The Family Home; Sources of Joy; the Word "Stranger"; Subjection of Will; Study of the Word; the World and the Christian; Letters to a Young Convert

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
My very dear—,-I was very glad indeed to get a letter from you. I should have surely answered it sooner, but its arrival was a good deal delayed. I have only just got it. It was a matter of joy to me that you have got on happily at -'s. Tell him that I had the kindest letter from Mr. but that he has not long ago lost his wife, rather unexpectedly, humanly speaking, though she had been ill, and that though bowing to the Lord, he was dreadfully overwhelmed by it. We are in a world of sorrow, dear, though you are too young to have felt much of it. Only yesterday again I received an account of another tie broken, and one, a daughter, left alone desolate; but all this is good for us, it makes us feel our rest is not here, and young as you are you can learn this. Your very leaving home has begun the tale for you; it did once for me. I remember yet my desolation once on leaving it. 'Stranger' is a word sin has brought in. In Latin and in more learned languages it means an enemy; such is man. In heaven none can or will be a stranger there, nor any stranger to Him; and it is a blessed thought, for the love of God makes all one, and such ought the Church to be. But I do not at all blame your feeling as to home, however kind-may be, and you happy amongst them, for in this world, for our human feelings, home is that which is the center of all true feelings. I trust it will ever be so to you, only we have to learn that in this world all that breaks up, because sin and death have entered in, and we have gradually to learn to be pilgrims and strangers in it, and will find a home which will never break up. Blessed be God, that He gives us this rest, and has made His dwelling-place our home, as our Father, where we shall be with Christ our beloved One and our Savior forever.
I am very glad that you are thus searching and enjoying scripture. I can tell you, dear -, that though, as you know, I have been searching it for years, I ever find through grace, what fresh treasures are in it, and that learning some truth and grace is but the means of being able to learn others, and these are not only truths, but the unsearchable riches of Christ: we know His riches in grace, in learning them. "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified by the truth." What we learn in this is infinitely precious, because it is in Him, and the fruit of the Father's love. May the Lord keep your affections fresh in these things. Think little of yourself: the true effect of real joy in the things of God is to empty us of ourselves, and to make us think little of ourselves, because first our affections are drawn to another (Christ), and because we see all their divine excellences, not in ourselves, for we have to learn, but in another, and One who made Himself of no reputation, and humbled Himself for us, who "when he was rich for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich." What a terrible thing it would be if by this we began to fancy ourselves rich, though in Him we really are. I trust you may profit much by these studies of scripture, and, as I have said, your heart and affections find its joy in them. Be diligent in all you have to do; duty is an excellent thing conscience—and even in your play, hearty and free, though sober and yielding to others, and the Lord be with you and bless you abundantly.... I shall be very glad to hear from you. I can often fill up my moments when I turn from heavier work, with a word to you or others. With my prayers that you may be kept and blessed,
Ever affectionately yours.
Pau, 1869.