I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Hour of Silence" 1899)
"I will bring this third part through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold!" Zechariah 13:9
I gather from this verse, that though the days are ever so evil, God will always have His chosen ones. There always is the third part — there always are the few in Sardis, who walk with Christ in white. I trust that I belong to the little flock.
I learn also that, though the members of His Church are insignificant in this evil world — they are very precious to Jesus. He compares them not to dull lead — but to silver and gold. He has Himself clothed them with their attractiveness. My Lord, I draw my silvery sheen and golden brightness from You alone.
But I see that, as beloved as His people are, it is His purpose to refine them. The jeweler uses every method to beautify the metals which he prizes most. If the citizens of this world escape the sharpness of God's discipline — the citizens of the heavenly Kingdom cannot. He chastens me, because He loves me!
And I find, too, that the sorrow may be very severe. He brings His children through the fire — the quivering and scorching fire! "I have refined you in the furnace of suffering!" Isaiah 48:10
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it!" Hebrews 12:11. Oh that blessed Afterward! The fire purifies the dross from me; it kindles my hidden graces to life!