(adapted from Winslow's, "The Sanctification of the Spirit")
Are you a child of affliction?
Ah! how many whose eye falls on this question
shall say, "I am the man that has seen affliction!"
This is the path along which all the Lord's people
are led, and in this path, thorny though it be, they
pluck some of their choicest flowers, and find some
of their sweetest fruits.
God's people are, "chosen in the furnace of affliction."
The furnace is needed.
The furnace is needed to consume
the dross and
the tin which adhere so closely to the precious ore.
The furnace is needed....
to burn up the chaff that mingles with the precious grain,
to purify the heart,
to refine the affections,
to chasten the soul,
to wean it from this poor, empty world,
to draw it from the creature, and
to center it in God.
O the blessed effects of the furnace!
Who can fully unfold them?
That must be blessed indeed....
which makes sin more exceedingly sinful,
which weans and draws away from earth,
which endears Jesus and His precious blood and righteousness,
and which makes the soul a "partaker of His holiness."
"He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver,
watching closely as the dross is burned away.
He will purify the Levites, refining them like
gold or silver, so that they may once again
offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord." Malachi 3:3