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GOD'S PURPOSE IN AFFLICTING YOU.
You are convinced, I hope, that God
I chastens purposely and lovingly. Affliction comes from Him, and He afflicts, not as a stern Judge, but as a Father and a Friend.
If I have made this clear to you, I thank God for it; for thus I have given you a sort of foundation-truth, on which your happiness and profit at this season greatly depends.
But now let us go a step further. You will naturally ask, Why does God afflict me? What is there in me that calls down His chastisement at this present time?
1. Perhaps you have hitherto been, like many others, unconcerned about your soul. You have gone on, from
, day to day, without any serious thought about the eternity which is before you.
You have hitherto lived to the world, instead of living to God. I don't say that you have lived in wilful sin. You may not have done this. But still you have lived too much as if this world was your home
- you have lived perhaps without God and without Christ.
If so, your present affliction is sent to arouse you.
Its voice is a voice of mercy, saying, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead; and Christ shall give thee light.” God sends it to alarm you, to disturb you, to quicken you. He seems to say to you, Are you prepared to meet
God? Have you pardon and
peace Saviour? Is your soul saved ?
in Christ your
Happy is it for you, if this affliction makes you consider, and if it leads you
to think of that other world, which has been too much kept out of sight. Happy for you, if it makes
your great need of a Saviour, and brings you as a penitent to Ilis cross.
2. Or perhaps you are one who has at times some serious feelings. Eternity is something very solemn in your eyes. You feel yourself to be a sinner, and
your only hope of salvation is in Christ. But you have never given yourself heartily to Him. The world keeps you back. Or some secret sin, some little cherished sin it may be, stands like a strong barrier between you and God. Ah, you want decision. You want to break entirely with the world and sin, and to surrender
your 66 Be
whole heart to the Saviour. You are only half a Christian. You are not far from the kingdom of God, and yet you are not in it. You are near the door, but have never entered in.
Do you not at once see then why God has afflicted you? It is to bring you nearer to Him. He would have you now see that a little religion will give you no comfort, and will bring no peace to your soul.
soul. It will not do for a sick-bed, and much less will it do for a dying hour.
There is a voice that whispers to you now, which calls to you with loving earnestness, Why will you die? Why stand so far off, when you may draw near ? Jesus comes close to you as it were now, saying, hold, I stand at the door and knock. I have knocked before by my Word, by my Spirit, by my Ministers. Now I knock still louder." Oh say not, Depart from me.”
But rather say, “ Abide with me, O my Saviour. Pardon my past half-heartedness. Draw near to me, and bless me. Claim me as thine own.
Make me thine for ever.”
3. Or, it is possible you may be a Backslider. Once
Once you felt deeply. You were in earnest. Religion was your delight. Your chief interest was in holy things. You loved God's Word and God's House. Prayer was your sweetest employment. The company of God's people was pleasant to you.
But something happened, which turned you from this blessed path. You
grew somewhat cold. The lamp burnt dimly within you.
The world regained its power over you.
Your language now is