Tag Archives: Thomas Case

When God sent him to school to the swine-trough!

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When God sent him to school to the swine-trough!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied–then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Deuteronomy 8:10-14¬†

In the school of affliction, God teaches us how to¬†prize¬†our outward mercies and comforts more–and yet to¬†dote¬†upon them less. We are taught to be more¬†thankful¬†for them–and yet¬† less¬†ensnared¬†by them.¬†

Naturally we are very prone either to¬†slight¬†or to¬†surfeit¬†God’s blessings. And yet (sad to consider) we can often do both at once! We can¬†undervalue¬†our mercies–even while we¬†glut¬†ourselves with them! We can¬†despise¬†them–even when we are¬†surfeiting¬†upon them.¬†

Behold while men fill themselves with the mercies of God–they can neglect the God of their mercies! When God is most liberal in remembering us–then we are most ungrateful to forget Him. Therefore that we may know how to put a due estimate upon mercies–God may cut them off, that we may learn to prize by the lack of mercies, that which our foolish unthankful hearts slighted in the enjoyment of them.¬†

Now this ungrateful distemper, God many times cures by the sharp corrosive of affliction!

Thus the¬†prodigal, who while yet at home could despise the rich and well furnished table of his father;¬†when God sent him to school to the swine-trough–would have gladly filled his belly with the pods which he was feeding to the swine!¬†

When months and years of God’s mercies and blessings are passed through–we scarcely take one grateful view of them; we seldom send up one thankful prayer to God for them. We pass by our mercies as common things, scarcely worth the owning. Whereas in times of famine–the lees and dregs of those mercies will be precious, which while the vessel ran full and fresh, we could hardly relish. In famine the very gleanings of our comforts are better than the whole vintage in the years of plenty!

In the withdrawing of common mercies–God will teach us their inestimable worth.

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

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We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

One lesson which God teaches us in the school of affliction, is how to prize and long for Heaven. In our prosperity, “when we wash our steps in butter, and the rock pours us out rivers of oil” (Job 29:6)–we could sit down with the present world, and say, “It is good for us to be here; let us build dwellings here.”

While¬†life¬†is sweet–then¬†death¬†is bitter.¬†

Heaven itself is no enticement–while the world gives us her alluring baits.¬†

But when poverty and imprisonment, reproach and persecution, sickness and sore diseases–pinch and vex our hearts with a variety of afflictions–then we are not so fond of the creature, and are pleased to parley with¬†death, and take¬†Heaven¬†into our consideration.

God by putting us into the school of affliction, takes off our hearts by degrees from this present world, and makes us look homeward. Being burdened, we groan–and with the dove we return to the ark, when the world is sinking round about us.¬†

We would be forever contented with the garlic and flesh-pots of Egypt
–if God did not set cruel taskmasters over us to double our burdens. And when God thus lessens our esteem of the world–He reveals to us the excellency of heavenly comforts, and draws out the desires of the soul to Himself:¬†
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2
“Even so, come Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Afflictions make Heaven appear as Heaven indeed! 

To the weary, Heaven is rest; 
to the banished, it is home; 
to the scorned and reproached, it is glory;
to the captive, it is liberty; 
to the soldier, it is victory;
to the hungry, it is hidden manna; 
to the thirsty, it is the fountain of life; 
to the grieved, it is fullness of joy; and 
to the mourner, it is pleasures forevermore. 
In a word, to those who have lain upon the dunghill of affliction, and walked in holiness–Heaven is the throne on which they shall sit and reign with Christ forever and ever!

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

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Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he¬†meditates¬†day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2¬†

Take heed of feeding your heart’s corruption with thoughts of the sweetness that is in sin.

Take heed also, of starving grace by withdrawing from it suitable nourishment. 

Meditate much upon . . .
  the sinfulness of sin, 
  the vanity of the creature, 
  the fullness of Christ, 
  the exquisiteness of His sufferings, 
  the finality of the judgment, 
  the torments of Hell, 
  the joys of Heaven, 
  the infinite perfections of the divine nature, 
  and the solemnity of eternity!

Rich in meditation–rich in grace!

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;¬†meditate¬†on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells!

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They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

Because men suffer in this world–they assume they shall be freed from sufferings in the world to come.¬†
Because they have a Hell here–they imagine that they shall escape Hell hereafter.¬†

They hope that they shall not have two Hells! 

Poor, deluded soul! You may and must have two Hells. Cain, and Judas, and millions of reprobate men and women, have two Hells–one in this life, in torments of body–and another in the life to come, in unquenchable fire.¬†

You may have a prison on earth–and a dungeon in Hell.¬†
You may now lack a crumb of bread–and hereafter lack a drop of water.¬†
You may now be the reproach of men–and hereafter the scorn of God Himself.¬†

Affliction alone is not enough to evidence a man to be a saved man.¬†Blows may sooner break the neck, than the heart!¬†Afflictions are in themselves, the fruit of divine wrath–and therefore cannot possibly of themselves make the least argument of God’s love to the soul.¬†

God forbid that a man should take that for his security from Hell–which may be but the foretaste of Hell! Present afflictions, may be the pledge of endless misery.

In many cases it is to be feared that the cup of affliction, is a vial of wrath–and that the plagues of this life, are but some drops of that coming storm of fire and brimstone, wherein impenitent sinners shall be scorched and tormented forever!

His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!

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His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

(Thomas Case, “The Rod and the Word, A Treatise on Afflictions” 1653)

“No chastening seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

“Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and¬†scourges every son¬†whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6¬†

God will rather fetch blood–than lose one of His sons!¬†

See and admire the wisdom, power and goodness of God–who can make His people better by their sufferings!

Behold, I show you a gospel mystery! God can . . .
  extract gold, out of clay;
  draw the richest wine, out of gall and wormwood; 
  turn the greatest misery of the body, into the greatest good of the soul; 
  turn the chastening itself, into a blessing; 
  make the withered rod of affliction, to bud into a harvest of righteousness and peace!

The almond tree is said to be made fruitful by¬†driving nails¬†into it, thereby letting out a noxious gum which hinders its fruitfulness. In the same way, God never intends more good to his children, than when He seems to deal most severely with them!¬†His discipline is sharp–but the end is sweet!¬†

O that the children of God in affliction, or entering upon sufferings–would sit down and dwell upon the¬†fruit¬†and¬†advantage¬†which God knows how to bring out of all their sorrows.¬†

Blessed¬†is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” Job 5:17¬†

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your Word.” Psalm 119:67¬†

“It was¬†good¬†for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn Your decrees.” Psalm 119:71

Begin the day with God!

It is no small advantage to the holy life to “begin the day with God”. The saints are wont to leave their hearts with Him over night, that they may find them with Him in the morning. Before earthly things break in upon us, and we receive impressions from abroad, it is good to season the heart with thoughts of God, and to consecrate the early and virgin operations of the mind before they are prostituted to baser objects. When the world gets the start of religion in the morning, it can hardly overtake it all the day.
— Thomas Case

 


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