Persecution Must Come
Then had the churches rest and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied —Acts 9:31.
The form of godliness without the power is sufficient to make men saints, good church-men, honest souls in the eyes of the carnal world. But when, by the power of the Spirit, our hearts possess the faith of Jesus, it cannot be hid, but the life of Jesus also will be manifested in our walk and conversation. Then persecution awaits us, the world hates us; their former esteem for and good opinion of us is changed into hatred and opposition. The word of the Lord must be fulfilled, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). This is the lot of every disciple, it is a touchstone of faith…. These have proved the most thriving seasons to the church of God, most prosperous to the souls of disciples; then the love of this world has been most purged from the heart, and the closest fellowship with Jesus enjoyed: without adversity our graces wither.
But…have we a little more rest and quiet from those, who, at our first conversion to Jesus, vexed and oppressed us? Here a godly jealousy is needful, close examination necessary. Is Jesus still dear to us? Do we keep close to him as the beloved of our souls? Are the promises of God still precious? and do we stand steady against the smiles of the world, preferring Jesus to all? See, mark the blessed connection between edification of the truth, walking in the fear of the Lord, and enjoying the comforts of the Holy Ghost. So the church of old prospered when rest was given them. These things are inseparable. True saving knowledge of Jesus in the heart ever discovers itself by a holy, loving, filial fear of the Lord in the life.
About the author and the source
As a boy, William Mason (1719–1791), while outwardly moral, had no peace with God until he attended a Wesleyan chapel and found his righteousness in Christ. As a preacher and author, he rose at four in the morning to ransack Scripture for promises and to write the meditations that appeared in his Spiritual Treasury.
William Mason. A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God. New York: Deare and Andrews, 1803.