HEB xii. 11. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth
to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
THE Gospel has given a new and more spiritual meaning
to many of the common words of man’s everyday life.
The word “chastening,” as originally used by the Greeks,
meant “education,” and nothing else. But the moment
the Gospel touched the word, it lifted it into a far holier
and profounder meaning. It perceived that there was no
true education for the sinful and foolish heart except
through the discipline of sorrow, and so the word means not
only education, but education by chastisement.
I. The Gospel reveals the secret love and meaning of the
mystery of pain.
This mystery is felt everywhere, and everywhere the
heart makes the same bitter cry, wherefore?
But only the Gospel gives an answer, and the answer is
in that single word “chastening.” Everything the heart
yearns to know when it is sad and broken, is in that word.
Pain and trouble are not the inevitable results of an iron
system; they are another name for the Father’s tender and
wise education of His child.
Sorrow is not taken away. It is still as grievous as ever.
But the light of God’s love has shone upon the cloud, and
its darkest places are transfigured.
II. This teaches us how to deal with trouble, our own
and that of others.
It is not wrong to feel trouble. The Bible never con-
demns the sobs of a broken heart. Jesus Christ grieved in
spirit and was troubled and wept.
Besides, if trouble were not felt, it would not answer its
end. God never plays at chastening us.
But He expects us to take His chastening as teaching;
to ask what are its lessons, to regard sorrow as a means to
III. The end is righteousness.
It is not resignation. It is to make us right—right in
our relations to God; right in our relations to our fellow
men; right in ourselves; wholly and altogether right.
When sin ceases, sorrow will cease. When the last re-
maining dross has been purged from the gold, the refining
fire will be needed no longer, and will be suffered to die
out for ever.
G. S. Barrett, M.A.