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p261 [From the French.] Mons. Eynard, Personally, I am glad to hear that our dear friend D* has found, I trust, a refuge. I hope that our gracious God and Father will grant him quietness of spirit. He has some very fine qualities, if he knew how to use them in that spirit. But how much, with us all, the "myself" at the bottom, finds its way through certain points of our character. If it is of a disagreeable or tiresome stamp, we are such to others; if it is of an amiable stamp, we are amiable to others; but there is no difference really; and we find difficulty in judging this "I," when it presents itself with certain characteristics, under certain features. By looking at Christ all is right, because the bottom is reached.
How beautiful is Christianity - beautiful in itself, beautiful in its perfect adaptation to all that we are, and in a Christ who has participated in all, except the sin which would have spoiled all. What a sight for angels, to behold God, an infant in a manger, and no room for Him in the inn! I admire that inextricable confusion, those exercises of man's heart in the midst of good and evil, knowing not what is good and what is bad; the good corrupted, or corrupting; evil, the means of good; the world in the heart, to know what there is of good under the sun, what is the truth, the end of these researches; an ardour which would fathom everything, let loose in infinitude without ability to comprehend it; a being, the more miserable from knowing more of good; his best affections the source of his griefs; his heart swelling against God and against man, selfish, condemning himself, and, however hating himself, no possibility of getting out of it nor of continuing in it; a will which would mount up even to God, and which is a slave of the devil and sin.
Perfect good appears; it appears on the scene, in the circumstances, in the nature (but without sin), where this struggle takes place - where all the moral elements of a creature who knows good and evil, without being God, and far from God, are engaged in battle, without head or centre. Immediately all is light. Evil is manifested as evil, because good is there. The will? It is discovered, laid bare, it is wilful evil. Is it a question of misery, of conflict? Perfect answer to all: good in this misery, and all the more good that it is there; good in itself, but the perfect answer to every need, to every misery, that which takes us out of it by giving us perfect good, and by binding our hearts to God.
Yes; the more absolute and infinite the confusion, the more Christ is Christ. What infinite power is that which, in a moment, sets everything in its place, because it is good in itself, and perfect. He is the truth: He declares all about everything. Everything is known, and finds its place according to the truth of what He is. God be praised! it is grace: without that, even though God be love, there could not be truth. But I allow myself to run on.
Poor - ; there are times when everything must find its level. They are times, in my judgment painful and necessary, but not seasons of power. The power and energy of the Spirit raise us to a point where we are not found really in personal faith. A moment comes when each walks in his own faith, when the Lots (I do not mean that this dear brother is such) will go away to the well-watered plain, to those scenes where the outward appearance of blessing, as far as flesh can judge of it, hides the elements which are preparing for judgment. The power of grace had brought out Lot with Abraham. The plain of Jordan receives him who had not, for himself, laid hold of the call of Abraham. He was a righteous soul. I doubt that our dear brother - can now be happy where he is gone. He will vex his soul. God grant that he may return by his own faith.
Look at the leading seceders around you: where is there a single one remaining? But it is not a proof of power, of power that gathers, and which in the abundance of water hides the shallows where the current of the river of God has not its proper course. But God is full of grace. Is it fresh light which has detached them from brethren? Is there more energy, more personal grace? What has caused this?
March 15th, 1858.