The following is a bit difficult to follow, and the antiquated language unusual, but the message is well worth the struggle.
But should not a godly, gracious man be fully grieved and humbled for his sin?
Grieved, humbled for his sin? Yes, surely. Though the Lord, through the overruling hand of His Grace, works never so much good out of my sin unto me, yet I am to be humbled for it, and the rather to be humbled for it, because He works good out of it.
I have read of the mother of those three learned men, Peter Lombard, Francis Gratian, and Peter Comestor, the three great pillars of the Roman Church (for Lombard wrote the “Sentences”, and Gratian the “Popish Decretals,” and Comestor the “Historia Scholastica”), that when she lay on her death-bed, the priest came unto her, and called upon her for repentance for her whoredoms, for these three, Lombard, Gratian and Comestor, were her bastards, as the popish writers themselves confess in their writings. He told her that she must be greatly afflicted, grieved and humbled for her uncleanness, or else she could not be saved. “Why,” said she, “I confess, indeed, that whoredome and uncleanness is a great sin, but considering what a great deal of good has come to the church of God by my sin, that three such great lights have been brought forth into the world by my sin, I cannot, I will not repent.” And thus it is with many poor ignorant souls. When they see how the Lord by His over ruling hand works good unto them out of their sin, as some outward blessings and mercies, they do not repent of their sin, but rather justify themselves in their sins.
But now take a godly man, a gracious soul; the more he sees the Lord working good out of his sin, the more he is humbled for it; and upon that very ground, because God works good of it, therefore he is humbled the more.”
William Bridge – A Lifting Up For The Downcast.
Having gone through a divorce and having seen the sorrow and difficulties it caused my sons, this piece is so relevant to me. As I witness there successful lives, as I see God working good out of it, it is a humbling thing, and heightens my devotion to a God of second chances.