The divine Craftsman

(James, "The Widow Directed to the Widow's God" 1841)

"God disciplines us for our good, that we may
 share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10

God does not afflict His children willingly. He takes
no delight in seeing our tears--or hearing our groans.
But He does take delight in . . .
  doing us good,
  making us holy,
  conforming us to His own image, and
  fitting us to dwell in His own presence.

He treats us as the sculptor does the marble under
his hand, which from a rough unsightly mass, he
intends to carve into a splendid statue--a glorious
work of art. Every application of the chisel, every
blow of the mallet, is to strike off some bit of the
stone, which must be removed to bring out the
figure in perfection, which he designs to form.

In our case, how much is necessary to be struck off
from our corrupt nature, before we can be brought
into that form and beauty which it is the intention of
the divine Craftsman
that we should bear. How much . . .
  earthly dependence;
must be removed by each blow of the mallet, and
each cut of the chisel, before the beauties of . . .
and all the graceful proportions and features
of His own image, can be exhibited in us.