"Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How long
are you going to waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him!
But if Baal is God, then follow him!" 1 Kings 18:21
To Mr. J. A., December 1855.
What will you say to me for taking the liberty of writing to you? Perhaps
you will feel indignant and offended; but I hope that will soon pass away,
for Jesus says, "Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me." It is in
His name, and for His sake I write to you, and for your soul's sake also. I
feel constrained to write to you to remind you that He is "the friend of
sinners." He still "receives sinners, and eats with them." He says, "If any
man thirsts--let him come unto me and drink!" "Come unto me, all you who
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Now I am sure you have
not found rest; you are not happy. You have too much light on spiritual
subjects to be easy in a course of vanity and worldliness. You may drink the
poisoned sweetóbut it leaves a sting and void behind. You may think that if
you had a home, and someone to love in it--the void would be filled up. But
no--it would still be left.
"And let you try Whate'er you will;
Believe me, while you live,
A something will be lacking still,
This world can never give."
That something is Jesus. He only can give true happiness.
He is the one thing which is needful to put all else into the right place.
If you did but know His preciousness, you would think it worth forsaking
all--to find Him. He gives just what you need, a heart to love Him, His
ways, and His people. He says, "A new heart will I give you, and a new
spirit will I put within you." He also gives true repentance and free
pardon; for He is exalted "to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of
sins." He gives deliverance from the power and love of sin, saying, "I will
put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." He
washes crimson sins white as snow in His own precious blood, for hear
Him say, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your
sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool." He puts the best robe on prodigals who have
been vainly trying to find satisfaction in the husks of this world's
pleasures. By His Spirit He brings them to their right mind, cleanses them
in His blood, and clothes them in His righteousness.
Perhaps you will say, "And what is all this to me?" Why,
it is this to you, belovedówithout these things you must perish
forever! Should you ask, "What have you to do with it?" I answer, "I
have a great concern for your soul's salvation." But you may object, "The
things you have spoken of are for God's chosen people, and I do not know
that I am one." You do not know that you are not one, and should rather say,
"Why not, my soul? Why not for You?" And though they are a
free gift not to be obtained by any creature power, yet ask God to give them
to you. Ask Him to give you the Holy Spirit to make you feel your need of
them. Oh may that Holy Spirit,
"Convince you of your sin,
Then lead to Jesus' blood;
And to your wondering soul reveal
The secret love of God."
That you may have an experimental knowledge and enjoyment
of these things, is the earnest and affectionate desire of yours very
Jeremiah 6:16óbut I hope not the last clause. "This is
what the Lord says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient
paths: Which is the way to what is good? Then take it and find rest for
yourselves. But they protested: We won't!"