Written by William Middleton Smoot
The Virginian Annual Meeting of Anti-means, Anti-Secret Order Old School, Predestinarian Baptists in session with the Church at Frying Pan Spring, Fairfax County, Virginia, August 16, 17, 18, 1905, to the churches composing our membership, and to all of “like precious faith.”
Greeting: - Dear Brethren, In writing you our Circular Letter we would call you attention to John xiv, 17, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
It was in the shadow of the terrible scenes of the Cross that Jesus spake these precious and blessed words. Around Him stood the men who were to take up the work, and bear the wondrous words of life, but who at that time seemed to have but little, if any, conception of the work of this ministry.
With His far-seeing eye, Jesus well knew the scenes through which these disciples were to pass, whose appalling clouds were already looming up around them. He knew far better than they their need of the sustaining power of free grace, as beset by open enemies without, treacherous enemies within, and their own evil hearts as well, they would be ready to give up all; to fall by the way. Hence He gave them the precious assurance of this promise, which should come unto them not in word only, but in power, when most they needed such heavenly assurance.
“Peace I leave with you.” In Isaiah xxvi, 3, we have the promise, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” What a wonderful promise! And its blessed provisions of peace is coupled with its trust in God. Peace comes through faith given us to trust in the living God, our mind is stayed on Him.”
Turn the needle in the compass from the pole and at once all is confusion; the child of grace when turned from Christ, who is the “bright and morning star,” (Revelation xxii, 16,) at once wanders in the confusion of darkness, hesitancy and doubt. In the ground-work of trust in God is developmented this holy and precious peace, a quiet resting in the arms of faith; in the bosom of God.
It is the gift of God. A heavenly quiet reigns in the mind, stilling for the moment every earth-born passion, lifting the child of grace above the mad roar of the worldly rabble, and into the clear atmosphere of heaven and immortality, where the sights and sounds of earth can never come. It is not an earthly peace, not the peace of an earthly mind, for the Master says, “not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” The fickle, changing, and depraved nature of all earthly attachments or enjoyments, are here alluded to.
The world can bestow upon its votaries nothing but what it possesses, nothing but what is found in its own inherent life. Its passions and enjoyments ebb and flow on the wings of earthly impulse, as changing as the wind and waves of time. This world can give no lasting peace, undisturbed by the moth which corrupts, and the thieves which break through and steal. In an instant its brightest scenes forever perish, its sordid wealth, its strongest attachments fall to nothing like the bloom of spring, and its path is strewn with wrecked hopes, disappointments and dire despair.
But the peace of God is something eternal and enduring, outliving the wreck and death of earthly hope. Not like the fickle charms and favors of earth, not like grasping the fast passing wind of earthly show, not like grasping at an earthly phantom, not like chasing the dissolving mirage of earth’s vain, deceptive, hypocritical and alluring pleasure. “Not as the world giveth give I unto you.” It is written in Philippians iv, 7, “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.”
Wonderful testimony is this of the holy power of the peace of God – that it passeth “all understanding,” sealing the hearts and minds of the dear children of God, in its holy power, as they look unto Him; “their rock and refuge.” Their trust is in Him. They have been stripped of all earthly dependencies, for “vain is the help of man.” And looking away from all else, with an eye single to His glory; “Their spirit looks to God alone.”
In this blessed and heavenly peace, in the assurance of His precious Presence, with the mind fixed stedfastly upon Him, the sorely tried child of God can calmly face the frowns of earth, the persecutions that betide him in his pilgrimage here; “for the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The use of the words implies a tendency on their part to give way to mortal fear as the rising waves of earthly trouble appear ready to overwhelm them. “Let not your heart be troubled.” True “in the world ye shall have tribulation.” This is a necessary part of their earthly inheritance, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” This word of Jesus as spoken in the heart of a child of God as surely calms its troubles, as the word spoke to the boisterous waves of Galilee, “Peace be still.” – Mark iv, 39. The answer was: “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Great indeed beyond all expression is the calmness that fills the heart, that reigns in holy power there, as we rejoice “with joy unspeakable, and full of glory,” in the Divine blessing. Doubt and fear for the time has been dispelled, gloom and despondency has ceased, and we come forth in the newness of life without a cloud to disturb, basking in the light that falls from His throne.
Dear Brethren and companions “in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,” we write you this word of good cheer, feeling assured that time and again in your own heart you have felt its power. In the gloom of despair, in the darkness of death, you have heard the word of the blessed Master, calming your fears, stilling your passions;
“In the midst of the storm, in the midst of the gloom,
Fear not trembling ones, it is I.”
Without some such blessed assurance dreary beyond expression would this world be, intolerable would be its burdens. And the word which falls from His throne we trace back in a golden path to the eternal fount of life and light from whose fullness “have all we received, and grace for grace.” Our coming together on this occasion has been, we humbly hope, a wonderful display of the Divine favor. Peace and harmony has prevailed in our midst. Love and fellowship have flown from heart to heart, and we have been made for a little while, at least, to forget the things of time.
Our next meeting has been appointed to be held, if the Lord will, with the Occoquan Church at her meeting place at Mt Pleasant, Fairfax County, Virginia, Wednesday before the 3rd Sunday in August, 1906, at 10 a.m., and continue the two following days. We kindly invite you to meet us there through your messengers, and to greet us with your renewed messages of love and fellowship.
William M. Smoot, Moderator. September, 1905
L. H. Potter, Clerk
Topeka, Kansas, July 4, 1905
Elder W. M. Smoot, Occoquan, Va.,
Dear Brother – Your postal received, we were glad to hear from you again, and that you are well. We are only tolerably well. I have been in poor health for a while, was not able to attend some of my appointments, but I feel that I am now gaining strength again, and I think my dear wife is improving slowly, for which I feel to thank and adore the God of all grace, and comfort, for in all my troubles He is my only stay.
I should not want to live any longer without Christ, and would surely be afraid to die; but in Him is life, and death has no dominion over us. And not only life in Him, but light, and that light is Christ, and is the light of men, this “was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” – John i, 4,9.
Now let us ask what man is it that “cometh into the world?” all of Adam’s family are already in the world, and is of the world; hence it is evident that it is not, does not refer to any of them. In verse fifth, we find “the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” It is the spiritual that comprehends, the natural cannot. 1 Cor. ii, 14.
Then it is the spiritual man that cometh into the world. The Savior came into the world to save sinners, the apostle Paul said, “of whom I am chief.” – 1 Timothy i, 15. John, in Revelation, speaks of seeing, “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband.” Now if any speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
The people who have the Light are spiritual, and born of God, born from above, born of Jerusalem which is above, and is free, which is the mother of us all. – Galatians iv, 26. This is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and yet see and know Him. These are the only people that can see, the others are blind guides.
Jacob’s wife Leah, was typical of the flesh, and she was tender eyed, could not see well, but Rachel was well favored, and so is the Church. Rachel was barren, but Leah had many children and boasted of it, how about all fleshly religionists, do not they boast of their numbers? Numbers are highly prized by them. But they have not the light. It is evident for,
They cannot see Absolute Predestination, or God’s sovereignty over all His dominion; they cannot see any difference between the natural and the spiritual, believing the natural to be born of God. It is evident that they have not the light that lighteth “every man that cometh into the world,” else they would receive the doctrine and order of God and rejoice therein. John said, “he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” And the command is: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” – 2 John i, 9, 10.
Well Brother Smoot our brethren are all about as common. Remember us kindly to Sister Smoot, and all of the dear saints with you as you have opportunity,
Yours in fellowship, A. D. Jones. 1905