Those tokens of divine love!
(John Newton's Letters)
"Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning — but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." Ecclesiastes 7:3-4
Every day almost I meet with new occasions of admiring the wisdom, care, and faithfulness of our great Shepherd — as He adjusts His dispensations exactly to our need and state.
When the enemy is spreading a snare for our feet, when our deceitful hearts are beginning to start aside, when we have perhaps actually taken some steps in that path which, if persisted in, might terminate in apostasy — oh then, how gracious, how seasonable, how beneficial — are those tokens of divine love (called afflictions in the language of mortals) which He sends to break the snare, to check our progress in sin, and to recall our wandering feet into the path of duty and peace!
How many turns of my life can I recollect of which, though at the time they were not joyous but grievous, I may now say, "I would have perished — if I had not been made wretched!"
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"Sadness is often a happy means of seriousness. That affliction which is impairing to the health, estate, and family — may be improving to the mind, and make such impressions upon it as may alter its temperament very much for the better. Afflictions tend to make the heart . . .
humble and meek,
loose from the world,
penitent for sin,
and careful in duty.
It will follow, on the contrary, that by foolish mirth, the heart is made worse — more vain, more carnal, more sensual, more in love with the world, and more estranged from God and spiritual things." Matthew Henry