Wednesday, July 28, 2010

These Perplexing Dispensations

A selection from a letter by Rev. Thomas Boston to a friend whose wife was ill. Boston's wife was also ailing. The explanation that he gave his friend for God's design in sending hardships was as much intended for his own soul as for his acquaintance. The letter was written January 27, 1728.

When the storm is hard where two seas meet, great is the hazard of fainting; but patience must have her perfect work. These things are designed, I believe, by a holy wise God, not against you, but against the unrenewed part in you, called in scripture the flesh, which is not to be amended, but to be mortified gradually till it die out in the close of the spiritual warfare; at which time the new creature will be perfected, and the image of God, that is never on the whole soul, will wholly occupy every part of the soul, through full and perfecting supplies of grace from Christ the Head, not communicate during the course of this life. Then will be fully seen the beauty of these perplexing dispensations, the necessity of them, and every one of them, which is now to be believed, but not to be clearly seen, by reason of the remains of darkness that is to be found together with the light of grace in the mind.

Be we so happy as to take part with the spirit against the flesh in this war; and though this last complaint under great hardships put upon it, let us secretly rejoice, that the Lord is at such pains to advance mortification in us, that we may be still aiming to be as weaned children, and look upon your afflictions as what the Lord is laying on, to conform you to the image of His Son, whereof suffering and holiness are joint parts.

Memoirs of Thomas Boston, first published in 1899, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1988, pp. 504-05.

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