short(Letters of John Newton)
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“Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” 1 Pet. 1:6
The Lord loves His children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it–but He will not spoil them! Their sin-sickness requires strong medicines, some of which are very unpalatable. When our case calls for such, no entreaties of ours will excuse us from what He prepares for our good.
It is comforting to know that every dose is prepared by His own hand, and not one is administered in vain, nor is it repeated any oftener than is needful to answer His purposed end. Until then, no other hand can remove the affliction which He lays upon us. When His merciful design is answered, He will relieve us Himself. In the meantime, He will moderate it, or increase our ability to bear it, that we shall not be overpowered.
Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary
to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this poor world is not our rest; and to call our thoughts upward, where our true treasure is, and where our hearts ought to be.
When things go on much to our wish, we are too prone to say, “It is good to be here!” Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds–weakens our attachment to this world.
Trials are medicines that our gracious and wise physician prescribes because we need them, and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.
It is true, without a single exception, that all God’s paths are mercy and truth to those who fear Him.
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