We live on an enchanted ground, and are surrounded with snares!
(John Newton's Letters)
My dear Madam,
We all hope, by-and-bye, to have new bodies which are not subject to illness. In the mean time, if the Lord is pleased to sanctify the infirmities to which our present mortal frame is subject — we shall have cause to praise Him, no less for the bitter than the sweet.
I am convinced in my judgment, that a cross or a pinch somewhere or other, is so necessary to us — that we cannot go on well for a considerable time without one. We live on an enchanted ground, and are surrounded with snares! If we are not quickened by trials — we are very prone to sink into spiritual formality or carelessness. It is a shame it should be so — but so it is, that a long course of prosperity always makes us spiritually drowsy!
Trials therefore are medicines — which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them. He proportions the frequency and the weight of them — to what our case requires.
Many of His people are sharply exercised by poverty, which is a continual trial every day, and all the year round. Others have trials in their families. Those who have comfortable firesides, and a competence for this world — often suffer by sickness, either in their own persons, or in the persons of those they love.
But any, or all of these crosses, are mercies — if the Lord works by them to prevent us from cleaving to the world, from backsliding in heart or life, and to keep us nearer to Himself.
Let us trust our Physician — as He will surely do us good. And let us thank Him for all His prescriptions, for without them our soul-sickness would quickly grow upon us!
I sympathize with Miss K. in her trials — yet I know she will profit by them. I hope her illness will find relief — but it is better to have a stiff neck with the grace of God — than to be stiff-necked in the sense in which many young people are, who can move their heads freely enough. I hope it is a mercy that she bears the yoke awhile in her youth. When the affliction has answered the good end for which it was sent — the Lord can easily remove it.