BELOVED ONES OF GOD:
It is very grateful to my spirit that there are readers of the Gospel Messenger to whom one can speak in all freedom upon those divine realities of the gospel of Christ in which we live and walk by the faith of the operation of God. I know that those who fear the Lord are in accord with me that our spiritual substance is all derived from and depends upon our Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we are beneath His healing beams we are sickly indeed, we fade, droop, and die. But O, when the Son of Righteousness arises with healing in His wings, then we are blessed indeed. In this sin-cursed world the believer experiences many woes, and none are so blighting as the sin that dwelleth in us. But if Christ be seen by faith the glory of the Lord is shed forth with gracious efficacy upon us. No matter how dark through sin, temptation, and afflictions our lot may be, when our Redeemer appears, when once more the face of our Saviour we see, His mercy He sheds so abundantly upon us that the darkness of our guilt and unbelief passes away, and we walk once more in the light of His countenance, and hold on our way. I have to lament sometimes that I am so chilled, so cold, and hard. Ah, I know what it is to sigh, “for a glance of heavenly day.” It is Jesus who makes this heavenly day. The knowledge that His sacred blood was spilt for us – O how this melts the heart! this causes rivers to run, and He warms our souls to grateful love and praise. As we are journeying to fairer worlds on high earth-born clouds, and nights also, of sin and unbe1ief so intervene, that often our Saviour I cannot see and I go mourning without the Sun, till my heart is so exercised by the secret and gracious ministrations of the Holy Spirit that I cry –
“Let not my hopes be overcast
With shadows of despair;
Dart thru my soul Thy quickening beam,
And shine forever there.
Impart a ray of heavenly light;
Pure fervent love inspire;
And may the Holy Spirit aid
And fan the sacred fire.
I am tasting continually that things that are temporal are unsatisfying, but my heart is in unison with the Psalmist saying, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors” (Psalm 119:24). Oh I would have the words of the Lord as my near and dear friends, my inseparable companions. I would receive their instructions, I would lean upon them in weariness, temptation, and trouble, and I would solace my soul with their strong consolation. I would bow in contriteness of heart beneath their reproof, yes, I would kiss the words of the Lord that smite me. Oh if any poor sinner needed abundance of grace to enable him to walk in humbleness of heart with God, I am that one: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”
O, my distrustful heart, so much unbelief lurks within me, I need the constant operation of the Lord’s power in me that I may truly trust Him and cast myself and all my affairs into His hands. I find my earthly nature often manifesting its rebelliousness at my being kept in dependence upon the Lord. Ah, there is in my flesh that which lusts for independence, that would even be independent of God our Creator. (What! Independent of Him whom after the inward man I cling to, and would believe that He is my Redeemer and everlasting Friend?). O the villainy of the carnal mind! it would dethrone the High and Holy One and put Him beneath our feet. The carnal mind is enmity against God, and I prove, to my unrest and often to my grief, that such a carnal mind works in me. Such opposites are found in us – the old man and the new man, the flesh and the Spirit. Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! We have tasted the Love of him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. This love of Christ has brought us poor, perishing sinners forgiveness of all our transgressions. We have been enabled to believe that Jesus’ blood has cleansed away all the pollutions of sin, and His righteousness presents us justified, beautiful, and glorious in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. O what a standing to be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephes. 1:4)! Thus we shall see Him face to face, we shall be like Him, we shall in His image shine, clothed in His immortal beauty to the praise of the glory of God’s grace. O blessed hope! For this we are apprehended of Christ Jesus, and our quickened souls reach forth to attain this infinitely glorious destiny (Phil. 3:8-16).
“Oh send me down a draught of love,
Or take me hence to drink above.
Here Marah’s water fills my cup,
But there all griefs are swallowed up.
Love here is scarce a faint desire,
But there the sparks a flaming fire.
Joy here are drops that passing flee,
But there an overflowing sea.”
FREDERICK W. KEENE
North Berwick, Maine
August 11, 1902
THE GOSPEL MESSENGER,
Vol. 25, No. 1.