CORRESPONDENCE

Occoquan, Va., May 31, 1881.

MR. BENTON L. BEEBE – DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: – We have learned with deep sorrow of the death of your beloved father. A cloud of sadness rests upon our churches, and awakens within us deep sympathy for your bereaved family, and tender recollections of the past, when we have mingled together with him in the holy service of our God. A faithful and war-worn veteran of the cross has fallen upon the field. He was found throughout his ministerial life in the front rank of the champions of truth, earnestly contending for the faith “once delivered unto the saints.” Nor was his contention for truth in your “war about words.” No, but with the zeal inspired from on high, we ever found him in the hottest of the conflict, a mark for the merciless assailants of Zion. Denounced as a heretic, his name cast out as evil, his motives misconstrued, his views misrepresented, we find him with holy boldness and faithful firmness making “full proof” of his ministry unto the end. None of these things moved him, neither counted by his life dear unto itself, that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry that he had received of the Lord Jesus, “to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” He was, as our dear brother Wm. S. Montgomery once remarked in my hearing, a pioneer in the investigation of truth, frequently reaching, far beyond his brethren, soaring in the sublime height of revealed truth. I’ve heard many of our able brethren dwell upon the wonders of grace, that I have never heard one yet who, to my hearing, excelled Elder Beebe, when of liberty, and presenting the eternal perfections of Deity and the glory of his grace. With heavenly power I’ve heard him, many times, dwell upon the eternal, underived, unbegotten Godhead of the Lord Jesus, our Redeemer. To think that he should have been accused of preaching a “created Christ!” Base indeed is such a charge. But while our hearts are filled with deep morning at the death of this dear brother and father in Israel, let us look beyond the watchman, to him who keepeth the city; for, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build; except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.” Again, “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” That all-seeing eye looks upon every shifting sense of time, and guards his people well. He will continue to raise up, qualify and send forth his ministers as it seemeth good in his sight. The eternal truth of our God is not built upon the ministry. The eloquent voice, the cherished form, are seen no more, but the eternal truth of our God remains, and must abide forever. “Lord, thou has been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst form the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou God.” How expressive of this point of truth is that closing expression in the autobiography of the deceased, published in the Daily Press. “My voice,” says he, “will soon be silenced in death, my pen will pass into the hands of another, and, I hope, abler writer, but the eternal truth for which I have so long contended will be lasting as the days of eternity. And when the deceptive and luring doctrines and institutions of men shall be exposed, and all who have trusted in the refuge of lies shall bewail their folly and call for rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the presence of the Lamb, those who know and love the truth shall in truth rejoice forevermore.” But we will pass from the consideration of the death of Elder Beebe to another important matter intimately connected with it, the future of the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. From the brethren in all parts of our country and earnest, fervent cry arises, may we hope to the throne, that the same kind guiding hand hitherto manifested in his preservation may continue to guide the course of the SIGNS. Without him we can do nothing. The SIGNS has become to be “our family paper” and we are deeply interested in its welfare. With the doctrine contended for in its columns we are in hearty accord. May the mantle fall on him whom the Lord has chosen. Reference has already been made through the columns of the SIGNS to our dear brother Elder William L. Beebe in this connection. I am confident that this election will be entirely satisfactory to our brethren in this vicinity, and believe that would be to the readers of the SIGNS in all parts of the country. But as you have already announced, act as the Lord may seem to direct. May he died your choice. With whomsoever you may feel called upon to associate yourself as assistant or assistants, I desire to continue to render all of the aid in my power to assist in the circulation of the SIGNS. May the rich blessings from heaven fall upon its future, and the bereaved family and sorrowing churches be led to the great Rock from whence all of the streams of strength and consolation flow to the tempest-tossed Pilgrims upon earth’s barren way.

Yours in gospel fellowship,
Wm. M. Smoot.

Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 12.
June 15, 1881.