Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
~ Psalm 97:12
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
~ Philippians 4:4
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
~ James 1:12
Letter of John Owen to Charles Fleetwood 1
The bearer hath stayed long enough with us to save you the trouble of reading an account of me in my owne scribling: a longer stay I could not prevail with him for, though his company was a great refreshment to me. Both you and your whole family, in all their occasions and circumstances, are daily in my thoughts; and when I am enabled to pray, I make mention of you all without ceasing. You and I, I find, are much in complainings. For my part I must say, And is there not a cause? Soe much deadness, soe much unspirituality, soe much weakness in faith, coldness of love, instability in holy meditations, as I find in my selfe, is cause sufficient of complaints. But is there not cause also of thanksgiving and joy in the Lord? Are there not reasons for them? When I begin to think of them I am overwhelmed; they are great, they are glorious, they are inexpressible. Shall I now invite you to this great duty of rejoicing more in the Lord? Pray for me that I may do soe, for the near approach of my dissolution calls for it earnestly. My heart has done with this world even in the best and most desirable of its refreshments. If the joy of the Lord be not now strength unto it, it will fail. But I must have done.
I have the same thoughts of Mr C. 2 that you have and I did formerly acquaint you with them. But what shall I say! Shall I speake without offense? Wisdome and ability in preaching (Oh how rare to be found) will not do the Work of that Church. Unless God be pleased to affect some person or persons with a deep sense of our declining condition, of the temptations and dangers of the day, filling them with compassion for the souls of men, making them fervent in spirit in their work, it will go but ill with us. It may be these thoughts spring from causeless fears – it may be none amongst us has an evill, a barren heart but my selfe: but beare with me in this my folly: I cannot lay dovne these thoughts until I die; nor doe I mention them at present as though I should not esteeme it a great mercy to have so able a supply as Mr C., But I am groaning after deliverance; and being neare the centre, doe hope I feele the drawing of the love of Christ with more earnestness than formerly: but my naughty heart is backward in these compliances. My affectionate service with my wife’s to Sir John Hartopp, and his Lady, and to the rest of your family, when God shall returne them unto you.
I am, deare Sir,
Yours most affectionately in everlasting bonds, J. OWEN
Aug. 6. 1682.
1 This and the following letter are from the ‘Owen MS. Letters’.
2 David Clarkson who succeeded John Owen in 1683.