Brooks: No One Can Determine If God’s Favor
Is Upon a Man by His Outward Condition
“..no man knows how the heart of God stands towards a person, by His outward blessings to that person. His hand of mercy may be towards a man, when His heart may be against that man, as you may see in Saul and others; and the hand of God may be set against a man, when the heart of God is dearly set upon a man, as you may see in Job and Ephraim. The hand of God was severely set against them, and yet the heart and affections of God were strongly working towards them.
No man knows either the love or hatred of God by His outward mercy or misery towards them; for all things come alike to all, to the righteous and to the unrighteous, to the good and to the bad, to the clean and to the unclean. The sun of prosperity shines as well upon brambles of the wilderness as upon fruit-trees of the orchard; the snow and hail of adversity comes upon the best garden as well as upon the stinking ash-heap or the wild waste. Ahab’s and Josiah’s ends concur in the very circumstances. Saul and Jonathan, though different in their natures, deserts, and deportments; yet in their deaths they were not divided. Health, wealth, honors, crosses, sicknesses, losses, are cast upon good men and bad men promiscuously. Moses dies in the wilderness as well as those who murmured. Nabal is rich as well as Abraham. Ahithophel wise as well as Solomon. Doeg is honored by Saul as well as Joseph was by Pharaoh. Usually the worst of men have most of these outward things. Usually the holiest of men have least of earth, though most of heaven.
Cicero judged the Israelites’ religion to be nothing, because the Romans prospered and became rulers of the world; and yet, though the Romans had God’s hand, yet the Israelites had his heart, for they were dearly beloved, though severely afflicted.”
— Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices