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Written by J.H. Oliphant   


 PRIMITIVE MONITOR—MAY 1906

I have often heard persons, in telling their experience; speak of the beauty of all nature when they first rejoiced in the hope of pardon. The works of God everywhere proclaim his being with his power and goodness. It was so with me. I had been under a cloud and borne down for months, and when I first felt the joy of hope I was alone. I saw a new meaning in all around me. The hand of God was manifest everywhere. I stood and looked at things with a new view of everything. I believe that divine life is necessary to enable us to see God in his works, or his word either. When we are most blest with the Lord’s presence and a sense of our acceptance with him, then his works appear to us the most glorious, and we read his word with the greatest delight. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is.” David exclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” In this happy frame David could see God in every star, in all the firmament; the whole universe was vocal with the praise of God. “The earth is full of his handiwork.” Look where you will, in the earth, sea, or air, and you behold evidences of the being of God. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.” To one that has rejoiced in God and looked up to God as a loving friend, the thought is unendurable that there is no God. Infidels have commented on the death of the martyrs where they prayed to God to save them from the hand of cruel persecution, and the heavens above were brass, and no answer came to their cries, but we reply, Those men were supported by an invisible power. They had “meat to eat” that infidels “knew not of.” No God is the saddest thought. We may cry and groan and there are no ears to hear, nor hands to save. How sweet the words, “As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” “He remembereth that we are dust.” A dying brother said to his weeping wife, “The Lord will provide for you.” It is delightful to believe in God with the whole heart—to believe in the Almighty God. We are apt to think ourselves too little for his notice, but when we can look to him as a Father and cast all our cares on him as little children, O! what mighty consolations flow into the soul. Sorrow and sighing flee away before such mighty comforts. The fool looks on the revolving spheres above and says they have no creator; their order and precision are accidents; he marks the rising and setting of the sun and moon as accidents, and as he sees stored away in the earth mines of metal, coal, etc., for our use, and the fertile fields watered by rain and dew, he ascribes it all to accident. But the Christian sees fatherly care in all this, and exclaims, “The earth is full of his handiwork.” Jean Paul Richter, in maintaining truth on this subject, pointed out some of the horrible results if there be no God. He pointed to those who had died in hope and to those who had lived on earth in hope. He pointed to Christ himself, and to his wretched, misguided followers, as crying to him, “Christ, is there no God?” He contemplated the dead as having looked and prayed in vain. He presented it as a dream.

RICHTER ‘S DREAM

He dreamed that he was in the parish church, and that he saw the dead leave their graves and gather about him. “The shadows stood congregated near the altar; and in all, the breast throbbed and trembled in place of a heart. One, which had just been buried in the church, lay still upon its pillow, and its breast heaved not, while upon its smiling countenance lay a happy dream; but on the entrance of one of the living he awoke, and smiled no more. A lofty, noble form, having the expression of a never-ending sorrow, now sank down upon the altar, and all the dead exclaimed, ‘Christ, is there no God?’ And he answered, ‘There is none! I traversed the worlds. I ascended into the suns, and flew with the milky ways through the wildernesses of the heavens, but there is no God! I descended as far as being throws its shadow, and gazed down into the abyss, and cried aloud, ‘Father, where art thou?’ but I heard nothing but the eternal storm which no one rules; and when I looked up to the immeasurable void for the divine eye, it glared upon me from an empty, bottomless socket, and eternity lay brooding upon chaos. Then there arose and came into the temple the dead children who had awakened in the churchyard; and they cast themselves before the lofty form on the altar, and said, ‘Jesus, have we no Father?’ And he answered with streaming eyes, ‘We are all orphans, I and you; we are without a Father.’ And as I fell down and gazed into the gleaming fabric of worlds, I beheld the raised rings of the giant serpent of eternity, and she enfolded the universe doubly. Then she wound herself in a thousand folds around nature, and crushed the worlds together; and all became narrow, dark, and fearful, and a bell-hammer, stretched out to infinity, was about to strike the last hour of time, and burst the universe asunder, when I awoke. My soul wept for joy that it could again worship God; and the joy, and the tears, and the belief in him were the prayer. And when I arose, the sun gleamed deeply behind the full, purple ears of corn, and peacefully threw the reflection of its evening blushes on the little moon, which was rising in the east without an aurora. And between the heaven and the earth a glad, fleeting world stretched out its short wings, and lived, like myself, in the presence of the Infinite Father; and from all nature round me flowed sweet, peaceful tones, as from evening bells.”

We turn away from atheism, and rejoice that there is a God to worship and to love—a God to trust and rely on—one that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. We rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, in the heavens above and in all the earth below. The joy felt by the dying is not a delusion; the sweet smile that lies on the face of the dead was not deception. Nor is our labor and toil in his service among the churches in vain. The living may trust in him; the dying may turn from all created streams and drink from him as the fountain of life. The tearful widow and bereft orphans may joyfully exclaim, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.