“You have lately been in the furnace, and are now brought safely out. I hope you have much to say of the grace, care, and skill of the great Refiner, who watched over you; and that you have lost nothing but dross.
Let this experience be treasured up in your hearts for the use of future times.
Other trials will come; but you have found the Lord faithful to His promise, and have good encouragement to trust Him again.
You know your weak side; endeavour to set a double guard of prayer there.
Our earthly comforts would be doubly sweet, if we could but venture them without anxiety in the Lord’s hands.
And where can we lodge them so safely?
Is not the first gift, the continuance, the blessing which makes them pleasing, all from Him?
Was not His design in all this, that we should be happy in them?
How then can we fear that He will threaten them, much less take them away, but with a view to our farther benefit?
Let us suppose the thing we are most afraid of actually to happen. Can it come a moment sooner, or in any other way, than by His appointment?
Is He not gracious and faithful to support us under the stroke?
Is He not rich enough to give us something better than ever He will take away?
Is not the light of His countenance better than life and all its most valued enjoyments?
Is not this our time of trial, and are we not traveling towards a land of light?
I think when we view things in the light of eternity, it is much the same whether the separating stroke arrives at the end of seven or seventy years; since, come when it will, it must and will be felt.
But one draught of the river of pleasure at God’s right hand will make us forget our sorrows forever; or the remembrance, if any, will only serve to heighten our joys.
What is more, what life did He lead whom we call our Master and our Lord?
Was not He a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief?
Has He marked out one way to heaven with His painful footsteps, and shall we expect, or even wish, to walk in another?
With such considerations as these, we should endeavour to arm our minds, and pray to the Lord to fix a sense of them in our hearts, and to renew it from time to time; that, when changes are either feared or felt, we may not be like the people of the world, who have no hope, no refuge, no throne of grace, but may be enabled to glorify our God in the fire, and give proof that His grace is sufficient for us in every state.
It is neither comfortable for ourselves, nor honourable to our profession, to startle at every shaking leaf.
If we are sensible of this, mourn over our infirmities before the Lord, and faithfully strive in prayer against the fear that easily besets us, then He can, and He will, strengthen us with strength in our souls, and make us more than conquerors, according to His sure promise.
Oh, that I could improve the present, and cheerfully commit the future to Him who does all things wisely and well, and has promised that all shall work together for good! (Rom. 8:28)”