Philadelphia, Pa., July 9, 1901.
Dear Brother Chick: – Do you ever have conflicting emotions exercising you at the same time! I know you have natural desires and emotions, and also those that are spiritual, at the same time, and they always conflict, but that is not just what I mean. It is something like this: a praiseworthy desire enters your mind, and occupies your heart, and right on its heels comes opposing suggestions. My case is on this wise: I have desired for a week or two to write to you, and the desire remains with me, but opposition arises in various cunning suggestions, and they appear so plausible to me that I have to say, Yes, that is true, and so I hesitate. The first suggestion that presented itself when I sat down at this time, was after this manner: What can you say to Elder Chick that would interest him? His time is too important and valuable to be taken up and wasted with your airy nothings. How would you like it yourself to have some one write to you lengthy epistles of “great swelling words of vanity!” Do not you know there is some motive which actuates you, that some desire of your flesh may be fulfilled! you try to persuade yourself that your desire is a holy one, when you know that you breathe out selfishness with every breath. Such are a few of the suggestions which cause me to hesitate, and almost give up in despair, for I cannot contradict them. And now I ask you again, Can it be possible that you ever have such experience! I long to be exercised like my brethren, but alas! I seem to stand alone; I seem to realize that all the imperfection and infirmity is in we. God is perfect in wisdom, and immaculate in holiness. I am the subject of his creation, but am I the object of his love! Zion is the perfection of beauty, God’s glory shines forth out of its inhabitants. That is where I am privileged to behold it, but not in myself. It is never a question with me, whether God is able to shower blessings of grace on me, that I may be conformed to the image of his Son, but has he done it! That is the anxious question in my mind. When Jacob received the blessing from the angel with whom he wrestled all the night, he said to Jacob, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel.” I feel to hope that I have experienced the wrestling, and that my cry has gone out for the blessing, but when I search for evidence, I find plenty of Jacob, but dare not claim that precious title: Israel who as a prince hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. This appears to be the requisite with every halting Jacob, that he has power with God, and with men, and I am so far short ‘of all that, I cannot see it in myself at all, yet I know that all power in heaven and in earth, with God and with men, is vested in Jesus, that he hath prevailed and hath conquered death, hell and the grave, and that by his appearing he “hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Then if indeed I abide in him, he hath prevailed in me, and I am free, my name is called Israel because Jesus is the King thereof. Jacob did not prevail until he received the blessing, and the blessing was Jesus. The right of redemption existed in Jesus, in the precious truth that Israel was “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh,” That right being obtained through the gift of the Father, therefore, notwithstanding all my selfishness, my weaknesses, and my infirmities, my doubts and my fears, I cling tenaciously to the hope that Jesus has done for me that which I could never do, that he has prevailed for me, and this hope is “an anchor to [my] soul,” and if I do not realize an experimental entrance into that within the vail, where Jesus my fore-runner hath entered as my High Priest, my hope hath entered there, and is both “sure and steadfast.”
Sometimes, brother Chick, I feel to be thankful that I cannot say I am a christian, or that I am sure I am accepted in the beloved, because my hope is so precious to me, that I would not part with it for anything I can think or conceive of. It is my hope that causes me to go on from day to day pressing forward, looking for a country beyond the confines and environs of time. If I bear about in my body “the dying of the Lord Jesus,” it is my hope that bears my body up. My hope is the Spirit of Christ which liveth and abideth in me, and it is always “Sure and steadfast.” If Jesus is revealed in me as my life and my Redeemer, my hope is assured as a good hope through grace, because Jesus is my hope. He is my hope because I know I could not prevail over the powers that be, except through him. I am trying to grasp this precious truth, brother Chick, that Christ was made perfect through suffering, and obedient also, and that the suffering was not for himself or on account of himself, but for, and on account of his bride. He became the Captain of our salvation for Israel’s sake, and for Israel he prevailed over every enemy, the last enemy being death. So if we behold salvation in Israel, we behold Jesus as the Savior, having to his power and love no boundary, but extending to all worlds, and to every created thing, we know that God’s perfect wisdom created nothing in vain, and we believe the end and purpose of all creation was the salvation of God in Christ Jesus, and that every created thing contributes in some way that we do not understand, to that salvation, all of which redounds to the glory and the praise of God, and the hope of every child of God embraces all this, whether he understands it or not. And I am often made to thank God that he has given me a limited understanding of the things pertaining to his kingdom, for because of that, my hope shines all the brighter in me, and springs up eternal within me, as wells of water springing up unto everlasting life. i hope also I am thankful that I am just as I am, poor, weak, ignorant, helpless and naked, for just as I am, in God’s perfect wisdom he has made me, and I know I am thankful for the spark of hope he has set ablaze in my heart, and truly I desire that his praise and his glory may be wrought out and made clearly manifest in my experience, and my prayer is that every vain ambition within me, and every carnal desire, may be subdued and the remainder of my wrath may praise him, which you so clearly described in a late editorial.
Well, my brother, I think I have got the best of my three friends who would advise me not to write you, and I have learned in this overcoming that they are “miserable comforters,” and like the raven that carried the food to Elijah, so they have contributed to some comfort and encouragement in this writing. And now I feel to thank the Lord that he did put you in my heart and mind.
With affectionate love to yourself and family, I am your most unworthy brother,
B. F. COULTER.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 69, No. 17
SEPTEMBER 1, 1901.