New Vernon, N. Y., Jan. 7, 1847.
DEAR BRETHREN: – It is indeed a privilege to the servants of the Most High which he has not at all times been pleased to extend to them that they are permitted to serve him in the manner which he has directed, without being disfranchised. Notwithstanding the malice of wicked men and devils, our God has been pleased to give his people a short respite from persecution in this western world. How much longer he will continue to favour them with this is known only to himself. Though it may seem to finite reason to be unnecessary to subject the chosen people of God to the difficulties and trials of the seven times heated furnace, yet it has seemed good in his sight that in this world ye shall have tribulation: and as in the case of the three Hebrew children, the end which he has in view is frequently to burn off the cords with which they are bound, and to have them perfectly free to enjoy the sweet communion of the Son, by whose blood they are purified, and by whose power they are preserved both naturally and spiritually.
If it were for the good of the church and the glory of God he would immediately destroy the children of the evil one, and liberate his elect from the many troubles that attend them here; but this is not his will. He has assured us that all things are for Christ, and Christ’s will is that all whom the Father hath given him shall be with him, that they may behold his glory. Again, we are told that the church is the body of Christ and the fulness of him that filleth all in all; and shall all the union of effort, of which the powers of darkness boast, ever be able to defeat the cause of God so far as to either add to or diminish from that fulness which the eternal God has ordained? As well might the enemies of Zion attempt to overthrow the throne of the Great I AM, as to destroy the weakest child of God, for
While his throne unshaken stands
Shall all his chosen live.
While the church is enjoying the liberty of conscience which our civil institutions guarantee, the man of sin is exerting every influence in his power to disturb her peace. Since his usual instrument legislative enactments, is unavailable, he must resort to other means of disturbing the enjoyment of the church. It is more painful to the church to suffer the seasons when the light of God’s countenance (not as sometimes quoted, reconciled countenance) is withdrawn, than to bear the severest tortures malice can inflict. At these seasons, the father of lies assails the soul through every channel of which he is master, and especially through the sinful and faithless propensities of the flesh. He temps the soul to sin, tells him that it is true that the saints are saved, but ridicules the idea of his being a saint; and the severest wounds he can inflict are, when he has tempted the soul into a transgression of the laws of Christ’s kingdom, the reproaches which he will cast upon the Redeemer’s cause, saying “You are a fair specimen of the church, you pretend that God preserves you; but you follow your own carnal desires; you have committed the UNPARDONABLE SIN,” &c. Under all these buffetings, the soul (?) unbelief and is ready to give up all hope, when Christ appears, dispeis the gloom that shrouded the bewildered soul, and the tempter flies before him like the shades of darkness before the rising sun.
In every state of the church she is entirely dependent upon the guardian care of her God not only for spiritual food, and protection from her enemies, but even for an appetite for heavenly manna, and the holy desire to escape the treacherous wiles of the adversary. The world presents a thousand allurements to attract the minds and fasten the affections of the people of God to the vain things of time, and ere they are aware they find that they can more easily spend a day to earn a dollar than an afternoon to meet with the people of God, even though they may already be blessed with an abundance of this world’s goods. Under such circumstances is it strange that all the efforts both of the world and of the church to produce spiritual exercises are vain? yet now prone we are to attempt to revive ourselves instead of waiting the pleasure of the Lord. What lessons the church has to learn from her present state is yet to be revealed; the persecutions she has passed through have served well to illustrate the truth of what Paul says concerning the indissoluble union of Christ and his people. (See Romans viii. 38, 39.) No doubt the Master will in the end display the reason of her sufferings, and cause her to acknowledge that all the way which the Lord has led her is a right way. The same love that redeemed his people dictated that new commandment recorded in John xiii. 34. “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” If then the Savior has laid down his life for his flock, and has not forsaken them even when in themselves, they were dead in sins, how can we hope to escape the rod of the covenant if we disobey the new commandment of our Lord?
If any brother have any light upon the meaning of Daniel x. 21, especially the latter clause, by giving his views of that subject through the Signs he would confer a favor upon
An unworthy brother.
WM. L. BEEBE.
Signs of the Times
Volume 15, No. 3
February 1, 1847.