Government of God; Letters to a Young Convert

Ephesians 6:1  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
* * * This is a world of passage, and you have been living like a plant in a greenhouse all your life, and know little of being shaken from vessel to vessel, as is said of Moab. I do not regret it is so, and in your petty troubles you ought to be very thankful. But your turn may come, in one sense must come, and in this there is the government of God. We may have-the most patient and godly-sore troubles for our good, like Job, but as a general rule and order, the quiet, gentle, submissive spirit, that walks in obedience and order (not in self-will in whatever shape its restlessness may show itself) has a quiet and peaceful life. "Honor thy father and thy mother" has a general application in its consequences even now.
It is quite true that sin has brought disorder into everything, and that we are not under the manifested government of God as Israel was, and, as I have said, sorrow may come for spiritual good. Still, not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father, and the government of God goes on. The epistles of Peter open out this-the first in our favor, the second as against the wicked; and this is true of you, dear -. If you walk quietly, submissively and obediently, with a will not seeking itself, no matter in what direction, not indulging itself or its thoughts, you will find happiness even here. Our own will and making ourselves the center is the spring of all our wretchedness; for outward circumstances may be trying, as we know—may give sorrow, but not wretchedness. Where this is it is the fruit of will, restless and discontented. Be it in little things or great, let patience, submission and self-government characterize you. You know, thank God, that there are better things than what will seeks here; and here there must be a diligence and earnestness to know their enjoyableness, and be free—and at your age, the world and evil begin to solicit us and distract the heart—communion too; and if there be not diligence (which indeed is always true) it gets a hold on the heart, and if not judged in the will, it shuts out the beauty and desirableness of Christ, so that there is no counter-power in our hearts, even though our conscience may condemn us. I am sure you know this to be true already. But in seeking earnestly the Lord and His grace, it is not only that we are not occupied with these things so as to get the mind engaged with them, but positive power comes in to deliver and free us and make us find in Christ delight which shuts out evil and the world. Seek this, and do not be lazy in divine things, for this can produce its fruit even in those who are sincere, as I do not doubt you are....