evil. The persecutor did not destroy the church. Christ’s church never sails so well as when she is rocked from side to side by the winds of persecution; when the spray of her blood dashes in the front, and when at every lurch she is well-nigh overwhelmed. Nothing has helped God’s church so much as persecution; it has increased, and been strengthened by it. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

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