CORRESPONDENCE

LEBANON, Ohio, Feb. 26, 1903.

DEAR SISTER AND BROTHER CROSS: – Your most welcome, yet sorrowful, letter of the 24th came to-day, and every word of it touched my heart with tender sorrow and sympathy, and I feel to be bereaved with you all, yet we know that the dear departed brother is far better with Christ than to be left longer in the suffering body of flesh, and we are all comforted in knowing that he was so entirely reconciled, trustful and peaceful, and also in the fact that you had taken him to your comfortable home, where his closing days were made as pleasant as possible. We feel truly thankful for this favor to him. Now he is infinitely blessed. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” “Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” In these divine assurances our brother trusted and fell asleep, to awake with the likeness of the risen and glorified firstborn Brother from the dead, and he satisfied. This is the bliss that the infinite love and omnipotent power of the blessed Father will bestow upon him, and all who die in the Lord. Therefore Paul wrote for our comfort, saying, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others, which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” O that will be the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity. How this should comfort or console us in our lonely sorrow, my dear friends, and yet I myself am afflicted and desolate in heart and spirit, and deeply realize that I am not at home in the world, nor satisfied, but am a pilgrim and a stranger, destitute, poor and not comforted. The forty-second and forty-third Psalms are the language of my soul most the time, and I read them to give expression to my plaintive cries to God. But I should not speak of myself in this time of sorrow, and you will pardon me, please, and pray for me. Dear sister Barker wrote us very feelingly, just after the funeral, and a few days ago dear brother Purris sent us a good letter. He is a true brother. As I have often thought of it since the peaceful sleep of our dear departed, dear brother and sister, how touchingly l was affected and impressed by the devotion and spiritual-mindedness and conversations of brother Secor from the first, and on until my leave taking, which was so remarkable and wonderful, for he was filled to overflowing with the Spirit of adoption and the love of God in his heart, as you know. I now wonder that I did not, even then, perceive that he was a sheaf ripe for the heavenly harvest, and that he would be with us but a little while. Indeed, this feeling, or fear, would then steal upon me, but it was not in my thought that that blessed Sunday and night at your home would be his last meeting on earth. We could scarcely have borne it had we known it then, and l am thankful now that we did not suspect it. For his dear sake O how thankful I feel that he had the comfort and joy of hearing brother Gross talk to us all so freely and comfortingly. The Lord knew it all then, just how it would be, and in his love he thus favored his tried and purified servant, whom he was about to call home to himself. How peculiarly suitable and touching and precious it all looks to me now, and how solemn and sacred and heavenly was the place. The Lord was there. Unbidden tears fill my eyes as it all comes back to me, while I write of it to you both, who were deeply interested witnesses to the Lords presence and partakers of his grace, and of the comfort of his love. Just such a gracious and precious meeting and visitation from the Lord will never again be given us, my precious kindred in Christ, and therefore it seems the more blessed and heavenly to me. My wife just now said to me, that the Lord sent me there, as surely as he ever sent me anywhere, and I said, Yes. Truly the Lord is good, and he doeth all things well. So, dear, sorrowing kindred, let us be humbled under the mighty hand of God, and not repine while we weep, for yet a little while and our God will lift us up, and his hand of love will wipe away our tears, then to us shall be fulfilled his faithful promise: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. H e that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” O how blessed we shall all be then. The Comforter, the Spirit of truth, abide with you all now, and give you peace. You surely have my heartfelt sympathies, for 1 am a partaker of your sorrow, and feel bereft with you all. No one was ever more tenderly endeared to my heart in so short a time as was our chastened and delicate brother Secor. How infinitely blessed and glorified shall we all he, dear sister and brother, when with him and all the redeemed we shall meet the Lord in the air, and ever be with the Lord.

Now bidding you be of good comfort, in love, farewell.
D. BARTLEY.

Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 20
October 14, 1914