Quotes by John Fawcett
The chastisements of Christ are precious to those who believe. The believer’s love to Jesus Christ, not only continues under the rod of correction – but is quickened and increased by it! Thus it is distinguished from that pretended love, which exists only in times of prosperity. The afflicted Christian is enabled to consider – that whom the Lord loves – He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives; and that He only afflicts us for our profit – to make us partakers of His holiness.
When you are tempted to any vanity – set the blessed Redeemer before you, consider His example, and ask yourself, “How would Jesus, my Lord and Master, have acted in such a case? Would He have spent His time upon such trifles? Would He have spoken such and such; or done this or the other thing, which I am solicited to do? And shall I give way to that which would be a manifest deviation from His holy example? God forbid!”
The complete atonement which Jesus Christ has made for our sins, by the sacrifice of Himself, is the life and center of the evangelical system, and that which endears it so much to the hearts of those who believe. Here we see pardon procured, and the sinner saved, while sin is condemned and punished. Here we see the most solemn display of justice and holiness, in conjunction with the freest exercise of mercy. Here we see sinful rebels delivered from deserved punishment, and advanced to a state of dignity and honor; and at the same time, the rights of that divine government against which they had rebelled inviolably preserved and maintained. Through what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for us – we behold the righteous law of God magnified, in justifying those who had violated its precepts, and brought themselves under its curse. In the death of that Lamb of God, we perceive at once – the Almighty’s eternal abhorrence of that which is evil and His infinite love to His offending creatures.
The Lord can so manifest Himself to His afflicted people that the season of affliction shall be to them a season of great consolation. He is to them – a fountain of life, of strength, of grace and comfort in the afflictive hour – and of His fullness they receive, as their necessities require. The Lord Jesus Christ is a sun to enlighten and cheer His afflicted followers, and a shield to defend them. He is a hiding-place from the storm, a covert from the tempest, and as the shadow of a great rock in a dry and weary land.
All the afflictions of God’s people are designed, under His gracious management – to test, to make manifest, and to exercise, those graces and virtues which He has implanted in them. Though afflictions in themselves are not joyous but grievous, nevertheless they yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those who are exercised thereby. Afflictions serve to quicken the spirit of devotion in us; and to rouse us from that formality and indifference which frequently attend a long course of ease and prosperity. We are constrained to seek God with sincerity and fervor, when His chastening hand is upon us, since we then feel our absolute need of that help and deliverance, which He alone can give us.
Afflictions serve most effectually to convince us of the vanity of all that this world can afford, to remind us that this is not our rest and to stir up desires and hopes for our everlasting home. They produce in us a spirit of sympathy towards our companions in tribulation. They give occasion for the exercise of patience, meekness, submission, and resignation. Were it not for the wholesome and necessary discipline of affliction, these excellent virtues would lie dormant. Afflictions serve to convince us more deeply of our own weakness and insufficiency, and to endear the person, the grace, the promises, and the salvation of our Redeemer, more and more to our hearts. Thus we are taught to esteem His very chastisements as precious on account of the benefits we derive from them.
Afflictions are not to punish, but to purify the believing soul. They are not in wrath, but in mercy. Amidst the distresses and miseries of life – it is a felicity to belong to Christ, without whose permission and appointment, no evil can befall us! He always sends afflictions for our good; and knows by experience, what it is to suffer them. His kind hand will speedily put an end to all the pains we feel when we have derived from them all the good which He intends to do for us, by them.
How many, how suitable, how sovereign are the supports our heavenly Father affords to His afflicted children! They make the affliction, which in itself would seem heavy and tedious appear to be light, and but for a moment. It is happier to be in the furnace of affliction with these supports than to be in the highest prosperity without them! Blessed with the hopes and comforts of Christ! The true Christian would prefer the lot of Lazarus, with all the poverty and distress which he endured to the lot of the rich man, who, amidst all the splendor and affluence which this world could afford – lived a life of alienation from God, and destitute of the sovereign supports which can only be enjoyed, by those who love and fear Him.
It is impossible to contemplate the character of Jesus, with serious and devout attention, and not be charmed with it. We see in Him, all the human passions in the highest perfection. His joys were grave, His griefs were just. His gentleness and His severity, His holiness and His humanity – were in perfect harmony with each other. He manifested great tenderness, and genuine affection, and sensibility to human woe on all occasions.
When the loss of any temporal enjoyment casts us into excessive despondency and dejection it is evident that what we have lost, was the object of our inordinate love. The most innocent attachments cease to be innocent, when they press too strongly upon us! To cleave to any created object, and to look for happiness from it – is to make an idol of it – and set it up in God’s place. Should this object be a friend, a brother, a wife, or a child, the idolatry is still odious in the eyes of that God, to whom we owe our chief affection. Our warmest passions, our most fervent love, desires, hopes, and confidences should always have God for their object. It is His desire that our happiness should not center in any of the good things of this life.
Love to Jesus is maintained and continued in its warmth and fervor – by frequent meditation on His adorable person, His dying love, and His infinite excellence and preciousness. If we lose sight of Him as the spring of all our happiness, and of His ineffable glories, the fervency of our love for Him will be abated.
O blessed Jesus, Your love is wonderful! It is the admiration, joy and song of glorified saints. The experimental sense of Your love on earth sweetens the bitterness of life and disarms death of all its terrors! It was love which moved You to bow the heavens, to come down and sojourn on earth, to humble Yourself, to take on You the form of a servant, and become obedient onto death, even the death of the cross! You pitied me in my lost estate. You sought and found me when I sought You not. You spoke peace to me in the day of my distress, when the clouds of guilt and darkness hung heavy on my soul and I was brought to the borders of despair. You have borne with all my weakness, corrected my mistakes, restored me from my wanderings, and healed my backslidings. May Your lovingkindness be ever before my eyes to induce me to walk in Your truth. May Your love be the daily theme of my meditations, and the constant joy of my heart!
Losses and disappointments are the trials of our faith, our patience, and our obedience. When we are in the midst of prosperity, it is difficult to know whether we have a love for the Benefactor or only for His benefits. It is in the midst of adversity that our piety is put to the trial.