South-hill, Bradford co., Pa., March 18, ‘43.
BROTHER BEEBE: – Hezekiah, the old sinner that has been sick so long, sends through the Signs, if you please, to his brethren abroad, some account of his health. He was a sinner born – has lived in sin all his days, as to his flesh: this he well knows. But as he hopes he has been twice born, once of the flesh and once of the Spirit, so he hopes, though a sinner, to be saved entirely by grace. That which is born of the flesh is flesh. And as I have now for more than a year been so sickly and weakly as not to have been able to do business as formerly, and the prospect of ever being able to do much more in this life appears small: yet I hope to be able to ride some and visit my brethren, and preach to them of sovereign, distinguishing grace; but if I begin to flatter myself of going soon some new attack blasts my hopes. I am now laboring under an attack of the rheumatism, so that it is with difficulty that I get about the house. I am satisfied that that which was born of the flesh is a body of corruption; for, feeble as the old man is, he can be peevish, and fret, tense, storm, wrangle, and be as dissatisfied because things do not go to suit him, as he has been able to for many years: and thus I am tormented with his clamorous exercise almost perpetually. I guess, I know something of what Paul meant when he wrote some part of the vii. chapter to the Romans, about a law in his members, warring against the law of his mind; and also to the Galatians, saying, The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would, But if indeed I was ever born again, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and never consents to sin, any more than that which was born of the flesh does to spiritual holiness. But with me, I seem as weak in grace as though I were sick in that respect also. My mind is roving; my apprehensions so dull; I am so overshadowed with clouds, or surrounded with thick fogs; my path seems so dark; I am so filled with fears; my enemies are so numerous and mighty; and I am so little acquainted with tactics; and am so very backward to learn; and I get so cold I am almost torpid – I almost think sometimes as David did: “I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul,” or some other of mine enemies. But faith forbids my foreboding fears, such gloomy doubts rise. Again, to me the Lord appears with pity in his eyes, and then I am sick of myself; sick of sin; sick of unbelief; sick of my fears; sick of having such an army of lusts, and feeding and gratifying them so much, and think I never will any more. But soon my sun is hid; my cheering light is gone, and I am chilled and almost dead, scarce strength enough to groan; but the Lord in kindness keeps me yet alive. My times are in his hand, and he governs with infinite exactness all the things that are, events that he suffers to take place. And whether my days on earth be few or many – and whether they are filled with pain and sorrow, or with health and pleasure, or a mixture of each, he will direct as seemeth him good, for the accomplishment of his purpose, and to manifest his own glory. And whether after death I shall be in heaven or hell, there will doubtless be such a display of wisdom, power, and glory in the divine government, and attendant upon a discovery of the holiness of Jehovah’s nature and administration, as will fill unholy beings with dismay, and give impulse to all holy ones in the exercise of admiration, joy and praise, while God unfolds to their view his unrevealed fulness. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God – see him in the storm, and in the calm; in the cloud, and in the sunshine; in the wind, and in the fiery shower; in war, and in peace; in our friends, and in our foes; in love, and in hatred; in the day, and in the night; in pain, and in ease; in sickness, and health; in youth, and old age; in weakness, and in strength; in prosperity, and in adversity; in poverty, and in riches; in the fire, and in the water; on the land, and in the sea; in the cold, and in the heat; in the cultivated field, and in the wilderness; in the city, and in the country; in the hamlet, and in the garden; in the kitchen, and in the workshop; in the splendid edifice, and in the cottage; in the house built for his worship, and in the idol’s temple; in life, and in death; in the grave, and in the resurrection; in the present world, and in the world to come – either in heaven or in hell – to see him among the beasts of the field; the fishes of the sea; the fowls of the air, and the creeping worms, with all the reptile and insect race. And to realize he made them all; feeds them all; governs them all; has a use for them all – will be declaratively glorified by them all, and in them all – that even the least of them has a sphere to fill, a work to do – to accomplish some part of the purpose of God as really as the sun, moon and stars, or the planet which we inhabit – is a sight of more value and more pleasing to behold, than all the beasts and pictures, theatres, museums, circuses and worldly games and plays that the world ever afforded, – to procure, exhibit and see, which there have been so much time and money expended.
To enjoy a realizing sense of the excellency of wisdom, power, holiness and love, manifest in creation, providence and grace; to view with delight of the government which God exercises over angels, men and devils, with every other being and circumstance with infinite exactness in ever impulse of mind; and his direct control over their various ends and aims, in all their conduct and motions; and to be assured by the unchanging nature and oath of him who has “Declared the end from the beginning, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure,” that nothing can frustrate his purpose of grace; that it is as certain that every particular individual of his chosen to salvation will enjoy, in union with Christ, the inheritance proposes, that is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading, and reserved in heaven, as though they were now in full possession of it, – to view his kind hand in all our attendant changes operating to prepare us therefore, makes the world’s trinity honor, wealth and pleasure, appear as if they were scarcely worth possessing, could we have them for nothing. It brings joy of a superior quality to the soul, and presents to view a treasure, the earnest of which is worth more than all earthly enjoyments. It gives a real zest to life; sweetens the cup of affliction; helps to bear sufferings with patience, and adversity with resignation; brings time to a more point in view of eternity; directs to a glorious habitation, and makes the soul reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Had Adam continued in his pristine innocence until now, enjoying all his natural familiarity with his Creator in his Edenic habitation – indeed, had all this world been an Eden, and the numerous posterity of Adam, innocent as in their original, how insipid all their enjoyments compared with what that soul enjoys who feels a union to Christ in the Spirit of holiness, enjoying the sealing manifestation of redemption from sin by the blood of the cross, applied by the power of the Holy Ghost, rejoicing in Christ his hope of eternal glory!
Trusting that through grace abounding to the chief of sinners, God has graciously given him that feels by turns as if he were a worm, and no man, a feeble glimpse of these things.
I still remain,
Your unworthy brother,
Signs of the Times.
Volume 11, No. 8
April 15, 1843