PHILADELPHIA, Pa., Dec. 24, 1918.
DEAR BRETHREN: – We are coming to the close of another year, one to be long remembered by us. What shall we say concerning it? Desolation and deep sorrow have entered many homes and hearts because of war and pestilence. Spiritual decline is the record of many branches of Zion throughout the land. Antichrist has been active with seductive influences, which chill the spiritual mind. In the days of darkness and uncertainty have we not asked, Is God’s mercy clean gone forever? With Job our heart cries out: “O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle.” Do the conditions and events of the year give evidence that God has forgotten to be gracious? Do we forget the promise of God, who said: “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel”? Do we forget that when the Lord afflicted the nations he sent Joseph to interpret the dream of Pharaoh, telling him there should be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine, and through all the famine Israel was preserved? Has the arm of the Lord been shortened that he cannot save and preserve his people through this year of spiritual famine and natural war and pestilence, and fulfill his promise that he will hold them by their right hand in every trial? In all the economy of God’s grace, as wrought in the heart of his people and made manifest in their lives, there has run through those lives both trouble and sorrow, in contrast to a vein of pure joy, lighted up by the sunshine of God’s love, running through all their life, in the streets and within the walls of Zion. Like the natural ozone in our atmosphere, which purities the poisonous gases from the earth, so also the pure word of God purifies our heart, and unbelief is scattered with the winds of all false doctrine. For the Lord said: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah i. 18. In looking back over the events of this year our natural mind says, These are signs that the end of the world is at hand, but our pure mind remembers the words of Jesus when his disciples privately asked him: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Our faith then readily answereth, Lord God, thou knowest. If Jesus did not know, dare we presume to foretell? Historical and scriptural research by the carnal mind answereth nothing, while the beholding of faith shows us those things which are sufficient for us to know. Let us then watch and pray and wait with patience for the certain and appointed end. Again our faith declares, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that we love thee. “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”
B. F. COULTER.
Signs of the Times
Volume 87, No. 6
March 15, 1919