“No king’s management is so freely canvassed and censured by the subjects, as the King of heaven’s management in this world is by the hearts of men. An all-wise Providence guides the world, in every particular; but where is the man that has not some quarrel or other with it?”Thomas Boston
Much of the pleasantness of a journey lies in unexpected views and scenes which burst upon the traveller as he climbs a hill or descends into a dale. If he could see all at once, one long, unvariegated avenue, it would become weary walking for him; but the very freshness and novelty of the events, adventures, and contingencies constantly occurrent, help to make life exciting, if not happy. I thank God for many a mercy which has come to me fresh from the mint of his providence. I could not have imagined that such a well-timed godsend could have come to me in such an unexpected manner: it had all the marks of novelty about it as if the Lord had been pleased to coin it and put it into my hand.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flashes of Thought (Passmore and Alabaster, 1874).
I will charge my soul to believe and to wait for Him, and will follow His providence, and not go before it, nor stay behind it.
Letters of Samuel Rutherford, 143.
“The nurse lets the child get a knock sometimes, in order to make it more cautious.”
Thus does the Lord in Providence allow his children to suffer by their sins, that they may be more thoughtful in future. He has no hand in their sin; but, since the sin is in them, he allows circumstances to occur by which the evil is made manifest in open acts, which cause them sorrow.
When a physician sees a person suffering from an inward complaint, he may think it wise so to deal with his patient that the disease is brought to the surface; and thus also God may permit the sins of his people to come to an open sore, that they may be aware of them, and seek for healing.
The nurse does not make the child careless or cause it to tumble, but she withdraws her interposing care for the best of reasons, namely, that the little one may learn to avoid danger by a measure of suffering on account of it. It would be blasphemous to attribute sin to God; but it is a matter of fact that, by smarting for one fault, gracious men learn to avoid others.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
O eternal God, in these last hours of another year we come before you with our praises, and we would humble ourselves in your sight.
We thank you for our preservation during the year that is gone, and for all your mercies in providence and grace; for all your dealings with us that we knew to be blessings; for all in which you have blessed us, though we did not know it.
We praise you for your chastisements, for our bereavements, for our sicknesses, for our disappointments and trials.
We would also humble ourselves before you, O Lord. We are frail and sinful. We are dust and ashes. We cannot so much as lift up our faces to you, who are the Holy One, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, who inhabits eternity and does not change.
But blessed be your name for that refuge that you have provided from your wrath, for that fountain that you have opened for sin and uncleanness. We flee to our Redeemer to hide us. We rest upon your everlasting covenant with us in Him, and we are safe. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
And as we now lie down at the end of the year, committing ourselves to your protection, so may we lie down in peace at the end of life, knowing whom we have believed, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Adapted from The Year of Prayer (London: Alexander Strahan, 1866), 74–76.