Monday, January 10, 2011

A Help to Stay the Heart

John Flavel, A Saint Indeed (Keeping the Heart), in Works, Vol. 5, p. 444:

Help 7. Again, It may stay thy heart, if thou consider, That in these troubles, God is about that work, which if thou didst see the design thereof, thy soul would rejoice. We, poor creatures, are bemisted with much ignorance, and are not able to discern how particular providences work towards God's end; and therefore, like Israel in the wilderness, are often murmuring, because Providence leads us about in a howling desert, where we are exposed to straits; though yet, then he led them, and is now leading us, by the right way, to a city of habitations. If you could but see how God, in his secret counsel, hath exactly laid the whole plot and design of thy salvation, even to the smallest means and circumstances; this way, and by these means such a one shall be saved, and by no other; such a number of afflictions I appoint for this man, at this time, and in this order; they shall befal him thus, and thus they shall work for him: Could you, I say, but discern the admirable harmony of divine dispensations, their mutual relations to each other, together with the general respect and influence they all have unto the last end; of all the conditions in the world, you would chuse that you are now in, had you liberty to make your own choice. Providence is like a curious piece of arras, made up of a thousand shreds, which single we know not what to make of, but put together, and stitched up orderly, they represent a beautiful history to the eye. As God works all things according to the counsel of his own will, so that the counsel of God hath ordained this as the best way to bring about thy salvation; Such a one hath a proud heart, so many humbling providences I have appointed for him: such a one an earthly heart, so many impoverishing providences for him: Did you but see this, I need say no more to support the most dejected heart.

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