Dear Brother Beebe; With great pleasure I received your letter, accompanied by a box containing fifty-five hymn books, such as I desired, which I will try to dispose of, and remit the money as you directed. I feel truly sorry that you are not enjoying good health, and have become so nervous, which I can plainly discover from your handwriting. May God restore you to health, that you may live longer to defend and proclaim the truth, to the edification, comfort and instruction of his poor and afflicted people. When you say, “I would not live always, neither do I feel in a hurry to die,” it was so expressive of a resignation to God, that I greatly desired to feel the same way, but I cannot be more reconciled to God in all his dealings with me; but we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth why doth he yet hope for; but if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. The faith here spoken of is the faith of Jesus Christ by [not for] which the believer now lives the life which he does live in the flesh, and its character is known by its powerful workings in its subjects. Through it the Holy Spirit reveals to God’s elect their true condition as sinners related to a fallen parent, and strips them of all hope of salvation by anything they have done or can do. The same spirit through faith reveals to the sinking sinner the mercy of God in the free pardon of all his sins, through a crucified, risen and interceding Savior. Then hope in its power calms the troubled breast, and rest is realized which Jesus gives, and though charity or love to God was there from the time the sinner was quickened by grace, it is now realized and enjoyed by the subject of these noble and powerful graces. How vain and presumptive for mortals to boast of their power to exercise or control them. To prove to every candid enquirer after truth the character of genuine faith, look to the history of Abraham, who, when commanded by God, went out, not knowing whither he went; and sojourned in a strange land, and when commanded to offer his only son Isaac, went and laid him upon the altar and was about to slay him, when, [to his astonishment, no doubt] he was told to hold his hand, and was directed to an offering which God had provided. Then he rejoiced in God for the life of his son, and with great pleasure they returned. Look to Moses, who when he was come to years refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, for [by hope] he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Look at the case of Ruth, who would not be persuaded to go back to her father’s house where there was plenty, but preferred to go with her mother-in-law to Canaan, notwithstanding the famine, with every other worldly loss or privation. Come on to the gospel or new covenant dispensation. John the Baptist, when he had finished the work assigned him, was beheaded, and Jesus, our gracious Redeemer, after a suffering life, died to redeem and save his people from their sins. Stephen, a man full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith, was stoned and laid down his life, and most of the apostles suffered martyrdom in the most cruel manner; and in ages past many of the saints have been put to death for the sake of Christ and his cause; and now it seems that many conclude the best evidences of genuine faith is the abundance given to support human inventions under the name of religious benevolence, piety, popularity, and to be highly esteemed among men of the world, &c., when in reality the faith of the gospel is to be known by what it makes its subjects suffer for Christ’s sake, and it remains true to this day, that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.
Your brother in tribulation,
Near Lexington Georgia, August 19, 1869.