March 31, 1898.
Elder S. H. Durand—Dear Brother:—It is in my mind to write a few words to you. Malachi said, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his Do I fear the Lord with a filial fear ? or is it a trained, selfish fear ? This is the first and all important question with me. A poet has said,
”Do I love the Lord or no ?
Am I His, or am I not?”
Sometimes when looking into the deep recesses of my heart, to try to find evidences of love, I am made to tremble at what I there see. One has recorded the case thus: “Perfect love casteth out all fear.” This beiug true, the question comes up to me, Can you love ! you have many fears. How can I harmonize these things! I am at last made to say, in one sense I have no fear, I rejoice in the glorious sovereignty of God, and do love with all my heart to trust him for life and salvation. When I say this, I do not simply mean eternal life, but salvation in all its bearings. I know of but one salvation, and of but one Savior. If there is any sort of salvation depending upon anything whatever left in, or for me to do, to obtain it, I have long since learned that it is a failure, and that I shall never attain unto it. With Paul I have to cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death !“I feel the force of the words, “The heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it!“
I did not commence writing this to pour into your ears my sorrowing complaints, but it seems true, “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”Also, we read, “The heart knoweth his own bitterness.” Can you not give me some of your joys ? Yes, the thought comes up in answer, I have this day been partaking of some of them, in reading over your continued articles on the “city that John saw coming down from heaven.” If I know what I do love, it is to contemplate these glorious things, and hear the name of my blessed Lord glorified and honored. When I read some of the philosophizing about man’s accountability, and capability of keeping God’s holy law, it makes me restless, and a desire to hear the plain, simple gospel of Christ preached, or written about in its purity, without trying to harmonize it with man’s will, comes up, and I must say, “Who art thou O man that repliest against God ?” Truly is man accountable for all his sins, and a just and holy God will, and does, so judge him, and that without making God the author of sin, as some are trying to create the impression, though so false, that you and others are teaching.
I am much pleased with the course pursued of late, as well as at all former times, by the editors of the Signs Of The Times. Surely perilous times are upon us, and it behooves all the faithful in Christ Jesus to “hold fast the form of sound words.” The theories of “man’s free moral agency,” and “conditional time salvation,” is with other new, yet old, Arminian notions, being now thrust upon the Baptists in many places, with the claim of its being Old Baptist doctrine. May the Lord in mercy remember his Zion, and cause his people to beware of such teachings. Is it the time that false teachers shall rise up among ourselves, having itching ears !If so, let us beware of them, and heed Paul’s command, “Bid them not God speed.” Again he says, “Now I have written unto you, not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, • • • with such an one no not to eat.“
Remember us in your petitions at the throne of grace, and write a word when you feel so inclined.
JAMES M. TRUE.
NOTE: I disagree with True if he is saying that man is not a free moral agent. It could be, though, that he is equating the term with free-will which is part of the theory of conditional time salvation (KF).