Montgomery, Ala., April 13, 1906.
My Beloved Brother Chick: – Propped up in an easy chair, I will write you again, if the Lord will. Your last letter was very comforting, and I felt that the Lord is good to me in my afflictions. You do not know how very weak and low I am. but my kind wife is a good nurse and does all in her power for my comfort, and the Lord mercifully makes my bed in all my disease; he gives me much comfort and peace in mind and body while lying so weak and helpless upon my bed. My wakeful hours of nights are sweetened with meditations upon his holy character, wonderful works and goodness, and my soul silently adores him. O how I long and pray for greater nearness and fuller communion with him, to be more like his well beloved Son, who dwells in his holy presence. Deeply do I realize my own sinful weakness, helplessness and unworthiness. O how rich in mercy God is to me! My prayer is for perfect reconciliation to his will, yet I often adopt the prayer of David: “O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” I am constantly asking and seeking to know his will concerning me, wondering whether he will restore me and leave me yet awhile to his dear people and with my family, and make my last days my best days.
We are very desirous to go to the home of my son, Gilbert Beebe, at Carthage, Mo., and make our home with him and his good wife, Ida, whom we have never met, and it has been more than three years since I saw Gilbert. They are both more than anxious to have us with them, and we hope to go in May, yet, my dear brother, I realize that my work is done, and truly I am waiting – waiting for the Lord to come. The last words of our precious Redeemer are much in my thoughts: “It is finished,” and my mind dwells on the future glory. My last meeting, and sermon, was here, the third Sunday in December, my subject was the everlasting covenant, the text, “The last words of David.” – 2 Sam. xxiii. 1. The Lord was with us and our hearts were comforted in the covenant ordered in all things and sure. I spoke an hour, though scarcely able to stand on the floor. Then I did not think it was my last discourse, but I am content if the will of the Lord be so.
I am writing these things specially to you, as they may be my last words, and I want to tell you of my late experience, as in my farewell. You know I desire that you write charitably of me after I tall asleep in Jesus, so I want to tell you how it is with me. Like Paid, I have been in perils among false brethren, and have suffered, as you know, but I am so humbly and deeply thankful that now the Lord has enabled me to freely forgive them from my heart. In the midst of all the errors and departures, I bless the Lord that he has kept me by his power through faith, and through grace has enabled me to say with Paul, “I have kept the faith.” It cheers me greatly to see the opposition to God’s sovereign purpose and grace failing and dying, as it must. “The Lord alone shall be exalted.” “God is our refuge and strength.”
Now, my pleasant, dear brother and companion in tribulation, with sorrow to me our very helpful and harmonious correspondence of thirty years is closing. I remember it with comfort, how good it has been; to me you have been as Timothy and Titus were to Paul.
One mention let me make: Your “.Remarks” in the Signs, upon the point that the resurrected body has never been seen by mortal eyes, proves the fact you said, that as long as our dying, mortal bodies can be seen, they have not been resurrected. This is unanswerable, and it rejoiced me. Warm is my fellowship for you and fervent my love; I could fall upon your neck and weep on saying, Farewell, my dear brother. But our loving Lord says to us, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” If his will, I will write you again. Most gladly would I hear from you in my lingering afflictions; your letters comfort us both. What I have written you would fill my wife with sorrow, as she hopes for my recovery, and I would not have her know it now.
Since I began this letter I laid down and rested; now I am weary. Our love to you and all.
The Father comfort all our hearts. In your trials for the truth, the dear Lord says, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” that fadeth not away.
In the faith and love of Christ your brother,
[THE above letter was the last written to us by our dear aged brother Bartley. This was as he thought. Now that he has passed away, it seems to us that all who knew him should know of his faith and hope, and peaceful submission to the will of God in his last days. For ourself we can but say that it was at the time it came, and is now as we have just read it again, inexpressibly touching, and yet most strengthening to us. We do hope for the same faith that is expressed in this letter when the end shall come to ourself; it is the same faith that was with Paul and strengthened him when the time for him to be offered was at hand. Brother Bartley has written much and reached much in all his long life, but be has never written more comforting, cheering words than these, written when just upon the confines of the better (?). We can but be sorrowful when the aged servants pass away, and yet for them we can but rejoice that all at last is well. – C]
Signs Of The Times
Volume 74., No. 17.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1906.