To Miss F., May 12, 1860.
You do not know how much I have thought of you since you have been ill, and
how I have hoped this cough might be as the rough messenger, by which the
Lord would effectually touch your heart, making you feel yourself a lost,
helpless sinner--and bringing you to plea for mercy at the foot of the
Cross, where no needy sinner ever perished yet. No, my beloved young friend,
there is no perishing at the footstool of mercy. You cannot be too sinful,
too hard, too cold, too powerless--for Jesus to save.
If you feel your need of Him--it is His gift. Oh that it
may be so! My heart yearns after your soul, travails in birth until Christ
is formed "in you the hope of glory," and I grudge every year and month that
you and your dear brother and sister continue far off from God, and
strangers to "the peace that is made by His blood."
"Oh that the time of love may come!
When you shall surely see,
Not only that He shed His blood,
But each shall say--for me!"
For you, dear one, I have been thinking of this word, "I
have refined you—but not with silver, I have chosen you in the furnace of
affliction." And if it be so, you will say, "It is good for me that I have
been afflicted," for "before I was afflicted I went astray." I sometimes
long for a peep into your heart, for I cannot think your thoughts and
desires are all after the empty things of this world. I think there is under
all a longing to be "found" by the Good Shepherd, and marked for His
Perhaps you sometimes think, "If I am not chosen, it is
of no use desiring and praying." So I thought once, and it lay like a stone
on my heart, choking and chilling each little sigh for mercy, when the cry
would have risen, "Lord, save me!" But I have found it was one of Satan's
devices to keep me from prayer—and so it is with you, if such are your
feelings. Even as it was with the young man whom Satan attacked when they
were bringing him to Jesus. But he could not hinder the blessing, and that
is comfort. "As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground
and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit
and healed the boy." (Luke 9:42)
The question with you should be, not whether you are
chosen—but what are the characters whom Jesus came to save, and invites to
come to Him? "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was
lost." "I am not come to call the righteous—but sinners to
repentance." "This man receives sinners and eats with them." "Come
unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest." Jesus is a great Savior, and you are a great
sinner, therefore you are the very case for Him.
It is true, with all your endeavors you cannot repent—but
"Him has God exalted to give repentance and remission of sins." Neither can
you pray—but He gives the spirit of grace and supplication. You cannot mourn
for sin—but He makes the "heart soft." "They shall come with weeping, and
with supplications will I lead them." You cannot believe but He is the
Author and Finisher of faith. So all these are things not to keep you
away—but just to bring you to Him, even though you do not know assuredly
that He has chosen you. He says, "Him that comes to me I will never cast
out." The Spirit says, "Come!" The Bride says, "Come!" And "whoever will,
let him take the water of life freely!" May you, dear friend, come, and come
again, you will not be cast out.
But perhaps in this very furnace the Lord will say to
you, "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with
loving-kindness have I drawn you. I will bring the third part through the
fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold
is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, It
is my people. And they shall say, The Lord is my God." Amen, so let it be
with you, my dearest friend.
I have been writing mentally all the week—but was too ill
to pen my thoughts. I am rather better today, and so have done it freely.
Perhaps my thoughts may not have touched yours; all depends upon the Spirit
of power. Oh breathe, celestial Dove, in that dear heart the breath of life
divine. Move upon the dark waters of that soul, and say, "Let there be
light," and the light of life shall burst forth. Be in that loved one the
spirit of supplication, that she may pray and not faint. The Lord preserve
you in journeying, restore your health, and bless your soul, that you may
"Gladly the world's poor toys I leave
For those who know not Thee."
I know you will excuse the many imperfections of these
poor lines, written from the bed of pain and weakness.
With much love, I remain your affectionate friend,