Richmond, Me., Dec. 4, 1848.
BROTHER BEEBE: – I have just returned from Whitefield, on the east side of Kennebec River, about ten miles from this place, where there is a few of the “afflicted and poor people” that trust in the name of the Lord. The first Predestinarian Baptist Church at Whitefield was organized more than fifty years ago, and was passed through a series of trials, and afflictions, but yet remains a visible church of Christ. If the Lord had not been on their side, they would long since have been swallowed up, when their enemies rose up against them. For grievous wolves have entered in among them, not sparing the flock; and also of themselves, have men arose speaking perverse things, and have drawn away disciples after them. Their late pastor (Eld. J. Bailey) was faithful unto death, and in his life time, ceased not to warn the church night and day, with tears. He died in a good old age full of years, and is gathered unto his people, and it might be said of him that, he fought a good fight, and has finished his course, and kept the faith.
Owing to violent storms, and strong winds, and a tempestuous sea, sailing is now dangerous to the church of God in this section of country, and though our bark may be dashed to pieces, yet, thanks be to God, his people will escape safe to land, through sovereign grace, and distinguishing love. A host has encamped against us on every side, and, as it were, in our midst, and fear takes hold of us, and joy and comfort ceases, and we feel to say at times, Alas! what shall we do? But when our eyes are opened to behold the mountain full of horses, and chariots of fire, round about us, we can say, more are they that be with us, than are they that be with them. To use a figure, there is summer and winter, day and night with the christian, and we must, through much tribulation enter the kingdom of heaven. The bitter is before the sweet, and the people of God must endure a great light of afflictions, to obtain the great, sure, and eternal reward. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, when he (Christ) shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
If a man thinketh he is something, when he is nothing he deceiveth himself, and thus it hath been with me. A knowledge that puffeth up, and a proud spirit, have led many astray, therefore I fear all the day long. But truth is precious, and valuable above all things, and though I am an erring mortal, a sinner by nature and by practice, I hope I shall be enabled to maintain gospel truth, though it be through much contention. I often think of what Paul said to Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
I hope the Signs will be sustained, and that you will be strengthened in might by his Spirit in the inner man, in all your trials and afflictions. The Signs are read with satisfaction by many in Maine.
JOSEPH L. PURINGTON.
Signs of the Times
Volume 17, No. 2.
January 15, 1849.