On Bearing the Cross

Those whom the Lord has chosen and honored with his companionship must prepare for a hard, laborious, troubled life, a life full of many and various kinds of evils, [since it is] the will of our heavenly Father to exercise his people in this way while putting them to the proof [of their faith]. Having begun this course with Christ the first-born, he continues it towards all his children. For though that Son was dear to him above others, the Son in whom he was “well pleased,” yet we see, that far from being treated gently and indulgently, we may say, that not only was he subjected to a perpetual cross while he dwelt on earth, but his whole life was nothing else than a perpetual cross. The apostle assigns the reason, “Though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

Why then should we exempt ourselves from that condition to which Christ our Head thought it necessary to submit; especially since he submitted on our account, that he might in his own person exhibit a model of patience?

Hence it affords us great consolation in hard and difficult circumstances, which men deem evil and adverse, to think that we are holding fellowship with the sufferings of Christ; that as he passed to celestial glory through a labyrinth of many woes, so we too are conducted thither through various tribulations.

               Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III. 8.1