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To the Distressed soul who thinks the comforts of the promises do not belong to them. A battle this blog ower is all too familar with.
The objections the distressed comfortless soul may make: First objection: “Yes,” says the soul, “those comforts are there and they are wonderful but only for those who have a right to them. They are not for me. Since I do not belong among these fortunate ones, I have no right to them, and they are of no use to me.”
Second objection: The soul uses this objection to reinforce the first one,- that is, these comforts do not exert any power on the soul and produce no fruit. “I cannot” says the assailed soul, “apply any of these comforts to myself. Even though it is true that there are these comforts you described, they are not intended for me because they do not help me”
To this we answer: First that the soul does not have sufficient grounds for what it says for and against itself, since it cannot prove it. Second, the souls judgment counts less here, since it is involved in this struggle, it cannot offer a correct judgement about itself. It is like a sick person who during his sickness cannot follow his own ideas. Thirdly we have already proved with several powerful, godly and sensitive arguments that this souls share in God’s grace, that it is a child of God., and that it has a right to all God’s comforts and promises. I ask now, would not the soul gladly enjoy God’s comfort? In other words, does not the soul strive with all diligence and strength to be precisely that which it says it is not? The soul answers yes to this question. And that answer is precisely the proof of God’s grace in the soul if it feels an unfeigned and heartfelt desire for the grace and goodness that it thinks and says it is lacking. And that cannot be the case unless a person has true knowledge of himself and his failures, as well as of grace and its necessity. Such knowledge a person receives only through God’s special grace.
This is a battle that great man of the Reformation, Martin Luther was all too familiar with. Casmannus wrote of Luther on this:
In 1527, the holy man Luther felt the heat of these trials so strongly, that he, ill in body and soul from them lay in bed, and later he himself testified that he would rather be imprisoned in the darkest dungeon his whole life than endure that pain again for one hour.”
If you know someone in such soul torments do not do as the ignorant and ill-learned do and make matters a whole lot worse and increase their torment by mishandling the affliction as I have had done over a long time, by those I was once closest to. If we cannot help, then let us refrain from harming.