You have been long a-gathering rust

("The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod"
 or, "The Silent Soul with Sovereign Antidotes"
 by Thomas Brooks, 1659, London.)

Oh! but my afflictions are greater than other
men's afflictions are! Oh! there is no affliction
like my affliction!
How can I not murmur?

It may be your sins are greater than other men's
sins. If you have sinned against . . .
  more light,
  more love,
  more mercies,
  more promises,
than others--no wonder if your afflictions are
greater than others! If this be your case, you
have more cause to be mute than to murmur!

It may be that the Lord sees that it is very needful
that your afflictions should be greater than others.

It may be your heart is harder than other men's
hearts, and prouder and stouter than other men's
hearts, it may be your heart is more impure than
others, and more carnal than others, or else more
selfish and more worldly than others, or else more
deceitful and more hypocritical than others, or
else more cold and careless than others, or more
formal and lukewarm than others.

Now, if this is your case, certainly God sees
it very necessary, for . . .
  the breaking of your hard heart, and
  the humbling of your proud heart, and
  the cleansing of your foul heart, and
  the spiritualizing of your carnal heart, etc.,
that your afflictions should be greater than
others; and therefore do not murmur!

Where the disease is strong, the remedy must
be strong--else the cure will never be wrought!
God is a wise physician, and He would never
give strong medicine--if a weaker one could
effect the cure!

The more rusty the NAIL is, the oftener we put it
into the fire to purify it; and the more crooked it
is, the more blows and the harder blows we give
to straighten it.

You have been long a-gathering rust; and
therefore, if God deal thus with you, you have
no cause to complain.

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
 punishes every son whom He receives."
Heb. 12:6