Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 24, 1916.
DEAR BRETHREN: – I feel impressed to talk a little while this evening with the readers of the dear old SIGNS. I have you all in my mind and in my heart; I think of you as having the mind of Christ, as formed into a bundle of love, love flowing from heart to heart and faith answering to faith. Unlike the love of men and women in the world, which becomes blurred and often blotted out by reason of reverses and offences, but a love which Iiveth and abideth forever in the hearts of the Lord’s chosen. I love to think of each one of you as having one desire, and that to serve the Lord acceptably and with godly fear. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Ye are a “peculiar people,” because all your possessions in righteousness are exclusive and peculiar to you, not being found in the world. Ye are a “chosen generation,” the generation of Jesus Christ, chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Ye are “an holy nation,” as in contrast to all earthly nations, standing alone and apart, illuminated by the brightness of the Sun of Righteousness; in the world, but not of it. Ye are “a royal priesthood,” kings and priests unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Is it not in your hearts to say, “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!” Self- righteousness is a snare and temptation to you, and while you are led by it in the lusts of your flesh you hate it with a perfect hatred, for Christ is your righteousness. You are meek and lowly of heart, because your gracious Redeemer was meek and lowly, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Sometimes your harps are hung upon the willows, and being in a strange land you cannot sing the songs of Zion, while at other times you are lifted up and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. At times you groan and say, O, if I only knew for a certainty that I am a true follower of Jesus, born of God, but alas, if your hope was converted into certainty you cease to be a child; it is your precious hope that saves you and leads you on to a victorious end. The apostle John addresses you as “little children,” reminding you that you are in your flesh idol worshipers, beseeching you to “keep yourselves from idols.” Do you sometimes feel like Paul when you meet with the brethren, that you are determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified? and yet you find yourself right in their midst talking fashions and crops. These things teach you your weakness and helplessness. Do you mourn your emptiness in spiritual things? This is an evidence that spiritual things are yours, otherwise you would not mourn. Do you sometimes wish you were like brother or sister so and so, they seem so much better than you? But do you know that the Lord has fitted you for a certain place in his temple, which no one else can fill, and you would not fit in the shoes of your brother or sister? You are made to be willing to be the Lord’s anything, if only you are the Lord’s. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved: in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” How great and wonderful is that mystery made known to us in a varied experience. The shuttle in the hands of our master weaver, filling in the threads of our life journey, both warp and woof, completing the garment, which sets forth in its lengthwise threads faith and hope and love, and in its cross lines depicting the conflict and the striving against the pride of life. “fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind,” a perfect garment of the life and spiritual exercises of the children of our heavenly Father. Surely at times you become discouraged and say within yourselves, We will give it all up, is it worth this continual striving? Has any one ever been able to give it up? No, you are sweetly forced into the kingdom, and you press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The attaining unto salvation through grace is your highest ambition and your sweetest inspiration. Strive on, brethren, in hope of the day that is to follow. Write for the SIGNS, you ready Writers. “But to do good, and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
B. F. COULTER.
Signs of the Times
Volume 84, No. 20.
October 15, 1916