North Berwick, Maine.
Mrs. Mabel Weeks, Gardiner, Maine, – Dear Sister In Jesus Our Precious Friend And redeemer: – I am glad once more to hear from you; I am glad to learn that you and your husband and children are enjoying comfortable health, and I am interested in the tidings about others. But I am especially interested in those things that pertain to God, and to eternity. I am pleased that since I last wrote to you that you are no longer spending your time reading that vile, religious literature. So much of it floods the laud. What little time you have for reading, read the precious Scriptures, and may the Lord give you understanding therein. (Luke xxiv. 45.) You will find, my dear sister, as you journey along, that many snares and temptations are to be encountered. Satan and his ministers have their cisterns on every hand all along the path, and they seek to induce the pilgrims of Zion to turn aside and take a sip out of their cisterns. But it is not wise to be sipping this and that, and every poison, just to see how they taste. I warned you before, so again I beseech you, beware of the cisterns of antichrist, for they do not contain the precious living water; there is nothing in their doctrines but harm, there is nothing in them to refresh the weary, wayfaring children of God. Their cisterns are full of deadly poisons, vile, damnable, Christ-dishonoring doctrines. Dip not so much as the tip of your finger into their errors, taste them not, have nothing to do with them. We have our God, the fountain of living waters, whoso goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life. We have his holy Scriptures, and the promise of our Redeemer that the Spirit of truth shall guide us into all truth. (John xvi. 13.) May your life, and mine, be spent over imploring the sacred guidance and teaching of the Comforter. “O send out thy light and thy truth: and let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.”
You mention that you have an apprehension that “your sins have not worried you as they ought.” I have at times the same feeling. Our sins against God are so “exceeding sinful.” (Rom. vii. 13.) The more the spiritual requirements of the law discover in our hearts how far we have strayed, the more we see of the purity of God, of his tender mercy and infinite compassion to poor sinners; I repeat, the more we see of “the beauty of the Lord,” (Psalm xxvii. 4,) the more we shall see how “exceeding sinful” it is to sin against such a beautiful God. And as our hearts are exercised over these things we shall find longings springing up within us, yes, there will be warm breathings after conformity to the likeness of Christ Jesus. Ah, instead of having to walk through the earth so black, a sinner, not fit to be seen, not fit to be known, O to be pure, to be spotless, “O let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” – Psalm xc. 17. O, that I could be so clothed, that I could in truth ever be found arrayed in beautiful garments. (Isaiah lii. 1.) But, my sister, often I seem to see, as afar off, the daughter of Zion in her garments of glory and beauty. There she stands a perfect beauty, adorned with the comeliness of Jesus, freely pardoned and justified by his grace. I see that she loves her royal Husband, who shed his own blood to cleanse her from all her defilements. I see her pouring forth her adoring gratitude before him; I see how lowly she is in her own eyes, how she blushes beneath the tokens of his love; she is so conscious of her unworthiness, yet his words of grace touch her heart, his precious doctrine is so suitable to her, a sinner, that her soul is strengthened to believe him, and to trust in him with all her heart. I pen you a partial glimpse of the scene. Well, then as it were, my eyes are turned upon myself, and I say, Surely I cannot be that one I was looking at awhile ago, and yet as I contemplated Zion in the perfection of her loveliness, as I gazed upon the church exercised with all the graces of the Spirit, did not my heart rejoice when she rejoiced before her Redeemer and King! And when she worshiped her Husband who had ransomed her from sin and hell by his precious blood, when the church bowed at his feet and worshiped him, (Psalm xlv. 11,) who had taken her from the dunghill, who had mercy upon her, and fed her and clothed her, who woed her and won her unto himself, and cast his skirt over her, and said to her heart, Thou art mine, did I not feel to weep with humbleness of mind before his throne? Bid not I feel my heart exercised in tearful gratitude unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood? And when he hold out to her the golden sceptre of his everlasting love, and called her Hephzibah, and raised her, and seated her at his own right hand in heavenly places, did I not feel a thrill of rapturous admiration to thus behold the church of God, ransomed from sin and death and hell, so exalted and glorified together with our ascended Lord and Savior? Yes, I felt my soul was delighted with the abundance of her glory. (Isaiah lxvi. 11.) Yes, I have to admit I felt a oneness with her, an attachment to her, and it seemed I tasted some of her bliss as the pardoned, saved church of God. Thus sometimes I ponder of these sacred and divine mysteries, and your heart is not an entire stranger to such musings. What do all such thoughts and exercises of soul mean? Such emotions of soul, and affectionate musings upon Christ and the church, are the revelations of faith (Romans x. 8,) in the heart. It is the evidence to us that we are not strangers to the communion of the Holy Ghost, (2 Cor. xiii. 14,) for such it is. True, as we look upon ourselves as weak, sinful creatures, yet treading our way through this world, we may well feel it doth not yet appear what we shall be. The incomparable beauty and glory of the justified ones the natural eye cannot see, “It doth not yet appear,” and all we now apprehend of it is by faith, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Thus by the revelation of the Spirit, (1 Cor. ii. 10,) who testifies of Christ in our souls, we taste, and have the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of Christ’s glory. (Eph. i. 14.)
I find that in your own estimation you judge it is only in a very small measure that you have attained unto the knowledge of divine things. How can it be otherwise when the riches of Christ are unsearchable! As a child by the seaside with a shell in its hand, saying, I will empty the ocean, and know its fullness, it toils all day, but at eventide there rolls the mighty deep, and the child sighs and says, How little I have gathered, so we as we think of God and his glory, as we muse upon his work and his ways, as we enter to explore the riches of his grace, though days and years we are thus employed we see in the everlasting gospel an infinite ocean of love, and wisdom, and power, and grace, and mercy, and truth, yea, of all the perfections of God, and in ravishing astonishment we are constrained to cry out, “Lo, these are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him, but the thunder of his power who can understand!” – Job xxvi. 14. Now, it can only be said, “We know in part.” – 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. But, my dear sister, what a blessed heritage to know truly and spiritually anything relating to the Lord of glory, and God of our salvation. Though we know ever so little, that little is infinitely precious, and it is all the gift of the Spirit of God, without whom we could know nothing of the things of God. “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
Your mind may be sometimes exercised with misgivings, whether it is truly so with you or no: “Am I his, or am I not?” But inquire, Has not the glorious gospel of the grace of God won your heart, and captivated your affections? Do not thy thoughts, thy desires at times go forth unto the truth, unto the dear Savior, to his obedience and sufferings and blood, as thy only trust and refuge, the only hope of the forgiveness of thy sins? Are you attracted to Christ crucified? Then it is all because he hath drawn you to himself; because he hath loved you; because he hath compassion upon you; because he hath suffered and bled and was crucified for thee; because he hath saved thee; for thus saith our dear Savior, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” – John xii. 32, 33. Yes, there are moments when you feel the suffering, crucified Savior, is all thine hope. Here all thy longings as a poor sinner are centered, thy hopes of pardoning mercy flow from the wounds and precious blood of the Lamb. Yes, away from all thine own endeavors, and all creature wisdom and help, thou art drawn to look unto him that was slain on the tree, and thon reachest forth with throbbing heart to lay hold of Jesus the hope of the contrite in heart. (Heb. vi. 18.) O, what sacred moments! The world knows nothing of such moments.
“Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend.”
May many such moments be your portion, is my heart’s desire.
FRED. W. KEENE.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 68, No. 20.
OCTOBER 15, 1900.