Precarious, insufficient, and ensnaring

(by
John Newton)

All the temporal blessings and accommodations which
God provides to sweeten life, and make our passage
through this wilderness more agreeable—will fail and
disappoint us, and produce us more thorns than roses
—unless we can keep sight of His hand in bestowing
them, and hold and use the gifts in some due
subservience to what we owe to the Giver.

But, alas! we are poor creatures, prone to wander,
prone to admire our gourds, cleave to our cisterns,
and think of building tabernacles, and taking our
rest in this polluted world!

Hence the Lord often sees it necessary,
in mercy to His children . . .
  to embitter their sweets,
  to break their cisterns,
  send a worm to their gourds, and
  draw a dark cloud over their pleasing prospects.

His Word tells us, that all here is vanity—compared
with the light of His countenance. And if we cannot
or will not believe it upon the authority of His Word,
we must learn it by experience.

May He enable you to settle it in your hearts, that
'creature comforts' are precarious, insufficient,
and ensnaring
; that all good comes from His hand;
and that nothing can do us good, but so far as He is
pleased to make it the instrument of communicating,
as a stream, that goodness which is in Him as a
fountain.

Even the bread which we eat, without the influence
of His promise and blessing, would no more support
us than a stone. But His blessing makes everything
good, gives a tenfold value to our comforts, and
greatly diminishes the weight of every cross.