And he said,”Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21
The humble soul will bless God under misery as well as under mercy, when God frowns as when he smiles, when he takes as when he gives, under crosses and losses as under blessings and mercies. The humble believer looks through all secondary causes, and sees the hand of God. He lays his hand upon his heart and sweetly sings ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ The language of the humble soul is: ‘If it is your will that I should be in darkness, I will bless you; and if it is your will that I should be again in light, I will bless you; if you comfort me, I will bless; if you make me rich, I will bless.’ The humble soul sees the rod in his Father’s hand; but also the honey on the top of every twig. He sees sugar at the bottom of the bitterest cup, and knows that God’s house of correction is a school of instruction. The humble soul knows that the design of God in all things is his instruction, reformation, and salvation. The humble knows that to bless God in prosperity is the way to increase it; and to bless God in adversity is the way to remove it. If he blesses God under mercies, he has paid his debt, and if he blesses God under crosses, he has made God a debtor. O the pride of men’s hearts when the rod is upon their backs! There are many humble professors while the sun shines, while God gives, smiles, and strokes. But when he frowns, and strikes, O the murmurings of proud souls! They kick when God strikes. But the humble soul wisely and patiently bears reproof. The proud scorns the reprove and reproofs too. Pride and passion go armed; touch them ever so gently, yet, like the nettle, they will sting you; deal roughly with them and they will become violently hostile.
In this classic devotional, John Calvin urges readers to apply the Christian life in a balanced way to mind, heart, and hand. Rather than focusing on contemplative otherworldliness, the book stresses the importance of a devotedly active Christian life. In style and spirit, this book is much like Augustine’s Confessions, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. However, its intense practicality sets it apart, making it easily accessible for any reader seeking to carry out Christian values in everyday life. Chapter themes include obedience, self-denial, the significance of the cross, and how we should live our lives today.