Monday, July 27, 2015

The Gracious Soul

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I am about to set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of jewels, and all your wall of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
—Isaiah 54:11-14
Give us rest from days of trouble
till the wicked are brought down,
for the Lord stays with his people,
he will not forsake his own.
Righteous judgments will be rendered,
justice will return again;
those of upright heart will follow
in the way of justice then.
—Psalm 94:13-15
Suggested tune (In Memoriam):
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
—2 Corinthians 4:8-10
The gracious soul can never justify its own despondency; for, take it under its severest pressures from evil people and things, let it but act still like itself, and it hath more causes for consolation than for dejection.

Think not that God forgets or hates thee, because thy bitter cup is not to be dispensed with. But think of him as infinitely amiable, trustworthy, and compassionate. For were not his fidelity inviolable, his mercy and grace exceeding rich, and his compassion deep, how could these characters of excellence, which he imprints upon the gracious soul, be called his image?

It is blasphemy against the grace and goodness of your God, and a flat contradiction to all the endearing accounts which he hath given you of his grace and clemency, for you to think him careless or cruel, inaccessible and inexorable, or false.
—Matthew Sylvester, from a 1682 sermon
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin. Let me use disappointment as material for patience. Let me use success as material for thankfulness. Let me use suspense as material for perseverance. Let me use danger as material for courage. Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering. Let me use praise as material for humility. Let me use pleasures as material for temperance. Let me use pain as material for endurance; in Jesus' Name. Amen.
—John Baillie

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