The Puritans have often given us great writings to help us as we walk the pilgrim way of the Christian life. I recently came across a brief passage that encouraged me greatly. Justin Taylor’s blog over at The Gospel Coalition cited the following section from English Puritan William Bridge’s A Lifting Up for the Downcast (Banner of Truth, 61-63). May it lift up your soul today!
Take heed and beware of discouragements, of being cast down; you have no reason for it, much reason against it.
Thereby you rejoice the heart of Satan. He claps his hands and laughs to see you cast down. Now, he now, says he, this man is like me; I am a despairing spirit, and so is he; I am discouraged and cast down, and so is he. Satan stands triumphing over you, to see you under these discouragements. When you are sad, he is glad.
And as you rejoice the heart of Satan, so you grieve the heart of God. One friend is grieved at the grief, sorrow, and discouragement of another. The more real the friendship, the greater is the affliction and trouble of the one, if the other be grieved. Now just as God was the friend of Abraham, so it is with all believers. Christ is their friend. As God is the worst enemy, so He is the best friend, the truest friend, the most real friend in all the world. Therefore when you are cast down and discouraged, you grieve Him…Is it nothing to grieve such a friend?
Thereby you do in some measure, yea, in a great measure, make void and frustrate the purpose of Christ’s coming, who came not only to free us from hell, but from our present fears…
Some of you have been doubting, fearing, trembling, cast down, discouraged many years: and is it not time to bewail your unbelief and to honor free grace?
Be sure that you think of Christ in a right way and manner, as He suits with your condition, and as He is held forth in the gospel. We are very apt to have wrong thoughts of Christ. As Satan sometimes transforms himself into an angel of light, so he would transform Christ before you into an angel of darkness: but the Scriptures hold Christ forth in such terms as make Him very amiable unto poor sinners.
Are you accused by Satan, the world, or your own conscience?
Christ is called your Advocate.
Are you ignorant?
He is called the Prophet.
Are you guilty of sin?
He is called a Priest, and High Priest.
Are you afflicted with many enemies, inward and outward?
He is called a King, and King of kings.
Are you in straits?
He is called your way.
Are you hungry or thirsty?
He is called Bread and Water of Life.
Are you afraid you shall fall away, and be condemned at the last?
He is our second Adam, a public person, in whose death we died, and in whose satisfaction we satisfied justice.
There is no temptation or affliction, but some promise or other especially suits it.