Puritan Sayings (4)

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is there a Christian out there who hasn’t heard this saying? Surely not. Despite its popularity, this saying is not universally loved. There are many people, of course, who believe it is true. Others are more cautious and hold it be true so long as it is properly understood. And there are some who don’t like it at all and believe that it is unbiblical. A google search led me to a sermon on this very saying, but I knew where the speaker stood on it before I started listening because the sermon was part of a series entitled, “God Never Said That.”
 
Some Puritans, however, did believe that God said it, or at least said something similar to it. William Bates (1625-1699) was a popular puritan preacher and after 1662 he became a prominent leader among the nonconformists and English Presbyterians. He was close friends with Richard Baxter, Thomas Manton, John Howe, Thomas Jacomb and David Clarkson. In his sermon on Hebrews 12:5, entitled "How to bear Afflictions," Bates makes the point that God afflicts believers for their sins as their loving Father. God chastens his children in love and for their benefit. “The Devil usually tempts Men in a Paradise of Delights, to precipitate them into Hell: God tries them in the Furnace of Afflictions, to purify and prepare them for Heaven.”  
 

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