To E. M., May 1854.
My Very Dear,
I have wished to write a line of inquiry, but having been far from well, had
not energy enough to do so. When the people of Israel came to Marah, the
waters were bitter, so that they could not drink of them, but the Lord
showed Moses a tree, which when he had cast into the waters they were made
sweet. "So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he
threw it into the water, the water became drinkable. He made a statute and
ordinance for them at Marah and He tested them there." (Exodus 15:25) Thus
have I found it many a time. Christ in the trial has taken away the
bitterness, and it has been as an "ordinance" to my soul, which has fed upon
Him and been strengthened to endure. He has also tested me by these things.
Praise, O my soul, Your ever-loving Lord, who changes not. "Jesus Christ,
the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
I desire to speak to you in love of our glorious Christ,
who "has been mindful of us, and will bless us." He will be with us through
life in six troubles, and in death, the seventh, He will not forsake us. He
is full of pity and of tender mercy to everyone who knows and feels the
plague of plagues—that of his own heart. "Go, show yourself to the priest,"
however bad it be, for "Him has God exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, for
to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." He sweetly invites
all who labor and are heavy laden to come to Him, and says, "I will give you
rest." Are you weary of SELF, and heavy laden with your sins--and are you
coming to Jesus? "Come just as you are," come to Jesus, who says, "Him that
comes to me I will never cast out." Not for hardness, coldness, darkness,
wandering, past sin, present sin, the guilt which presses at this very
moment, nor for any other--will Jesus cast out a coming sinner. The Spirit
convinces of sin, the Father draws the sinner, and the Son "receives
sinners." So the holy Three in One are engaged in this great work of
bringing souls to Jesus; and who or what shall prevent their coming? Shall
the world or Satan without, or sin within? Nay, verily, "All that the Father
gives me--shall come to me."
But, you say--am I given by the Father? Coming to
Jesus is a proof of it; desiring after Jesus is a proof of it; hungering and
thirsting for Jesus is a proof of it. Listen not to unbelief and Satan, who
would keep you away from the only place of victory. Fall down at His dear
feet and tell Him all the truth—the very worst of it; and it may be your
heart will melt and your spirit soften into contrition in the doing of it;
and it may be He will hold out the scepter and say, "Return unto me, O
backsliding daughter; for I am married unto you." But if not so just now, it
is better to wait at His threshold than wander; it is better to follow a
'frowning Jesus' than to parley with a 'smiling world'! And however roughly
He may answer, or however long keep silence, He will not cast you out.
But why write I thus? It may be you are walking in the
light of His countenance, and finding Him near, though in a far off country
and a barren land. If so, my heart shall rejoice, and you will forgive any
remark that seems out of place. I wish you to draw nearer and nearer to the
dear Friend of sinners, and to drink still larger draughts of the river of
the water of life, which makes glad the city of God.
The Lord bless you, and be not silent to you, and keep
you from idols. May your children be kept in their proper
place, blessed of the Lord, held in the Lord, and consecrated to the Lord.
You will not wish to gain for them the admiration of the world, because you
would shudder if they would hereafter be embraced by it, and embosomed in
it. A mother in this vicinity lately lost a precious daughter of sixteen. As
she stood over the coffin, she said, "There lies my beautiful girl. Oh, I
have been proud of her!" And, turning to a minister who stood beside, "Do
you think, sir, the Lord has taken her away on my account, because I was
proud of her? I have been too proud of her." I do not know the minister's
reply, but that which we are to learn from the mother's deep anguish is very
plain—"Flee from idolatry!" The Lord make all grace abound towards you.
Your ever affectionately, unworthy,
Isaiah 49:14, 16. How striking is Isaiah 43:22-26.