I acquired a little book recently called A divine cordial
by Thomas Watson (more recently published in the Banner of Truth Puritan paperback series as All things for good
). I had read little of Watson prior to this but what a treasure this book is. Perhaps it is just that God provides just what we need at the time when we are able to receive it, I don't know. Anyhow, this book has been just a real encouragement.
It is written in a very Puritan style, with many points and divisions, in places more like a sermon outline it seems, but what deep truths I have found, seemingly in every paragraph. Full of pith and depth, Watson explores and mines Romans 8:28 like someone seeking to glean every last nugget out of a gold deposit.
Here are a few points from Chapter One on how the best things work for good to the godly:
• God's power works for good in supporting us in trouble. Underneath are the everlasting arms
(Deut. 33:27). What upheld Daniel in the lion's den? Jonah in the whale's belly? The three Hebrews in the furnace? Only the power of God. Is it not strange to see a bruised reed grow and flourish? How is a weak Christian able, not only to endure affliction, but to rejoice in it? He is upheld by the arms of the Almighty. My strength is made perfect in weakness
(2 Cor. 12:9).
• The goodness of God works for good to the godly. God's goodness is a means to make us good. The goodness of God leadeth to repentance
(Rom. 2:4). The goodness of God is a spiritual sunbeam to melt the heart into tears. Oh, says the soul, has God been so
good to me? ...
• The promises are notes of God's hand; is it not good to have security? ... They are called precious promises
(1 Peter 1:4). They are as cordials to the soul that is ready to faint...
... Are we in great trouble? There is a promise that works for our good, I will be with him in trouble
(Ps. 91:15). God does not bring His people into troubles, and leave them there. He will stand by them; He will hold their heads and hearts when they are fainting. And there is another promise, He is their strength in the time of trouble
(Ps. 37:39). "Oh," says the soul, "I shall faint in the day of trial." But God will be the strength of our hearts; He will join His forces with us. Either He will make His hand lighter, or our faith stronger.
•... the mercies of God work for good... Lord, why is it that notwithstanding all my unworthiness, a fresh tide of mercy comes in every day?... The mercies of God have a melting influence upon the soul; they dissolve it in love to God.