“The Almighty has afflicted me!” Ruth 1:21. It is a sweet thing to be able to trace the hand of God in our afflictions, for nothing can come from that hand towards one of His children, but that which is good and right. If you will think of those hands of which the Lord says, “I have engraved you upon the palms of My hands”–you may rest assured that nothing can come from those hands but what infinite wisdom directs, and infinite love has ordained! “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10. (Charles Spurgeon)
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth!” Proverbs 27:1. Who can sum up the many possible deaths which are still lurking in his own body; or the innumerable hosts of external dangers which beleaguer him on every side; or the invisible arrows which fly about his ears continually! Who can tell how soon he may have his mortal wound given him by one or another of them? Now, how sad would it be for a man to have a summons to appear before God in that eternal world, before his heart and life are savingly changed! The life of a man is but a shadow, a span, a vapor, a flower, etc. Though there is but one way to come into the world–yet there are thousands of ways to be sent out of the world! We carry about in our bodies the material for a thousand deaths–and may die a thousand different ways in several hours. As many senses, as many members, nay, as many pores as there are in the body–so many windows there are for death to enter in at! Death needs not spend all his arrows upon us. A worm, a gnat, a fly, a hair, a raisin, a skin of a grape, the stumbling of a horse, the trip of a foot, the pick of a pin, the cutting of a fingernail, the cutting out of a corn; all these have been to others, and any of them may be to us–the means of our death within the space of a few days; nay, of a few hours; nay, of a few moments! Yet I am sure that the worst of deaths, shall but translate true believers from earth–to Heaven, from a wilderness–to a paradise, from misery–to glory, and from mixed and mutable enjoyments–to the pure and everlasting enjoyments of God! To a believer, “The day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:1-2. (Thomas Brooks, “A Cabinet of Choice Jewels” 1669)
Surely I am not a child of God, because I find much pride in my heart, and much rebellion and corruption in my spirit. Surely if I were born of Christ, I should be like Him. But what says St. John here? We are the sons of God even now, though there is much unbelief in our hearts, and much weakness and many corruptions within us. . . If God saw it meet that His Son should be thus afflicted in the world and drink of such a bitter portion of God’s wrath, let us not think we shall go to heaven and partake of those heavenly mansions which Christ has prepared for us, without also drinking of the same cup that He drank of. Let us account ourselves happy that God will so esteem us as to make us His sons. . . The lack of love to any of our brethren is a sign of abiding in the state of damnation, or in an unregenerate and carnal state. (Cotton Mather)
Do all you do out of love, be not mercenary. A servant does not care to do anything further that he may be paid for it, but a child does not so; he does what he does out of love! (Jeremiah Burroughs)
Our sufferings are for our education and instruction in His family. . . There is no chastisement in heaven, nor in hell. Not in heaven, because there is no sin; not in hell, because there is no amendment. (John Owen)
Be always comforting yourselves with the thoughts of your adoption. Draw your comforts at this tap, fetch your consolations from this relation; be therefore often chewing upon the precious privileges of it (meditation), and make them your rejoicing. Let this joy outstrip the lushness of every other joy. Let this joy dispel the mists of every sorrow, and clear up your souls in the midst of all troubles and difficulties as you await heavenly glory, where you will live out your perfect adoption by forever communing with the triune God. There you will dwell at the fountain and swim forever in those bankless, and bottomless oceans of glory. (Samuel Willard)
‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11. Having affirmed of the redeemed body that it was dead because of sin, the Apostle, as if anxious to rescue the saints from the humiliation of so affecting a truth, hastens to unveil the light which plays so brightly and cheeringly around each believer’s tomb. He shows that light to spring from the fact of the resurrection of the Savior. This doctrine is the grand luminary of the Christian system- it touches and gilds with its brilliance each cardinal doctrine of our faith. If Christ has not been risen from the dead, then is that faith vain and lifeless; but if He is risen, then each truth becomes instinct with life; and hope, like the day-spring from on high, rises with light and glory upon the soul. (Octavius Winslow)
Christians! The Redeemer with all His glorious salvation, in all His offices, and under all the characters which He sustains–is yours! You may say, with the fullest assurance, “My Beloved is mine–and I am His!” You are the objects of the blessed Redeemer’s particular care, given into His hands by His and your Father, to be saved by Him from the guilt and dominion of sin, from all the powers of darkness, and from the vengeance of eternal fire! He executes all of His offices on your behalf: As a Priest, He has made an atonement for your sin, and reconciled you to God. As a Prophet, He teaches you all that you need for life and godliness, from His Word. As a King, He reigns in His Church, and rules in the heart of every believer. He is a Physician to heal the diseased soul. He is a Shepherd to feed and guide His flock. He is a Counselor to direct them in all the intricate paths of life. He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and whose friendship is unchangeable and everlasting. He is an Advocate to plead His people’s cause. He is a Redeemer to emancipate their souls from sin’s bondage. (William Nicholson, “Christ, the Portion of Believers!” 1855)
“Begone unbelief, my Savior is near, And for my relief will surely appear: By prayer let me wrestle, and He wilt perform, With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm.
Though dark be my way, since He is my guide, ’Tis mine to obey, ’tis His to provide; Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail, The Word He has spoken shall surely prevail.
His love in time past forbids me to think He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink; Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review, Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.
Determined to save, He watched o’er my path, When Satan’s blind slave, I sported with death; And can He have taught me to trust in His name, And thus far have brought me, to put me to shame?
Why should I complain of want or distress, Temptation or pain? He told me no less: The heirs of salvation, I know from His Word, Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.
How bitter that cup, no heart can conceive, Which He drank quite up, that sinners might live! His way was much rougher, and darker than mine; Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I repine?
Since all that I meet shall work for my good, The bitter is sweet, the medicine is food; Though painful at present, wilt cease before long, And then, O! how pleasant, the conqueror’s song!”
–“Begone Unbelief” a hymn by John Newton
If you are a holy person, then of a child of wrath you have become a child of God, a child of love; and of an heir of hell you have become an heir of heaven; and of a slave, you are become a son. (Thomas Brooks)
Adoption is a mercy spun out of the bowels of free grace; all by nature are strangers, therefore have not right to sonship, only God is pleased to adopt one, and not another, to make one a vessel of glory, another a vessel of wrath. The adopted heir may cry out, ‘Lord, how is it, that Thou wilt show Thyself to me, and not unto the world?’ (Thomas Watson)
It (was) much for God to take a clod of dust and make it a star; (but) it is much more for God to take a piece of clay and sin and adopt it for His heir. (Thomas Watson)