To Our Good and Spiritual Advantage

Cross and Crown-Perine

Stephen Charnock, A Discourse of Divine Providence:

Crosses in the Scripture are not excluded from those things we have a right to by Christ, when they may conduce to our good: 1 Cor. 3:22, ‘Life and death, things present, and things to come, are yours, and you are Christ’s.’ Since the revelation of the gospel, I do not remember that any such complaint against the providence of God fell from any holy man in the New Testament; for our Saviour had given them another prospect of those things. The holy men in the Old Testament comforted themselves against this objection by the end of the wicked which should happen, and the rod cease, Ps. 73. In the New Testament we are more comforted by the certain operation of crosses to our good and spiritual advantage, Rom. 8. Our Saviour did not promise wealth and honour to his followers, nor did he think it worth his pains of coming and dying, to bestow such gifts upon his children. He made heaven their happiness, and the earth their hell; the cross was their badge here, and the crown their reward hereafter; they seemed not to be a purchase congruous to so great a price of blood. Was God’s providence to Christ the more to be questioned because he was poor? Had he the less love to him because he was ‘a man of sorrows,’ even while he was a God of glory? Such groundless conceits should never into Christians, who can never seriously take up Christ’s yoke without a proviso of affliction, who can never be God’s sons without expecting his corrections.

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