(John Fawcett, “The Sick Man’s Employment; or Views of Death and Eternity Realized” 1774)
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71
“This is the will of God, even our sanctification.” …
1. By afflictions we gain much knowledge of ourselves. When corrupt nature is vexed, it shows its real self. As in tempestuous weather, the chinks and openings in the roofs of our houses are most sensibly perceived–so in sharp afflictions we learn our own defects, weaknesses, and sins.
2. Afflictions tend to wean us from the world. When in uninterrupted health and prosperity, we are apt to be too much pleased with our present condition and to lose sight of the crown of glory and the everlasting mansions above–the loud alarm of affliction rouses us from the enchanting delusion! The violence of a tempest impels the mariner to long the more earnestly for the haven of rest.
3. Afflictions serve to quicken our affections to the Lord Jesus Christ.
While in ease and tranquility, a spirit of lethargy too often pervades the mind in regard to Christ and the blessings of His salvation. But, when the tides of distress and sorrow come rolling in upon us, we are willing, we are glad to seek rest in Him who is our only hope and Savior in times of trouble.
On all these, and many other accounts, I hope I can say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted. Yes, thanks to my heavenly Father for the sharpest pains I have felt!” …
How blessed is it that He who is infinitely wise and inconceivably kind should choose our inheritance for us! And how does it befit us to acquiesce entirely in His appointment!
Good when He gives, supremely good,
Nor less when He denies;
Afflictions from His sovereign hand
Are blessings in disguise!
The Lord has just removed my dearly loved boy, perhaps to teach me that He has a sovereign right and supreme claim to my heart. Amen, even so, Lord Jesus!
Take my poor heart, and let it be
Forever closed to all but Thee;
O seal my heart, and let me wear
That pledge of love forever there.
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