Categories
Excerpts

Knowing God’s Love

Sometimes we think that the Lord does not love us because we do not feel or know His love. But do we not love our children even when they are young and do not know us? … We may think that because we have so many sins, or so many afflictions, that therefore the Lord does not love us, but do we judge righteously? Have our children no love from us when they are sick? God knows our mold that we are but dust. He has freely chosen us to be His children, and therefore (notwithstanding all our sins and sufferings) He loves us still. If He sees Ephraim bemoaning his stubbornness, as well as sickness, the Lord cries out, and cannot refrain: “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:20).

Isaac Ambrose, Prima, Media, and Ultima (1674), 79.

Categories
Excerpts

Resolved by Resurrection

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”

John 6:39

This promise is highly necessary for us, who miserably groan under so great weakness of the flesh, of which every one of us is sufficiently aware; and at every moment, indeed, the salvation of the whole world might be ruined, were it not that believers, supported by the hand of Christ, advance boldly to the day of resurrection. Let this, therefore, be fixed in our minds, that Christ has stretched out his hand to us, that he may not desert us in the midst of the course, but that, relying on his goodness, we may boldly raise our eyes to the last day.

There is also another reason why he mentions the resurrection. It is because, so long as our life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) we are like dead men. For in what respect do believers differ from wicked men, but that, overwhelmed with afflictions, and like sheep destined for the slaughter (Romans 8:36), they have always one foot in the grave, and, indeed, are not far from being continually swallowed up by death? Thus there remains no other support of our faith and patience but this, that we keep out of view the condition of the present life, and apply our minds and our senses to the last day, and pass through the obstructions of the world, until the fruit of our faith at length appear.

John Calvin, Commentaries, 253–254

Categories
Excerpts

God Will Deliver

Whatever misery God’s children are in, yet in the best time God will deliver them. … The Israelites were under a long and strong affliction for many years, under tyrants that whipped their bodies, and scourged them, and put them to labor above their strength, and (which was a most intolerable vexation) made the parents drown their own children. No one ever treated any so spitefully as they were used; yet we see that God delivered them. So in the Psalm He says, “Many are the troubles of the righteous, but God delivers them out of all” (34:19). It is not their wealth, nor money, for of that they are often bare enough; nor friends, for sometimes they have none; nor their strength, for they are often weak and brought low. But God will deliver them. Let them get righteousness, and faith, and the spirit of prayer, and though they were in an iron furnace under Pharaoh, in a house of bondage, let them but cry, and from thence God will deliver them. So in Esther’s time, a wonderful affliction it was, that the day of execution was appointed, when all the godly should be put to the sword, not one to be left alive. But now, when they could cry to God, and had no one else to go to but only to Him, and Him they would go to, and stay upon, knowing that He could help them if He would, and would also for His promise’s sake deliver them, then we see, the day that was appointed for their sorrow, turned to their joy; that which was purposed to bring destruction upon them, brought destruction upon their enemies; and the day of their most extreme misery, proved to be a day of their most joyful deliverance.

John Dod, A Plain and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandments (1632), 20.

Categories
Excerpts

Cause of Discontent

Discontent arises from being so very sensible of the evil of affliction and senseless of the evil of sin. People’s bodies are tender, and their senses quick, and therefore even the biting of a flea or the scratching of a pen is presently felt. People are so tender of their reputation, profits and delights, that the least touch in these is a cross to them. Their hearts are so hard, and consciences seared, that they can lie securely under all the curses of God’s book, have mountains of wrath abide on them, and feel nothing. Therefore afflictions lie so heavy because sin lies so easy. Whereas, if a person knew what sin is, and saw at night what wrath he had treasured up all day, he would rather wonder why he was out of hell than murmur that he was in trouble.

Edward Lawrence, Christ’s Power over Bodily Diseases (1672), 153-54.