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Division 2 — Notes by the Way

Chapter 16

"He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath ONE that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day." — The Savior.

"The Lord seems to have one peculiar way of leading me onward, in all my experience," said this traveler, while conversing, on one occasion, with one who desired instruction in reference to getting into the "way of holiness."

"I have been called, in the first place," she continued to say, "to take the WORD OF THE LORD, to examine myself by its tests, and just so far as I have found its promises suited to my condition, just so far I have rested, most confidently, upon its truths. And having previously made the resolution that, if possessed of these tests, I would venture, whether my feelings warranted the conclusion or not, assured that heaven and earth shall pass away before one jot or tittle of all that he hath said shall fail; I have invariably found that, just so soon as I have made the venture, the foundation upon which I rested was as firm as the pillars of eternity!"

While repeating the words last mentioned, relative to the firmness of her foundation, stronger conviction of the Scriptural propriety of the course she had been divinely impelled to pursue, than she ever before felt, was imparted, and with this, a sudden and vivid recollection of a dream, which she had several years previously, which, during the intervening years, seemed to have been entirely forgotten, but which now, with the freshness of yesterday, passed before her. "O!" she exclaimed, "I had such a singular dream, four or five years since, which was precisely prophetical of what has since been my experience.

"It was this: I thought my spirit had left the body, and entered the spiritual world; I found everything there very unlike what I had before conjectured. `What state is this?' I inquired. `This is the middle state,' was the reply. `The middle state!' said I, `why, they say, on earth, there is no middle state."

`They have a great many strange conjectures.’

The allusion was to the well known words,.....

"A heaven and hell, and that alone
Beyond the present time is known;
There is no middle state."

The sentiment contained in which is not at all at variance with the views at this time received on earth, such as they have no foundation for from the word of God,' was the answer. 'And what is to be my state here?' I eagerly inquired. `Your state!' said the spirit, chidingly, `why, you have had the BIBLE — the WORD OF THE LORD — and by this you should have tried yourself, and have known what your state was before you came here; but since you have it no more with you, if you can think of but one passage by which to test yourself, you may just as well know what your state will be now, as by leaving it till you are called before your Judge, for it is by this you are to be judged.'

"Never before did I have such a view of the infinite importance and eternal bearing of the WORD of GOD; I saw that it was in verity as truly the word of the Lord, as though audibly uttered from the heavens, and thus arresting continuously the outward ear, as well as the inward perceptions of mortals.

"I thought of the various denominations in the world that I had left, who, in expressing their doctrinal peculiarities, would say, `I believe so,' and another, `I believe so,' and thought, 'O! why did not every one run, with Bible in hand, raised aloft, crying, "The BIBLE says so! The BIBLE says so?"'

"But the all-absorbing, unutterable desire of my heart now was, to bring to remembrance some passage by which to try myself. Yet the overwhelming consideration, that all was now past change, and that my eternal destiny was pending on the decision to be thus made, seemed so momentous, that the uncertainty of one minute was unendurable. The intense anxiety and hurry of my spirit to bring to remembrance some passage by which the point might be decided were too much for the fluttering spirit while still incased in the body, and in its strugglings, it awoke to the consciousness that it was still with the body, on the shores of time."

At the time when this dream occurred, her mind had been under an unusual influence for several days. She had withdrawn her attention, as far as possible, from everything that might divide its purposes, and centered it in the aim to get an assurance that she was a child of God, in some such luminous or extraordinary manner that there never might be a shade of plausibility in the temptation to doubt.

But, notwithstanding the many toilsome hours thus spent, she seemed to come no nearer the mark than when she began. And it was while engaged in these apparently fruitless endeavors that she had the dream alluded to. It has since been cause of astonishment that the lesson, so evidently intended to be communicated, was not apprehended. It seemed to be regarded at the time as merely admonitory, that she was about to exchange worlds.

From views of the unseen world, other than those mentioned, assurance took possession of her mind, that she had been permitted to take a glance into the spiritual world. Views of its realities, both Scriptural and rational, were brought abidingly within the range of her perceptions, unlike anything of which she had ever before had any conception. Within a few weeks after its occurrence, she often resolved on noting it down, but was driven back from the pursuit by a shrinking persuasiveness that she was dealing with spiritual things.

After a few months the recollection of it seemed to have passed away, so that it did not return to memory for years, until it was so vividly presented on the occasion stated.

The intervening experience, to which special allusion was made when spoken of as "prophetical," was this: The "prize of holiness" had been presented to her mind by the dictations of the blessed word, as an attainment, toward which every redeemed one should not only aspire, but which he should also possess — the rightful heritage of the believer.

Yet, whenever her aspirations were the most ardent, the suggestion was the moat powerful, that it were better to be thorough in "the principles of the doctrine of Christ" first, before going on unto perfection.

This was so repeatedly, or continuously, the case that she began to see the suggestion calculated to keep her ever toiling at first principles, forbidding, most effectively, an onward progress in the school of Christ.

About this time "Philips' Guides" came under her observation, and she was greatly encouraged by some Scriptural advice given to those similarly exercised with herself, and pursuant to counsel there given, resolved, and most solemnly covenanted with God, that if there were but one passage in his WORD by which she might test herself, and know that she was a new creature, she would never doubt again; but would resolutely believe irrespective of frames and feelings.

She then took, this passage, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Previous to this, she had taken as the motto of life, "Entire devotion of heart and life to God." She now asked, What has induced this resolution and led to corresponding action? "The Spirit of God," was the reply.

And this was the most conclusive answer to each inquiry, after having made a minute examination, of the motives impelling her to action. Knowledge sufficiently convincing for the full establishment of her faith, assuring her that she was a child of God, from this time beamed upon her mind. Most truly might it now be said, -

"Meridian evidence puts doubt to flight."

Not one temptation, bearing a shade of plausibility, was ever, from that hour, presented to her mind, to doubt her adoption into the family of Christ. And now she greatly rejoiced, that. God had so long borne with her, in bringing her to this point. On retracing all the way that the Lord had brought her from infancy, she observed that the urgings of his Spirit had been persuasively directing her mind away from the uncertain traditions and example of the fallible creature, to the only INFALLIBLE STANDARD — the ONE STANDARD of the only wise God — ever appealing as a voice from the throne of the ETERNAL, saying, "THERE IN ONE THAT JUDGETH YOU THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME SHALL JUDGE YOU AT THE LAST DAY

The wisdom of this MIGHTY COUNSELOR, which she from this period took yet more closely to the companionship of her heart, in no part of her heavenward course seemed more apparent than in the manner in which she became confirmed in this assurance of divine relationship. Had she depended on merely joyous emotions for this witness, when those emotions had subsided, and she was required to walk by faith, the witness would have fled with the emotion. But here the blessed WORD ever stood the same.

It was but to know that those tests of divine relationship were still maintained in her own heart, in order to be assured that it was still her privilege, though in heaviness, through manifold temptations, to rejoice in the confidence that there was the same sure word of prophecy, even the WORD of Him "with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," upon which to repose; resting here, well might she, with an unutterable degree of confidence, proclaim the foundation firm as the pillars of eternity.