“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
and will refine them as silver is refined,
and will try them as gold is tried;
they shall call on my name, and I will hear them;
I will say, It is my people –
and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
It is a mercy to be in the furnace, and it is a mercy to be brought through it. The Lord’s promise to the third part is, that he will bring them through the fire. They must therefore, according to his own word, be put into it, and yet not left in it. It is “through the fire” – right through it from beginning to end, whether it be a long and slow one or short and fierce one.
The Lord knows exactly what we can bear, and it is not always the hottest fire which produces the most softening effects. Some metals indeed are so stubborn, and the dross is so deeply ingrained into them, that they seem to require a hotter fire than others. But after the law has done its work, and the dross and tin have been purged away, the Lord does not usually bring again so hot a furnace. It is rather one of trial, temptation, sickness, family affliction, straits in providence, persecution, deep and daily discoveries of the body of sin and death, the hidings of the Lord’s face, and denials of his presence which seem to make up that trial which tries every man’s faith of what sort it is. By these trials and exercises there is a gradual weaning from the world, a humility, meekness, and brokenness of spirit before the Lord, a greater simplicity and godly sincerity, more willing obedience to the precepts of the gospel, and a greater desire to know the will of God and do it. O that these fruits of the Spirit might abound in us and all the saints and servants of God!
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869