Deliverance in Besetting Sins; the Power Over People of Drink; Principle of Total Abstinence; Disciple and Firmness

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
I have in no way relinquished my visit to the West Indies, far from it: I fully hope in the course of this present year to get out there. I cannot exactly say the moment, but will write, please God. Of course, at my time of life such a journey must be (even humanly speaking) a little uncertain. But since the time of Dr. McK.'s visit I have always hoped to get there. I was going there, and since then America has largely occupied me. And though it be but a commencement, still the testimony has been planted, the truth disseminated, and in the west making progress, and not without some in the east too....
The power that drink has over people is astonishing. That was never my temptation, so that I am no judge of the snare, yet I believe that grace can give the victory over that as over every sin, positive deliverance. Clearness of mind as to the truth is not the question here, but real deliverance. Nor is anxiety to get owned again always a good sign, but anxiety with God for deliverance. I say deliverance, for in besetting sins power comes in, and it ceases then to be present to the mind as a temptation: it is the real intervention of God; and this is what a man must look for in such cases. It is well that this person clings to brethren, a good sign, so far, but the true point is concern of conscience, and seeking above all that God should free him from the temptation. When the Holy Ghost works in a man who has fallen, it makes him serious and lowly. It is not the kindliness of man, pleasant as that is, but restoration with God for which we are anxious. The Lord will guide you, dear brother, in this case. Firmness for Christ's glory, the holiness of the Table, and for the good of the man himself accompanied by the grace which thinks of him as a member and sheep of Christ, and charges oneself with the burden of his state, these are what will guide aright in these cases; I am not at all fit for cases of discipline, I have not the firmness called for. As to the manner of acting, the great point is to have the conscience of the brethren with God: "Ye have proved yourselves clear in this matter," says the apostle. When we look at it thus, it alters everything, otherwise cases of discipline are apt to engage the feelings, and make a party for or against. This is what the apostle alludes to when he says, "We are not ignorant of his devices."
Another point is, that if in earnest, a man will avoid the occasion of temptation where he feels he cannot overcome. I agree that we are not called upon' to abstain as a law, and I object to vows or pledges, but if this brother found it a means of avoiding sin he would gladly act on the principle of total abstinence, that he might not enter into temptation; we are to cut off a right hand or pluck out a right eye if it is a stumbling-block to us. The Lord make him feel the evil, for knowledge without godliness is just the way of dishonoring God, and making those who hate true knowledge find a handle against it. May the Lord give him lowliness and decision.... Be of good courage, dear brother, be strong, and He shall establish your heart. Read the first chapter of Joshua, and look to Christ. He is faithful and full of love. All we have to do is to go on peacefully, doing His will and ever looking to Him for help. Bind love to the saints. I fully hope to get to see them if spared.
Your affectionate brother in Christ.