Salvation by Grace Alone

The Gospel Messenger--July 1893


     OGLESBY, TEX., February 18, 1893.—Dear Bro. Mitchell: I have desired for twenty-five years to see you, and this desire in­creases as old age comes upon me. Your written articles in the MESSENGER are to me like cold water to a thirsty soul, exceedingly refreshing. I regard the MESSENGER as a gracious gift of God to his people, and to me especially. God bless the donors who minister to the poor as the Lord hath prospered them.

     I first heard of you by our dear aged brother, Jacob Lindsey. He was a lovely, precious and orderly walking brother, a great instructor and peace-maker in the church. He was acquainted with you in Alabama, and died in North Mississippi.

     I must tell you that I do believe the GOSPEL MESSENGER IS doing a vast amount of good for us in the way of promoting peace and order in the churches. There seems to be more desire among the dear brethren to stand in the old paths and ask if there is room in the hearts of God’s dear children for such as I

     O, my dear brother, have I a place in the sweet fellowship of the Saints of God, who are born of an incorruptible seed that liveth and abideth forever? Am I thirsting to be conformed to the image of Jesus? Am I praying as one of old, “Lord, ever­more give us this bread from heaven”?

     I desire to speak of many things, but space forbids; but I will say here that in last MESSENGER Bro. Respess speaks so truth­fully concerning parents and children that I do hope it will be as good seed sown in a fruitful soil.

     And now, my dear old brother, I want to come to some things which seem as a revelation to me. Myself and wife live with our youngest son, and he is our youngest child also. He is now thirty-four years old and has his second wife. When he was born he did not weigh over three pounds. When two years old we all thought he would surely die with a severe spell of pneumonia. The ninth day in the evening there was considerable time between each breath, and he was thought to be dying as he lay upon his mother’s lap. Being greatly distressed and worn out, I said to my oldest son: “I desire to lie down; let me know in time to see his last breath leaves him.” In about twenty-five minutes my son came to me, saying. “Pa, come quick.” I rose and said to my wife and son, “The child will not die.” My wife said to our son, “Shake your father, for he is not yet awake.” Immediately I replied, “I am awake and in my right mind, and the child will not die at this time, for the Lord has given me to see his offspring.” I sat down by the little fellow, and he had indeed as much the appearance of one dying as I had ever seen any one. And here we mingled our tears, and my wife said, “Do you now believe what you said when you rose from the bed?” I replied, “Yes, I do,” and constantly affirmed it. The sun was near setting, but before bed time that night all symptoms were favorable for the child to live, and I said, “The child will live and I shall live to see his offspring.” This was thirty-two years ago. When twenty years old, he left us in Tennessee and went to Texas This looked a little discouraging, but I cannot say that I ever staggered at the promise of God in this matter.

     In a few years we broke up in Tennessee and moved to Texas. And while we were staying with our son I was permitted to hear the first cries of his first born son, and I cried out, “My Lord and my God!” The faith God had given me when in such great trouble was now fully realized.

     And now, Bro Mitchell, suffer me to talk of myself a little. I am now seventy-nine years old, but before I was three years old I had rheumatism so that I lay upon my bed for two years, my extremities cold, and my feet and legs and from my hips down had perished away considerably. But I can say in truth that the Lord my God hath led me all my life long, and best of all, he has given me his truth and his holy Spirit in my heart to lead and comfort me. I trust this is true. I have none of the goods of this world, neither do I ask any person for anything; yet before I am in need I am supplied. This has been my condition for ten years past, and surely I ought to be thankful. May you be enabled to send your cries to God for me and mine. My dear companion has been a church member fifty-five years and I sixty years. She has been an invalid for seventeen years past, yet she sits up a good portion of her time, makes up her bed and gets out sometimes to help cook. May God bless you and yours, my aged brother.

W. A. Holbrook

     REMARKS—By a note on the margin of the above letter, our aged brother says: “This is not for publication, but if you want to publish, do as you please with it.” It came so timely to me, and was so full of comfort, that I do not feel inclined to withhold it from others. Three other letters were received from aged brethren in different States by the same mail that brought the one from our dear aged brother Holbrook, and I certainly read them all with interest and comfort. It seems that each of them bad been moved by the same spirit to write at the same time, in the same humble and Christ-like manner, and each of them, as well as myself, are being cut loose more and more from worldly trust, and are “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” —W. M. Mitchell

Submitted by Elder David Montgomery

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