Monday, April 27, 2009

Every Work of God Is Good, Even in Sorrow (John Owen)

To the Lady Hartopp

Dear Madam,

-----Every work of God is good; the Holy One in the midst of us will do no iniquity; and all things shall work together for good unto them that love him, even those things which at present are not joyous, but grievous; only his time is to be waited for, and his way submitted unto, that we seem not to be displeased in our hearts that he is Lord over us. Your dear infant is in the eternal enjoyment of the fruits of all our prayers; for the covenant of God is ordered in all things, and sure. We shall go to her; she shall not return to us. Happy she was in this above us, that she had so speedy an issue of sin and misery, being born only to exercise your faith and patience, and to glorify God’s grace in her eternal blessedness. My trouble would be great on the account of my absence at this time from you both, but that this also is the Lord’s doing; and I know my own uselessness wherever I am. But this I will beg of God for you both, that you may not faint in this day of trial, ----- that you may have a clear view of those spiritual and temporal mercies wherewith you are yet intrusted (all undeserved), ----- that sorrow of the world may not so overtake your hearts as to disenable to any duties, to grieve the Spirit, to prejudice your lives; for it tends to death. God in Christ will be better to you than ten children, and will so preserve your remnant, and so said to them, as shall be for his glory and your comfort. Only consider that sorrow in this case is no duty; it is an effect of sin, whose cure by grace we should endeavour. Shall I say, Be cheerful? I know I may. God help you to honour grace and mercy in a compliance therewith.

My heart is with you, my prayers shall be for you, and I am, dear madam, your most affectionate friend and unworthy pastor,
J. Owen

[Owen, John The Glory of Christ; The Works of John Owen Volume 1: Life of Dr. Owen by Rev. A. Thomson (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), 116-7.]

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