“If the Lord is pleased to sanctify the infirmities to which our present mortal frame is subject, we shall have cause to praise Him at least, no less for the bitter than the sweet.
I am convinced in my judgment, that a cross or a pinch somewhere or other, is so necessary to us, that we cannot go on well for a considerable time without one.
We live on an enchanted ground, are surrounded with snares, and if not quickened by trials, are very prone to sink into formality or carelessness. It is a shame it should be so, but so it is, that a long course of prosperity always makes us drowsy.
Trials therefore are medicines, which our gracious and wise Physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and the weight of them to what the case requires.
Many of His people are sharply exercised by poverty, which is a continual trial every day, and all the year round. Others have trials in their families.
They who have comfortable firesides, and a competence for this world, often suffer by sickness, either in their own persons, or in the persons of those they love.
But any, or all of these crosses, are mercies, if the Lord works by them to prevent us from cleaving to the world, from backsliding in heart or life, and to keep us nearer to Himself.
Let us trust our Physician, and He will surely do us good. And let us thank Him for all His prescriptions, for without them our soul-sickness would quickly grow upon us.”
–John Newton, The Aged Pilgrim’s Thoughts Over Sin and the Grave, Illustrated in a Series of Letters to Walter Taylor, Never Before Published, by the Rev. John Newton (London: Baker and Fletcher, 1825), 33-34.