No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous - Neither correction, wholesome restraint, domestic regulations, nor gymnastic discipline, are pleasant to them that are thus exercised; but it is by these means that obedient children, scholars, and great men are made. And it is by God's discipline that Christians are made. He who does not bear the yoke of Christ is good for nothing to others, and never gains rest to his own soul.
The peaceable fruit of righteousness - i.e. The joyous, prosperous fruits; those fruits by which we gain much, and through which we are made happy.
Exercised thereby - Γεγυμνασμενοις· To the trained. There is still an allusion to the Grecian games; and in the word before us to those gymnastic exercises by which the candidates for the prizes were trained to the different kinds of exercises in which they were to contend when the games were publicly opened.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous - It does not impart pleasure, nor is this its design. All chastisement is intended to produce pain, and the Christian is as sensitive to pain as others. His religion does not blunt his sensibilities and make him a stoic, but it rather increases his susceptibility to suffering. The Lord Jesus, probably, felt pain, reproach, and contempt more keenly than any other human being ever did; and the Christian feels the loss of a child, or physical suffering, as keenly as anyone. But while religion does not render him insensible to suffering, it does two things:
(1)it enables him to bear the pain without complaining; and,
(2)it turns the affliction into a blessing on his soul. “Nevertheless afterward.” In future life. The effect is seen in a pure life, and in a more entire devotedness to God. We are not to look for the proper fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but “afterward.”
It yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness - It is a tree that bears good fruit, and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear - as it requires months to form and ripen fruit. Like fruit it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange. When those fruits are ripened, they are:
(1)fruits of “righteousness.” They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are
(2)“peaceable.” They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace.
The apostle speaks of this as if it were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And it is so. There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefited by trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, “It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.” When a Christian comes to die, he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some early trial so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it, spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a Christian who was not benefited by afflictions; I have seen none who was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his religious character, and on his real happiness in life. If this be so, then no matter how severe our trials, we should submit to them without a complaint. The more severe they are, the more we shall yet be blessed - on earth or in heaven.
There are men whom God has qualified with more than ordinary ability. They are deep thinkers, energetic, and thorough. But many of them are bent upon the attainment of their own selfish ends, without regard to the honor and glory of God. Some of these have seen the light of truth, but because they honored themselves, and did not make God first and last and best in everything, they have wandered away from Bible truth into skepticism and infidelity. When these are arrested by the chastisements of God, and through affliction are led to inquire for the old paths, the mist of skepticism is swept from their minds. Some of them repent, return to the old love, and set their feet in the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. No longer are they actuated by the love of money or by selfish ambition. The Spirit of God working upon the heart is valued by them more highly than gold or the praise of men. When this amazing change is wrought, the thoughts are directed by the Spirit of God into new channels, the character is transformed, and the aspirations of the soul reach out toward heavenly things. RC 346.3Read in context »
I saw that the remnant were not prepared for what is coming upon the earth. Stupidity, like lethargy, seemed to hang upon the minds of most of those who profess to believe that we are having the last message. My accompanying angel cried out with awful solemnity, “Get ready! get ready! get ready! for the fierce anger of the Lord is soon to come. His wrath is to be poured out, unmixed with mercy, and ye are not ready. Rend the heart, and not the garment. A great work must be done for the remnant. Many of them are dwelling upon little trials.” Said the angel, “Legions of evil angels are around you, and are trying to press in their awful darkness, that ye may be ensnared and taken. Ye suffer your minds to be diverted too readily from the work of preparation and the all-important truths for these last days. And ye dwell upon little trials and go into minute particulars of little difficulties to explain them to the satisfaction of this one or that.” Conversation has been protracted for hours between the parties concerned, and not only has their time been wasted, but the servants of God are held to listen to them, when the hearts of both parties are unsubdued by grace. If pride and selfishness were laid aside, five minutes would remove most difficulties. Angels have been grieved and God displeased by the hours which have been spent in justifying self. I saw that God will not bow down and listen to long justifications, and He does not want His servants to do so, and thus precious time be wasted that should be spent in showing transgressors the error of their ways and pulling souls out of the fire. EW 119.1
I saw that God's people are on the enchanted ground, and that some have lost nearly all sense of the shortness of time and the worth of the soul. Pride has crept in among Sabbathkeepers—pride of dress and appearance. Said the angel, “Sabbathkeepers will have to die to self, die to pride and love of approbation.” EW 120.1
Truth, saving truth, must be given to the starving people who are in darkness. I saw that many prayed for God to humble them; but if God should answer their prayers, it would be by terrible things in righteousness. It was their duty to humble themselves. I saw that if self-exaltation was suffered to come in, it would surely lead souls astray, and if not overcome would prove their ruin. When one begins to get lifted up in his own eyes and thinks he can do something, the Spirit of God is withdrawn, and he goes on in his own strength until he is overthrown. I saw that one saint, if he were right, could move the arm of God; but a multitude together, if they were wrong, would be weak and could effect nothing. EW 120.2Read in context »
You will have the trial, you will be proved of God. If you come forth as pure gold, then God will use you. Be not faithless, but believing. Your trial will not be for the present joyous, but rather, grievous, but it will afterwards yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:6, 7). LYL 72.4Read in context »
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12, 13 ML 93.1Read in context »