Benefits of Afflictions

by Richard Baxter

Afflictions are God's most effectual means to keep us from losing our way to our heavenly rest. Without this hedge of thorns on the right hand and on the left we would scarcely keep in the way to heaven. If there is but one gap open how ready are we to find it, and turn out of the narrow way! When we grow wanton, or worldly, or proud how does sickness, or other affliction, humble us! Every Christian may call affliction one of his best schoolmasters; and with David may say, "Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept your word." Many thousand recovered sinners may cry, "O healthful sickness! comfortable sorrows! O gainful losses! O enriching poverty! Blessed day that ever I was afflicted!" Not only the green pastures and still waters but the rod and staff, they comfort us also. Though the Word and Spirit do the main work, yet suffering so unbolts the door of the heart that the Word has easier entrance!