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CORRESPONDENCE

State Road, Del., March, 1901.

Brother Beebe: – We have it on record that Ananias said to the apostle Paul, “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldest know his will, and shouldest see that just One.” Paul afterwards testified that what he knew, he received not of man, neither was he taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ. It seems to me to be abundantly taught in the Scriptures not only in these instances, but elsewhere, that all the knowledge men have of God is just what has been revealed to them. There will certainly be no clashing in this revelation. The apostle speaks with great confidence with regard to the fact of this revelation, and also with regard to the things revealed. Not only is it declared that God is only known as revealed, but that be is revealed if at all, always in and through Christ. This is to me an important point, and as it will be the theme of my present contemplation, I will quote some other Scripture declarations. “No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” “No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” There is then no knowledge of God in the world only what has been revealed in and through Christ. This revelation we ofttimes speak of as experience; that is, the knowledge of a Savior comes to us in a personal experience, and he is never known as a Savior in any other way. We need not wonder then that there is such confusion of tongues in the world. But God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Sin is the same always, and the condition of the lost sinner the same, so the salvation is necessarily the same. If all true knowledge of God among men must come by revelation, it should not be thought presumptuous in any of us to claim as the apostle did that whatever knowledge we have of divine things come in that way. The apostle presents the matter as one of certainty, that what God reveals to him he knows to be true and right, and the conviction of its truth never after leaves him. If I do not feel like saying that anything has been revealed to me, I may say, and say with assurance, that the things of which I have been bearing witness now more than fifty years I did not receive of men. I was not taught it in schools, nor did I gather from authors and commentators, not on any single point. I had opportunities in abundance; standard works, as they were called, were always at hand; I was conversant with them. I cannot now trace any profitable understanding of the Scriptures to the preaching that I got to hear in my early life, though much of it was called sound, nor to any other source within my own reach. There are many portions of Scripture that I now hope I understand, and I have never hesitated to allow what light I thought I had to shine.

The point I had mainly in view to speak of was that knowledge of God which comes to us by revelation. Moses besought the Lord that he would shew him his glory. I presume that he afterward knew that he would always see his glory if he saw him at all. The Lord caused all his goodness to pass before him. So he has always done; he reveals himself through a channel of goodness and mercy, and in this revelation his glory is made to appear. I can know now that in all that I had ever read in the New Testament, and all the poetic effusions of adulation and praise to Christ that I ever met with, the Savior that I now know and love and confide in, I had no knowledge of then; I could never have known by being told. Love is an effect, and not a volition. I know what I love and why I love. That God that is revealed in and through Christ is not seen visibly any more than he was before, only in the salvation of his people. So the prophet says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” This is the only revelation of his glory that we have any account of, and if we see it at all, there is where it must be seen. I have never been able to fathom or comprehend that love and pity that was shown me in the revelation of redeeming grace, and though I keep talking about it I shall never get it told. The apostle John said that God was love. No other or different God has ever been revealed to anybody, and the revelation inspires love to him in our every heart. The old prophet Isaiah says, “Though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away.” But Isaiah perhaps knew afterward that he had been: mistaken, and that the Lord had loved him all the time. The pen of inspiration has it, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” God is a Spirit, and so is not visible to mortal eyes, but as a j Spirit he is both life and righteousness. If he is revealed at all, he is seen where-ever he is; if he is loved at all, he is loved wherever he is. His Spirit develops in the heart and life of the sons and daughters of men, the fruit is traceable to its source. As it is one and the selfsame Spirit, so the fruit develops in love, joy, peace, &c. The holy seed does not grow roots of bitterness. If I could by searching have found out God, I do not know why he should not have been found, for I searched diligently, and for a long time. Bat no salvation that I ever could read of or hear of would come to me. When salvation was revealed it was in the way of a deliverance, the measure of which depended upon the measure of the pit and the mire in which I was sinking. I never could have learned it in any other way, and ever since it has had an abiding place in my life. My faith in that deliverance was entirely from under my control. My ideas of gospel salvation were and always have been traceable to a revelation of things that my eyes had not before seen, nor my ears heard. We do not read of any revelation that God has ever made only as made in and through Christ, and Christ is revealed and known only to his people, and only as a Savior. If nothing other or further has ever been revealed to me I am content with this. There is enough in this for my faith and hope and love. His Spirit guides into all truth, receiving of Jesus, and showing unto us. He never guides into error or delusion. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. He cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. I have this to say, after journeying for half a century, that I not only was led in a way that I knew not, but if I had known I would not have chosen. Many incidents occur that it is instructive and profitable to rehearse. The way is a straight way. The word of the Lord lives on, and the promises are being continually confirmed. Every manifestation that the Lord ever makes of himself is to the destruction of what is called the works of the devil. If Christ lives in us we ought to be living epistles known and read by all who have been taught by the Spirit. The light that has shined upon the word has never ceased to shine upon it, and that Zion in which God lives and reigns is still the perfection of beauty. In faith and hope,

E. RITTENHOUSE.

Signs Of The Times
Volume 69, No. 7
April 1, 1901