Cave City, Ky., March 19, 1908.
Dear Brother Chick: – Sister Laura M. Baird has requested me to ask you to look over some letters from my dear husband, which she has copied for the Signs, and arrange them as you think best. She has also written a few things in his memory, which I think dear and true, and this I hope you will also publish.
SALLIE M. BARTLEY.
Carlisle, Ohio, June 13, 1902.
Dear Sister Baird: – On our return here last night yours of the 6th was received and read with much comfort by us both. Dear sister, I am poor and sorrowful because of the evils and trials in the world and in myself, which oppress me; yet these are appointed to us in the purpose of God, and they are sanctified by his love, so that they seem to manifest his rich mercy to us in our salvation and make us desire a heavenly country; our rest is not on earth; the world, and the fashion of it, is passing away, the Lord is leading us and teaching us these things in our experience, and showing us his salvation and preparing us for the kingdom which he has prepared for us. When his kingdom shall have come, and his will shall have been perfected in us, then we shall see and know that all is for the best. I long to enter into his blissful presence, where his beloved Son is, to see him as he is in his glory and be with him and like him. This is a wonderful desire and hope, and it seems too good and great a blessing for a poor one of sorrow like me. I have had to suffer and endure reproach as a servant of Christ, and many have been my afflictions, but all this is as nothing, dear sister, if he will receive me to himself when he comes. He is my hope, my salvation, my all, and my spirit trusts in him. When I pass through the veil you will know this was true of me. God bless you all.
Your brother in sorrow,
Lebanon, Ohio, May 9, 1903.
Dear Sister Baird: – We have just returned from our little meeting here in town this (Saturday) afternoon, and I feel like writing to you. We know that there must come to us all, sooner or later, much tribulation, trial and sorrow, even as the Lord and his apostles have told us. On the other hand, for our comfort he has said that in him we shall have peace, and that he will not leave us comfortless, but will come to us, and that because he lives we shall live also.
I spoke this afternoon from Romans viii. 10, 11, and tried to show the meaning of the text: that the children of God are identified with both Adam and Christ, sin and righteousness, death and life; that they therefore have a painful experience, a conflict and warfare, doubts and hopes, darkness and light, sorrow and joy, trouble and peace, fightings and triumphs, dying and behold we live, and at last death and resurrection. All this because of sin and righteousness, both of which are our inheritance, as one with Adam and one with Christ. How wonderful, yet how real and true all this is; it is all according to God’s choice and appointment, and it is all for the lifting of Jesus on high, and to the praise of the glory of God’s grace. How blessed it is, dear sister, to be one with Christ in his life of suffering, and his life of rejoicing and glory. If we be dead with Christ we believe that we shall also live with him. We not only know the fellowship of his sufferings, which were unto death because of sin, but we shall also know the power of his resurrection, which is unto holiness and eternal life. Our God and Father, who raised up our dear Lord from the dead, “shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” This was the substance of my talk; may you find a little comfort in it. Our fervent love to you all.
In trial and hope, yours,
Lebanon, Ohio, June 11, 1903.
Dear Sister Baird: – Your very welcome and comforting letter just came this evening, and my wife read it to me. I am thankful to know all goes as well with you as your letter tells me. It was in my mind to send you a letter soon, hoping to cheer you a little, and now that I have your letter I will wait no longer. Dear sister, I feel that I am a poor one to talk of comforting others, for I am so poor and disconsolate and cheerless myself, which makes me feel that all christians are better and happier than I, for I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; if in any thing I am like Christ it is in this. But he was without sin, and holy and harmless, while I must cry with Paul, “O wretched man that I am!’’ I do so long to be without sin, and as harmless as the dear Lamb of God, but I am encompassed about with all the infirmities of the sinful flesh, which keep me very low; but I should not burden you with the cross that is given me to bear, knowing that you have had your appointed tribulations and afflictions. It is well that the Lord has given you grace and patience to meekly bear them. Paul says tribulation worketh patience. You ask me if you are wrong in saying the fearful disasters of late are not chance events or accidents. No, dear sister, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and where there is almighty power to control and infinite wisdom to dispose all things, there can be no accidents, but God has a purpose in all things. What Elihu and the Lord said to Job is proof of this, as you will see. The late destructive storms and floods, and many fearful calamities, sweeping off hundreds of lives and millions of property, are evidently the righteous judgments of the Almighty visited upon the earth to teach us all to remember our dependence upon God and humble us before him; hereby his people will lay these things to heart, learn their own nothingness and cease from man, in whom is no help. I am thankful for you all that your health is not seriously worse, and that the Lord has been good to your children in sparing you; may he long do so, if it seem good in his sight. Yet for you to depart and be with Christ is far better, the word assures us; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for us.
At the meeting here last Sunday they sang, “Jesus! and shall it ever be, a mortal man ashamed of thee!” &c. I told them of my peculiar experience forty-nine years ago that day, the second Sunday in June, 1854, the solemn day of my baptism, when they sung this hymn at the riverside; and I am left here yet.
O how wonderful the Lord’s mercies have been to me! The second Sunday in November, 1844, he showed me my sins and guilt and awful condemnation, while my dear father was preaching. The third Sunday in July, 1854, I took my first text, Isaiah xxxv. 10. Truly can I say, my dear sister,
“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.”
Greatly have I suffered in my life, both bodily and mental affliction, and quite a number of times have I been snatched from death’s door, and my friends despaired of my recovery, but here to-night I have written you this letter without glasses, and I am wondering what the Lord yet has for me to do and to suffer, but above all I wonder whether the high and holy and glorious God will in the end receive a poor sinner like me to himself in eternal glory. O, it seems too much to hope for, yet I cannot help but hope. Paul says, “For we are saved by hope.” This is a precious and blessed hope to us, dear sister. In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie promised before the world began.
Express my love to all your children and our spiritual kindred, and be assured of my high esteem and fellowship for you. The Lord sustain and comfort you all.
Your ever poor brother,
Olney, Ill., August 4, 1905.
Mrs. L. M. Baird – Dear Sister In Christ: – Noon to-day brought me your good letter of the 1st, which was a real comfort, especially to know that you are much better in health than when we left you. We have received the sad intelligence of the death of Elder Wm. Startzman, which came as a sad shock to us. Death is God’s appointment once to all in this life. How blessed are they who die in the Lord; for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him, says Paul. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” Christ suffered and died for sin and unto sin. They that are Christ’s thus suffer and die with him. His word to us is, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” He takes away our sin and death, and gives us instead his holiness and life. The experience of this in us is one of suffering, weeping and mourning, and also of rejoicing in the Lord and praising him. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” He will wipe away all our tears. He gives us now to sow in tears, but they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
I am humbly thankful that you have been comforted through any of my writings in the Signs, yet it is God that comforteth, dear sister, and he knoweth how to comfort his poor and afflicted children in the time of their need. May the Lord evermore bless you all, your family and the kindred in Christ. Remember me to all in love and best wishes. It would indeed be a comfort and privilege to visit you all again, and may the Lord grant us this favor.
Your brother in affliction,
Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 14.
JULY 15, 1908.