To a Young Man in Soul Difficulties

We have received a letter from a young Christian—a very poignant letter—who for some years had served the Lord with zeal, but who has been swept on a tide of doubts to the very verge of lost faith and hope. He writes of having “lost every tithe of enjoyment of the things of the Lord,” and of “the barrenness and bitterness” of his life in consequence. The sovereignty of God as revealed in Romans 9, and eternal punishment are the questions over which he has stumbled, those will be taken up in due course in “Answers to Correspondents.” This only we reveal of his letter, and give some answers to it, for it may be that others may be helped as well as he by them.

“My Dear brother,

“I find the enclosed letter on the same line of reasoning as are the whole number of those who think themselves competent to criticize the way in which God deals with His creatures, in order that the purposes of His love might be accomplished, and that He might be known in His whole creation. The way which He has taken to reach the end He has in view may seem strange to us, but when we see the end of all we will gladly know and confess that in no other way could that high and infinitely glorious end have been reached.

“It was not by a process of reasoning through which we find that all the ways of God with His creature blended harmoniously with His grace, mercy and love we arrived at it by faith in the Son of His love; but it was rather because of our discovery of our utterly undone condition, and the judgment to which we were liable, not by the grace of a Saviour God, caused us to seek the salvation that was held out to us by the gospel of His grace. Then Christ became the one precious and adorable object of our hearts. We knew the Father, we knew His love, we know the truth as far as it related to our spiritual and eternal welfare. It is not only that we believed that the blessings of life, salvation and eternal love, were ours—we knew they were. Whatever problems we might find in the Word of Truth we could safely and confidently leave with Him who is infinite in knowledge, and who will be justified in His sayings, and overcome when He is judged (Rom. 3:4).

“As a youth I was infidel—am still as to my natural mind. But one thing has held me with giant might when on the brink of destruction, and turned me away from my natural sceptical reasonings, and that was Christ. Give up one solitary plain truth of Scripture, and you must sanction His murder on Golgotha, and go with the drivelling mass of God’s critics to eternal perdition. He has said: The wicked go ‘where their worm dies not, and where their fire is not quenched.’ Am I to say that these words were uttered when in passion, or that He did not understand the import of His symbolic language?

“The writer of this letter thinks too highly of his cleverness. This shines through his letter from first to last. To give up the truth of eternal punishment is to give Christ up, for He taught it, and no true believer will give Him up.

“Eternal punishment is a terrible contemplation. But what is to be done with people who will not have the only Saviour, the Christ of God? Must God fill heaven with those who hate Him? Who of the saints would wish it?

“I am perfectly certain, from what I know of God, that in the day of judgment God will be seen to be just, and all His critics will be found to be liars.

“Warm love in the Lord,

J. Boyd