There is something fascinating in GRIEF
(Letters of John Newton)
My dear Madam,
There is something fascinating in GRIEF. As painful as it is, we are prone to indulge it, and to brood over the thoughts and circumstances which are suited (like fuel to fire) to heighten and prolong it!
When the Lord afflicts — it is His design that we should grieve; but in this, as in all other things — there is a certain moderation which befits a Christian, and which only grace can teach. And grace teaches us, not by books or by hearsay — but by experimental lessons. All beyond this, should be avoided and guarded against as sinful and hurtful.
GRIEF, when indulged and excessive . . .
preys upon the spirits,
indisposes us for duty, and
causes us to shed tears which deserve more tears.
This is a weeping world. Sin has filled it with thorns and briars, with crosses and calamities. This poor world is a great hospital, resounding with groans in every quarter. It is as a field of battle, where many are falling around us continually! It is more astonishing that we escape so well — than that we are sometimes wounded. We must have some share of grief; it is the unavoidable lot of our nature and state; it is likewise needful in point of discipline. The Lord will certainly chasten those whom He loves, though others may seem to pass for a time with impunity. That is a sweet, instructive, and important passage,
"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.' Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-11.
It is so plain — that it needs no comment. It is so full — that a comment would but weaken it. May the Lord inscribe it upon your heart, my dear Madam, and upon mine.