Stacks Image 80

Division 2 — Notes by the Way

Chapter 12

"Come and let us reason together." — The Word of the Lord.

Being naturally much given to reasoning, seldom disposed to credit an assertion without an ostensible wherefore, she sometimes almost yielded to the suggestion, that her constitutional temperament was so greatly to her disadvantage, she need scarcely expect to be strong in faith —imagining that persons naturally credulous had in spiritual matters greatly the advantage of those who required a specified reason for every item of belief, and who most cautiously examined step by step the validity of the ground, ere the venture was made to tread firmly.

Yet this very trait of character, which she had habituated herself to regard as so unpropitious, when brought into obedience to Christ, was made subservient to her spiritual advantage.

She afterward found that God did not require her to believe anything but what was thoroughly substantiated by the requirements of his written word; and became convinced that it was not only her privilege, but also made her duty by the express declarations of that word, to test every step as she passed onward in the heavenly way, by a careful searching of the Scriptures, in order to prove the validity of each step as successively taken.

This course she afterward found to be necessary, not only for the establishment of her own soul, in order to its being rooted and grounded, so as not to be easily moved away from the hope of the gospel, but also as a prerequisite, not to be dispensed with, if she would honor God by being able to give an answer, with meekness and fear, to those who asked a reason of her hope.

But she lost beyond all calculation by thus lingering for years in this comparatively-undecided course. Some estimation of the irreparable loss sustained may be conceived by an allusion to one who in a given time is required to build an edifice. He lays the foundation, and begins to advance with the superstructure, but, fearful of some mistake, he overthrows it, and then again commences, and after having made, perchance, still higher advances, again demolishes it from the fear that something may yet be wrong. And this was precisely her unwise course.

It was not until she was enabled, through grace, to resolve on ceasing to have her mind influenced in its decisions by a reference to the experience of others, and determined, with a resoluteness not to be shaken, to take the BIBLE as her COUNSELOR, that she was enabled to make much progress in the divine life. But when she came to this decision, the Spirit began mightily to help her infirmities.

The hour will never be forgotten when, with a settled purpose of soul, she looked abroad on every motive of earthly ambition, and deliberately counted all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ; it was then that the Spirit said encouragingly, and also assuringly, "A door great and effectual is opened but there are many adversaries."

From that moment she became more understandingly convinced than ever, that there were foes for her to face, and more truly aware of the significant import of the inquiries

"Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sail'd through bloody seas?

"Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?"