June 11, 1851.
This is a day of much
lip-profession without real heart work, and the "kingdom of God is not in
word, but in power." "The kingdom of God is within you." This is what
Satan seems in this day to be most fighting against. He does not oppose a
general profession of religion, which is now deemed respectable. Nor does he
mind great strictness in outward religious forms--as that is often a means
of lulling the conscience into false peace. He will not even disturb a sound
creed, and much zeal in contending for the truth of the Bible--so long as
the truths rest only in the natural mind, whereby they induce vain
confidence and terrible self-deceiving. The great enemy of souls will
endeavor to keep all in peace who have 'a name to live, but are dead.' And
if one of his subjects passes over either from gross sins or from the more
refined pleasures of this perishing world to an outward profession, he will
not be alarmed. For he cares not whether souls perish under the title of
'worldling' or of 'Christian'--so long as he gets them into his own fearful
damnation. Nay, I believe if he sees one become restless under some sense of
sin, and that he cannot urge that poor soul on further in the old sinful
way--he will transform himself into an angel of light, and recommend
reformation and external religious duties, such as reading and hearing the
Word--taking care to substitute 'form' for 'power'.
Oh! the dreadful danger of such souls, soothed into
carnal security! They are only blinded to their danger--not delivered from
it. Better were it to endure years of anguish in weeping, and seeking for
mercy by Jesus Christ--than to be turned to such "a refuge of lies," and to
walk in such "sparks of their own kindling." Better to walk in sorrow all
one's life--than to lie down in sorrow at death to end in eternal woe! May
the Lord deliver souls thus deceived from this snare of the great fowler, so
that they may thankfully say, "The snare is broken, and we are escaped" by
Divine power into that kingdom of God which is not outward things, such food
and drink--but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Ah! my beloved friend, it is this stronghold which Satan
fights against--and fallen flesh is in league with him! He may tolerate
outward forms and external religious exercises--but inward power is
represented as contemptible, unreasonable, and is called fanaticism and
enthusiasm! Yet the eternal world of glory is full of this, swelling broader
and deeper the anthem of praise to the holy Lord God and the Lamb. Without
this divine life within, no soul of man can be saved, as the great day shall
declare. It is, indeed, fearful to think what that dreadful day will reveal;
and of all characters, I think those are in the most fearful condition--who
have had Christ on the lip--but not in the heart, as in Matt.
7:21-23. My heart often says: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me,
and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and
lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23, 24.)
True it is, that our vigilant foe does not mind a new
creed--but he hates a new heart! He does not object to outward
reformation--but hates inward regeneration, and also those who are
regenerated. He does not fear good words of prayer on the lip--but he well
knows he shall suffer loss when it is said of a soul, "Behold, he prays!"
"Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees."
O you trembling souls, let not the subtle serpent
drive you from this stronghold! Your God will hear and help you. He has
taught you to pray; He will answer your prayers. If He long delays--He is
worth waiting for. If He shuts His door against you--it is only to make you
knock the louder. It is better to wait on God for His salvation in sackcloth
and ashes--than to wait on the world and the flesh clothed in scarlet; "for
the end of these things is death!"
It matters not who may deride or scoff, or how your own
evil heart may shrink from the contempt of the cross. "How long will you
halt between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then
follow him." You cannot serve them both! Oh, be wise.
If the world and Satan and the flesh
seem too strong for you, as they surely are--go into your closet, and pour
out your heart before the Lord; He will be a refuge for you. "He gives power
to the faint; and to those who have no might He increases strength."
The sighs and groans of a broken heart are heard in the
high court above, and the tears of a contrite spirit are audible there! For
before the throne is Jesus, the Brother of the broken-hearted, the atoning
sacrifice for sin--the Advocate for sinners who loathe themselves for their
iniquity. (1 Kings 8:38, 39.) That blessed Savior understands all the broken
utterances; He knows what each of His children would say if he could, and
"He ever lives to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25.) It may be the
law condemns you, O trembling one--conscience condemns you--thoughts, words,
actions, all condemn you. Be it so--may it be your mercy, and the beginning
of your salvation, for this is like the power with which the Holy Spirit
begins in the soul, thereby translating it out of the kingdom of darkness
"into the kingdom of God's dear Son." (Col. 1:13.)
The religion of Jesus is a religion of power; (1 Cor.
1:18, 23, 24.) and if, through the power of the Holy Spirit, there is a
discovery of sin and condemnation--may Jesus say, "Your sins," (oh, the
sweetness!) "your sins, which are many, are all forgiven you;" then
the burden is lawfully lost, and the soul has solid peace. Thus shall it be
with everyone quickened by the Spirit. Satan may strive to drown and stifle
the conviction, but it will return with double misery, and the burden grow
heavier and heavier, until the poor soul finds there is no way of escape but
through the blood of the cross. May the Spirit enable you to come just as
you are! I know you are seeking for Jesus, may He soon be found by you.
From your affectionate but unworthy,
Ruth—a sinner saved.