Lanham, W. Va., Feb. 6, 1914.
DEAR BROTHER HICKERSON: – As I read brother Peters’ reply to your request in the February 1st number of the SIGNS there was such a. feeling of love for him in my poor heart that I was constrained to thank God for such a. gift. I felt truly that our God is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, for he has said he will never leave himself without a witness. Such testimony as Elders Peters’, May’s and Beeman’s, with a host of others too numerous to mention, is to me plain proof that God calls and qualifies his ministers. Such, and only such, have ever, can or will preach the gospel of the Son of God with comfort and beauty to the household of faith. As I pen these lines my mind goes back to the days of my youth, when my heart was filled with laughter; Jesus all the day long was my joy and my song. O that more of his salvation I might see. Alas, my dear brother, I now go mourning much of my time, with but little sunshine upon me. I have felt that truly dark and thorny is the desert through which poor pilgrims must travel. My experience is that I have been much of the time in darkness, and with David, the sweet singer of Israel, can say, I am like an owl of the desert. This is a very homely bird indeed, and most of his traveling is in the hours of darkness; his mourning is different from that of any other bird. Job in relating his experience said, “O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; as I was in days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle.” He continues to describe the evils of his nature by saying, “I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.” I have felt, my brother, that the evil propensities of our Adamic nature, which so often perplex us, and cause us to mourn on account of our inbred corruption, are here represented by Job as “dragons.” In our flesh dwells no good thing. Solomon, in describing these enemies in the flesh (yet he is speaking in the spirit which is applicable to all of God’s children, for they are spiritually minded), says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Here, to my mind, is represented the cunning, crafty disposition of our Adamic nature, which so often springs up in our few moments of rejoicing. It is then our joy is turned to mourning. We mourn because we cannot mourn. We hate our sins, but cannot turn from them; when we would do good, evil is present, and how to perform that which is good we find not.
Brother Hickerson, after you have read this imperfect letter, if you feel that it would be of any benefit to. the faithful in Christ, you are at liberty to send it to the SIGNS for their consideration.
Hoping to have a letter from you soon, I remain your brother, trusting in the finished work of Christ,
J. W. McCLANAHAN.
Signs of the Times
Volume 82, No. 12
June 15, 1914