"He will not always accuse us or be angry forever."
"Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so
great is his unfailing love." Lamentations 3:32
To E. M., 1857.
My very dear friend, and now companion in tribulation,
My heart yearns towards you, and will indulge itself a little, because we
are both in the same low place—feeling our vileness, and mourning after our
Beloved. Surely there never was such an one as I, so weak and wicked; so
willful, not full of His will—but of my own. How I need the
emptying from vessel to vessel. I need to have my purposes and enterprises
broken that I may learn that His purposes shall stand fast, and that He will
do all His pleasure. I can say, as the repenting thief did, I am "in the
same condemnation," and "indeed justly," receiving but the due reward of my
deeds. I have been walking after the sight of my eyes. "The legs of the lame
are not equal;" so when we act from sight and sense, our walk is not
consistent; it is only when walking by faith that it is so. Vile, ungrateful
worm that I am, what has it cost me in bitter anguish; yet the sorrow is
nothing to the sin. And, as I said to you, the ill savor will come up
continually, until the blessed Comforter brings the savor of rest, even the
fragrant sacrifice for sin which was once offered, and which is now pleaded
by Him who is the sinner's surety and the sinner's friend. Well, I can only
lie at His feet and continue confessing all. I dare not promise to do
better; I am in self-despair; but to Him will I look for pardon of the sin,
and power against it.
And shall it be in vain? Is His mercy clean gone forever?
No, dear friend, we will speak well of Him. He is faithful. He rests in His
love, nor does it cool in the least in the midst of all our treacherous
dealings. "Once again He will have compassion on us. He will trample our
sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!"--having
cast all our sins into the deep red sea of His own blood! Where our sin has
abounded, His grace shall much more abound. And again we shall sing of
pardoning mercy and restoring love.
How vain is the help of man. We may listen to the song of
some, and join in the mourning of others—but none can lift the burden off,
but Jesus. He is the Physician of value who says, "I have seen his ways, and
will heal him, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners." Indeed, I
do expect it; faith is looking again towards His holy temple, and love is
stretching out for the first sight or sound of the Beloved's approach. "Look
unto me, and be saved"—saved from the sin and from the punishment. "Is
anything too hard for the Lord?" Nothing, nothing; we will hope in Him, for
we shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
Since writing the above this word has come to me with
sweet encouragement, "Your enemies shall be found liars unto you; and you
shall tread upon their high places." (Deut. 33:29) The very things which
Satan and the flesh cast up as hindrances, faith shall tread upon in the
name of the Lord. Oh, this is the victory, even our faith. Sweet have I
found that verse also, "For with God nothing shall be impossible;" therefore
I would say to myself and my friend, "Cast not away your confidence, which
has great recompense of reward." His blood shall cleanse, and His power
shall conquer: I feel a sweet assurance of it, though with an aching heart.
Flesh shall not prevail against Him, for He has that mighty power "whereby
He is able to subdue all things unto Himself." What then is better for the
poor Esthers than to be still going in unto the king with the venture of
faith—"if I perish, I perish." "She fell down at his feet, and
besought him with tears to put away the malice of Haman the Agagite." Yes,
this is what we want, to have the devices of the flesh frustrated and
brought to nothing, when, like Haman, they seem most powerful. Shall Esther
thus press her plea against the enemy; and shall the earthly king yield to
her suit, devising means to put away that which seemed to be irrevocable?
and shall we have worse success with Him who waits to be gracious, and is
exalted to show mercy? No, no! He will arise to deliver. (Psalm 12:5)
Therefore, though shame and confusion of face belong unto
us, we will, by the Spirit's help, keep crying to the King against sin and
self; and if for a long time He answers us never a word, we deserve it,
(Psalm 119:75) and must still follow Him with "Lord help me!" This sowing in
tears will be followed by a harvest of joy, love, and praise. Yes, O
gracious near Kinsman, Your treacherous one does heartily believe that love
will bring You back, and that we shall sing together for Your goodness, for
wheat, for wine and for oil, and for the young of the flock, for in Your
feast are royal dainties. A little waft of Your fragrance comes now and
then, which betokens You near; though the cloud has hid You out of our
sight, and our sin is not yet blotted out of the conscience with precious
blood--yet it is all blotted out of Your book. Nothing stands against us
there; the debt is paid; and You can holily and honorably come and receive
us afresh to Your embrace, and show us every black item put away by the
sacrifice of Yourself. "Even so come, Lord Jesus."
Thus have I written to you, dear friend, in hope; and I
scarcely know why; only as I have often sent you a song from the mount, I
thought you should hear also the low note of the valley, from whence only at
times the heart could pour itself out to the Lord.
Take courage. The precious blood of the Surety is more
powerful for us--than sin, flesh, and all the foes against us! (Rom. 8:37)
Whether at your worst, or at your best, do not be looking more at yourself
than at Jesus. He is the way of escape, and He is the strength to endure;
and we shall be helped in all, though we sometimes faint.
Warm love from the weakest and worst of all, your very
"Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with
blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon. Come
back to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope! I
promise this very day that I will repay you two mercies for each of your
woes!" Zechariah 9:11-12