The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied - Exodus 1:12

It was a very unequal struggle on which Pharaoh had entered; for he opposed not the Hebrews, but Jehovah. It is thus that the great ones of this world have ever spoken and acted. "Let us build a tower;" "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." "Against Thy holy child Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilate were gathered together.'' In every case, He that sits in the heavens has laughed at the boast of human pride. His cause and His people's are one. Yet times of affliction have always been on times of multiplication.

In the history of the Church. - When has she made her greatest number of adherents? When her pulpits have been filled with eloquent preachers, and her aisles crowded with fashion and wealth? No; but when she has been driven to the dens and caves of the earth, and her sons have been proscribed outcasts. The real triumphs of the early Church were in the first centuries of opprobrium and persecution; her decline began when Constantine made Christianity the religion of the State.
 
In the history of each earnest soul. - It is rarely the case that we make much spiritual headway when winds and currents favor us. We do best when all is against us. We grow quickest in the dark. In times of persecution we realize the security, and comfort, and joy, which are in Christ Jesus our Lord; and as God goes the round of the world, it is in chambers of pain, sickness, and bereavement, that He beholds the multiplication of the choice graces of holy character and temper. The affliction, which is for the moment, is working out an exceeding weight of glory.