Beloved Brethren: - At the comfortable home of brother R. E. Worley, (at Cicero, Indiana, August 28) I embrace the opportunity to write you a few lines in time for your meeting next Sunday morning.
If my letter does nothing more, I hope that it may convey to you all an expression of my continued interest in, and loving fellowship for you in the Gospel of our adorable Lord; in the Truth and order of that blessed Gospel.
My mind during my present trip has turned continually to the scenes and incidents of the few days preceding my present journey, the hearty greetings in the fellowship of the Gospel, the kind expressions of good will, and the ardent manifestations of love for and belief in the doctrine and order maintained, by the grace of Israel’s God among us.
My mind continually reverts to you all in the fervent hope that Heaven’s richest, choicest blessings may rest upon you, may abide with, and attend you, in all your wanderings; may safely guide, protect, defend, comfort, encourage, and finally land you upon the blissful shores of bright and glorious immortality.
It would be expected that “children of light” who are born of God, and journeying to realms of light and glory, would look to the gatherings of saints in the courts of Zion, the tabernacles (visible churches) where His praise is heard, where His name is exalted; yea, where His glory is revealed as a foretaste of heaven above, and as in connection with the presence of their God, one of, if not really their greatest enjoyment in this, their mortal pilgrimage. Most surely is this the case in the experience of living children of God.
“When glory crowns the mercy seat,
And Heaven descend His saints to meet.”
To see it thus is an evidence of the Lord’s blessing.
I am glad; yes, I may say immeasurably so, to see evidence of this high regard among you: love for the courts of the Lord’s house, above every thing else, because in that house is found the substance of all spiritual joy.
The father and mother, the children are there, and there is found the communion and companionship of saints. When assembled in your monthly gathering next Sunday morning, may the manifest presence of Israel’s God be with you.
Though separated many hundreds of miles from you, I hope to be present with you, “beholding your order,” and rejoicing in your steadfastness in the ancient faith.
“Brethren, where your altar burns,
Oh receive me into rest.”
I think, yes feel fully assured, that you will unite with me in the request to sing hymn number four in the Beulah Leaflet, as expressing our feelings toward the church and people of God. More especially do the lines which I quote, appeal to the experience of those who have been brought to experience an entire separation from all worldly interests:
“People of the living God,
I have sought the world around,
Paths of sin and sorrow trod,
Peace and comfort nowhere found.
Lonely I no longer roam,
Like the cloud, the wind, the wave;
Where you dwell shall be my home,
Where you die shall be my grave.
Mine the God whom you adore,
Your Redeemer shall be mine;
Earth can fill my soul no more,
Every idol I resign.”
May the Lord continue to bless you in the growth and development of Gospel grace; in the communion and fellowship of saints. May you be made perfect in the perfection of obedience to the law of the Lord, growing up into Him whom God “has given to be the Head over all things to His Church, which is His body the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”
In this growth and development we must necessarily realize more and more of the vileness of self, and of the vain, and fading nature of all that relates to time.
Desiring to be remembered to each of you, with kind and high regard in Gospel bonds for all, I remain as ever. Yours to serve in the precious and enduring fellowship of eternal Truth.
William M. Smoot,
August 28, 1901