by William S. Plumer
"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart. Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad. The heart of the wise is in a house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in a house of pleasure." Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
I freely confess to a growing sympathy with my suffering fellow men. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning. Often is the heart made better by sorrow and sadness.
On earth are always many stricken hearts. The children of sorrow are numbered by the million. The family of the afflicted, for multitude, stands next to the family of man. It never dies out. It is constantly receiving new accessions. We come into the world with a cry, we pass through it in tears, and we leave it with a groan. At the age of one hundred and thirty, Jacob exclaims: "Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life."
That the wicked should have many sorrows, should surprise no one. God's Word says it shall be so. Their course of life naturally brings about that result. Destruction and misery are in their ways. A mirthful exterior often conceals a rankling wound. Even in laughter their heart is sorrowful. How can it be otherwise? For Jehovah curses their blessings (Mal. 2:2).
But the righteous are not exempt. "God had one Son on earth without sin—but never one without affliction."
"In this wide world, the fondest and the best
Are the most tried, most troubled and distressed."
Well, be it so. Night makes the stars shine, and sorrow gives luster to many a character. The Lord deals faithfully with His people. He never promised them ease or exemption from affliction. Jesus said: "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."
"The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrows are unknown;
No traveler ever reached that blessed abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in the road."
Genuine sonship with God never exists where men are not brought under the rod of correction (Heb. 12:8).
Table of Contents
1. There Are Many Wounded Spirits
2. Many Sources of Sorrow
3. Examples of Great Sufferers
4. Our Trials Are from God
5. Behavior under Sore Trials
6. Two Dangerous and Opposite Errors
7. Borrowing Trouble
8. The Fountain of Consolation
9. True Comforts
10. Benefits of Affliction