CAMBRIDGE, 19th Sept., ‘50.
MY DEAR FATHER, —
I received your kind letter in due time. I joined the Church here at the Lord’s table last Ordinance day. I shall write for my dismission; I intended to have done so before. The Baptists are by far the most respectable denomination in Cambridge; there are three Baptist Chapels, — St. Andrew’s Street, where we attend, Zion Chapel, and Eden Chapel. There is a very fine Wesleyan Chapel and some others. I teach in the Sunday-school all the afternoon. Mr. Leeding takes the morning work. Last Sabbath-day we had a funeral sermon from Hebrews 6:11, 12. We have a prayer-meeting at 7 in the morning, and one after the evening service; they are precious means of grace, I trust, to my soul. How soon would the lamps go out did not our mighty Lord- supply fresh oil; and if it were not for His unshaken promise to supply our need out of the fullness of His grace, poor indeed should we be.
Yes, where Jesus comes, He comes to reign; how I wish He would reign more in my heart; then I might hope that every atom of self, self-confidence, and self-righteousness, would be swept out of my soul. I am sure I long for the time when all evil affections, corrupt desires, and rebellious, doubting thoughts shall be overcome, and completely crushed beneath the Prince’s feet, and my whole soul be made pure and holy. But so long as I am encaged within this house of clay, I know they will lurk about, and I must have hard fighting though the victory by grace is sure. Praying is the best fighting; nothing else will keep them down.
I have written a letter to grandfather; I am sorry he is so poorly. He wants the promises now, and why may not young and old live upon them? They are the bread-corn of Heaven, the meat of the Kingdom; and who that has once tasted them will turn to eat husks without any sweetness and comfort in them? God’s power will keep all His children; while He says to them, “How shall ye who are dead to sin live any longer therein?” I feel persuaded that I shall never fathom the depths of my own natural depravity, nor climb to the tops of the mountains of God’s eternal love. I feel constrained day by day to fall flat down upon the promises, and leave my soul in Jesu’s keeping. It is He that makes my feet move even in the slow obedience which marks them at present, and every attainment of grace must come from Him. I would go forth by prayer, like the Israelites, to gather up this Heavenly manna, and live upon free-grace.
Add to all your great kindness and love to me, through my life, a constant remembrance of me in your prayers. I thank you for those petitions which you and dear Mother have so often sent up to the mercy seat for me. Give my love to my sisters and brother, and accept the same for yourself and dear Mother. Hoping you are all quite well.
Your obedient, affectionate son,
NEWMARKET, June 11, 1850
MY DEAR MOTHER, —
Many thanks to you for your valuable letter. Your notes are so few and far between, and are such a trouble to you, that one now and then is quite a treasure.
I have had two opportunities of addressing the Sun-day-school children, and have endeavored to do so as a dying being to dying beings. I am bound to Newmarket by holy bonds. I have 70 people whom I regularly visit on Saturday. I do not give a tract, and go away; but I sit down, and endeavor to draw their attention to spiritual realities. I have great reason to believe the Lord is working, — the people are so kind, and so pleased to see me. I cannot bear to leave them. We are so feeble here that the weakest cannot be spared. We have a pretty good attendance at prayer-meetings; but so few praying men, that I am constantly called upon ….
One of our Deacons, Mr.____, is constantly inviting me to his house, he is rather an Arminian; but so are the majority of Newmarket Christians. Grandfather has written to me; he does not blame me for being a Baptist, but hopes I shall not be one of the tight-laced, strict-communion sort. In that, we are agreed. I certainly think we ought to forget such things in others when we come to the Lord’s table. I can, and hope I shall be charitable to unbaptized Christians, though I think they are mistaken. It is not a great matter; men will differ; we ought both to follow our own consciences, and let others do the same. I think the time would be better spent in talking upon vital godliness than in disputing about forms. I trust the Lord is weaning me daily from all self-dependence, and teaching me to look at myself as less than nothing. I know that I am perfectly dead without Him; it is His work; I am confident that he will accomplish it, and that I shall see the face of my Beloved in His own house in glory.
My enemies are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred, yet with Jehovah Jesus on my side, why should I fear? I will march on in His almighty strength to certain conquest and victory. I am so glad that Sarah, too, is called, that two of us in one household at one time should thus openly profess the Savior’s name. We are brother and sister in the Lord; may our Father often give each of us the refreshing visits of His grace! I feel as if I could say with Paul, “Would that I were even accursed, so that my brethren according to the flesh might be saved!” What a joy if God should prove that they are redeemed ones included in the covenant of grace I long to see your face, and let my heart beat with yours, whilst we talk of the glorious things pertaining to eternal life. My best love to you and Father, may the Angel of the covenant dwell with you, and enchant you by the visions of His grace! Love to Eliza, Archer (many happy returns to him}, Emily, Lottie, and Louisa; may they become members of the church in our house! I am very glad you are so well. I am so, but hard at work for the Examination, so allow me to remain,
Your most affectionate son,
Master H shall be attended to; be ye always ready for every good work. I have no time, but it shall be done.
NEWMARKET, May 1, 1850.
MY DEAR MOTHER, —
Many very happy returns of your Birthday! In this instance, my wish will certainly be realized, for in Heaven you are sure to have an eternity of happy days. May you, in your coming years, live beneath the sweet smiles of the God of peace; may joy and singing attend your footsteps to a blissful haven of rest and tranquillity! Your birthday will now be doubly memorable, for on the third of May, the boy for whom you have so often prayed, the boy of hopes and fears, your first-born, will join the visible Church of the redeemed on earth, and will bind himself doubly to the Lord his God, by open profession. You, my Mother, have been the great means in God’s hand of rendering me what I hope I am. Your kind, warning Sabbath-evening addresses were too deeply settled on my heart to be forgotten. You, by God’s blessing, prepared the way for the preached Word, and for that holy book, The Rise and Progress. If I have any courage, if I feel prepared to follow my Savior, not only into the water, but should He call me, even into the fire, I love you as the preacher to my heart of such courage, as my praying, watching Mother. Impossible, I think it is, that I should ever cease to love you, or you to love me, yet not nearly so impossible as that the Lord our Father should cease to love either of us, be we ever so doubtful of it, or ever so disobedient. I hope you may one day have cause to rejoice, should you see me, the unworthy instrument of God, preaching to others, — yet have I vowed in the strength of my only Strength, in the name of my Beloved, to devote myself for ever to His cause. Do you not think it would be a bad beginning were I, knowing it to be my duty to be baptized, to shrink from it? If you are now as happy as I am, I can wish no more than that you may continue so. I am the happiest creature, I think, upon this globe.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit, and that it will help much to establish your health. I dare not ask you to write, for I know you are always so busy that it is quite a task to you. I hope my letter did not pain you, dear Mother; my best love to you, be assured that I would not do anything to grieve you, and I am sure that I remain,
Your affectionate son,
Mr. and Mrs. Swindell’s respects to you and dear Father.
MY DEAR MOTHER, —
I have every morning looked for a letter from Father, I long for an answer; it is now a month since I have had one from him. Do, if you please, send me either permission or refusal to be baptized; I have been kept in painful suspense. This is the 20th, and Mr. Cantlow’s baptizing day is to be the latter end of the month; I think, next week. I should be so sorry to lose another Ordinance Sunday; and with my present convictions, I hope I shall never so violate my conscience as to sit down unbaptized. When requested, I assured the members at the church-meeting that I would never do so.
I often think of you poor starving creatures, following for the bony rhetoric and oratory which he gives you. What a mercy that you are not dependent upon him for spiritual comfort! I hope you will soon give up following that empty cloud without rain, that type-and-shadow preacher, for I don’t think there is much substance. But, my dear Mother, why do you not go and hear my friend, Mr. Langford? He is an open-communion Baptist, and I have no doubt will receive you without baptism. Perhaps his preaching may be blest to Archer, Eliza, and my sisters, as well as to myself; would it not be worth giving up a little difference of persuasion for? God can save whom He will, when He will, and where He will, but I think Mr.____’s Mount Sinai’s roarings are the last things to do it, to all human appearance.
I think I might date this letter from a place in the Enchanted Ground, with the warm air of Beulah blowing upon me. One drop of the pleasures I have felt is worth a life of agony. I am afraid of becoming satisfied with this world.
My very best love to yourself, dear Father, Eliza, Archer, Emily, Louisa, and Lottie. I hope you are well. I am very much better; thanks for the prescription; and with my love to you again,
Your affectionate son,
P.S. If baptized, it will be in an open river; go in just as I am with some others…. I trust the good confession before many witnesses will be a bond betwixt me and my Master, my Savior, and my King.
NEWMARKET, April 6, 1850.
MY DEAR FATHER, —
You will be pleased to hear that, last Thursday night, I was admitted as a member. Oh, that I may henceforth live more for the glory of Him, by Whom I feel assured that I shall be everlastingly saved! Owing to my scruples on account of baptism, I did not sit down at the Lord’s table, and cannot in conscience do so until I am baptized. To one who does not see the necessity of baptism, it is perfectly right and proper to partake of thisblessed privilege; but were I to do so, I conceive would be to tumble over the wall, since I feel persuaded it is Christ’s appointed way of professing Him. I am sure this is the only view which I have of baptism. I detest the idea that I can do a single thing towards my own salvation. I trust that I feel sufficiently the corruption of my own heart to know that, instead of doing one iota to forward my own salvation, my old corrupt heart would impede it, were it not that my Redeemer is mighty, and works as He pleases.
Since last Thursday, I have been unwell in body, but I may say that my soul has been almost in Heaven. I have been able to see my title clear, and to know and believe that, sooner than one of God’s little ones shall perish, God Himself will cease to be, Satan will conquer the King of kings, and Jesus will no longer be the Savior of the elect. Doubts and fears may soon assail me, but I will not dread to meet them if my Father has so ordained it; He knows best. Were I never to have another visit of grace, and be always doubting from now until the day of my death, yet “the foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His.” I see now the secret, how it is that you were enabled to bear up under all your late trials. This faith is far more than any of us deserve; all beyond hell is mercy, but this is a mighty one. Were it not all of sovereign, electing, almighty grace, I, for one, could never hope to be saved. God says, “You shall,” and not all the devils in hell, let loose upon a real Christian, can stop the workings of God’s sovereign grace, for in due time the Christian cries, “I will.” Oh, how little love have I for One Who has thus promised to save me by so great a salvation, and Who will certainly perform His promise?
I trust that the Lord is working among my tract people, and blessing my little effort. I have most interesting and encouraging conversation with many of them. Oh, that I could see but one sinner constrained to come to Jesus! How I long for the time when it may please God to make me, like you, my Father, a successful preacher of the gospel! I almost envy you your exalted privilege. May the dew of Hermon and the increase of the Spirit rest upon your labors! Your unworthy son tries to pray for you and his Mother, that grace and peace may be with you. Oh, that the God of mercy would incline Archer’s heart to Him, and make Him a partaker of His grace! Ask him if he will believe me when I say that one drop of the pleasure of religion is worth ten thousand oceans of the pleasures of the unconverted, and then ask him if he is not willing to prove the fact by experience. Give my love to my dear Mother….
As Mr. Cantlow’s baptizing season will come round this month, I have humbly to beg your consent, as I will not act against your will, and should very much like to commune next month. I have no doubt of your permission. We are all one in Christ Jesus; forms and ceremonies, I trust, will not make us divided….
With my best love and hopes that you are all well,
Your affectionate son,
Not only as to the flesh, but in the faith,
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON.
CHAPTER 15-THE GRACE OF GOD (Concluded)
Practically all professing Christians profess to believe that salvation is of grace. You can hardly find a member of any denomination who will out and out deny that salvation is by grace. The Bible so often and so positively declares salvation to be by grace that few men will boldly deny it. But the trouble is that many think and speak of grace in such a way as to frustrate it. The grace they think of and talk about is not grace at all. It is so mixed with human work and merit that it is no more grace. “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (#Ro 11:6). There is quite as much in Roman Catholic literature about grace as there is in Baptist literature, but there is wide difference as to what the two groups mean by grace. In preceding chapters we have sought to tell what grace is, and where grace reigns, and what grace provides; and in this chapter we shall endeavour to show:
HOW GRACE SAVES
Before coming directly to the question, we shall lay down some principles from which to reason:
1. Salvation by grace destroys all room for boasting. No man is sound on grace who boasts of anything he has ever done or can do as the ground of his salvation. If your idea of salvation allows you to boast you may be sure it is wrong. No man can even boast of his repentance and faith, for they are the gifts of His grace. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (#Ac 5:31); “Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?” (#Ac 11:17); “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (#1Co 3:5); “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” (#Eph 1:19); “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (#1Joh 5:4). All of our graces are fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (#Ga 5:22,23).
2. Salvation by grace means that God is to have all the praise for our salvation. The Father is to have all praise for providing the Savior; the Son is to have all the praise for performing the work of salvation; and the Holy Spirit is to have all the praise for promoting salvation in us by convicting us of sin and bringing us to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Salvation by grace does not give license to sin. There are two dangers concerning grace: one is the danger of frustrating it, the other is the danger of abusing it. We frustrate grace when we teach that righteousness comes by keeping the law: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (#Ga 2:21). We abuse grace when we use it to justify a life of sin. One is the danger of Arminianism, the other is the danger of Antinomianism. The one sets grace aside, the other uses grace wrongly.
He who justifies his sinning on the ground that he is not under law but under grace, does not have the grace of God in him. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (#Ro 6:14,15). The child of grace hates sin and strives against it, and when he falls into it, confesses it and forsakes it. Sin is not the habit and practice of his life. There is no sin that he hugs to his bosom and takes to glory with him. There is no sin that is a sweet morsel under his tongue. The man of grace neither boasts of keeping out of sin, nor justifies himself when he falls into sin.
In approaching our question:
HOW DOES GRACE SAVE?
We make a negative approach:
1. Grace does not save by enabling us to perfectly keep the law of God. It is our judgment that this is the way many people think grace saves. They confess that no man can of himself keep the law, but that grace enables him to keep it, and in this way grace saves. To be logical and consistent, and to have any place for grace in their plan, this must be the position of all who believe in salvation by keeping the law. Now, it is admitted, that if God should eradicate every vestige of our sinful nature, and cause us to live without sin, that would be grace indeed that would be the unmerited favor of God. It would be grace for it would be doing for us that which we do not deserve. But this is not the way grace saves, and we must voice our objections to it:
1a) That would not satisfy justice for sins already committed. God is just as well as gracious, and grace never acts contrary to justice. If the sinner should quit sinning justice would condemn him for sins he had committed in the past.
1b) That would rob Christ of any part in our salvation. If grace saves by making us sinless in character and conduct, then salvation would be by grace, but apart from Jesus Christ, for “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (#Ga 2:21).
1c) If grace saves by enabling us to keep the law, then the Holy Spirit would be the Savior rather than Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Administrator of inward grace; it is by His strength we worship and serve God. The Holy Spirit, through the word, shows us the Savior, and makes Him precious to us, but the Holy Spirit is not the Savior. In announcing the birth of the Savior, the angel said, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (#Mt 1:21).
1d) In the new birth the sinful nature is not eradicated, but a sinless nature is implanted. In the saved man there is a warfare between two conflicting natures; “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (#Ga 5:17). And Paul said, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (#Ro 7:21). And this is the testimony of every true child of God, for “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”
2. Grace does not save by overlooking our sins. If God took no account of our sins, that would be grace indeed but in doing that He would abdicate His throne in favor of His enemies. Our sins deserve punishment, but if God overlooked them and never punished them, that certainly would be grace that would be the unmerited favor of God. But this is not the way grace saves, for several reasons:
2a) Because it would be at the expense of justice. There can be no sacrifice of justice in salvation. Sin must and will be punished. If God overlooked sin He would be gracious, but at the same time unjust.
2b) There would have been no need of Christ’s coming to earth and dying on the cross. There is forgiveness with God, but it is on the ground of satisfied justice. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (#Isa 53:11). Grace saves by satisfying justice. “In whom have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (#Eph 1:7).
2c) It would cause man to admire one attribute of God and despise another attribute. If grace saves apart from the satisfaction of Divine justice, the sinner would naturally admire the grace of God, and at the same time despise His justice. To deal with sinners in such a way, God would be putting a premium on sin. We would not think much of a human judge who would overlook the crimes of men and let them all go free. Such a judge would be despised and deposed. Such procedure would be an invitation for everybody to commit all the crimes he pleased, because they would be overlooked, and no harm would come to the criminal. How would you, dear reader, like to live in a country like that?
3. Grace does not save by giving us ordinances to observe. The ordinances of ceremonies of Christ are for those already saved. They are declarative and symbolical; not procurative and sacramental. They are for the saints; not for the world, The most terrible heresies have come from false conception of the ordinances. Millions of men have lost their lives because they would not subscribe to these false conceptions. I quote from an article on “The Sacraments,” as found in the Roman Catholic Mass Book published by the Paulist Press, New York City:
“The sacraments are the ordinary means whereby God’s grace is brought to one’s soul. We depend on the grace of God not only to reach heaven after death, but to lead a life well pleasing to God on this earth. What the winds are to the sailing vessel, grace is to our soul.”
“The Sacraments are seven different ways by which special graces are applied to our soul. They are all instituted by Christ. By His death on the cross our Blessed Lord created a great reservoir of grace. From this reservoir there are seven channels, each carrying grace of a special quality, and when we need a particular kind of Divine help we go to the Sacrament which provides it. Baptism regenerates the soul and makes us children of God. It has the effect of washing away the sin we were born in, as well as any other sin we have committed. Confirmation strengthens the soul so as to enable it to fight valiantly. Holy Eucharist, being Christ Himself, the Living Bread, is the Food and Nourishment of the soul. Penance brings us God’s pardon. Extreme Unction gives us grace to die well. Holy Orders raises men to the dignity of God’s service and gives them strength to persevere. Matrimony gives grace to husband and wife to love each other and bring up their children in the grace and knowledge of God. Throughout our life on this earth the Sacraments provide spiritual nourishment without which it is impossible for us to merit the happiness and the glory which God has prepared for us in heaven.”
What a strange medley of truth and error! What a frustration of the true grace of God! What an awful misrepresentation of grace! What a travesty of the truth! The article speaks of grace enabling one “to merit the happiness and the glory” of heaven. To merit a thing is to deserve it, or to get it by way of debt, and whatever is reckoned as a debt is not of grace. “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt” (#Ro 4:4). The Bible says that salvation is of faith that it might be by grace: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (#Ro 4:16). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (#Eph 2:8), but this article does not have the word faith in it.
We will now attempt a positive answer to our question: How Does Grace Save?” What is the “modus operandi” of grace? What does grace do in salvation?
1. Grace saves from the guilt and penalty of sins by placing them on Christ. Grace saves by punishing Christ instead of the sinner. He put away the guilt of our sins by the sacrifice of Himself. “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (#Heb 9:26). He bare our sins in His own body on the tree. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (#1Pe 2:24). He died as the Just One for the unjust ones that He might bring them to God, that is, into His favor. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (#1Pe 3:18).
Justice says that my sins must be punished, and they have been punished in my Surety, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Surety of that better covenant “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (#Heb 8:6). “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (#Heb 9:22). It was in matchless grace that the Lord Jesus liquidated our sin debt, and He shall have all the praise.
“Our sins, our quilt, in love Divine
Confessed and bourne by Thee;
The gall, the course, the wrath were Thine,
To set Thy members free.”
“Grace,” cried Spurgeon, “is everything for nothing; Christ
free, pardon free, heaven free.”
2. Grace saves us from the love of sin and from a darkened understanding. This may be called internal salvation, and is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. In this work the Holy Spirit opens the soul’s blinded eyes to see the truth of the Gospel. Paul said that his gospel was hid to the lost because their minds were blinded. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (#2Co 4:4). The death of Christ does not benefit the man who lives and dies without faith in it. And every man of us would so live were it not for the light giving and life giving work of the Spirit. Spiritual truths are foolishness to the natural man, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (#1Co 2:14), even though he be a university professor, and none but the Holy Spirit can make a man spiritual.
By nature and training Saul of Tarsus was a proud, persecuting, self righteous Pharisee, but grace wrought in him the graces of repentance and faith. It was grace that made him sick of self and fond of Christ. He had been depending for salvation upon his Hebrew ancestry and the rite of circumcision, and upon his orthodoxy as a Pharisee, his zeal as a persecuting patriot, and his law righteousness; but when grace revealed Christ to Him in all His worth, he counted all these things as “dung,” rejoicing in the righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: ” (#Php 3:1-9).
Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit, and His work in us is as much of grace as was the work of Christ for us on the cross. Christ wrought for us on the cross to liquidate our sin debt; the Holy Spirit wrought in us conviction for sin, and faith in the blood of Christ as the one and only remedy for sin. “Grace,” said Spurgeon again, “is the morning and evening star of our experience. Grace puts us in the way, helps us by the way, and takes us all the way.”
Anna Steele, (1760), has memorialized the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in the following lines on the next page:
“How helpless guilty nature lies,
Unconscious of its load;
The heart, unchanged, can never rise
To happiness and God.
“Can ought beneath a power divine
The stubborn will subdue?
‘Tis thine, eternal Spirit, thine
To form the heart anew.
“Tis thine the passions to recall,
And upward bid them rise,
And make the scales of error fall
From reason’s darkened eyes.
“To chase the shades of death away,
And, bid the sinner live;
A beam of heaven, a vital ray,
‘Tis thine alone to give.
“O change the wretched hearts of men,
And give them life divine;
Then shall their passions and their powers,
Almighty Lord, be thine.”
C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 1
NEWMARKET, March 12, 1850.
MY DEAR FATHER, —
Many thanks to you for your kind instructive, and unexpected letter…. My very best love to dear Mother; I hope she will soon be better.
At our last church-meeting, I was proposed. No one has been to see me yet. I hope that now I may be doubly circumspect, and doubly prayerful. How could a Christian live happily, or live at all, if he had not the assurance that his life is in Christ, and his support, the Lord’s undertaking? I am sure I would not have dared to take this great decisive step were it not that I am assured that Omnipotence will be my support, and the Shepherd of Israel my constant Protector. Prayer is to me now what the sucking of milk was to me in my infancy. Although I do not always feel the same relish for it, yet I am sure I cannot live without it.
“When by sin overwhelm’d, shame covers my face,
I look unto Jesus who saves by His grace;
I call on His name from the gulf of despair,
And He plucks me from hell in answer to prayer.
Prayer, sweet prayer I
Be it ever so feeble, there’s nothing like prayer.”
Even the Slough of Despond can be passed by the supports of prayer and faith. Blessed be the name of the Lord, despondency has vanished like a mist, before the Sun of righteousness, who has shone into my heart! “Truly, God is good to Israel.” In the blackest darkness I resolved that, if I never had another ray of comfort, and even if I was everlastingly lost, yet I would love Jesus, and endeavor to run in the way of His commandments: from the. time that I was enabled thus to resolve, all these clouds have fled. If they return, I fear not to meet them in the strength of the Beloved. One trial to me is that I have nothing to give up for Christ, nothing wherein to show my love to Him. What I can do, is little; and what I DO now, is less. The tempter says, “You don’t leave anything for Christ; you only follow Him to be saved by it. Where are your evidences?” Then I tell him that I have given up my self righteousness, and he says, “Yes, but not till you saw it was filthy rags!” All I have to answer is, that my sufficiency is not of myself.
I have just now received a very nice note from my dear Mother. Many thanks to you for the P.O. Order. I do not know what money obligations are imposed upon members; I must do as you tell me.
(Here a piece of the letter has been cut out.)
I am glad brother and sister are better. Again my best love to you all.
Your affectionate son,