“Uses of Affliction”

“‘I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.’ (Zephaniah 3:12) It ought to have been a compensation to ease their grief, when the godly saw that God would be propitious to them, though he had treated them with great severity. The Church could not have been preserved without correcting and subduing that arrogance, which arose from a false profession as to God. Zephaniah takes it now for granted that pride could not be torn away from their hearts, unless they were wholly cast down and thus made contrite. The Church is subdued by the cross, that she may know her pride, which is so innate and so fixed in the hearts of men that it cannot be removed, unless the Lord, so to speak, roots it out by force. There is, therefore, no wonder that the faithful are so much humbled by the Lord, and that the lot of the Church is so contemptible; for if they had more vigor they would soon, as is often the case, break out into an insolent spirit. We hence see for what purpose God deprives us of all earthly trust, and takes away from us every ground of glorying; it is, that we rely only on his favor.  This dependence ought not, indeed, to be extorted from us, for what can be more desirable than to trust in God? But while men arrogate to themselves more than what is right, and thus put themselves in the place of God, they cannot really and sincerely trust in him.”

 Devotions and Prayers of John Calvin, “Uses of Afflictions,” page 83, Charles E. Edwards, Editor,Still Waters Revival Books, www.PuritanDownloads.com.

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