Brookes, J.H. – Mystery of Suffering

The Mystery of Suffering
J.H. Brookes, 1894

Preface to the Fourth Edition

Old age generally brings with it deepened experience and enlarged observation of human suffering. Besides the increase of personal infirmities, there is continually the knowledge that pain and poverty, sickness and sorrow, toil and trouble everywhere abound. The friends of earlier life have disappeared, the expectations of youth have perished, the emptiness of earthly ambition has been fully demonstrated; and unless one has been taught to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God,” he is ready to exclaim in “the words of the Preacher, the son of David, King in Jerusalem: I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind!” (Ecc_1:1; Ecc_1:14).

Those who have reached the highest eminence, are the best witnesses to the truth of this testimony. Otto von Bismarck, before he was deposed from the greatness of his position, although he could not be deposed from the greatness of his intellect, wrote to a young man, “I have reaped endless anxiety, worry, and disappointment, and were it not for the hope of a better life beyond the grave through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I do not see how this life could be endurable.” It is a blessed privilege to point some of the suffering ones to the sufficiency of that grace for their utmost need.

It has pleased the Lord to own the testimony of this little book to the comfort of many sick and sorrowing saints. Scores of letters have been received, telling of the light it has cast upon dark providences, and of the peace it has brought to troubled hearts. Some too have confessed that it has delivered them from the monstrous delusions of Christian Science, as it is falsely called, and from the dangerous error of believing that faith is the sure preventive of disease, or the infallible remedy for illness.

Hence this fourth edition is sent forth with gratitude to God for the measure of service it has thus far rendered to His tried children, and with prayer that He may still use it to help others who are struggling in the deep waters of affliction. Men by plausible arguments may hold out mocking hopes of escape from bodily ailments and sore bereavements; but until Jesus comes, those who trust in His grace will discover that unto them it is granted in His behalf, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Their consolation will be found, not in exemption from pain and grief—but in the strength and sweetness of His abiding presence. “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away,” they often walk weeping, but never alone.

“Sad, silent, and slow,
Like a funeral train,
They are led by the hand
Over mountain and plain.”

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