Afflictions

Status
Not open for further replies.

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
From Baxter's, Saints' Everlasting Rest :

Afflictions are exceedingly useful to us, to keep us from mistaking our rest. A Christian's motion toward heaven is voluntary, and not constrained. Those means, therefore, are most profitable, which help his understanding and will. The most dangerous mistake of our souls is, to take the creature for God, and earth for heaven. What warm, affectionate, eager thoughts have we of the world, till afflictions cool and moderate them! Afflictions speak convincingly, and will be heard when preachers cannot. Many a poor Christian is sometimes bending his thoughts to wealth, or flesh-pleasing, or applause, and so loses his relish of Christ and the joy above, till God breaks in upon his riches, or children, or conscience, or health, and breaks down his mountain which he thought so strong. And then when he lieth in Manasseh's fetters, or is fastened to his bed with pining sickness, the world is nothing, and heaven is something. If our dear Lord did not put these thorns under our head, we should sleep out our lives and lose our glory.

Afflictions are also God's most effectual means to keep us from losing our way to our rest. Without this hedge of thorns on the right hand and left, we should hardly keep the way to heaven. If there be but one gap open, how ready are we to find it, and turn out at it! When we grow wanton, or worldly, or proud, how much doth sickness or other affliction reduce us! Every Christian, as well as Luther, may call affliction one of the best schoolmasters; and, with David, may say, "Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." Many thousand recovered sinners may cry, "O healthful sickness! O comfortable sorrows! O gainful losses! O enriching poverty! O blessed day that ever I was afflicted!" Not only the "green pastures and still waters, but the rod and staff, they comfort us." Though the word and Spirit do the main work, yet suffering so unbolts the door of the heart, that the word hath easier entrance.

Afflictions likewise serve to quicken our pace in the way to our rest. It were well if mere love would prevail with us, and that we were rather drawn to heaven than driven. But, seeing our hearts are so bad that mercy will not do it, it is better to be urged onward with the sharpest scourge, than loiter, like the foolish virgins, till the door is shut. O what a difference is there betwixt our prayers in health and in sickness! betwixt our repentings in prosperity and adversity! Alas! if we did not sometimes feel the spur, what a slow pace would most of us hold toward heaven! Since our vile natures require it, why should we be unwilling that God should do us good by sharp means? Judge, Christian, whether thou dost not go more watchfully and speedily in the way to heaven in thy sufferings, than in thy more pleasing and prosperous state.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
James Kidwell Popham, "The Divine Teacher" preached at Galeed Chapel Brighton England, 1923

The Lord teaches us to profit by afflictions which come and stir us up and make us know that this is not our rest. A cross is a profitable teacher; an affliction is very profitable; emptiness is profitable though unpleasant; weakness is profitable to us though mortifying. All these are profitable. We must walk this way. We must know what it is to be under the influence that will make us see we are in that condition that the Lord Jesus Himself speaks about when He says, "Without Me ye can do nothing;" nothing that is acceptable to God; nothing that would bring profit to your soul. I am sure some of you believe all this and you will be enlarging in your own minds now, and saying mentally things that I have not said. May the Holy Ghost help us to inwardly enlarge on this profitable teaching.​

John MacDuff, Memories of Patmos : Devotional Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Not a bolt can descend upon the world to destroy it, until all the people of God be gathered in, and the number of His elect be accomplished. Individual trials—personal afflictions—the Church collectively, and believers individually, must and will endure; they have a heritage of tribulation: but their spiritual safety is unassailable. Every member of the tribe of true Israel is sealed on his forehead by the seal of the living God—God's own indelible mark of election and adoption—God's own pledge of inviolable security. The deluge may sweep as it may, but the Covenant Ark, containing its sacred 144,000, will rise buoyant on the waters. The Lord, as in the case of Noah's family, has 'shut them in;' and that Ark will do battle with the storm, until it is anchored on the top of the true Ararat—the Mount of everlasting 'rest'—surrounded by the new heavens and the new earth​

A. W. Pink, Sovereignty of God

How blessed to know that our very afflictions come not by chance, nor from the Devil, but are ordained and ordered by God: “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto” (1 Thess. 3:3)!

But our God is not only infinite in power. He is infinite in wisdom and goodness too. And herein is the preciousness of this truth. God wills only that which is good and His will is irreversible and irresistible! God is too wise to err and too loving to cause His child a needless tear. Therefore if God be perfect wisdom and perfect goodness how blessed is the assurance that everything is in His hand and molded by His will according to His eternal purpose! “Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? who will say unto Him what doest Thou?” (Job 9:12). Yet, how comforting to learn that it is “He,” and not the Devil, who "taketh away" our loved ones! Ah! what peace for our poor frail hearts to be told that the number of our days is with Him (Job 7:1; 14:5); that disease and death are His messengers and always march under His orders; that it is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away!​
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top