James Buchanan on Affliction

Posted by Tony Konvalin | Labels: , | Posted On Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 5:30 AM

“The grand peculiarity of the Bible, as a book of consolation, is that it seeks not to cast our sufferings into the shade, but rather sets them before us in all their variety and magnitude. It teaches us to find consolation in the midst of acknowledged sorrow and causes light to arise out of the deepest darkness—“That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we were appointed thereunto” (1Th 3:3). In many respects, it gives a more gloomy view of human life than we are oftimes willing to entertain. It represents affliction as “ordained” for us and “appointed” so that it cannot be escaped. It tells us that our future life will be checkered with trials, even as the past has been. It gives no assurance of respite4 from suffering, so long as we are in this world: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Phi 1:29). And when it traces these afflictive events to their causes; when it represents suffering as the fruit and the wages of sin; when it charges us with guilt and affirms that we have provoked the Lord to anger; when it leads us to regard our sorrows as connected with our characters and inflicted by a righteous Governor and Judge; and when, carrying our eye beyond this world altogether, it points to an eternal state of retribution, where sorrows infinitely more severe and judgments infinitely more confounding await impenitent and unforgiven guilt—it does present such a view of our present condition and future prospects as may well fill us with awe and alarm. Yet still it is the “book of consolation”; still it contains the elements of peace, the seed of hope, the wellspring of eternal joy. “
James Buchanan
(1804-1870)


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