Choice selections from Thomas Brooks,
The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod

When He shows no anger!

"The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
 punishes every son whom He receives."
Heb. 12:6

There cannot be a greater evidence of God's
hatred and wrath—than His refusing to correct
men for their sinful courses and vanities!

Where God refuses to correct—there God resolves
to destroy! There is no man so near God's axe—so
near the flames—so near hell—as he whom God
will not so much as spend a rod upon!

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
 Revelation 3:19

God is most angry—
when He shows no anger!

Who can seriously meditate upon this, and not
be silent under God's most smarting rod?

All the hell that you shall
ever have!

Consider Christian, that all your . . .
  trials and troubles,
  calamities and miseries,
  crosses and losses,
which you meet with in this world—is
the hell that you shall
ever have!

Here and now you have your hell.
Hereafter you shall have your heaven!

This is the worst of your condition;
the best is yet to come!

Lazarus had his hell first, his heaven last; but
Dives had his heaven first, and his hell at last.

You have all your pangs, and pains, and throes
here—that you shall ever have! Your ease, and
rest, and pleasure—is yet to come!

Here you have all your bitters;
your sweets are yet to come!

Here you have your sorrows;
your joys are yet to come!

Here you have all your winter nights;
your summer days are yet to come!

Here you have your evil things;
your good things are yet to come!

Death will put an end to all your sins
and to all your sufferings!

Death will be an inlet to those joys, delights,
and comforts—which shall never have an end!

Who can seriously meditate upon this, and not
be silent under God's most smarting rod?

Then the scum appears!

Few Christians see themselves and understand
themselves rightfully. By trials, God reveals
much of a man's sinful self to his pious self.

When the fire is put under the pot—then the
scum appears
; so when God tries a poor soul,
Oh! how does . . .
  the scum of pride,
  the scum of murmuring,
  the scum of distrust,
  the scum of impatience,
  the scum of worldliness,
  the scum of carnality,
  the scum of foolishness,
  the scum of willfulness—
reveal itself in the heart of the poor creature?

Trials are God's looking-glass, in which
His people see their own faults. Oh! . . .
  that looseness,
  that vileness,
  that wretchedness,
  that sink of filthiness,
  that gulf of wickedness,
which trials show to be in their hearts!

"I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."
     Isaiah 48:10

When Munster lay sick

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline."
 Revelation 3:19

"The Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
punishes every son whom He receives." Heb. 12:6

All the afflictions which come upon the saints,
are the fruits of divine love.

When Munster lay sick, and his friends asked
him how he did, and how he felt; he pointed to
his sores and ulcers, whereof he was full, and said,
"These are God's gems and jewels with which He
decks his best friends, and to me they are more
precious than all the gold and silver in the world!"

"It was good for me to be afflicted!" Psalm 119:71

God afflicts you, O Christian, in love! Therefore Luther
cries out, 'Strike, Lord, strike, Lord! and spare not!'

Father knows best!

"Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they
 thought best; but God disciplines us for our good,
 that we may share in His holiness."
Hebrews 12:10.

What God, our Father wills, is best.

When He wills sickness, sickness is better than health.
When He wills weakness, weakness is better than strength.
When He wills poverty, poverty is better than wealth.
When He wills reproach, reproach is better than honor.
When He wills death, death is better than life.

As God is wisdom itself, and so knows that which is
best; so He is goodness itself, and therefore cannot
do anything but that which is best—therefore remain
silent before the Lord.

Everything on this side hell is mercy

Oh! labor every day to be more humble and more
low and little in your own eyes. 'Who am I,' says
the humble soul—'but that God should cross me in
this mercy, and take away that mercy, and pass a
sentence of death upon every mercy? I am not
worthy of the least mercy, I deserve not a
crumb of mercy
, I have forfeited every mercy.'

Only by pride comes contention. It is only pride that
puts men upon contending with God and men.

A humble soul will lie quiet at the foot of God, it
will be contented with bare necessities. A dinner
of green herbs relishes well with the humble man's
palate; whereas a stalled ox is but a coarse dish to
a proud man's stomach.

A humble heart thinks none less than himself, nor
none worse than himself.

A humble heart looks upon small mercies as great
mercies; and great afflictions as small afflictions;
and small afflictions as no afflictions; and therefore
sits mute and quiet under all. Do but keep humble,
and you will keep silent before the Lord.

Pride kicks, and flings, and frets; but a humble man
has still his hand upon his mouth. Everything on
this side hell is mercy
—much mercy, rich mercy
to a humble soul; and therefore he remains mute
under the smarting rod.


One unmortified lust!

It is not your strongest resolutions or purposes, without
the grace of the Spirit, which can overmaster a lust. A
soul-sore will continue to run—though we resolve and
say it shall not. It was the blood of the sacrifice, and
the oil, which cleansed the leper in the law. And by
them is meant the blood of Christ and the grace of
His Spirit. Lev. 14:14-16. It was a touch of Christ's
garment which cured the woman of her bloody issue.

Your strongest resolutions or purposes may hide a sin,
but cannot quench it. They may cover a sin, but cannot
cut off a sin.
A black patch may cover a sore—but it
does not cure it! Neither is it the papists' purgatories,
watchings, whippings, nor the kissing of the statue
of St. Francis, or licking of lepers' sores—which will
cleanse the fretting leprosy of sin!

In the strength of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit
—set soundly upon the mortifying of every lust! Oh, hug
none, indulge none—but resolvedly set upon the ruin of
every lust!

One leak in a ship will sink it!

One stab strikes Goliad just as dead—as twenty-three did Caesar!

One Delilah may do Samson as much mischief as all the Philistines!

One broken wheel spoils the whole clock!

One vein bleeding will let out all the vitals!

One fly will spoil a whole box of ointment!

One bitter herb will spoil all the pottage!

By eating one apple, Adam lost paradise!

One lick of honey endangered Jonathan's life!

One Achan was a trouble to all Israel!

One Jonah raises a storm and becomes load too
heavy for the whole ship! Just so—one unmortified
will raise very strong storms and tempests in the
soul! And therefore, as you would have a blessed calm
and quietness in your own spirits under your sharpest
trials, set thoroughly upon the work of mortification.

Gideon had seventy sons, and but one bastard child,
yet that bastard child destroyed all his seventy sons!

Ah, Christian! do you not know what a world of mischief
one unmortified lust may do? And therefore let nothing
satisfy you but the blood of all your lusts!

You have been long a-gathering rust

Oh! but my afflictions are greater than other
men's afflictions are! Oh! there is no affliction
like my affliction!
How can I not murmur?

It may be your sins are greater than other men's
sins. If you have sinned against . . .
  more light,
  more love,
  more mercies,
  more promises,
than others—no wonder if your afflictions are
greater than others! If this be your case, you
have more cause to be mute than to murmur!

It may be that the Lord sees that it is very needful
that your afflictions should be greater than others.

It may be your heart is harder than other men's
hearts, and prouder and stouter than other men's
hearts, it may be your heart is more impure than
others, and more carnal than others, or else more
selfish and more worldly than others, or else more
deceitful and more hypocritical than others, or
else more cold and careless than others, or more
formal and lukewarm than others.

Now, if this is your case, certainly God sees
it very necessary, for . . .
  the breaking of your hard heart, and
  the humbling of your proud heart, and
  the cleansing of your foul heart, and
  the spiritualizing of your carnal heart, etc.,
that your afflictions should be greater than
others; and therefore do not murmur!

Where the disease is strong, the remedy must
be strong—else the cure will never be wrought!
God is a wise physician, and He would never
give strong medicine—if a weaker one could
effect the cure!

The more rusty the NAIL is, the oftener we put it
into the fire to purify it; and the more crooked it
is, the more blows and the harder blows we give
to straighten it.

You have been long a-gathering rust; and
therefore, if God deal thus with you, you have
no cause to complain.

"For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and
 punishes every son whom He receives."
Heb. 12:6

If you attempt to enthrone the creature!

O Christian! God has removed one of your sweetest mercies,
comforts, or enjoyments! It may be you have over-loved them,
and over-prized them, and over-much delighted yourself in
them. It may be they have often had your heart—when they
should have had but your hand. It may be that care, that
concern, that confidence, that joy—which should have been
expended upon more noble objects—has been expended
upon them!

Your heart is Christ's bed of spices—and it may be
you have bedded your mercies with you—when Christ
has been made to lie outside! You have had room for
them—when you have had none for Him! They have
had the best—when the worst have been counted good
enough for Christ!

It is said of Reuben, that he went up to his father's bed,
Gen. 49:4. Ah! how often has one creature comfort, and
sometimes another—been put in between Christ and
your souls! How often have your dear enjoyments gone
up to Christ's bed! Your near and dear mercies have
come into Christ's bed of love—your hearts!

Now, if you take a husband, a child, a friend—into that
room in your soul
which only belongs to God—He will
either embitter it, remove it, or be the death of it.

If once the love of a wife runs out more to a servant, than
to her husband—the husband will remove that servant;
though otherwise he was a servant worth gold.

Now, if God has stripped you of that very mercy with which
you have often committed spiritual adultery and idolatry—
have you any cause to murmur?

There are those who love their mercies into their graves—
who hug their mercies to death—who kiss them until they
kill them! Many a man has slain his mercies—by setting too
great a value upon them! Many a man has sunk his ship of
by overloading it. Over-loved mercies are seldom
long-lived. The way to lose your mercies is to indulge them!
The way to destroy them is to fix your minds and hearts
upon them. You may write bitterness and death upon that
mercy first—which has first taken away your heart from God.

Christian! Your heart is Christ's royal throne, and in this
throne Christ will be chief! He will endure no competitor!
If you attempt to enthrone the creature—be it ever
so near and dear unto you—Christ will dethrone it! He
will destroy it! He will quickly lay them in a bed of dust
—who shall aspire to His royal throne!

"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate
my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight
of your eyes, the object of your affection
. The sons and
daughters you left behind will fall by the sword!"
Ezekiel 24:21

You are the one who has done this!

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You
 are the one who has done this!
Psalm 39:9

In the words you may observe three things:

1. The person speaking, and that is, David. David
a king, David a saint, David 'a man after God's own
heart,' David a Christian. And here we are to look
upon David, not as a king, but as a Christian, as a
man whose heart was right with God.

2. The action and carriage of David under the hand
of God, in these words—'I was silent; I would not
open my mouth.'

3. The reason of this humble and sweet carriage
of his, in these words—'for You are the one who
has done this!'

The proposition is this: That it is the great duty and
concern of gracious souls to be mute and silent under
the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and
sharpest trials that they meet with in this world.

David's silence is an acknowledgment of God as the
author of all the afflictions that come upon us. There
is no sickness so little, but God has a finger in it;
though it be but the aching of the little finger.

David looks through all secondary causes to the first
cause, and is silent. He sees a hand of God in all, and
so sits mute and quiet. The sight of God in an affliction
is of an irresistible efficacy to silence the heart, and to
stop the mouth of a godly man.

Men who don't see God in an affliction, are easily
cast into a feverish fit, they will quickly be in a flame;
and when their passions are up, and their hearts on
fire, they will begin to be saucy, and make no bones of
telling God to His teeth, that they do well to be angry. 
Those who will not acknowledge God to be the author of
all their afflictions, will be ready enough to fall in with
that mad principle of the Manichees, who maintained
the devil to be the author of all calamities; as if there
could be any evil or affliction in the city, and the Lord
have no hand in it, Amos 3:6.

If God's hand be not seen in the affliction, the heart
will do nothing but fret and rage under affliction.

Those who can see the ordering hand of God in all their
afflictions, will, with David, lay their hands upon their
mouths, when the rod of God is upon their backs!

They see that it was a Father who put those bitter cups
in their hands; and love that laid those heavy crosses
upon their shoulders; and grace that put those yokes
around their necks—and this caused much quietness
and calmness in their spirits.

When God's people are under the rod, He makes by His
Spirit and word, such sweet music in their souls, as allays
all tumultuous motions, passions, and perturbations.

"I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for You
 are the one who has done this!
Psalm 39:9

All honey would harm us

"Weeping may endure for a night—but
 joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5

Their mourning shall last but until morning.

God will turn . . .
  their winter's night into a summer's day,
  their sighing into singing,
  their grief into gladness,
  their mourning into music,
  their bitter into sweet,
  their wilderness into a paradise.

The life of a Christian is filled up with interchanges of
  sickness and health,
  weakness and strength,
  want and wealth,
  disgrace and honor,
  crosses and comforts,
  miseries and mercies,
  joys and sorrows,
  mirth and mourning.

All honey would harm us; all wormwood would undo
us—a composition of both is the best way to keep our
souls in a healthy constitution. It is best and most for
the health of the soul—that the warm south wind of
, and the cold north wind of adversity—do both
blow upon it. And though every wind which blows,
shall blow good to the saints; yet certainly their sins
die most
, and their graces thrive best, when they
are under the frigid, drying, nipping north wind of
calamity, as well as under the warm, nourishing south
wind of mercy and prosperity.

The more a Christian is tempted

God had but one Son without corruption—but
He had none without temptation!

By temptations the Lord will make His people more
and more conformable to the image of His Son.

Christ was much tempted—He was often in
the school
of temptation
; and the more a Christian is tempted,
the more into the likeness of Christ he will be transformed.
The most tempted Christians do most resemble Christ in
meekness, lowliness, holiness, heavenliness, etc. The
image of Christ is most fairly stamped upon tempted
souls. Tempted souls are much in looking up to Jesus—
and every gracious look upon Christ changes the soul
more and more into the image of Christ. Tempted souls
experience much of the succouring of Christ, and the
more they experience the sweet of the succourings of
Christ—the more they grow up into the likeness of Christ.

Temptations are the tools by which the Father does
more and more carve, form, and fashion His precious
saints into the similitude and likeness of His dearest Son.

By temptations, God makes . . .
  sin more hateful, and
  the world less delightful, and
  relations less hurtful.

Distasteful temptations

No man is the less loved by God, because he is tempted.
Those whom God loves best—are usually tempted most.
Witness David, Job, Joshua, Peter, Paul, yes, Christ Himself—
who, as He was beloved above all others, so He was
tempted above all others! He was tempted to question
His Sonship; He was tempted to the worst idolatry, even
to worship the devil himself; to the greatest infidelity, to
distrust His Father's providence, and to use unlawful
means for necessary supplies; and to self-murder,
'Cast yourself down!' etc.

God had but one Son without corruption—but
He had none without temptation!

Those who were once glorious on earth, and are now
triumphing in heaven—have been severely tempted
and assaulted by Satan. It is as natural and common
for the choicest saints to be tempted—as it is for the
sun to shine, the bird to fly, the fire to burn. The
eagle complains not of her wings, nor the peacock
of her train of feathers, nor the nightingale of her
voice—because these are natural to them. No more
should saints of their temptations, because they
are natural to them.

"Our whole life is nothing but a temptation!"

The best men have been the worst tempted!

Temptations which are resisted and bewailed,
will never hurt you, nor harm you.

Distasteful temptations seldom or never prevail.
So long as the soul distastes them and the will
remains firmly averse against them—they can
do no hurt
. So long as the language of the soul
is, 'Get behind me, Satan!' the soul is safe.

It is not Satan tempting—but my assenting;
it is not his enticing—but my yielding;
which undoes me!

Temptations may be troubles to my mind—but they
are not sins upon my soul—while I am in arms against
them. If your heart trembles and your flesh quakes
when Satan tempts—your condition is safe enough. If
Satan's temptations are your greatest afflictions—his
temptations shall never conquer you nor harm you!

But a flea-bite!

Christian! Your present afflictions are not great—if compared
with the afflictions and torments of many of the damned, who
when they were in this world, never sinned at so high a rate
as you have done! There are many now in hell, who never
sinned against such clear light as you have done, nor against
such special love as you have done, nor against such precious
as you have done! Certainly there are many now
a-roaring in everlasting burnings, who never sinned as you
have done!

What are your afflictions, your present torments—compared
to the torments of the damned, whose torments are . . .
, and
Whose pains are without intermission of mitigation; who have:
  weeping served for the first course, and
  gnashing of teeth for the second course, and
  the gnawing worm for the third course, and
  intolerable pain for the fourth course!
Yet the pain of the body is least part of pain. The very soul of
sorrow and pain is the soul's sorrow and pain! The everlasting
alienation and separation from God is served for the fifth course!

Ah, Christian! how can you seriously think on these things and
not lay your hand upon your mouth—even when you are under
the greatest temporal sufferings? Your sins have been far greater
than many of those who are now in hell, and your 'great' afflictions
but a flea-bite! compared to theirs! Therefore hush your
murmuring, and be silent before the Lord!

Our present sufferings

Such is the splendor, the brightness, the glory,
the happiness, and blessedness—which is reserved
for the saints in heaven—that had I all the tongues of
men on earth, and all the excellencies of the angels in
heaven—yet I would not be able to conceive, nor to
express that vision of glory to you! That glory is
inconceivable and inexpressible!
It is best to be
hastening there, that we may feel and enjoy that
which we shall never be able to declare!

All the troubles, afflictions, and sorrows of this life, in
comparison with eternal happiness and blessedness,
are to be considered as nothing; they are but as the
point of a pin—compared to the starry heavens.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth
 comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us!" 

      Romans 8:18

And will you murmur?


Is not Christ your treasure?

Is not heaven your inheritance—

and will you murmur?


Have you not much in hand, and more in hope?

Have you not much in possession, but much
more reserved in heaven—

and will you murmur?


Has not God given you. . .

     a changed heart, 

     a renewed nature, and

     a sanctified soul—

and will you murmur?


Has He not given you. . .

     Himself to satisfy you,

     His Son to save you,

     His Spirit to lead you,

     His grace to adorn you,

     His covenant to assure you,

     His mercy to pardon you,

     His righteousness to clothe you—

and will you murmur?


Has He not made you. . .

     a friend,

     a son,

     a brother,

     a bride,

     an heir—

and will you murmur?


Has not God often turned. . .

     your water into wine,

     your brass into silver, and

     your silver into gold—

and will you murmur?


When you were dead, did not He quicken you?

When you were lost, did not He seek you?

When you were wounded, did not He heal you?

When you were falling, did not He support you?

When you were down, did not He raise you?

When you were staggering, did not He establish you?

When you were erring, did not He correct you?

When you were tempted, did not He support you? and

When you went in dangers, did not He deliver you?—

and will you murmur?


What! you who are so highly advanced and
exalted above many thousands in the world?

Murmuring suits none so badly as saints.



Some Delilah

God cures David of adultery, by killing his endeared child.

There is some Delilah
some darling, some beloved sin
or other
—that a Christian's calling, condition, constitution,
or temptations—leads him to play with, and to hug in his own
bosom. As in a plot of ground that lies untilled, among the
great variety of weeds there is usually some master-weed,
which is more plenteous and more repulsive than all the rest.

So it is also in the souls of men—though there be a general
mixture and medley of all evil and corrupt qualities
, yet
there is some one sin which is usually paramount, which is most
powerful and prevalent—which sways and manifests itself more
eminently and evidently than any other of them do.

So, though the root of sin and bitterness has spread itself over
all, yet every man has his inclination to one kind of sin—rather
than another. And this may be called a man's besetting sin,
his bosom sin, his darling sin.

Now, it is one of the hardest works in this world to subdue and
bring under control, this bosom sin! Oh! the prayers, the tears,
the sighs, the sobs, the groans, the distress that it will cost a
Christian before he subdues this darling sin!

A man may easily subdue and mortify such and such sins—but
when it comes to the master-sin, to the bosom-sin, oh! what
tugging and pulling is there! what striving and struggling is
there to get off that sin, to get down that sin!

Now, if the Lord, by smiting you in some near and dear
enjoyment, shall draw out your heart to fall upon the smiting
of your master-sin; and shall so sanctify the affliction, as to
make it issue in the mortification of your bosom corruption;
what eminent cause will you have rather to bless Him, than
to sit down and murmur against Him! And doubtless if you
are dear to God—God will, by striking your dearest mercy,
put you upon striking at your darling sin! Therefore do not
murmur, even when God touches the apple of your eye;
even when He has snatched the fairest and the sweetest
flower out of your bosom.



Paulinus Nolanus

Paulinus Nolanus, when his city was taken from
him, prayed thus, "Lord! let me not be troubled at
the loss of my gold, silver, honor—for You are all,
and much more than all these unto me!"

Christian! In the absence of all your sweetest
enjoyments, Christ will be all in all unto you!

"My jewels are my husband," said one.

"My ornaments are my two sons," said another.

"My treasures are my friends," said yet another.

And so may a Christian, under his greatest losses
say—"Christ is my richest jewel, my chief treasure,
my best ornament, my sweetest delight! What all
these things are to a carnal heart, to a worldly heart
—that and more—is Christ to me!"

"Christ is all!" Colossians 3:11



A jewel more worth than a world!

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
     Ephesians 5:16

Time is a jewel more worth than a world!

Time is not yours to dispose of as you please; it
is a glorious talent that men must be accountable
for, as well as any other talent. Of all talents, time
is the hardest well to improve. Ah, beloved, have
not you need to improve your time—who have
much work to do in a short time:
  your souls to save,
  a God to honor,
  a Christ to exalt,
  a hell to escape,
  a race to run,
  a crown to win,
  temptations to withstand,
  corruptions to conquer,
  afflictions to bear,
  mercies to improve, and
  your generation to serve.



A man too big for temptations to conquer!

Communion with God is . . .
  the life of your graces,
  the sweetener of all ordinances, providences, and mercies,
  the strengthener of your hearts and hands,
  the soul of your comforts, and
  the crown of your souls.

Communion with God makes the bitter things
sweet; and massive things light.

Nothing like communion with God to fence you
against temptations, to sweeten all afflictions,
and to make you cleave to God in the face of
all troubles and oppositions.

A man high in communion with God, is a man too
big for temptations to conquer
, or troubles to
overcome. Souls that have no communion, or but
little communion, with God—they are usually as
soon conquered as tempted, as soon vanquished
as assaulted.

Such lessons!

"Blessed is the man You chasten, O Lord, the
 man You teach from Your law."
Psalm 94:12

All the chastening in the world, without divine teaching,
will never make a man blessed. That man who finds
correction attended with instruction, and lashing with
lessoning—is a happy man.

If God, by the affliction which is upon you, shall teach you:
  how to loathe sin more, and
  how to trample upon the world more, and
  how to walk with God more—
     your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to die to sin more, and
  how to die to your relations more,
  and how to die to your self-interest more—
     your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to live to Christ more,
  how to lift up Christ more, and
  how to long for Christ more—
     your afflictions are in love.

If God shall teach you by afflictions:
  how to mind heaven more,
  how to live in heaven more, and
  how to fit for heaven more—
     your afflictions are in love.

If God by afflictions shall teach:
  your proud heart how to lie more low,
  your hard heart how to grow more tender,
  your censorious heart how to grow more charitable,
  your carnal heart how to grow more spiritual,
  your froward heart how to grow more quiet—
     your afflictions are in love.

When God teaches your thoughts as well as your
brains, your heart as well as your head, any of
these lessons—your afflictions are in love.

Where God loves, He afflicts in love; and wherever God
afflicts in love, there He will, sooner or later, teach such
souls such lessons as shall do them good to all eternity. 

If our afflictions are so sanctified

If our afflictions are so sanctified as that
they draw out our soul . . .
  to love the Lord more, and
  to fear the Lord more, and

  to please the Lord more, and
  to cleave to the Lord more, and
  to wait on the Lord more, and
  to walk with the Lord more—
then they are sent in love. Oh, then they are
the wounds of a friend indeed!

If the afflictions that are upon us do . . .
  increase our courage,
  strengthen our patience,
  raise our faith,
  inflame our love, and
  enliven our hopes—
certainly they are sent in love, and all
our wounds are the wounds of a friend.


If this cockatrice be not crushed in the egg!

There is infinitely more evil in the least sin—than
there is in the greatest miseries and afflictions that
can possibly come upon you! Yes, there is more evil
in the least sin—than there is in all the troubles that
ever come upon the world; yes, than there is in all
the miseries and torments of hell! The least sin . . .
  is an offense to the great God; 
  is a wrong to the immortal soul; 
  is a breach of God's righteous law;
  cannot be washed away but by the blood of Jesus;
  will shut the soul out of heaven, and
  shut the soul up as a prisoner in hell forever and ever!

The least sin is rather to be avoided and prevented—
than the greatest sufferings. If this cockatrice be
not crushed in the egg
—it will soon become a serpent!

Sin, if but thought on and pondered—
will break out into action—
action into custom—
custom into habit—and then
both body and soul are lost irrecoverably to all eternity!

The least sin is very dangerous!
Caesar was stabbed to death with a small needle;
Herod was eaten up by small worms;
Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat;
a mouse is but little, yet kills an elephant if he gets up into his trunk;
a scorpion is little, yet able to sting a lion to death;
though the leopard be great, yet he is poisoned with a head of garlic;
the least spark may consume the greatest house;
the least leak will sink the greatest ship;
a whole arm has been gangrened by a pick of the little finger;
a little opened door may betray the greatest city;
a pinch of poison diffuses itself into all parts, until it strangles
   the vital spirits, and turns out the soul from the body.

If the serpent can but wriggle in his tail
by an evil
thought, he will soon make a surprise of the soul—as you
see in that sad instance of Adam and Eve.

He who has deserved a hanging

"Why should any living man complain when
 punished for his sins?"
Lamentations 3:39

He who has deserved a hanging has no reason
to charge the judge with cruelty—if he escapes with
a whipping!

And we who have deserved a damning have no
reason to charge God for being too severe—if we
escape with a fatherly lashing!

He never lacks an apple for an Eve

It is ten thousand times a greater judgment and
affliction—to be given to a fretful spirit, a froward
spirit, a muttering spirit under an affliction—than
it is to be afflicted. This is both the devil's sin, and
the devil's punishment. God is still afflicting, crossing
and vexing him; and he is still a-fretting, repining,
vexing, and rising up against God. No sin like the
devil's sin; no punishment like the devil's punishment.

A man were better to have all the afflictions of all the
afflicted throughout the world at once upon him—than
to be given up to a froward spirit—to a muttering,
murmuring heart under the least affliction. When you
see a soul fretting, vexing, and stamping under the
mighty hand of God, you see one of Satan's first-born,
one who resembles him to the life. No child can be so
much like the father, as this froward soul is like to the
father of lies.

Though he has been in chains almost this six thousand
years, yet he has never lain still one day, nor one night,
no, nor one hour in all this time—but is still a-fretting,
vexing, tossing and tumbling in his chains—like a
princely bedlam.

He is a lion—not a lamb;
a roaring lion—not a sleepy lion;
not a lion standing still—but a lion going up and down.
He is not satisfied with the prey he has already gotten—
but is restless in his designs to fill hell with souls.
He never lacks . . .
  an apple for an Eve
  nor a grape for a Noah,
  nor a change of clothing for a Gehazi,
  nor a wedge of gold for an Achan,
  nor a crown for an Absalom,
  nor a bag of silver for a Judas,
  nor a world for a Demas!

If you look into one company, there you shall find
Satan dishing out his meat to every palate. If you
look into another company, there you shall find him
fitting a lace to every shoe. If you look into a third
company, there you shall find him suiting a garment
to every back. He is under wrath, and cannot but be
restless. Here, with Jael, he allures poor souls in with
milk—and murders them with a nail! There, with Joab,
he embraces with one hand—and stabs with another!
Here with Judas, he kisses—and betrays! And there,
with the whore of Babylon, he presents a golden
cup—with poison in it! He cannot be quiet, though his
chains be always on!

And the more unquiet any are under the rebukes of
God, the more they resemble Satan—whose whole life
is filled up with vexing and fretting against the Lord.
Let not any think, says Luther, that the devil is now
dead, nor yet asleep; for as he who keeps Israel, so
he who hates Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps!

He has a mint constantly going in hell

Christians should be mute and silent under their
afflictions, because hereby they shall cross and
frustrate Satan's great design and expectation.
In all the afflictions he brought upon Job, Satan's
design was not so much to make Job a beggar—as
it was to make him a blasphemer; it was not so
much to make Job outwardly miserable—as it was
to make Job inwardly miserable, by occasioning him
to mutter and murmur against the righteous hand
of God, that so he might have had some matter of
accusation against him to the Lord.

Satan is the unwearied accuser of the brethren.
Rev. 12:10, "The accuser of the brethren is cast
down, who accuses them before our God day and
Satan is the great tempter and accuser
between God and His children. He has a mint
constantly going in hell
, where, as an untiring
mint-master, he is still coming and hammering
out of accusations against the saints! First, he
tempts and allures souls to sin—and then accuses
them of those very sins he has tempted them to—
so that he may disgrace them before God, and
bring them, if it were possible, out of favor with
God. And though he knows beforehand that God
and His people are, by the bond of the covenant,
and by the blood of the Redeemer—so closely
united that they can never be severed—yet such
is his rage and wrath, envy and malice, that he will
endeavor that which he knows he shall never effect!

Could he but have made Job froward or fretting under
the rod, he would have quickly carried the tidings to
heaven, and have been so bold as to have asked God
whether this was a posture befitting such a person, of
whom God Himself had given so glorious a character!
Satan knows that there is more evil in the least sin—
than there is in all the afflictions that can be inflicted
upon a person; and if he could have but made a breach
upon Job's patience, ah, how would he have insulted over
God himself! But Job, by remaining mute and silent under
all his trials, puts Satan to a blush, and spoils all his
projects at once. The best way to outwit the devil, is to
be silent under the hand of God. He who mutters is foiled
by Satan—but he who is silent overcomes him; and to
conquer a devil is more than to conquer a world!

Can a worm ward off the blow of the Almighty?

It is fruitless and futile to strive, to contest or contend
with God. No man has ever got anything, by muttering
or murmuring under the hand of God—except it has
been more frowns, blows, and wounds. Those who will
not lie quiet and still, when mercy has tied them with
silken cords—justice will put them in iron chains!
If golden fetters will not hold you, iron fetters shall!
If Jonah will vex and fret and fling; justice will fling
him overboard, to cool him, and quell him, and keep
him prisoner in the whale's belly until he is vomited
up, and his spirit made quiet before the Lord.

What you get by struggling and grumbling—you may
put in your eye, and weep it out when you are done—
"But am I the one they are provoking? declares the
Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their
own shame? Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord
says: My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this
place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and
on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be
Jeremiah 7:19-20. "Do we provoke the Lord
to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?"
1 Cor. 10:22.

Zanchy observes these two things from these words:

1. That it is foolish to be provoking God to wrath,
because He is stronger than we.

2. That though God be stronger than we, yet there are
those who do provoke Him to wrath. And certainly there
are none who do more to provoke Him than those who
fume and fret when His hand is upon them!

Though the cup be bitter—yet it is put into your hand by
your Father! Though the cross be heavy—yet He who has
laid it on your shoulders will bear the heaviest end of it
Himself! Why, then, should you mutter? Shall bears and
lions take blows and knocks from their keepers; and will
you not take a few blows and knocks from the keeper of
Israel? Why should the clay contend with the potter, or
the creature with his Creator, or the servant with his
master, or weakness with strength, or a poor nothing
creature with an omnipotent God? Can stubble stand
before the fire? Can chaff abide before the whirlwind?
Can a worm ward off the blow of the Almighty?

A froward and impatient spirit under the hand of God will
but add chain to chain, cross to cross, yoke to yoke, and
burden to burden. The more men tumble and toss in their
feverish fits, the worse they distemper; and the longer it
will be before the cure be effected. The easiest and the
surest way of cure, is to lie still and quiet until the poison
of the distemper be sweat out. Where patience has its
perfect work, there the cure will be certain and easy.

When a man has his broken leg set, he lies still and quiet,
and so his cure is easily and speedily wrought. But when
a horse's leg is set, he frets and flings, he flounces and
flies out, unjointing it again and again, and so his cure is
the more difficult and tedious. Those Christians who, under
the hand of God, are like the horse or mule—fretting and
flinging—will but add to their own sorrows and sufferings,
and put the day of their deliverance further off.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous

The choicest saints are "born to troubles as the sparks
fly upwards",
Job 5:7. "Many are the afflictions of the
Psalm 34:19. God, who is infinite in wisdom
and matchless in goodness, has ordered troubles, yes,
many troubles to come trooping in upon us on every
side. Our crosses seldom come single; they usually
come treading one upon the heels of another; they
are like April showers, no sooner is one over but
another comes. And yet, Christians, it is mercy, it is
rich mercy, that every affliction is not an execution,
that every correction is not a damnation.

It was good for me to be afflicted!

"It was good for me to be afflicted!"
Psalm 119:71

A gracious soul secretly concludes—as stars shine
brightest in the night, so God will make my soul shine
and glisten like gold, while I am in this furnace—and
when I come out of the furnace of affliction. 'He knows
the way that I take; and when He has tried me, I shall
come forth as gold!' Job 23:10.

Surely, as the taste of honey opened Jonathan's eyes;
so this cross, this affliction—shall open my eyes. By this
stroke I shall come to have a clearer sight of my sins and
of my self, and a fuller sight of my God! Job 33:27-28;
40:4-5; 13:1-7.

Surely this affliction shall proceed in the purging away
of my dross! Isaiah 1:25.

Surely as ploughing of the ground kills the weeds, and
harrowing breaks hard clods; so these afflictions shall
kill my sins, and soften my heart! Hosea 5:15, 6:1-3.

Surely as the plaster draws out the infectious core; so
the afflictions which are upon me shall draw out the
core of pride, the core of self-love, the core of envy,
the core of earthliness, the core of formality, the core
of hypocrisy! Psalm 119:67, 71.

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will crucify my
heart more and more to the world; and the world to
my heart! Gal. 6:14; Psalm 131:1-3.

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will keep pride
from my soul! Job 33:14-21.

Surely these afflictions are but the Lord's pruning-knives,
by which He will bleed my sins, and prune my heart, and
make it more fertile and fruitful! They are but the Lord's
potion, by which He will clear me, and rid me of those
spiritual diseases and maladies, which are most deadly
and dangerous to my soul!

Affliction is such a healing potion, as will carry away all
soul-diseases, better than all other remedies! Zech. 13:8-9.

Surely these afflictions shall increase my spiritual
communion with God! Rom. 5:3-4.

Surely by these afflictions, I shall be made to partake more 
of God's holiness! Heb. 12:10. As black soap makes white
clothes—so do sharp afflictions make holy hearts!

Surely by these afflictions, the Lord will draw out my heart
more and more to seek Him! 'In their afflictions they will
seek Me early.' Hosea 5:15. In times of affliction, Christians
will industriously, speedily, early seek unto their Lord!

Surely by these trials and troubles, the Lord will fix my
soul more than ever upon the great concernments of the
eternal world! John 14:1-3; Rom. 8:17, 18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18.

Surely by these afflictions the Lord will work in me more
tenderness and compassion towards those who are afflicted!
Hebrews 10:34, 13:3.

Surely these afflictions are but God's love-tokens! 'As many
as I love—I rebuke and chasten,' Rev. 3:19. So says the holy
Christian—'O my soul! be quiet, be still. All is sent in love, all
is a fruit of divine favor. I see honey upon the top of every
twig; I see the rod is but a rosemary branch; I have sugar
with my gall, and wine with my wormwood; therefore be
silent, O my soul!'

Afflictions abase the carnal attractions of the world outside
us—which might entice us! Affliction abates the lustiness of
the flesh within us—which might otherwise ensnare us! 

Afflictions humble us and keep us low! Holy hearts will be
humble under the afflicting hand of God. When God's rod
is upon their backs—their mouths shall be in the dust! A
godly heart will lie lowest, when the hand of God is lifted

All this proves that affliction is a mighty advantage to us!

"It was good for me to be afflicted!"
Psalm 119:71


The honey and the sting!

"For He
does not willingly (or as the Hebrew has
 it, 'from His heart') bring affliction or grief to the
 children of men."
Lamentations 3:33

Christians conclude that God's heart was not in their
afflictions, though His hand was. He takes no delight
to afflict His children; it goes against His heart. It is . . .
  a grief to Him to be grievous to them,
  a pain to Him to be punishing of them,
  a sorrow to Him to be striking them.

He has no will, no desire, no inclination, no disposition,
to that work of afflicting of His people. And therefore
He calls it 'His strange work.' Isaiah 28:21.

Mercy and punishment—they flow from God, as the
honey and the sting
from the bee. The bee yields
honey of her own nature—but she does not sting but
when she is provoked.

God takes delight in showing of mercy. Micah 7:18.
He takes no pleasure in giving His people up to
adversity. Hosea 11:8.

Mercy and kindness flows from Him freely, naturally.
He is never severe, never harsh. He never stings, He
never terrifies us—but when He is sadly provoked by us.

God's hand sometimes may lie very hard upon His people,
when His heart, His affections, at those very times may be
yearning towards them. Jeremiah 31:18-20.

No man can tell the heart of God—by His hand.
God's hand of mercy may be open to those against
whom His heart is set—as you see in the rich poor fool,
and Dives, in the Gospel. And His hand of severity may
lie hard upon those on whom He has set His heart—as
you may see in Job and Lazarus.


You have a greater interest in me, than I have in myself

The godly man gives himself up to God. The secret
language of the soul is this—'Lord, here am I; do with
me what You please, I give up myself to be at Your

There was a good woman, who, when she was sick, being
asked whether she were willing to live or die, answered,
'Whichever God pleases.' But, said one who stood by, 'If
God would refer it to you, which would you choose?' 'Truly,'
said she, 'if God would refer it to me, I would even refer it
right back to Him again.' This was a soul worth gold.

'Well,' says a gracious soul, 'The ambitious man gives himself
up to his honors, but I give up myself unto God. The voluptuous
man gives himself up to his pleasures, but I give up myself to God.
The covetous man gives himself up to his bags of money, but I
give up myself to God. The wanton man gives himself up to his
lust, but I give up myself to God. The drunkard gives himself up
to his cups, but I give up myself to God. The papist gives up
himself to his idols, but I give myself to God. The Turk gives up
himself to his Mahomet, but I give up myself to God. The heretic
gives up himself to his heretical opinions, but I give up myself to
God. Lord! lay what burden You will upon me—only let Your
everlasting arms be under me!

Strike, Lord, strike, and spare not, for I submit to Your will.
You have a greater interest in me, than I have in myself
and therefore I give up myself unto You, and am willing to be
at Your disposal, and am ready to receive whatever impression
You shall stamp upon me.

O blessed Lord! have You not again and again said unto me,
as once the king of Israel said to the king of Syria, 'I am yours,
and all that I have is yours,' 1 Kings 20:4.

God says, "I am yours, O soul! to save you!
My mercy is yours to pardon you!
My blood is yours to cleanse you!
My merits are yours to justify you!
My righteousness is yours to clothe you!
My Spirit is yours to lead you!
My grace is yours to enrich you!
My glory is yours to reward you!"

"And therefore," says a gracious soul, "I cannot but
make a resignation of myself unto You. Lord! here
I am, do with me as seems good in Your own eyes.
I resign up myself to your will."


Whatever weather pleases God—pleases me!

I have read of a gentleman, who, meeting with a shepherd
in a misty morning, asked him what weather it would be?
'It will be,' said the shepherd, 'that weather which pleases
me.' And being courteously requested to express his meaning,
replied, 'Sir, it shall be whatever weather pleases God; and
whatever weather pleases God—pleases me!'

Lay your hand upon your mouth, and be silent

"Be silent before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."

    Psalm 37:7

I charge you, O my soul, not to mutter, nor to murmur.
I command you, O my soul, to be silent under the afflicting
hand of God. Peace, O my soul! be still, leave your muttering,
leave your murmuring, leave your complaining, leave your
chafing, and vexing—and lay your hand upon your mouth,
and be silent
. O my soul! be quiet, be silent, else you will
one day be called in question for all those inward mutterings,
uproars, and passions that are in you, seeing no sufficient
cause can be produced why you should murmur, quarrel,
or wrangle—under the righteous hand of God.

The meritorious cause of all our sorrows
and sufferings

"Why should any living man complain when punished
 for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them,
 and let us return to the Lord."
Lamentations 3:39-40

"I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I
 have sinned against Him."
Micah 7:9

Sins is the meritorious cause of all our sorrows
and sufferings
. In all our sorrows we should read
our sins! When God's hand is upon our backs, our
hands should be upon our sins.

When a Christian is under the afflicting hand
of God, he may well say, 'I may thank . . .
  this proud heart of mine,
  this worldly heart of mine,
  this froward heart of mine,
  this formal heart of mine,
  this dull heart of mine,
  this backsliding heart of mine,
  this self-seeking heart of mine—for . . .
    this cup so bitter,
    this pain so grievous,
    this loss so great,
    this disease so desperate,
    this wound so incurable!

It is my own self, my own sin—which has caused
these floods of sorrows to break in upon me!

Diseases, aches, sicknesses, pains

Diseases, aches, sicknesses, pains—they are all the
daughters of sin, and he who is not sensible of them as
the births and products of sin, does but add to his sin,
and provokes the Lord to add to his sufferings. Is. 26:9-11

No man shall ever be charged by God for feeling his
burden, if he neither frets nor faints under it. Grace
does not destroy nature—but rather perfects it. Grace
is of a noble offspring; it neither turns men into stocks
nor to stoics. The more grace—the more sensible of the
tokens, frowns, blows, and lashes—of a displeased Father.

Though Calvin, under his greatest pains, was never
heard to mutter nor murmur—yet he was heard often
to say 'How long, Lord, how long?'

A pious commander being shot in battle, when the wound
was searched, and the bullet cut out, some standing by,
pitying his pain, he replied, 'Though I groan, yet I bless
God I do not grumble.' God allows His people to groan,
though not to grumble. It is a God-provoking sin to lie
stupid and senseless under the afflicting hand of God.
God will heat that man's furnace of affliction sevenfold
hotter, who is in the furnace but feels it not.

Every twig has a voice!

"The voice of the Lord calls out to the city (and it is
 wise to  fear Your name,) "Pay attention to the
 rod and the One who ordained it.
Micah 6:9

Christians should hear the rod, and kiss the rod, and
sit mute and silent under God's rod.

Christians should be mute and silent under the greatest
afflictions, the saddest providences, and sharpest trials
which they meet with in this world, that they may the
better hear and understand the voice of God's rod.

As the word has a voice, the Spirit a voice, and conscience
a voice—so God's rod has a voice. Afflictions are the rod of
God's anger, the rod of His displeasure, and His rod of revenge.

God's rods are not mutes. They are all vocal, they are all
speaking as well as smiting. Every twig has a voice!

'Ah! soul,' says one twig, 'you say it smarts. Well! tell
me, is it good to  provoke a jealous God?' Jer. 4:18.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'you say it is bitter, it
reaches to your heart; but have not your own doings
procured these things?' Rom. 6:20-21.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'where is the profit,
the pleasure, the sweet that you have found in
wandering from God?' Hosea 2:7.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'was it not best with
you, when you were high in your communion with
God, and when you were humble and close in your
walking with God?' Micah 6:8.

'Ah! Christian,' says another twig, 'will you search
your heart, and try your ways, and turn to the Lord
your God?' Lam. 3:40.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you die to sin more
than ever, and to the world more than ever, and to
relations more than ever, and to yourself more than
ever?' Rom. 14:6-8; Gal. 6:18.

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you live more to
Christ than ever, and cleave closer to Christ than
ever, and prize Christ more than ever, and venture
further for Christ than ever?'

'Ah! soul,' says another twig, 'will you love Christ
with a more inflamed love, and hope in Christ with
a more raised hope, and depend upon Christ with
a greater confidence, and wait upon Christ with
more invincible patience?'

Now, if the soul is not mute and silent under the rod,
how is it possible that it should ever hear the voice of
God's rod, or that it should ever hearken to the voice
of every twig of God's rod?

The rod that is in the hands of earthly fathers has a
voice—but children hear it not, they understand it not,
until they are hushed and quiet, and brought to kiss it,
and sit silently under it. No more shall we hear or
understand the voice of the rod that is in our heavenly
Father's hand, until we come to kiss it, and sit silently
under it.

Living by faith

"We live by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7

Living by faith brings the soul to sit down satisfied
in the naked enjoyments of God.

Living by faith dries up the springs of . . .
  unbelief, and
  the carnal delights of this world.

Living by faith presents to the soul greater,
sweeter, and better things in Christ—than
anything this world can afford.

Living by faith lessens the soul's esteem
of all outward vanities.

All your former troubles and afflictions

"In the day of adversity, consider." Eccles. 7:14

If you would be quiet and silent under your present
troubles and trials, then dwell much upon the benefit,
the profit, the advantage that has redounded to your
souls by all your former troubles and afflictions.

Oh! consider, how by former afflictions the Lord has
revealed sin, prevented sin, and mortified sin!

Consider how the Lord by former afflictions has
revealed to you the impotency, the mutability,
the insufficiency, and the vanity of the world,
and all worldly concerns!

Consider how the Lord by former afflictions has melted
your heart, and broken your heart, and humbled your
heart, and prepared your heart for clearer, fuller, and
sweeter enjoyments of Himself!

Consider what pity, what compassion, what affections,
what tenderness, and what sweetness former afflictions
have wrought in you, towards others in misery!

Consider what room former afflictions have made
in your soul for God, for His word, for good counsel,
and for divine comfort!

Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has made
you more partaker of His Christ, His Spirit, His holiness,
His goodness, etc.

Consider how by former afflictions the Lord has made
you to look towards heaven more, to mind heaven more,
to prize heaven more, and to long for heaven more, etc.

Now, who can seriously consider all the good that he
has gotten by former afflictions—and not be silent under
present afflictions? Who can remember those choice, those
great, and those precious profits that his soul has made
of former afflictions, and not reason himself into a holy
silence under present afflictions thusly, "O my soul! has not
God done you much good, great good, special good—by
former afflictions? Yes! O my soul! has not God done that
for you by former afflictions—which you would not undo for
ten thousand worlds? Yes! And is not God, O my soul! as
powerful as ever, as faithful as ever, as gracious as ever,
and as ready and willing as ever—to do you good by present
afflictions, as he has been to do you good by former afflictions?
Yes! Yes! Why, why then do you not sit silent and mute before
Him, under your present troubles, O my soul?"

A fool to his schoolmaster

He who goes to school to his own carnal reason,
has a fool to his schoolmaster; and he who
allows his faith to be overruled by his reason,
shall never lack woe.

No man lives so free a life, so holy a life, so
heavenly a life, so happy a life—as he who
lives a life of faith. Now the soul is put upon
the highest and the purest acts of faith, that
is, to cleave to God, to hang upon God, and
to carry it sweetly and obediently towards
God, though He frowns, though He chides,
though He strikes, yes, though He kills! 'For
we walk by faith, and not by sight.' 2 Cor. 5:7

The sharpest dealings of God with you

"Why should any living man complain when
 punished for his sins?"
Lamentations 3:39

To move you to silence under your sorest and
your sharpest trials, consider, that you have
deserved greater and heavier afflictions than
those you are under.

Has God taken away one mercy? You have
deserved to be stripped of all.

Has he taken away the delight of your eyes? He
might have taken away the delight of your soul.

Are you under outward wants? You have deserved
to be under outward and inward wants together.

Are you cast upon a sick bed?
You have deserved a bed in hell.

Are you under that ache and that pain? You have
deserved to be under all aches and pains at once.

Has God chastised you with whips? You have
deserved to be chastised with scorpions. 1 Kings 12:14. 

Have you fallen from the highest pinnacle of honor
to be the scorn and contempt of men? You have
deserved to be scorned and condemned by God
and angels.

Are you under a severe whipping?
You have deserved an utter damning.

Ah Christian! let but your eyes be fixed upon your
demerits—and your hands will be quickly upon your
mouths! Whatever is less than a final separation from
God, whatever is less than hell—is mercy! Therefore
you have cause to be silent under the sharpest
dealings of God with you

Sweet honey out of the bitterest herbs

"And we know that in all things God works for the
 good of those who love Him, who have been called
 according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Consider that all your afflictions, troubles, and trials
shall work for your good. Why then should you fret,
fling, fume—considering God intends you good in all? 
The bee sucks sweet honey out of the bitterest
; so God will by afflictions teach His children to
suck sweet knowledge, sweet obedience, and sweet
experiences, sweet humility—out of all the bitter
afflictions and trials He exercises them with.

That scouring and rubbing, which frets others, shall
make them shine the brighter; and that weight which
keeps others crushed, shall but make them, like the
palm tree, grow better and higher; and that hammer
which knocks others all into pieces, shall but knock
them the nearer to Christ, the corner stone.

Stars shine brightest in the darkest night;
torches give the best light when beaten;
grapes yield most wine when most pressed;
spices smell sweetest when pounded;
vines are the better for bleeding;
gold looks the brighter for scouring;
juniper smells sweetest in the fire;
chamomile, the more you tread it the more you spread it;
the salamander lives best in the fire;
the Jews were best, when most afflicted.

Afflictions are the saints' best benefactors to heavenly
affections. Where afflictions hang heaviest—corruptions
hang loosest. And grace that is hidden in nature, as sweet
water in rose leaves, is then most fragrant when the fire
of affliction is put under to distill it out. Grace shines the
brighter for scouring, and is most glorious when it is most

Why is my pain unending?

"Why is my pain unending and my wound
 grievous and incurable?"
Jeremiah 15:18

Though God has always reason for what He does—yet
He is not bound to show us the reasons of His doings.

It is an evil and a dangerous thing to cavil at, or to
question God's proceedings—who may do with His own
what He pleases. He is unaccountable and uncontrollable;
and therefore none has a right to question Him.

As no man may question God's right to afflict him, nor
His righteousness in afflicting him; so no man may
question the reasons why He afflicts him. As no man
can compel God to give a reason for His doings; so no
man may dare to ask Him the particular reasons of His

Kings are not bound to give their subjects a reason of
their doings; and shall we bind God to give us a reason
of His doings, who is the King of kings and Lord of Lords,
and whose will is the true and only rule of justice?

The general grounds and reasons which God has laid
down in His word why He afflicts His people, as—that
is for their profit; for the purging away of their sins; for
the purifying of their lives; and for the saving of their
souls—should work them to be silent and satisfied under
all their afflictions; though God should never satisfy their
curiosity in giving them an account of some more hidden
causes which may lie secret in the abysses of His eternal
knowledge and infallible will.

Ah, Christian! it is your wisdom and duty to sit silent
and mute under the afflicting hand of God upon the
account of revealed reasons, without making any
curious inquiry into those more secret reasons which
are locked up in the golden cabinet of God's own
bosom! "The secret things belong to the Lord our
God." Deuteronomy 29:29

He dares spit in the very face of God Himself!

Many, when they feel the rod to smart—ah, how they
do fret and fume! Isaiah 8:21, 'Distressed and hungry,
they will roam through the land; when they are famished,
they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse
their king and their God.' Prov. 19:3, 'A man's own folly
ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.' The
heart may be fretful and froward when the tongue does
not blaspheme. Folly brings man into misery, and misery
makes man to fret. Man in misery is more apt to fret and
chafe against the Lord, than to fret and chafe against his
sin which has brought him into sufferings.
 2 Kings 6:33, Psalm 37:1, 7-8.

A fretful soul dares fly at God himself! When Pharaoh is
troubled with the frets, he dares spit in the very face
of God himself
—'Who is the Lord, that I should obey
Him?' Exod. 5:2. And when Jonah is in a fretting humour,
he dares tell God to his face, 'that he does well to be angry!'
Jonah had done well if he had been angry with his sin—but
he did very ill to be angry with his God! God will vex every
vein in that man's heart, before He has done with him, who
fumes and frets, because he cannot snap in sunder the
cords with which he is bound, Ezek. 16:43. Sometimes
good men are sick of the frets—but when they are, it
costs them dear, as Job and Jonah found by experience.
No man has ever got anything by his fretting and flinging,
except it has been harder blows or heavier chains;
therefore fret not when God strikes!