Monday, October 12, 2009

A Very Sweet View of Affliction

A selection from a letter by Rev. Thomas Boston, to his friend James Hog. Boston’s wife suffered from depression. She had gotten better but then turned worse again. The letter is full of faith and trust in the Lord even in the midst of afflictions. It was written August 8, 1724.

There is no appearance of the dissolution of the cloud that for several years now has been over my wife. We have made a new essay this season in the use of means for her help; but all hitherto serves for nothing, but to discover that vain is the help of man in the case.

She has not wanted seasonable supports from a higher hand; and when several coals were by wise and holy Providence cast in together into our furnace, she who behooved to be waited on and served before, was even helped to wait on, and be very helpful to others in distress; and then the clouds returned after the rain, and now she comes little out of the bed at all.

But all is necessary, and He is infinitely wise who has the managing of all in His hand. It is a very sweet view of affliction, to view it as the discipline of the covenant; and so it is indeed; and nothing else to the children of our Father’s family. In that respect it is medicinal; it shines with many gracious purposes about it; and, end as it will, one may have the confidence of faith, that it shall end well. And O how happy would we be if we could always maintain the confidence of faith! The soul in that case would be like that babe in the shipwrecked woman’s arms on the plank, smiling amidst the waves, unconcerned with the hazard.

Memoirs of Thomas Boston, first published in 1899, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1988, p. 499.

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