Postscript: God's Purposes in Affliction

 

God's Purposes in Affliction "It does not impair the doctrine of a kind and special providence towards the righteous that they are often involved in the same untoward events with the wicked. This often occurs, as inspired writers admit. 'All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not' (Eccl. 9:2). A pious wife shares with her wicked husband the poverty and misery which his vices bring on them like an armed man. An invading army overwhelms saints and sinners with evils which are common to all. The event is the same; but the design, uses and effects are quite different. The purpose of God in afflicting His real people is to make them more useful, more humble, and in the end more glorious. His design in afflicting incorrigible foes is to punish them for their sins, show His wrath, and make them examples of His terrible justice, as they have been the thankless receivers of countless mercies. So also prosperity awakens the gratitude and refines the feelings of the pious man, but hardens the heart of His wicked neighbor. Thus the prosperity of fools destroys them."

 

-- William S. Plumer (1802-1880)

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