The gold is never purer than in the fire; the wheat is never cleaner than in a wind; and the water is never clearer than when it runs among the stones and rocks; the sheep never keep together so orderly in their pastures as when the wolves are about to worry them; the musical instrument never sounds so sweet as when you strike it with your fingers. So it is with the church -- the times of its calamity are the times of its beauty; their hearts are never more humbled, their ways never more reformed and purified, their graces and heavenly opportunities never more improved, their fellowship never more kindled, and their prayers and dependencies never more doubled and quickened than when the bondage of Pharaoh, the threatening of Herod, or the rod of the wicked does rest on the backs of the righteous. If wicked men tear their bodies, yet God will preserve their souls; if they deform their beauty, yet God will reform their hearts; if they waste their estates, yet God will make up their comforts; if they take away their lives, yet God will give them heaven. There is no calamity which befalls the church that shall not be either a medicine to heal, a lash to quicken, or a trial to discover. It shall be an advantage to the gospel, an enlargement of the stock, and a step to glory.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Gold is Never Purer Than in the Fire
Obadiah Sedgwick, Providence Handled Practically, pp. 93-94: