Daniel 2:21; Song of Solomon 4:16
He changeth the times and the seasons.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The Lord is the gardener.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): God gives the increase―but He also knows how He gives it―and therefore manures, and ploughs, and sows, and weeds.
JOSEPH ALLEINE (1634-1668): As God makes use of all the seasons of the year for the harvest―the frost and cold of the winter, as well as the heat of the summer―so doth He, of fair and foul, pleasing and unpleasing providences, for promoting holiness.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Seasons of prosperity and times of adversity are regulated by Him as He deems best.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The frosts and snows of December and January, being as necessary for the fructification of the soil, as the gentle showers of spring.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): A tree is most valuable when laden with ripe fruit, but it has a peculiar beauty when in blossom. It is spring-time with [the new convert]. He is in bloom, and, by the grace and blessing of the heavenly Farmer, will bear fruit in old age. His faith is weak, but his heart is warm. He will seldom venture to think himself a believer; but he sees, and feels, and does those things which no one could, unless the Lord was with him. The very desire and bent of his soul is to God, and to the word of His grace. His knowledge is but small, but it is growing every day—But, alas! his difficulties are in a manner but beginning; he has a wilderness before him, of which he is not aware. The Lord is now about to suit his dispensations to humble and to prove him, and to show him what is in his heart.
JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Perpetual sunshine is not usual in this world, even to God’s true saints.
THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Before corn be ripened it needeth all kinds of weather. Rainy weather is troublesome, but sometimes the season requireth it.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a driving rain to the house; we know not that there are such crannies and holes in the house, till we see it drop here and there. Thus we perceive not how unmortified this corruption, nor how weak that grace is, till we are thus searched, and made more fully to know what is in our hearts by such trials…The day of affliction makes discovery of much evil to be in the heart, which was not seen before.
C. H. SPURGEON: Very small must be the number who have had fair weather all the way to glory: it is questionable if ever one has been so favoured…It is mid-summer sometimes with the soul, when it enjoys God’s sweet and felt presence—[But] there is no sunshine without a shadow.
F. W. KRUMMACHER (1796-1868): It is not usually good that a man’s life should continue flowing on in one and the same easy manner. A long state of prosperity might leave his corrupt nature to become presumptuous, and forgetful of its meanness and poverty. Perpetual quietude serves to nourish a false spirit of independence. Long seasons of rest, for sacred musings, are too much open to the intrusion of self-complacency; and therefore, generally, a condition subject to no interruptions or changes is not good for us.
MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): Worldly prosperity is but indifferent soil for the Christian to grow in. It rather stunts the soul.
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): We can stand affliction better than we stand prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.
WILLIAM GURNALL: The richest soil, without culture, is most tainted with weeds—He that desires to live all his days in an isle of providence, where the whole year is summer, will never make a good Christian. Resolve for hardship, or lay down thine arms.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): The unattended garden will soon be overrun with weeds.
WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): Thorns, briers, weeds, nettles, do grow up in God’s gardens.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Earthly riches are called thorns, and well they may; for as thorns, they pierce both head and heart; the head with cares in getting them, and the heart with grief in parting with them.
C. H. SPURGEON: Luke tells us of another kind of weed, namely, the “pleasures of this life,” Luke 8:14. I am sure that these thorns play a dreadful part nowadays…Certain forms of recreation are needful and useful; but it is a wretched thing when amusement becomes a vocation…Sometimes we may be so drunken with sense, that we become proud and haughty. We think this a good case; yet, there is great danger that we provoke our Lord Christ to go away from us. Therefore, we have now need of a holy fear.
JOSEPH ALLEINE (1634-1668): Pride is such a choking weed that nothing will prosper near it.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): There be two herbs that grow quickly in our souls in summer weather; security and pride. When security and pride, and other like weeds, are rank and up, the temptation has us in the night. Then if ye would be kept from the black hour of temptations, swell not on pride, turn not lazy in the use of good means.
WILLIAM GURNALL: Pray in prosperity, that thou mayst not be ensnared by thy prosperity—Prayer is not a winter garment: it is then to be worn indeed, but not to be left off in the summer of prosperity.
A. W. PINK: Very few souls thrive as well in times of prosperity as they do in seasons of adversity. Winters’ frosts may necessitate warmer clothes, but they also kill the flies and garden pests.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD: Our pride must have winter weather to rot it…Some graces grow best in winter. Humility is a strong flower, that grows best in winter weather, and under storms and afflictions…Faith is the better of the free air, and of the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withereth without adversity.
WILLIAM BRIDGE (1600-1670): The sins of God’s people are like bird’s nests; as long as the leaves are on the trees you cannot see them, but in the winter of affliction, when all the leaves are off, the bird nests appear plainly.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Afflictions are continued no longer than till they have done their work.
HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity only one.
JOHN NEWTON: And He can make the season of their greatest tribulations, the season of their greatest consolations.
WILLIAM GURNALL: This sorrow is but like a summer shower, melted by the sense of God’s love, as that by the warm sun, and leaves the soul—as that doth a garden of sweet flowers—on which it falls, more fresh and odoriferous…Though your life be evil with troubles, yet it is short―a few short steps and we are out of the rain.