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Written by W.M. Mitchell   

 

UCHEE, ALA., Oct. 21, 1891.

To the Church at Mt. Olive, Lee County, Ala., of which l am a Member— DEAR BRETHREN AND SISTERS: I was at the Association last Saturday evening and Sunday morning, but did not have the pleasure of meeting but a few of you. I was so hurried there were but few words passed with those I did meet I did not feel satisfied when the time came for me to leave for home, and regretted not seeing all the members and hearing all the preaching. I get to meeting so seldom I could not remember the names and faces of some of you; though I recognized some in the throng of people but I did not have the pleasure of speaking to them. I had no opportunity of speaking to any of the preachers. I did want to go after preaching and shake hands with Elds. Porter, Webb and Mitchell, and made an effort, but failed to get to them. I had so little conversation with those I did meet that my eyes have overflowed with tears, and my heart with sorrow, and I feel as though my long and hurried ride was a failure. Before I went to sleep that night I was assailed with many temptations. I had no earthly pleasures, and I felt to censure myself for so many things, and I did not know whether there was any future happiness for me or not. My faith and hope were almost entirely gone. In days that are gone I had enjoyed a sweet assurance of faith that Christ had been revealed to me  as hanging on the cross to save me from my sins, and I saw salvation so plainly through Jesus Christ that I felt like I wanted to see my loved ones and neighbors to tell them all about it. For a short time my heart was full of love, joy and peace in believing. But soon doubts began to work in my mind, causing me to feel like my hope was almost gone.

This morning I opened my Testament to read, and my eyes caught upon 1 Cor. xiii. It is so full of good teaching I wish I could retain it all in my mind and have the spirit of it in my heart. I wish to be remembered by you all. Pray for me and my children.

I have thought a great deal about the afflicted brother that can not hold himself still, whom I saw at the Association. I saw no one giving him any attention I censure myself for not enquiring more about him. He is an object of pity, and if he needs the help of the church, I am willing to help the best I can.

MRS. SABRINA C. KEY.


REPLY TO MRS. S. C. KEY.

OPELIKA, ALA., Nov. 10, 1891.
MRS. S. C. KEY—Dear Sister in Christ: Your touching Christian letter of October 21st to the church at Mt. Olive, was handed me by Sister Sarah Key yesterday, which was the first time I had heard of it. If no providential hindrance, it will be read to the church at November conference. As the feeble pastor of the church, I feel a desire to say that much of your exercises of mind, doubts and misgivings concerning your personal acceptance with God, and of the great salvation that is in Jesus, is in keeping with my own religious experience of near fifty years. The Lord thus shows his children their sinful, needy and helpless condition that they may be the better prepared in spirit to know his great Love for them, and the great work he has done for them. I remember with what joy and comfort some years ago I read, in Lamentations iii. 2, “He hath led me and brought me into darkness, and not into light.” I had been mentally in the most wretched condition for many days. Gross and thick darkness of understanding seemed to cover me. I was walking to and fro alone across my room when the thought struck me to open my Bible and look one more time therein. The first portion of the blessed word of God that met my eyes was, “He hath led me and, brought me into darkness, and not into light.” The next suggestion was, “Can any one go wrong with such a Leader?” Several times it was spoken in my heart that “He hath Led me and brought me into darkness.” I saw and felt that the great God was the blessed Leader—that He led Jacob in the wilderness. It is all His work, and I never would have gone such a route as that, but, “He led me, and He brought me.” And now, my dear tempted and tried sister, has not the Lord led you and brought you into darkness always first, before manifesting the light of love and forgiving mercy? In your first real heart convictions for sin, when you were led to call upon God for mercy, how dark indeed was the prospect before you for deliverance from sin by any power or merit of your own. “The evening and the morning” is the first day in the Christian experience, as well as in the order of nature, as mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. “Evening,” or the declining and dark time comes first, but remember, Sister Key, that it took both the evening and the morning to constitute the first day that ever dawned upon the earth, and it takes both to make the first day of the Christian experience. But as day and night succeed each other, you may expect the evening darkness to come again and again upon you, but just so surely as it comes, the morning light of the glorious Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings to your soul, and you will feel again and again as you did when you read 1 Cur. xiii. This was another day in your pilgrimage, and so you will continue to be led through “floods and flames” of trial, but the blessed promise is, “When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee,” * * * “When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”—Isa. xliii. 2.

In reference to that poor afflicted brother mentioned in your letter, whom you saw at the Association, he  is indeed ,an object of pity. He is a worthy member of the church at Union, in Russell county. Last fall he was at our meeting at Mt. Olive, and before preaching time I had a talk with him, and finding him rather thinly clad, and his poor widowed sister, with whom he lived, not able to keep him, I felt as though I could not refrain, after preaching, calling attention of the brethren and congregation to his case. In a few minutes there was a cheerful- contribution of about $20 made up to get him clothing. The poor brother always seems so grateful for this token of care for him, that I feel a thousand times rewarded. It is no doubt in reference to cases like this that our compassionate Jesus said, “I was hungry and ye fed me, naked, and ye clothed me.” * * * “Inasmuch as ye have done this unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”—Matt.

Your brother in the fellowship of the gospel,
W. M. MITCHELL.

[As the above private correspondence is published by request, it may be proper to say that a few words have been added that were not in the original letter, in order to give a more full and clear expression.—W. M. M.]

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