It is here, then, that we find the secret reason, that God sees fit to leave to interior desolations and sorrows those, who are truly his sanctified people. Hence it is, that he not only shows us the vanities of the world, and the desolations of the church, the present and prospective wretchedness of impenitent sinners, a burden without any thing else to enhance it which is heavy to be borne; but he also withdraws at times the light of present manifestations; he withholds the comfort of inward sensible joys; he leaves the understanding, and even at times the affections in a painful state of comparative inertness and aridity; he permits Satan, in addition to these fearful evils, to assail us with his fiery darts, injecting into the intellect a multitude of unholy thoughts, and besieging us continually with sharp and varied temptations. But there still remains the blessed privilege of believing. We can still say, our expectation is from the Lord. We still have the privilege of declaring, even in the deep dejection and brokenness of our hearts, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
Happy are they, who endure these grievous trials without shrinking. Thrice happy, who, like soldiers in a severe contest that have lost all but honor, can still assert, the enemy has not taken the standard with which they went into battle; and that in the loss of all things else, they still retain their confidence in God. Such souls are not only redeemed, but purified. They have passed the decisive test, the object of which is to ascertain whether they love God for himself or for his favors, and have not been found wanting. If there were dross upon them before, it has been burnt off in this fiery trial. In the purification and strengthening of our faith, (that glorious principle which unites us to God, and which opens in the heart the full fountains of submission, gratitude, and love,) we are recompensed, and more than recompensed, for the temporary loss of all outward goods and all interior consolations. Henceforth there is union between the soul and its Beloved. It has no more occasion to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He returns with assurances, that wipe away present tears, and give the presage of future victories. God, in his condescension, permits himself to be conquered. Infinite love is led captive.
— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 12.
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