The Benefits of Affliction- John Newton

Afflictions quicken us to prayer. It is a pity it should be so; experience testifies that a long course of ease and prosperity’ without painful changes, has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal in our secret worship; but troubles rouse our spirits, and constrain us to call upon the Lord in good earnest, when we feel a need of that help which we only can have from him. They are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world, and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upwards, where our true treasure is, and where our conversation ought to be. When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, “It is good to be here”. Thus the Lord by pain, sickness and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds, weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of quitting it more familiar and more desirable.

Methinks, if we might go to heaven without suffering, we should be unwilling to desire it. Why should we ever wish to go by any other path than that which he has consecrated an endeared by his own example? especially as his people’s sufferings are not penal (a penalty); there is no wrath in them; the cup he puts in their hand is very different from that which he drank for their sakes, and is only medicinal to promote their chief good.”

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