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My little one lost her mother about three years since, and ever since that time she had been drooping, until a few weeks previous to her death, when she was taken with her last sickness, and then the doctor told me that she would never come down stairs again. She had evidently inherited her mother's disease-consumption, and that of the most fearful kind. She did not lay her head upon a pillow for nearly two weeks, but got all her sleep by simply nodding in sitting on a sofa. I had to take the most care of her myself. While my feelings were pained much in seeing her suffer so, and that nothing could be done to relieve her, I felt it was a case that demanded of me, who knew of a Physician who could cure soul and body, if it pleased him, to bring her case before him. Prayer was offered in the church, of which I was then a member, and she was visited by many, but, being very low, and greatly troubled in her mind, she wished to see no one but her immediate friends. I was advised to come home about a fortnight before she left us at 12 o'clock, as her step-mother thought she would go off in one of the spells that came on about that time. I came home, and about 3 or 4 o'clock that afternoon, as I was sitting in the front room, all alone with her, she said, "Father, my heart will jump out of me." I said, "My daughter, I hope the Lord will sustain you." A moment after she said, "Father, I am going to Jesus; I shall die happy! I have no fear of death." Oh! It was the Shepherd's voice. I ran across the room and caught her in my arms, and said, while we were both together in tears, "That is all, yea, more than I asked." We called in several friends to rejoice with us, and we all expected she would leave us that night; but she lingered along nearly two weeks after this in great suffering. Sometimes at midnight, when she got so that she could lay her head on the pillow, I would try and pray beside her. She would say, "Father, come close by me; I love to hear you pray. When you pray, Jesus seems close by me;" and she said one day, while suffering much pain, "Father, this is sore suffering; but what is all this to what Jesus suffered for me?" When she left us, the last words on her faltering tongue were, "Pray, pray, pray!" I felt, when bringing her case before the Lord, that the case of the man having the palsy was mine. I knew Jesus could heal her, and I tried to bring her in my arms of faith, and lay her at his feet; telling him if he could do anything for us, to help us; and he graciously answered his own faith, for he is the author of it all.
I feel that it is my duty to the church of God, if I can encourage the weakest, to cast in my mite; and you can do as you think best with this. The Lord willing, at some future time I may send an account of some of the Lord's dealings with my own soul, and give a reason of the hope that is in me with meekness and fear, the Lord enabling me.
The family who resided in the house with us lost their only daughter a few days after I lost mine; and, as her mother had been very kind to us in our affliction, and sat up many nights with me, I felt as though I ought to ask the Lord to bless her for her kindness. I told her of this when her daughter was dying; and, though it seemed to
carnal reason a strange way of blessing, yet I believe she would have reason to thank the Lord for it. Just as the breath was leaving the daughter's body, the mother's tongue was loosed, and she spoke out the praise of our wonder-working God and Saviour, and her tears were tears of gratitude; and then her husband was led to call upon the name of the Lord, and both of them are now hoping in the mercy of the Lord; and, as the Lord opened their hearts, the door of their house was opened, and ever since we have had a prayer meeting on Thursday evenings, and we have sometimes felt as though the Lord was in our midst.
Lately we have had some trouble at the church where I belong, I urging the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit's presence in the new birth, and that there can be no motion Godward until he comes upon the soul, as he did upon the Virgin Mary, forming a new creation or new creature; and the pastor saying that if they waited, without making the effort, they would never come; but I know that when the Lord makes his people willing they come without any driving. They have a new nature, and that nature wants nourishment, and they come under the sweet and gracious teachings of the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ. I also maintained that the Lord Jesus died for the elect world, and them only, and that I was born again before I knew it, and could not believe it, until Jesus revealed himself as mine, by speaking my sins all forgiven; and that I would give no one the praise of this but him. When my little daughter was sick, many said, "Tell her to do this and that," but I felt it was only the Lord that could bring her; and therefore I told him if he would be pleased to speak she should live; because he is the resurrection and the life, and the Spirit, like the wind, blows on whom and where he pleaseth, and who dare instruct him?
I received a letter from the pastor accusing me of receiving the errors of a certain sect in England; and I believe it is the certain sect that is everywhere spoken against by the mere professors. He said that sentence of Toplady's, that there was no sense in asking the dead sinner why he would die when he was dead already, he could not receive as gospel or truth; but, how men who have known anything of their own spiritual death, can believe anything else, I cannot see; but you are too familiar with their mode of reasoning to need any thing from me. We are hoping that the Lord will open the way for a small place to be opened where we can meet, and we hold prayer meetings from house to house. You will answer this if you
I remain, Yours in a complete Redeemer,
CHARLES R. STEPHEN.
The impressions of the kisses of the face of Him that sitteth on the throne are the deeper, that the frequent experiences of grace have been many. Rutherford.
A FULL SAVIOUR AND AN EMPTY SINNER.
My dear Friend,-If nothing unforeseen turn up to prevent, I will endeavor, by the Lord's help, to come and see you again, for the purpose of saying something about the dear Friend of ruined sinners, in your little place. O may he bring me there, and himself be also manifestatively and graciously there too.
I was not left without some sweet and solemn feeling in my heart when I endeavored to speak there for the first time, nor without feeling myself at home in your house. I wish you had told me how your poor daughter is in her health, as I have thought much of her since I saw her. My own daughter having been a great sufferer since then, it has called yours afresh to my thoughts. Mine is indeed a path of sorrow, but I see at times it is a right one, and can feelingly say, "Thy holy, blessed will be done." I am a poor blunderer, but he makes no mistakes; I am darkness, he is light; I am weakness, he is almighty; I am a poor beggar, he rich in mercy; I am a mass of sin, he the Lord our righteousness; I am nothing and less than nothing, and vanity, but he is all in all. O that I knew him more, loved him more, and exalted him more!
With kind regards to your dear wife and daughter, and all the friends, I remain, Yours in the truth,
London, May 6, 1850.
The application of all the promises is the work of the Holy Spirit. The promise of life and the spirit of life always go together; for it is the powerful application of the word by the Spirit that makes the promise; the incorruptible seed, the word of God, that liveth and abideth for ever. All the promises of divine consolation have their sincere milk from Christ by the Holy Spirit. One promise brings peace, another joy, another love, another comfort, another rest. Just as the Holy Spirit sends them in, so they discharge their rich contents. The hungry soul, by exercising faith upon them, sucks the sweetness of them, till he is filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is no converting, refreshing, encouraging power attends the word without the Spirit's operation. When he makes application of it, faith, life, and love attend it. And various are the sensations of the soul, under the Spirit's influence, when he applies the word. Sometimes it is a word of support that fortifies and strengthens; sometimes a word of encouragement to keep us watching and waiting, and to bear us up under trials and crosses; sometimes a word of correction that leads us to self-examination, which awes us, and excites watchfulness and amendment; at other times a soft word that breaketh the bones, and melts us under a sense of undeserved love and self-abhorrence; and often a word of instruction to correct the mind, to disperse some wrong notion, to inform the judgment, and to bring more harmonious and consistent views of things to the soul. Innumerable are the ways by which the Holy Spirit works by the word, and in his application of it; but it is always a seasonable application; and "a word spoken in due season, how good is it!"-Huntington.
MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE.
Dear Brethren in Jesus, whom I love in the truth, and for the truth's sake,-Mercy and peace be multiplied unto you.
I trust this will find you all well, both in soul and in body, which is the greatest blessing we poor mortals can enjoy in this poor dying world. I am but poorly myself, and have been so all through the winter; but, notwithstanding that, I have only been laid aside from preaching one Lord's Day.
I think I promised to let you know how we were going on at B—. We left the old barn in December, and opened our new place on the 16th of that month, and have continued in it ever since. I am happy to say I believe the Lord is amongst us indeed, by increasing our numbers, and blessing his word to our souls. It is surprising to see what a quantity of people attend. Every Lord's Day there are more people than can get into the place; so that we shall be obliged to enlarge it. It is wonderful what a spirit there is for hearing, for hearing the truth, and nothing but the truth. Nothing else will suit; and I am happy to say that the greatest harmony, peace, union, love, and concord, reign amongst us. I feel a very great attachment to the people, and I believe they feel the same towards me. You know how blessed it is to meet together on a Lord's Day. Yes, beloved; as soon as one Lord's Day is gone, we begin to long for the next. We are now joined together as a church, on strict Baptist principles. I have taken the pastoral charge; not that I desired such an office, or felt myself competent to the undertaking; but the friends would not have a refusal; for they said as the Lord first began with me amongst them, and had blessed my labors to their poor souls, and that their hearts were fixed upon me, I must comply; therefore, I could not withstand them. We have many of the Lord's living children amongst us, both aged, middleaged, and young; and many strong men in the faith, and women also. Some of the men have extraordinary gifts in prayer; but they all love the plain honest truth, free from all condition as it respects the creature. So you see, what with my situation as gardener, a very large family to support, extensive grounds to cultivate, men to employ in their different departments, and having to preach every Sunday, all on my mind, I am so fully employed that sometimes I have not time to write a letter.
How blessed it is that our gracious God not only makes promises, but fulfils them in our experience; for he has said, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy day, so shall thy strength be." O how suitable this is in my present situation. I have many things to try me, am often sorely tempted, and cast down by reason of darkness, and very much tried respecting my preaching, calling myself a thousand fools for ever attempting it. I often go out on a Lord's Day morning, and would, if I dared, hide myself anywhere rather than go into the pulpit; but when this is the case, I generally have the best opportunity in preaching, and the people in hearing. This is the way the Lord makes his strength perfect in our weak
ness, and this is the way the Lord enables me to lean upon him, the strong one, for strength. Sometimes when I begin to preach I feel as if I could not stand up for five minutes; then the Lord gives me a little opening, and a little light, life, and love in my soul, so that I do not know how to leave off. These seasons are generally very precious, because of the Lord's presence. This is the way the Lord keeps down the pride of the heart, which would soon begin to show itself to one's eternal ruin, if it were not for the Lord's grace; but the Lord will keep the feet of his saints, so that they shall not finally fall and perish. No man or enemy can pluck us out of his hands.
Our dear Lord has left us an example that we should follow in his steps. In everything we should inquire, How did our Lord act? Look at him when he was tempted forty days and forty nights. The same Satan that tempted him tempts you and me. Satan tempted him to despond, how did he answer? "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." And that is the way we must live, namely, by faith. When our Lord was tempted to love the world, he said, "Get thee hence, Satan." We are often tempted to this, for that carnal love is never rooted out of our carnal hearts, but is a sore evil and plague to God's living family. I know by experience the dear child cannot be happy with worldlings. If we wish to make a child of God miserable, put him amongst the world, and he will be immediately like a fish out of the water.
Well, beloved, your God who hath redeemed you and justified you, will take charge of you in the everlasting covenant, ordered well and sure; and rest assured that your name cannot be blotted out of the book of life, for your life is hid with Christ in God, and is everlastingly secure.
I hope to have a letter from you, my beloved friend, before long. I long to hear from you all, for you are very near to my heart. I desire to pray for your soul's prosperity, and that the Lord will perfect his own work in your heart.
How is Mrs.? Is she yet groaning, being burdened? Tell her Christ is the only refuge.
Are my dear brother J. S., and his sister, quite well? The Lord bless them in all their engagements in this life, lead them by his counsel, and afterwards receive them into glory.
Receive this in love. Your loving Brother in Jesus,
The Hasells, March 14th, 1843.
[The writer of the above letter, now no longer in this vale of tears, was, we understand, a simple-hearted gracious man, as indeed his language and spirit here testify, much esteemed and loved by the people among whom he ministered the word of life. Knowing him only by report, we can add no more than we like the honesty and simplicity that breathe through the letter. -ED.]
If you make price with Christ, and compound with everlasting grace, you shame the glory of the ransom-payer.-Rutherford.