Henry Martyn, missionary to Persia, died on October 16, 1812 at the age of 31. His Life and Letters, edited by John Sargent, reveal a man that is passionate for his God, holy, courageous, compassionate and devoted to the Saviour and His service. He writes:
Who, then, that reflects upon the rock from which he was hewn, but must rejoice to give himself entirely and without reserve to God, to be sanctified by his Spirit? The soul that has truly experienced the love of God will not stay meanly inquiring how much he shall do, and thus limit his service, but will be earnestly seeking more and more to know the will of our heavenly Father, that he may be enabled to do it. Oh may we be both thus minded! May we experience Christ to be our all in all, not only as our Redeemer, but also as the fountain of grace! . . .May [God’s Word] teach us to breathe after holiness, to be more and more dead to the world, and alive unto God, through Jesus Christ!
Henry Martyn, John Sargent editor, The Life and Letters of Henry Martyn, (Carlisle, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1985). First published 1819. ISBN 0851514685.
This following quotation is taken from one of Rutherford’s letters written while in exile in 1637. The content from this one passage is reflected in many of the stanzas of the previously posted poem.
“How fast, how fast dot our ship sail! and how fair a wind hath time, to blow us off these coasts and this land of dying and perishing things! Alas! our ship saileth one way and fleeth many miles in one hour, to hasten us upon eternity, and our love and hearts are sailing close backover and swimming toward ease, lawless pleasure, vain honor, perishing riches; and to build a fool’s nest I know not where, and to lay our eggs within the sea-mark, and fasten our bits of broken anchors upon the worst ground in the world, this fleeting and perishing life! And in the meanwhile, time and tide carry us upon another life, and there is daily less and less oil in our lamps, and less and less sand in our watchglass. Oh, what a wise course were it for us to look away from the false beauty of our borrowed prison, and to mind, and eye, and lust for our country! Lord, Lord, take us home!”
I spent Thursday evening discussing this poem with some friends. What struck all of us was Rutherford’s Pilgrim spirit and how vividly he was able to portray the glory of Immanuel’s Land. Spending time in such discussions is a tremendous approach at beating back this worlds encroachment and to catch a clearer vision of spiritual things. What a blessing the edification and mutual encouragement the many members of the church can be in our pilgrim journey.
Hebrews 11:14-16 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
“Longed to spend the little inch of time I have in the
world more for God. Felt a spirit of seriousness, tenderness, sweetness,
and devotion – and wished to spend the whole night in prayer and
communion with God.”
How I wish for Brainerd’s devotion, eternal perspective, and spiritual fire. The Diary of David Brainerd is my #1 favorite biography. Reading this diary takes effort, it is not an endevor to be entered upon lightly. Unquestionably, his writings reveal his flaws, but they also reveal the heart of the man yearning for God. If you choose to read this biography you need to commit yourself from the outset to complete it without setting it aside. You also need to allow time for reflection upon what the words reveal about walking with God and what they reveal about your own life.