THE SIMPLICITY AND SAVING NATURE OF GOSPEL FAITH
Some time after this it pleased the Lord to lay His hand on the surviving brother; who I can truly say was from the first day I became acquainted with him, a simple-hearted, godly, upright, honest man. But, before he fell into a deep decline and drew near the gates of death, he was bound in legality and filled with doubts respecting the state of his soul. When called to visit a few serious friends, who lived near his dwelling, he desired to make one in a little party; and, being supported by a neighbour, he reached the house where we were.
Upon being seated in an arm-chair near the fire, when he recovered his breath, he thus addressed me: “Mr. F., my manner of life for fifteen years past you have been in some manner a witness to; I have heard the Gospel from many; I have given my mind closely to reading and study, but have never been able to come to a clear knowledge of the truth for myself; the more I persued it in my way, the farther I seemed from it. Sometimes I thought my conviction for sin had never been deep enough, and that the little, knowledge I had received was not sufficient to constitute me wise to salvation. At other times I thought I had not yet received what was termed a manifestation of His love to my soul. For all these things I have been seeking and waiting these fifteen years, and now at last to this very day, am as far from having obtained them in this way as ever. Here I prove the truth of Hart’s words:Â—
“If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.”
Thus far I have been labouring to no purpose, but God has brought me at last in His own way. And now, my friend, as a dying man (for so I am), I feel myself exceedingly gratified in having an opportunity, just before I go home, of proclaiming my only ground of hope towards God, and the nature of faith in which I am about to depart this life. I am now standing on the brink of an eternal world;
the former ignorance I bewailed I feel now; the former sin and corruptions that I mourned over I feel now; the former guilt and inward condemnation I feel now; – yea, the whole body of sin and death I have long groaned under I still feel. But my former fears and doubts on this very account I do not now feel, and I feel myself a very lump of sin, polluted and contaminated throughout by the fall, but, glory be to God, I now see what I never saw before, Jesus Christ, mighty to save – yea, to save me as I now am, a miserable sinner. I have been waiting fifteen years to get qualified for Christ and fitted for Him. I now see that all the qualification a soul can partake of, is to see himself all unfitness and altogether in ruins, but Jesus “able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.” This is the point on which I rest my eternal all. Dying, I cast myself into His arms, and own His mercy, crying, “Lord, save me, just as I am, or I perish!” And I do firmly believe that I, even I, shall be found in Jesus, and shall be for ever glorified with Him, my God, my Saviour, my Friend!”
This was music to my ears and joy to my heart. I made this reply:
“I need not say to you this is a good hope. He who has put you in possession of it, bears His own testimony to the worth and value of it to your heart and conscience.”
By this instructive circumstance and dying testimony I believe we each felt mutually interested and truly comforted. He was led home again, and few days after entered into the full enjoyment of that rest of which his faith brought in the earnest before his departure. “How wonderful are His works, and His ways past finding out!”
Extracted from Memorandum of the Marvellous Goodness of God. by G. Francis.