Puritan minister Cotton Mather offers wisdom in a surprisingly short sermon.
Our continual apprehension [understanding, grasp] of God, may produce our continual satisfaction in God, under all His dispensations. Whatever enjoyments are by God conferred upon us, where lies the relish, where the sweetness of them? Truly, we may come to relish our enjoyments, only so far as we have something of God in them. It was required in Psalm xxxvii. 4, “Delight thyself in the Lord.” Yea, and what if we should have no delight but the Lord? Let us ponder with ourselves over our enjoyments: “In these enjoyments I see God, and by these enjoyments, I serve God!”
And now, let all our delight in, and all our value and fondness for our enjoyments, be only, or mainly, upon such a divine score as this. As far as any of our enjoyments lead us unto God, so far let us relish it, affect it, embrace it, and rejoyce in it: “O taste, and feed upon God in all;” and ask for nothing, no, not for life itself, any further than as it may help us, in our seeing and our serving of our God.
And then, whatever afflictions do lay fetters upon us, let us not only remember that we are concerned with God therein, but let our concernment with God procure a very profound submission in our souls. Be able to say with him in Psalm xxxix. 9, “I open not my mouth, because thou didst it.” In all our afflictions, let us remark the justice of that God, before whom, “why should a living man complain for the punishment of his sin?” The wisdom of that God, “whose judgments are right:” the goodness of that God, who “punishes us less than our iniquities do deserve.” Let us behave ourselves, as having to do with none but God in our afflictions: And let our afflictions make us more conformable unto God: which conformity being effected, let us then say, “‘Tis good for me that I have been afflicted.”
Sirs, what were this, but a pitch of holiness, almost angelical! Oh! Mount up, as with the wings of eagles, of angels: be not a sorry, puny, mechanick sort of Christians any longer; but reach forth unto these things that are thus before you.