Liberty, Ind., March 18, 1901.
Dear Brother Beebe: – I inclose a letter to you from our dear afflicted brother Bartley. I have his consent for its publication in the SIGNS, if you are pleased to publish it. It was written to us to comfort us in our affliction, and I think there is much in it to comfort the household of faith.
My wife slipped on the icy steps one week ago to-day, and broke her ankle, and both bones about four inches above the ankle, which has caused her a great deal of pain and general distress. It was on hearing of her mishap that he wrote this letter to us. She is getting along as well as could be expected with so bad a break.
I received a letter to-day from a brother whom I do not know, in which he said that he had heard that I had acknowledged to having made a mistake in writing my pamphlet on “Free Will and Free Moral Agency.” I suppose that some one has started the report, thinking that it would be a more successful way of lessening its influence than to attempt to meet its arguments.
Remember our affliction when at a throne of grace.
Yours in sorrow,
W. N. THARP.
Crawfordsville, Ind., March 15, 1901.
Dear Brother Tharp: – Yours of the 12th came yesterday, and we are extremely sorry that sister Tharp has met with the sad affliction, but let us hope she will make a safe and rapid recovery. If she is in a good state of health, I trust she will, and we shall be anxious to hear again. Tell her not to be at all discouraged, but hopeful and cheerful, in order to favor her better recovery. Accept it in the light of Paul’s saying, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Paul was inspired to give us this comfort, and his word has been my support and solace in darkest times of danger and trial. It assures us that “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Dear brother and sister, there is another word, and it was spoken to us by him who dwelleth in the bosom of God: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. Ye are of more value than many sparrows: fear ye not therefore.” This will come nearer to you in this affliction, showing you that your Father had a loving purpose in it, for your good. With him there are no accidents.
I have a pile of letters unanswered, but felt that I must write you before retiring to-night, to express my sorrowing sympathy, with the effort to cheer you both, or at least to tell you that you are not alone, for I am with you in the furnace of affliction and your companion in tribulation, and my heart feels for you in your trial of faith. In times like this, dear brother and sister, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” His wisdom and his love are infinite, and his power is omnipotent; “He rideth upon the heavens in the help of his people, and in his excellency on the sky.” Underneath them are the everlasting arms. Let us commit our way to him, and leave all our burdens with him. “Shall we receive good at the hands of the Lord! and shall we not receive evil!” When the dear Master was about to be betrayed and put to death, he said to his sorrow-burdened friends, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” You both need all his precious words now, my brother and sister, and so do I, as you know. At times greater afflictions come to us than physical suffering. Before a hand of violence was laid upon our merciful and faithful High Priest, he said to his disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” When John was shut up in the dungeon, and wickedly beheaded, his friends buried his body, “and went and told Jesus.” When we are in any great sorrow and trial, our burdened soul goes out to Jesus in prayer. To encourage us he says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So, sister Tharp, he will make your bed in all your affliction, He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. “Afflictions in mercy oft are sent.” When tried Jacob said, “All these things are against me,” his God was then specially dealing with him in love and mercy, and preparing him for the great favor of going to be with his lovely son Joseph. How little we know at best!
O, I could not tell you how weak I have been in my deep sorrow and sore trial, nor how dark the way has been to me. So I do know the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps; but the Lord knoweth the way that I take, as said Job; “And when he hath tried me, he shall bring me forth as gold.” These are the lessons he is teaching you now. Cast your burdens on the Lord, for he careth for you.
The first day of this month we went over to St. Paul, Ind., and visited my nephew and family, by their request, till the 11th, hoping to feel better, as I was so low down and desolate, but found we cannot run away from affliction, for I relapsed with “la grippe” in my head while there, and could not much enjoy the visit. I am some better now, and Sallie is well and sends love and sympathy to sister Tharp and you.
My lovely granddaughter Ivy copied and sent me some verses in her last letter, as expressive of her own feelings, and they are so suitable and good I will inclose a copy to you. We have all been greatly troubled for dear Myrtle, my eldest granddaughter, who was so hopeless and helplessly crushed by our sorrowful bereavement, but she sent us a very touching letter this week, and her strength of mind is asserting itself again, so that she is beginning to take some interest in life again, greatly to my relief. She is a finely educated, bright and noble young woman, (twenty-six) but her sorrow was without hope, for she had sadly fallen into infidelity. And O, it was heartrending to witness her blank and dark despair, when her idolized mother departed. Her despair made the trial harder for the rest of us. But dear Ivy, so much like her mother, and five years younger than Myrtle, was so heroic, quiet, patient and brave, taking the lead, doing the work, and suppressing her deep sorrow. For she trusted in her mother’s God, and believed our loved one lives within the veil, and is with Christ, which is far better. I was deeply impressed with this vast difference between her and her eldest sister, and it made the faith and hope in Christ more precious and sacred to me than ever. Myrtle had been a close and untiring college student seven years, had graduated nearly three years ago with honor, while Ivy had only graduated from the Olney high school; but Ivy had been taught of God, had cried to him for mercy as a penitent sinner, and had come to Christ in faith and hope and love, while Myrtle had been led away into faithless, hopeless, dark infidelity, and this was the difference. How great it is! O, why should one repine to whom God has given faith in the behalf of Christ to believe on him, and to suffer for his sake? We know not, dear friends in Jesus, how richly we are blessed. Our dear Lord says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
Out of my own affliction and sorrow I have written you, having the spirit to “weep with them that weep.” Let us remember that when we have drank the cup that our Father giveth us, it shall pass away, and that “They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.”
In sorrowing sympathy farewell.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 69, No. 8
April 15, 1901