Today's letter comes from December 1776, "the Benefits of Affliction."
The premise of this letter: "The advantages of afflictions, when the Lord is pleased to employ them for the good of his people, are many and great."
The reasons why the premise is true:
Afflictions quicken us to prayer. It is a pity it should be so; but 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 his almighty arm.
Afflictions 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 world is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upwards, where our true treasure is, and where our heart ought to be.
A child of God cannot but greatly desire a more enlarged and experimental acquaintance with his holy Word; and this attainment is greatly promoted by our trials. The far greater part of the promises in Scripture, are made and suited to a state of affliction; and, though we may believe they are true, we cannot so well know their sweetness, power, and suitableness, unless we ourselves are in a state to which they refer!
Thus afflictions likewise give occasion of our knowing and noticing more of the Lord's wisdom, power, and goodness, in supporting and relieving us—than we would otherwise have known.
Afflictions evidence to ourselves, and manifest to others, the reality of grace.
Afflictions likewise strengthen us—by the exercise our graces.
Lastly, afflictions are honorable, as they advance our conformity to Jesus our Lord, who was a man of sorrows for our sake.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible