“O Lord, correct me, but with judgment;
not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.”
“Fury is not in me,” saith the Lord. No; there is no wrath in the bosom of God against the persons of his people. They are for ever “accepted in the Beloved,” and stand in him before the throne of God without spot or wrinkle; but there is displeasure against their sins; and this displeasure their kind and gracious Father makes them feel when he withdraws from them the light of his countenance, and sends his keen reproofs and sharp rebukes into their conscience. But these very “judgments” help them (Ps. 119:175), for they lead to deep searchings of heart; and as the same blessed Spirit who sets home the reproof communicates therewith repentance, they sorrow after a godly manner, and this godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of (2 Cor. 7:10).
If, then, our afflictions, crosses, losses, bereavements, family troubles, church trials, and more especially if the rebukes and reproofs of God in our own conscience have been a means of humbling our proud hearts, bringing us to honest confession of, and godly sorrow for our sins and backslidings, if they have instrumentally separated us more effectually from the world, its company, its ways, its maxims, and its spirit; if they have, in the good hand of God, stirred up prayer and supplication in our hearts, led us into portions of the word of truth before hidden from view, laid us more feelingly and continually at the footstool of mercy, given us a deeper insight into the way of salvation, made mercy more dear and grace more sweet, have these trials and afflictions been either unprofitable or unseasonable?
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869