Conversations: No. 1

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
"How is your daughter, Mrs. H.?" we inquired the other day, addressing the mother of a young woman apparently far advanced in consumption.
"If anything she seems a little better, but the disease is so deceptive," was the reply.
" She may, then, not have long to live here; do you feel quite sure that she is saved, and, having redemption, that she is fit to depart and be with Christ?יי
Mrs. H. said " Well, I hope so; she has long been trying to prepare herself for heaven."
We replied, " Jesus died for those who have no strength to prepare themselves, ' for when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. "
"I mean," said Mrs. II., "'she is doing her best to make herself fit for heaven."
"That is a very serious and common mistake. To set Christ aside: to say, as it were, Christ professed to come down from heaven to save sinners. He professed to redeem sinners by His blood. He died for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification; and that He hath perfected forever those who are sanctified by his one offering. Do you mean that your daughter is treating Christ as an impostor; and that she must do her best to fit herself for heaven?"
" I never saw it in that light before," said Mrs. H.; " why I have been taught otherwise ever since I was a child in the Sunday-school. Old Mr. L., you knew him, used to tell us how we must strive to make ourselves holy and fit for heaven. And all the preaching I have ever heard has been about what I was to do, to fit myself to die."
We replied, " We will take this illustration. If you had been a slave, in the West Indies or elsewhere, and a kind friend had paid a great sum for your redemption, to set you free—not for a week, or a year, but forever; and if that friend sent you the joyful news of your emancipation from slavery, and then, instead of believing the good news, you continued to cry, é Ο miserable slave that I am, who will have mercy on me and buy my redemption! or if you said, 11 must try my best to earn enough to purchase my redemption from slavery;' would not this be treating the friend who had paid the ransom as if he were a deceiver, and would you not make him a liar? Yes, all the while you did your best, as you call it, you would be treating your friend as an impostor! Oh, have we not all so treated Christ?"
" Well to be sure," said Mrs. H.; "I never saw before how wrongly I have been taught."
" Yes, you would be saying to your kind friend,' I do not believe your love to me; I do not believe you have done what you say; I must do my best to do it myself.' Is it not like saying 'I do not believe God so loved me, as to give His Son to die for me. I do not believe Jesus came from heaven for the purpose of saving me, of redeeming me. No, He has not finished the work on the cross. I have to do it, and I must do my utmost to do it. And I hope I shall do it. I hope I shall be fit to die, and go to heaven at last.'"
" I could not have thought it was so simple," said Mrs. H; " I never saw it before."
" This reminds us of the conversion of a coachman where we were staying lately," we said; " it was a very remarkable incident that God was pleased to use." A preacher was relating it as follows: A gentleman had two little pups given him of some valuable breed, but both remained blind, and did not open their eyes. The owner ordered his man to drown the two blind pups. The man did so. But on his return he was very much troubled and agitated. The master said, 'Well, have you drowned the pups?' 'Yes,' said the man, ( I have, but I shall never drown a pup again whilst I live. No never, sir I' 'Why, what was the matter?' ' Oh, sir, they both opened their eyes as they were going down, I shall never forget them.' 'Ah,' said the preacher, ' how dreadful for a sinner never to open his eyes until he is going down to endless woe!' God showed the coachman that he was like the blind pups, both his eyes closed, and going down, down. He became so alarmed that the incident was used in truly awakening his soul. The rich man in Luke 16, we may judge from the context, was a well-to-do Pharisee; a religious worldly man. But both his eyes were shut until he went down into hell; and there he opened his eyes being in torments. It is a mercy, Mrs. H., to have the eyes open before we go down."
"It is indeed very sad to have our eyes so closed all our life."
" Yes, if we set Christ, and His eternal redemption aside, then we must take the place of miserable sinners; ever praying for mercy, but never knowing that our sins are forgiven; ever struggling and doing our best, as we suppose, but never knowing that we have eternal life, never enjoying the certainty that we have redemption. Now look at the contrast. Hear the words of those who do believe the love of God; who do know that He has been glorified by the death of their precious Substitute on the cross: 'Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' (Col. 1:12-1412Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:12‑14).) What blessed certainty every sentence breathes. Is it not a wonderful contrast with the misery and uncertainty of all those who have set aside the eternal redemption once accomplished by Christ, and are now vainly trying to do their best to fit themselves for heaven?" We left our aged friend to meditate on these words.
This paper may be placed in the hands of some who have never known this marvelous grace of God. Are both your eyes closed in blindness? Is all darkness and uncertainty? Are you vainly trying to earn your own redemption? Are you determined to go on crying for mercy, and ever rejecting it? Oh, reflect, lest you open your eyes as you are going down! What a ransom has been paid! What a redemption has been wrought for all who believe God! Everlasting emancipation is now proclaimed. " Be it known unto you that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe ARE justified from all things." "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." C. S.
What is eternal is our portion, and Christ fills it.