William Gadsby's Fragments (Complete)

On the Lord’s Chastening

The Lord loves his children too well either to let them sin at ease or live at ease; and though free-willers say that the discriminating grace of God leads to licentiousness, God’s quickened family know better; and no others are capable of judging or being witnesses, for they know nothing about it. It is to the glory of grace that the Lord will chasten his people for their sins; not in vindictive wrath, but in love; for as many as the Lord loves, he rebukes and chastens—Revelations 3:19: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

When the dear child of God is under his chastening hand, he is often ready to say, “I cannot be a real Christian, or I could not be so exercised. If the Lord loved me, surely he would not try me in this way.” But, poor soul, you cannot be more mistaken; for they are “bastards, and not sons,” whom the Lord does not chastise. Suppose your son and a neighbor’s were to quarrel in the street, and do mischief, which of these would you chastise? Surely not your neighbor’s son; but you would take your own lad, and lay the rod upon him. And would that be a proof that you did not love him? No; but just the reverse. It is a proof that you do love him; and though every stroke you give him would go to your heart, still you feel yourself bound, in love to him, to chastise him; and if he were very unruly, you would be ready to say, “This lad will break my heart if he goes on in this way.”

The Lord gives proof of his love in not suffering sin to rest upon you nor you to rest in it; but as a father he will, in love to your souls, chastise you—Ps 89:30-33: “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.”