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CORRESPONDENCE

Lanham, W. Va.

Brethren Ker And Chick: – By the request of S. L. Melton I make the attempt to write a short sketch in memory of C. L. Melton, his father, who departed this life in September, 1895. He was a son of the late Elder William A. Melton, and was an able defender of the doctrine of the Primitive Baptists. Nothing pleased him better than to be in scriptural conversation with those who loved the doctrine of salvation by grace, and when the enemy would attack the doctrine he so dearly loved, with a feeling of solemnity and soundness of speech he would shut the mouth of the gainsayer. Surely one shall chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight. He was well versed in the Scriptures; not easily frustrated, and usually spoke positively. His speech was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit. O how I miss him. We had grown up together from the days of our boyhood, and many happy hours have we spent together after we had grown to manhood, talking of the goodness and mercy of God to us poor, sinful worms of the earth. Now, children, your mother was called home to her sweet rest in the paradise of God in the year of 1879, if I am not mistaken. I can say you had a good, loving, christian mother; and your father and mother have been taken from the evil to come, and you are left to mourn your loss, but not as those that have no hope.

I will pen down your father’s experience as he gave it to me. “You have asked me to give you my christian experience; I tear that I am not able to give such an experience; I can only give my thoughts and feelings. When young I often had serious thoughts about the great hereafter. I did not like my thoughts to dwell upon the regions of woe and eternal darkness; it seemed for the time to crush out all the joys of life to think of being doomed to such a place, but these were only fleeting thoughts, like the breezes of a summer day, that seemed to waft the little clouds, and scatter afresh the golden sunshine, and make the pensive heart assume its wonted cheerfulness. When my thoughts were most serious I desired to be alone. I have often gone to some dark, secluded spot to hide from all eyes save Him whom my soul desired should hear my humble petition. I desired to be resigned to the Lord’s will, stop doing wrong and be a better man. My earnestness would make me believe it was prayer, but I would soon discover I knew not how to pray, and could not utter one word. I desired the Lord to instruct me, and not let me sin. By begging Him to change his will I would often grow careless about myself, and often forget to think of our kind Benefactor as I should. My beloved father was a very devoted Baptist; the trivial things of life never prevented him from going to the Baptist churches. Being very devoted to him I loved his people, and claimed them as kindred in the morning of life when too young to know the difference between the natural and spiritual relations, but when I grew older my father explained that the natural was for our good here, but it being earthly would end with time, while spiritual ties had no ending, and would live through all eternity. Who would not desire the link that would bind us in heaven to be embraced in God’s holy love? I desire it, but do not the unregenerate also! If I have ever been born of the Spirit I know not when or how. I know that there is a change, but I doubt its being spiritual. For the last twenty-two years I have had no desire to listen to the denominations that are always doing so many great things for the Lord, and working for the highest seat in heaven, and the crown that will glitter with the most stars of honor. I do feel an interest in all true Baptists, and love their preaching and conversation. One of the pleasantest seasons of my life was the last of October, 1895. While preparing to visit our association, I was thinking of the dear Baptists and of the good meeting that was coming, when I was made very happy; I felt it was sweet to love Jesus and to be enabled to praise him. I remained in a pleasant frame of mind while at the association; they were lovely people, dearer man ever. It was a good meeting, and they were so pleasant to dwell with that I felt sad when the association closed and the good-byes were said. If meeting with precious ones here thrills us with such sweet delight, what will it be in that beautiful city of the great Shepherd, where praises never end, congregations never break and there are no farewells? My life has been full of doubts and fears, with few and short seasons of joy. Even upon the bed of affliction, and in the most trying moments, Jesus has seemed near to comfort and reconcile me to his dispensations. How sweet when we can rely upon him, willing for him to choose our way and lead us as seemeth good in his sight, knowing that he doeth all things well. I have tried to claim this as a manifestation of his love, and have at times taken comfort in it, as well as in the words, ‘ We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.’ If not deceived, I do love them and earnestly desire a home with them, but am too unworthy to ask them to fellowship me when I cannot fellowship myself. When I read the experience of christians, I find they have bright evidences of being children of God, yet there is something that seems to touch some secret spring in my poor heart, and a thrill of pleasure encircles me and makes me love their very sayings.”

J. W. McCLANAHAN.

Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 17.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1908.