Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Best University

Arthur Dent, The Plain Main's Pathway to Heaven, pp. 90-91:

...All things considered, God's children are no losers by their afflictions, but gainers. It is better for them to have them, than to be without them; they are very good for them. For when God's children are chastised, it is as it should be. For to them, the cross is mercy, and loss is gain. Afflictions are their best schooling, and adversity their best university. "It is good for me, saith the holy man of God, that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes." By his afflictions thereby, he learned much, and became a good scholar in God's book, and well seen in his statutes and laws. He grew to great wisdom and judgment by his chastisements. All things turned about, in God's merciful providence, to his everlasting comfort. For I say again and again, that all things tend to the good of God's chosen people. And therefore, that estate, which God will have his children to be in, is always best for them. Because he, who can best discern what is best, seeth it to be best for them: whether it be sickness or health, poverty or plenty, prison or liberty, prosperity or adversity. For sometimes sickness is better for us than health, and poverty then plenty. Are therefore the children of God sick? it is best for them. Are they poor? it is best for them. Are they in trouble? it is best for them; because their good Father will turn it to the best. H will oftentimes cut us short of our lusts and desires; because he seeth we will bane ourselves with them. He, in fatherly care, will take the knife from us; because he seeth we will hurt ourselves with it. He will keep us short of health and wealth, because he knoweth we will be the worse for them. He will not give us too much ease and prosperity in this world; for he knoweth it will poison us. He will not allow us continual rest, like standing ponds; for then he knoweth we will gather scum and filth. He dealeth fatherly and mercifully with us in all things, even then seeking our greatest good, when we think he doth us most harm. And, to speak all in a word, he bringeth us into troubles and straits, to this end especially, that he may hear of us. For he right well knoweth our nature; he is well acquainted with our disposition. He knoweth we will not come at him, but when we stand in need of him: we care not for him so long as all goeth well with us. But if we come into distress, or want any thing that we would fain have, then he is sure to hear of us. As he saith by the prophet, "In their affliction, they will seek me early," Hosea v. 15. And another prophet saith, "Lord, in trouble have they visited thee. They poured out a prayer, when thy chastisement was upon them," Isa. xxvi. 16. So then now, I hope, you do plainly see the cause why the Lord bringeth his children into so many troubles and necessities.

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