THE LORD’S WAY
THOUGH IT TARRY, WAIT FOR IT
Daniel Brouwer was the son of a capable and industrious type-setter, who brought up his children in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Daniel left school at the age of fifteen years, to be trained in the same work as his father, and under his guidance he soon made excellent progress. The publishing-house where he worked and where more than thirty persons were employed, was situated in one of the college cities where most of the work was confined to Latin and other dead languages, of which Daniel understood scarcely nothing of all that passed through his hands to be put upon the press. Till his twentieth year he was the same respectable youth, who, because of his bringing up, had respect for the old tried truth, which however, was not sanctified to his heart. Yet under the hearing of the preaching he could distinctly discern the right from the wrong and where at this time already the spirit of error revealed itself more and more, it would often happen that vehement exchange of words would take place at the printing-shop as to what took place on Sunday. This and other things had the effect that Daniel became the subject of hatred among the printing journeymen, and although he was altogether innocent, yet in general he was given the name of “the pious Brouwer.” This was the cause why he kept to himself and associated as little as possible with his fellow-workers who excelled in frivolous and insipid conversation. This occasioned that neither the sacred nor the moral was touched upon. Alas, this is the sad sign of our days as a result of God’s Word being despised.
At this time a new pamphlet was being prepared for the press. This pamphlet was far from pleasing to the owners of the publishing-house. They did not like this trumpet of penitence and yet the title of this book was something like this. The author was a well-known person who held a prominent position, whose fruit of the pen was quickly taken in hand and the work, possibly purposely, committed to Daniel.
This labour was a blessing to Daniel. Under the setting of this little book the scales fell from his eyes and he was uncovered for the condition of his heart while often the tears hindered the continuance of his activities. He appropriated the entire guilt of nation and church to himself and out of the depths of misery he learned to call, until the depths of grace called to the depths of misery and with a view upon the temple of Solomon and especially upon the mercy seat, he could believe that his sins were covered in the eternal ark of safety, and that the length and breadth of God’s long-suffering for the elect was the same as the length and breadth of Christ’s merit. But at the same time how the mercy seat was without measure in its height, as a figure how God was mighty to extend His mercy to one fallen most deeply.
It is not our plan to relate step by step the course of Daniel’s life. We simply want to let you see that where the Lord tarries and the soul waits, there He will surely come and not tarry.
The good work, which the Lord had begun, did not only appear to have been emotion but continued by the power of the Holy Spirit. The honour and glorification of the Name of the Triune God lay close to his heart and often was he filled with indignation with the hearing of the defaming of His Name, even so far that he would have gone too far in his zeal if the words to Peter had not come to him, “Put up thy sword into the sheath.”
And still this is an important characteristic of grace. If it does not affect us when the doctrine of truth which is according to godliness is disorted and under the appearance of right all sorts of errors are interwoven therein, where the glory of the Surety is obscured and man, deeply fallen, is raised to the highest and we can quietly and calmly place ourselves under it, then it is a clear and distinct proof that the Holy Ghost is not our Instructor but it is only a depraved reasoning. From where does it come that many souls uncovered to themselves continue in darkness? Is it not because they do not cling fast to the sound doctrine and can content themselves with a partial truth? The foxes which destroy the vineyard are many; these are they which if it were possible would deceive the very elect. It is no characteristic of grace to be in league with the foxes, but it is a better mark to seek them out and disclose them in their true character.
The second characteristic of grace which revealed itself in Daniel was a tender conscience. That which formerly was an indifferent matter with him now became sin to him. Constantly these words were deeply impressed in his conscience: “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” If he had to suffer shame and scorn because of being found faithful even in the very least, then many times it was good and blessed to suffer thus for the Name of the Lord.
Many years passed amid the usual activities. His father had long ago gone into that rest which remaineth to the people of God. Daniel had become a husband and the father of several children and still always in the same employment, with this difference, he had been advanced as foreman in charge of the publishing-house. Constantly, here and there, he went on sowing the seed of the Word, and he was especially active among the youth who from time to time came to labour there. The owners of the firm consisted of five persons. All of them held prominent positions in society and were known for their liberal sentiments, which they firmly advocated, as also to their dislike for all that resembled piety or fanaticism. For this reason Brouwer had to endure many a bitter morsel, although they highly esteemed him for his energetic devotion to duty and faithfulness. The eldest partner, who had the greatest share in the business, was an upright person and, as men
will say, had a good heart and he was the one in whom Brouwer had, up to now, found a protector.
But where the Holy Spirit erects a temple, there Satan builds his chapel; experience teaches us this. As long as the preaching of the Word remained more as a silent sowing, just so long things continued quietly and peacefully, but as soon as one of the youthful journeymen and later another began to cry to God from the depth of misery and loudly witnessed against their comrades with whom they formerly committed sin, then this news quickly came to the attention of the employers who could not endure that their publishing-house was infected by such persons.
One gloomy November evening the foreman was called to the office when, contrary to custom, the five owners were gathered together. In a sharp and cutting accent he was told that his conduct for long already had been an offence to them, and his old fashioned sentiments and opposition to the progress of knowledge, which was suitable for the seventeenth century but not in this century, was repugnant to them. They would have been silent if he had kept his melancholy notions to himself but now that he spoke them openly and even attempted to infect others with them, they could no longer tolerate such things, especially where they had been told that each Sunday he gathered several persons about him at a certain place who swallowed his destructive ideas with full draughts. Now they must tell him briefly but forcibly that if he continued with the one as well as the other, they would of necessity discharge him from his position.
At first Brouwer was struck with confusion; he was not prepared for such a reception, but when the long list of accusations was presented to him, he experienced that he was not accountable to himself but that the Lord fulfilled His promise in him: “It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.”
In a calm but at the same time serious way, he confessed being a member of the Reformed Church and was unaware of having departed in doctrine or walk from the profession of this Church; that his employers, as well as he, had made public confession of this doctrine and that he was of the opinion, although their station in life was quite different, yet both ought to cleave fast to this doctrine before God and man, otherwise it would be impossible to walk with an unoffensive conscience. This old and tried doctrine, for which confession our pious fathers sacrificed their lives, was precious to him, and by God’s grace he wished to continue confessing it in public and secret, and those who would hinder him therein were no faithful members of the Reformed Church and denied their confession.
One of the owners began to speak and said: “Without refuting your reasonings, Brouwer, which at the very least is not becoming over against us, there is here no question respecting your confession, much less as to ours, but only about your actions here at our publishing-house. We respect every religious conviction,
even those of the heathens and Turks, yet we require from our employers not to trouble themselves about it and each can believe what he will, also you, but you must keep it to yourself.”
“For me it is impossible. Sir,” continued Brouwer, “to be silent because you require it. As to this matter I stand just the opposite from you. I respect no one’s religious convictions except that conviction which the Almighty God gives of faith and this is to the point, founded upon God’s infallible Word, as also upheld by the Reformed Church. This confession is yours. Sirs! I appeal to your own consciences.”
The eldest now took up the conversation and said: “We are not desirous to hear another word; you have understood our intention and you can act accordingly.”
This ended the hearing while the owners were astonished at the outspoken answers which they had not been able to prove to be false. After this, both journeymen were called in and seriously admonished not to give heed to the foolish ideas of the foreman and if they continued doing so, they would suffer the consequences of their displeasure. The one remained silent but the other seemed to have received more liberty and said to the owners that they were far from right. He told them that they both were strangers to the ideas of the foreman but were not strangers of their own hearts and that the omnipotent God had used the foreman as means to open their eyes for the miserable condition wherein they were, and that they would not be silent to proclaim that salvation is only to be found in Jesus Christ and Him crucified for poor lost sinners. And he concluded by saying: “And this. Sirs, I must tell you; your soul is lost as long as you do not have this crucified One as Surety for your soul.”
Indignant because of the impudence of this young man, one of the owners arose and said to him that such impudence would not be tolerated by him and that he must leave their publishing-house at the end of the week.
All these circumstances brought Brouwer in great distress and fear; while amid it all he was privileged to find an opened access to the throne of grace, while repeatedly the promise came to him: “Fear thou not, I will help thee with the right hand of My righteousness.”
When Saturday evening came, the youth who boldly confessed his Master, received his last wages from the publishing-house, while the other youth envied him because this liberty was lacking with him, so much so that he ended the week in sadness because he was found unfaithful, fearing never to enter into the kingdom of heaven, because he had committed that sin which shall never be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.
There seemed to be a complete change in the printing plant. The cursers became silent; the frivolous seemed as if they withdrew themselves. Brouwer remained the same, faithful in
admonishing, affectionate in reprimanding, lovable in the recommending of the Lord Jesus.
Where there had been two who had come to other thoughtsÂ—from serving the world to seeking heavenÂ—it did not remain with this. An aged printer who had grown grey at the press and through whose hands thousands of forms of different sizes and contents had gone, began to be seriously concerned about the salvation of his immortal soul.
On a certain day when he became 65 years old, his birthday was celebrated as usual, and he was showered with congratulations. The foreman also came to him to congratulate him. He took him by the hand and pointed to the clock and said: “Sixty five years! Your clock is already pointing past eleven; soon it will strike twelve and then the door will be shut. Consider whether your soul is secured before it is forever too late.”
This word caused him to consider and brought him upon his knees. His constant prayer was: “What must I do to be saved?” His condition did not remain concealed, and was also visible in the dejected look which showed itself in his countenance. One Saturday evening when he had to come to the office to receive his wages, one of the owners asked him if he were sick because he appeared so gloomy. Upon this he answered that his soul was sick and was afraid he would never be well. His boss told him he should get rid of those melancholy thoughts and advised him to go fishing the next day which he was fond of doing. The old man left the office with these words: “Fishing! I wished the Lord Jesus would catch me, poor drowning one.”
The following morning, Sunday, at ten o’clock, a servant came to the home of Brouwer who desired to speak to him. His wife told him he was not at home, whereupon he wanted to know where he was, because he had to immediately speak to him upon orders of his employers. His wife told him he would be home at twelve o’clock and before that time could not be spoken to. The servant, not being satisfied with this, directed his steps to the place where Brouwer was assembled with a few friends, to speak a few words of edification and instruction. He forced himself into the assembly and with a loud voice desired that Brouwer would immediately come to the office. With dignity he answered him that he should either leave the place or calmly wait for the end of the service and then he would go with him and not before. These words seemed to make an impression, at least he sat down upon one of the benches and patiently waited till the end.
When this assembly was ended with order, Brouwer made himself ready to follow the servant. He knew nothing of what had happened with the old printer; neither was he ever called to the office on a Sunday and indulged himself in all kinds of conjectures, although he feared a reception which would not be pleasant.
He had not deceived himself in his expectation. The same tribunal was again set and anger could be read on everyone’s face.
“It seems, Brouwer”!, thus began the eldest, Â“that you have not concerned yourself with our warning and you have continued unhindered upon your erroneous way. We have compassion on your poor wife and children, because you are playing a perilous game. We seriously advise you to change your conduct; you oppose public opinion; you are provoking other courageous religious people to rebel in the church and refuse to obey us, your lawful employers. We cannot justify it and our consciences would accuse us if we would let such go on; therefore we tell you for the last time, if you, within the next month, do not relinquish those fanatical ideas and you, with your family, do not come regularly to church and you do not cease to speak in the printing plant about those idle tales, then we shall not enter a new month together and we will provide ourselves with another foreman.”
“It grieves me. Sirs”! thus spoke Brouwer, “that I have given you cause for dissatisfaction and have stirred up your anger. However, where God speaks, there man must be silent and when He prescribes to me His laws and commands, then I may not do otherwise. If my employers want to discharge me from my position because of the truth, it would be to my great grief, but then I am willing to venture doing so upon my God, Who will provide me and mine with bread, even if the ravens must bring it. I may not, I can not and I will not promise you that I will change my actions, but I will go with my God Who will see to it that no bread will be wanting and with the pious Luther I say: “Hear I stand. God help me; I cannot do otherwise.”
“Thus you refuse to comply with our command!”
“I have said. Sir, I cannot do otherwise.”
“Well then,” thus said the eldest owner, “then you have yourself to blame if we discharge you from your position on the last of the month, while we hope that other employment will soon present itself for you.”
“It greatly grieves me. Sirs,” thus ended Brouwer, “that I must terminate my position and I hope that none of you will lament this action, when it is too late. I am sure that God will care for me, for His promises are faithful; they never fail.”
With this the meeting ended and Brouwer left the office amid various emotions. However, they were not sad, for he strengthened himself in the Lord his God and when he entered his home, where his friends and family were anxiously awaiting him, he requested them to unitedly sing the 4th verse of Psalter 414 before he would relate anything of what had transpired.
Arise and save me. Lord
For Thou hast smitten hard
The jaws of them that hate me;
Yea, thou didst fiercely break
For me Thy servants’ sake
The teeth of the ungodly
I shall not suffer long,
For my salvation strong
Belongeth to Jehovah;
Thou, Lord, wilt freely pour
A blessing from Thy store
Upon us; Halleluyah!
Brouwer had received the promise of this blessing; the Lord had often repeated it! he knew that God was faithful and upon this he trusted. His wife did not have this firm conviction and she went toward the future mournfully, while her husband proceeded with uplifted head, trusting upon God’s promises.
The last Saturday came quickly. Touching was the farewell from the place where he had been active for twenty years. However, he could believe that that God, Who had sought him there, would not forsake him, now that he was being sent away from there for His Name. When he left the publishing-house these words came to mind with new fragrance and freshness: “Mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from thee.”
The following Monday he went out to try for work at other publishing-houses but without success. Only at one place he had to come back in two days. He left in the hope that he would soon be able to begin working again. Meanwhile his wife did not cease to try and convince him to return to his former employers, requesting them, if it were possible, to take him back. Possibly he was a bit too severe; he pulled the noose a little too tight; he had to proclaim God’s Word, that is true, but according to her thoughts, he should cease with the public assembly. So many things come up against it; people hated him for it and it could do nothing for him and his family except injury. With such reasonings flesh attempted to reign over the spirit. Nevertheless Brouwer remained firm and comforted himself with these words:
The Lord is just in all His ways,
In all His works the Lord is kind,
And all that call on Him in truth
In Him a present helper find.
He will fulfill the heart’s desire
Of those that fear Him and obey;
Their cry the Lord will surely hear,
And He will save them when they pray.
When the two days were past Brouwer hastened to the place where he hoped to be successful but he only received a disappointment; there was still no opportunity to be hired.
He could not deny that he was disappointed and on the way home all kinds of deliberations came to mind which brought him into an unpleasant disposition and these were carefully shut up in his heart, to only reveal them to Him Who could fathom his heart.
His coming home was bitter to him. As the wife of Job, thus
his wife increased his distress. She showed him the many necessities, those present as well as those in the future, the little child which she was carrying under her heart, and how that the money for their daily needs would soon be lacking and that when their money would be all spent, they then would be necessitated to depend upon poor relief.
“Wife, this I know”! so spake he, “the need is rising; however, until now we have lacked nothing. But this I also know, that nothing shall be lacking because God lives and because I know this, therefore I hope that He will sustain me and then I shall not falter.”
“Yes, I too know that God lives, but I do not know whether you are right in sacrificing your wife and children because you are too severe in confessing the truth. As for me I maintain that you ought to try to obtain your former employment again. Your job is not yet filled and if you will go there quickly, then it may not be too late.”
“I will not go. I would rather come with wife and children to begging, which, however, will never take place, than to deny in the least, the truth which has set me free.”
“Yes, I know that you are obstinate respecting that point, but you ought to rather take notice of your children and do your utmost to attempt to be reconciled with the owners of the publishing-house.”
“Listen, dear wife! You know how I love you and how our children are bound to my heart, but the lord says: ‘He that loveth wife or children more than Me is not worthy of Me’. Let us not increase the sorrow and suffering with guilt.
Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
Have nothing else to fear:
Make His service your delight;
He will make your wants His care.”
Upon this both were deeply affected and both were brought upon their knees. Together they were privileged to learn to flee with all their cares under the shadow of the Almighty and find rest in the motherly heart of God for their oppressed mind.
A few days later Brouwer left for Amsterdam to endeavour to obtain employment at one of the publishing-houses there. The money needed for the journey was scrupulously and most closely calculated. He left home and family with God in view, depending upon nothing but God, that God Who had become a merciful Father to him.
When he left home, Abraham and his son Isaac appeared vividly before his view when Isaac said: “Father, where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” and the father of the faithful answered: “God will provide.” Thus the Lord would also provide for him and although the leaving of his place of residence and friends would occasion grief, yet he desired to willingly follow, if the Lord would lead him elsewhere.
When Brouwer arrived at Amsterdam every publishing-house was visited without any results. Only a few remained where he would be reluctant of being employed there because of the immoral and undermining works of the truth which were printed there. It seemed as if in one of these he would be successful, at least the agreement was made that within fourteen days he would be told what day he should come to work, and Brouwer returned with the good news that he would soon enter into new employment. Where this was a ray of hope for his wife with little faith, it brought him into such straits and distress, for to be busy in the building up of the kingdom of darkness was a terror to him which caused sleep at night to be withheld from his eyes. However, this condition only lasted three days. The Lord came in His condescending goodness to affectionately comfort him with these words,” Fear not, only believe.” For Brouwer this was a support to his heart and joyful in the Lord, he could relate to one of his friends that he did not believe that he would move to Amsterdam but that the Lord would make all things well.
Soon the determined days were passed without receiving any answer, wherefore he decided to do everything his hand was capable of doing, by writing and reminding the employers in question of their promise. The following day he already received a short answer stating that they had entirely given up considering his employment for the simple reason that his religious feelings were of such a nature that they would rather not place themselves in relationship with such a person.
Behold, again the same stumbling block, which had as result new and continual bursts of reproaches from Mrs. Brouwer, making him greatly distressed and by renewal, he sought his only strength in prayer to God. However, he went on offering his services but everywhere it seemed to be cut off and the question at times arose, Â“Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” But seldom was this of long duration; the promises of God would come to him constantly with new fragrance and freshness, making him rest in those promises, knowing that they are yea and amen in Christ Jesus.
However, the needs became greater. The money they had saved diminished; soon it would be all spent and the tender mother pictured in the most dreadful colours, poverty and want. Although she had moments in which she was quiet and calm in God’s dispensation, yet most of the time her soul was in rebellion against her Creator and so her inward and outward condition was lamentable. Brouwer leaned upon the promises of God and although it cannot be denied that he at times strayed from Zion’s mount, still most of the time his soul was calm and still, waiting upon the salvation of the Lord. But the Lord did not come; he tarried longer and longer and the future became darker by the day. Finally want came into the home; the last penny was used and the needs were threatening. It was decided to sell some of the furniture but what piece would be first to leave the house? All stood there for many years, and
were reminders of God fearing parents who had used it in the past. All was equally precious and dear, and then Brouwer had to acknowledge that he had many household idols. However, the need called, and the old house-clock which so often had announced to them that the seconds, minutes and hours were simply the link of years and centuries, yea, this old pendulum clock must be first to remove from its place and Brouwer himself took it under his arm and exchanged it for a few dollars, which had to serve to prolong the maintenance of the family for a few days. To do this was a heavy burden to him and indeed, if a hidden support had not upheld him, he would have sunk thereunder and forsook God, but he had the promises of God that what he was doing was well, even if all things opposed, yea, even if, at times his own family were enemies.
Several days after this dark day, while Brouwer poured out his heart before God in the morning and commended his portion and way before Him, he was wonderfully encouraged by a word which descended into his soul which came three times with great power to his mind, so that he could not doubt but that it came from the Lord, Who would cause it to come to pass. “Now will I rise,” thus did it resound through his soul and when the complaint of the mother was heard, while partaking of the scanty meal, that the last food was used and only a few pennies were left for the second meal, then Brouwer brought the message that the Lord had promised him that He would now arise, that the way and means were unknown to him but that he had received the promise and that the Lord had never yet failed in one of His promises.
At first this news gladdened his spouse greatly which from the first had a favourable influence upon the children, but when a few hours were passed and the last pennies were spent, she was again the same; she had but little faith and always wanted to behold, in order to be able to believe.
The day came to an end. The children were brought to bed and when the clock struck half past nine, husband and wife sat together beside a small lamp, mute and speechless, one considering how a person can deceive himself with such promises, the other listening for every footstep which passed the house. The clock had already struck the hour of ten and still they continued to sit there when a passer-by stood still at the door and putting his hand to the bell, rang it. Shortly after this the eldest partner of the publishing-house walked inside and the following conversation took place:
“Well, Brouwer! my boy, how is it going? Haven’t you any work as yet?”
“It is quite well. Sir! Although it is not pleasant to the flesh, I have no reason to complain about my God.”
“But I’m not asking you that. I wanted to know if you are not as yet employed.”
“No, not as yet. Sir, but God will provide.”
“No work! Well then you are in need. How then have you done well all these weeks?”
“O, Sir! God will never permit His children to perish from hunger. We have not been without food for one day.”
“Yes, but my boy, this cannot continue thus. I must tell you that I had not a moment’s rest because of it and that the anxiety respecting you and your family drove me out of my house. I thought of doing it tomorrow morning but it was as if I were driven; I could not rest because of you.”
“It does me good. Sir, to think that although I was out of your sight, yet not out of your heart.”
“It is true, Brouwer, you were not and it is for this reason that I have come here. I regret that upon certain points you are somewhat obstinate, but we have decided among ourselves to overlook this fault and we had expected that you would have come back to redress this grievance.”
“May I tell you. Sir, that there is no thought of a restoration here. It was respecting the Truth which has made me free and I would sooner beg than to deny my faith. But I should think, if you, as my employers, would permit me to retain my faith and I would perform my duties as I always have done, that the publishing-house would suffer no loss.”
“This is just what we have mutually discussed. If you will, you can come next week in the same employment as before and as to matters of faith you are not to speak to us about them and we will not take into account the things which happen on the outside.”
“I will accept your friendly offer with thankfulness. Sir! And I must add this to it. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes!”
“But now you are already breaking our agreement.”
“Give me leave to speak a few words this once. I knew, Sir, that yet this night deliverance would come out of this way of trial.”
“This you could not know, Brouwer! No one besides us knew anything of it.”
“But the Lord knew it. Let my wife relate what has taken place here in this house on this day.”
Upon this Mrs. Brouwer, with tears, began to tell what took place and how she, as one with weak faith, had faltered, but how her husband had sat waiting for the fulfilment of the promise until the moment that it was fulfilled.
“I don’t understand it; I don’t understand it; to me it is a mystery,” thus said the gentleman, adding this to it: “Here, Brouwer, I have set this aside for you; surely, you will be able to use it, but let this remain between us.” He hastily took his hat and cane, as if he were afraid to hear more, meanwhile not being able to restrain his tears; he bid them farewell, saying, “Now Brouwer, until Monday.”
Until their lamp went out because of lack of oil, both husband and wife sat there in the dead of the night being filled with wonderment because of the loving-kindness of the Lord, praising and adoring Him, Who gloriously helps His poor needy ones.
Ye of little faith, do not waver; though the Lord tarry, wait
for Him; He will surely come. He might tarry long, yea, very long, but He shall comeÂ—not at your time, but at His time.
Fear not, though succour be delayed,
Still wait for God, and He will hear,
Be strong, nor be thy heart dismayed,
Wait, and the Lord shall bring thee aid,
Yea, trust and never fear.
(By kind permission of “The Macedonia Mission Society.” This gracious narrative can be obtained in booklet form together with a Preface by P. Los upon application to the Society at P.O. Box 127, Midland Park, New