North Berwick, Me., April 5, 1899.
Mrs. Rebecca Hewitt – My Dear Grandmother: – The Lord God of Israel has spared your life in the earth through another year. How few now live to be as old as yourself, as you now enter upon your ninety-seventh year. But your life has been more blessed than the life of many a one that has attained to even greater age. Because it is to be feared that many who live to be over a hundred years old, live without the knowledge of God and his grace, they are enemies of God, strangers to his sweet, pardoning love, and die in their sins. But the Lord in his electing love and sovereign grace was pleased to call you unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ when young in years, and he has been the God of thy mercy ever since. I have often, dear grandmother, heard you with pleasure relate how when you were about thirteen years of ago you were taught of the Lord that you were a great sinner, and the Lord in great mercy made you to rejoice in his salvation. That was a peculiarly sweet speech of our beloved Redeemer’s with which he quieted the troubles of your heart, and bound up your wounds, declared his pardoning and justifying grace, espoused you unto himself, filled you with gladness and rejoicing, and brought you into his chambers, even his royal palace, saying, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” Then it was you could say, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning unto dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” It seems wonderful and precious to my soul to think that from your girlhood days until now you have ken a believer, (nearly eighty-five years) and have so signally proved the unfailing loving-kindness of the Lord. What streams of mercy have flowed unto you in the wilderness, and in the straits and trials that have been your lot through life. I have often heard you rehearse how your God was in truth a very present help. The bitterest cup that our heavenly Father gave you to drink, had his love mingled in it, so that you were able to drink from his hand every affliction. The loveliness of Christ was revealed by the Spirit, and won your heart in the days of your youth, and what beauties have been discovered to you in the house of your pilgrimage. The more our Savior is revealed unto us by the Comforter, who takes of the things of Christ and shews them unto us, the more and more lovely he is in our sight. I look back to the years that are past, when we often sang together the words,
“Up to his throne I soon shall go,
More of his loveliness to know,
Where ransomed millions shall declare,
He’s altogether lovely there.”
Then with immortal eyes we shall behold him without a veil between, we shall see him as he is, and we shall be like him. He will indeed be our soul’s admiration. Even now, as we gaze upon him by faith, we greatly admire him, we are taken captives by his charms, no other one, no other face has beauties so divine. We see in his love, in his sufferings and death, in his glorious work for the perfecting of his body, the church, surpassing beauties. Truly he is fairer than the children of men; the chiefest among ten thousand. O, when in glory we appear, clothed in our ransomed, glorified and immortal bodies, and we shall dwell forever with our dear Lord Jesus, O then, throughout eternity he will be the everlasting admiration of all the chosen and ransomed church of God. During your long pilgrimage he has often showed himself to your soul, through the lattice, and often, dear grandmother, I have listened with delight, as you delighted to speak of the matchless excellencies of our Redeemer.
When you were a child the Lord declared his electing love to your soul, and called you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, from under the law, into the sweet liberty and rest of the gospel of Christ. He taught you also to go, taking you by the arms. Our Lord says, “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” (Hosea xi. 1-4.) The Holy Spirit by his gracious ministrations, by his communion with your heart, instructed you in the things of the kingdom of our Father, and as it is written, “Taught you to go,” to walk by faith in the Son of God, and even to your old age our covenant-keeping God has sustained and comforted you, and in his word which is settled in heaven he says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb; and even to your old age I am he: and even to hoary hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” – Isaiah xlvi. 3, 4.
Old Jacob in his last days exclaimed, “I have waited for thy salvation; O Lord.” You also, dear grandmother, have been blessed with the blessed hope of God’s salvation, and often its precious joys refreshed and strengthened your heart, and now without doubt you are “looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” and all who are thus looking are not looking in vain. “For unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
During the remnant of your days here below, I wish for you all that happiness which our heavenly Father has in store for you. I have learned in my little journey that the Lord knows just when and where, and in what measure to mete out unto his sacred ones, their peace and delights, their trials and griefs, and happy indeed is that soul that is brought into acquiesceuce to the good pleasure of our Father in heaven.
It would afford me pleasure to see you once again, and I have no doubt it would be a pleasure to you to clasp in your arms our grandchild Florence, your first great, great grandchild. We are all glad to hear that your bodily health is so good, and that your mental faculties are preserved to you in such clearness and activity, for though but a temporal blessing, it is not a small one, considering your advanced age. How often have I heard you repeat the lines,
“To thee every mercy I owe,
Above what the fiends have in hell,
And shall I not sing as I go,
My Jesus does everything well?”
Dim-sighted as we are, we may not be able at all times to see that all God’s providences with his children are in wisdom and everlasting love, but we believe he loves his own too well to suffer anything to befall them that shall not work for their good.
“E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.”
We all send kind love to you. I am your affectionate grandson,
FEED. W. KEENE.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67, No. 12.
JUNE 15, 1899.