PREPARATIONS AND DESIRES OF AN EXPERIENCE OF GRACE

“All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollas, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.” - 1 Corinthians, iii, 21,22.

Most gracious and comforting assurance, filling with heavenly fullness the preparations and desires of an experience of grace.

The preparations, because the work of Gospel grace prepares its subjects for the power and fullness of the “exceeding great and precious promises,” in teaching the vain, unreal, unsatisfying nature of all things else.

This preparation through great and sore conflict, the tearing out of earthly heartstrings, the blasting forever of earthly prospects by which the child is taught to turn forever from perishing time, is wrought solely by the operation of the Holy Spirit, and first found in the child of God's experience of grace.

The desires, are also by Him, and necessary because in all the wild round of nature, the manifestations of mortal life, there is absolutely nothing that can satisfy the spiritual mind but that Truth of this testimony, - the assurance of the promise to which we allude.

Without reference to the direct connection of the text above, there is a fullness of beauty and sweetness in the subject as embodied in the text itself, to the comfort and encouragement of the children of grace. “All things are yours.” While the apostle is speaking of ministerial gifts, he doesn't confine his testimony to such as application; but he continues, “life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.”

Could language more fully convey the rich inheritance of saints? Yet in all of its fullness, covering every avenue of our need, we can not possibly take hold of it unless our God is pleased to reveal the testimony, manifesting its precious power in our personal experience, developing a comforting assurance for which a preparation has been made through a deep sense of natural ignorance and helplessness.

“All things;” “Life, death, and hell, and worlds unknown,” “All things;” in all their minutia, as in all their vastness; in present or in future, in life or in death; - Reflect upon it, dear tempted, trembling, despairing child, when sinking in disappointment and despondency, overwhelmed with doubt and fear; when your life appears a wreck to every good intent, think of the precious assurance, that “all things are yours.”

Yea, “all things, in gloom or in joy, in doubt or in assurance, in life or in death,

“In every state secure,
Kept as God's eye,
'Tis well with them while life endure,
And well when called to die.”

He who made all things for Himself, for His own great glory, and for the good of His chosen people, will certainly over-rule their darkness and doubt; their disappointment and despondency: their tribulations and sore conflicts, in present or in future, work all both now and forever in the manifestation of the wonders of redeeming love.

Blessed, precious, and heavenly assurance when applied by the power of the Spirit! “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” “All things are yours, * * * And ye are Christ's: and Christ is God's. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us.”

While death and disease have made frightful havoc in the world around us, during the year that has passed, our God has tempered these afflictions among His people by His wondrous grace.

Through an exhibition of that grace, our mortal life has been spared, and we are enabled to again greet our friends and believers in the dawn of another year. Deeply conscious of our utter unworthiness, in and of ourselves, of such favor, but with an abiding hope in the great mercy of God, we face the future; and in the fervent hope of His continued favor, His manifold blessings in the precious name of Jesus; the Savior of poor sinners, the hope of the utterly helpless, the Friend of the friendless and the poor.

We can but look to Him amid the encircling gloom that surrounds us, or yet in the sunshine that brightens or path. We need no other refuge, we can ask for nothing more than the completeness found in Him. He is our Guide, our “all in all,” and having Him we possess “all things,” - a fullness which leaves nothing more to be desired, or required.

We can say with the poet, 'till and

“When we tread the verge of Jordan,
Be thou still our Strength and Shield.”

In these heavenly assurances we face the future. Their purposes are wisely hidden from our eye; “but in Him who is our Life, our hope and Trust we confide,” and face the future, its cares and perplexities, with its unfolding wickedness, its calamities and woe, its mutterings and thunderings, knowing that Israel's God controls it all.

We need not fear the hidden mysteries that lie concealed in nature's womb. Nothing can be there, only what our God has decreed for the good of His chosen family; for the declaration of His power; for “the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Then to that God we will ever look, He

“Is our Guide, our Light, our All,
To bid our dark foreboding cease;
And through the storm and danger's thrall,
To lead us to the port of peace.”

Truly are we in the midst of “perilous times,” and His people are tried as in the fire; but He will keep them to the honor and glory of His great name, and as witnesses to His eternal Truth.

In this blessed, holy and heavenly Truth, we greet our brethren, in the abiding hope that Israel's God may preserve us a seed, a remnant to exalt and glorify His great name; that we may continue “unto the glory and praise of God,” yea, that we may be kept “in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Elder William Smoot
1902