by Thomas Case
This work was written while the author was imprisoned in the Tower of London alongside Thomas Watson, Christopher Love (who was beheaded), and others.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.–Proverbs 3:11-12 (ESV)
God teacheth by his chastisements what Christ taught Martha…
…that is, the one thing needful; affliction discovers how much we are mistaken about our must-be’s, our necessaries. In our health, and strength, and liberty, we think this and that thing must be done; we think riches, honors, and a good name in the world, necessary; we must get estates, and lay up large portions for our children; we must raise our families, and call our lands after our own names, and the like.
But in the day of adversity, when death looks us in the face…
…when God causeth the horror of the grave, the dread of the last judgment, and the terrors of eternity, to pass before us, then we can put our mouths, in the dust, smite upon our thigh, and sigh with the breaking of our loins, O how have I been mistaken? How have I fed upon ashes, and a deceived heart turned me aside, so that I could not deliver my soul, nor say, is there’s not a lie in my right hand? Then we can see that pardon of sin, interest in Christ, evidence of that interest, a sense of God’s love a life of grace, and an assurance of glory, are the only indispensibles.
In a word…
Christ alone, is the unum necessarium (the one thing needful) and that all other things are but loss and dung in comparison of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, and of interest in him, and in his righteousness without which the soul is undone to all eternity. And therefore that christians would be wise, that they would not spend their money for that which is not bread, nor their labour for that which satisfieth not but labour for faith which might realize and substantiate unseen and spiritual things, and give them a being unto the soul. They that will not learn this lesson in the school of the word, shall learn it in the school of affliction, if they belong to God, and therefore set your heart to it.
Table of Contents
Dr. Manton's Recommendation
Chapter 1. Twenty Lessons God Teaches by Affliction
Chapter 2. The Nature or Properties of Divine Teaching
Chapter 3. How Affliction Produces this Spiritual Instruction
Chapter 4. The Grounds and Demonstrations of the Point
Chapter 5. Use of Information
Chapter 6. Use of Exhortation