Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose
I have a deep an abiding love for the writings of the Puritans, the great English theologians of the seventeenth century. Among their number is one Thomas Watson (1620–1686), who was educated at Emmanuel College in Cambridge and ended up as vicar of St Stephen Walbrook, in the City of London. In 1662 two thousand clergy were ejected from their churches for refusing to conform to the laws which surrounded the re-introduction of the Book of Common Prayer. Watson was one of these clergymen.
So by 1663 this forty-three year old Yorkshireman had lost his job, and seen four of his seven children die. He had pleaded with Cromwell for Charles I life, and been put in the Tower for corresponding with Charles II. He had lived through the upheavals of the Civil War and seen the nation ripped apart by war and partisanship.
So it might be surprising to know that he then wrote a book based upon Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. Would you have seen God working for good in all this? Watson did.
As many of us struggle with the separations of lockdown, and can see only darkness, I thought it might be helpful to quote some of that book. As you read, be encouraged! God work’s for good!
“Observe the happy condition of every child of God. All things work for his good—the best and worst things. "Unto the upright arises light in darkness" (Psalm 112:4). The most dark cloudy providences of God, have some sunshine in them. What a blessed condition is a true believer in! When he dies, he goes to God; and while he lives, everything shall do him good. Affliction is for his good. What hurt does the fire to the gold? It only purifies it. What hurt does the winnowing fan do to the grain? It only separates the chaff from it. God never uses His staff—but to beat out the dust. Affliction does that which the Word many times will not, it "opens the ear to discipline" (Job 36:10). When God lays men upon their backs—then they look up to heaven! God's smiting His people is like the musician's striking upon the violin, which makes it put forth a melodious sound. How much good comes to the saints by affliction! Like bruised flowers—when they are pounded and broken—they send forth their sweetest smell.”