Brethren Archive

My Letter

by Inglis Fleming


1. 1st January, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

With the New Year our new Magazine commences, and I hope, please God, every month to write a letter to you boys and girls all for yourselves, which you will find on this first page of the part meant especially for you, called “Good News for the Young.”

In this, my first letter, I want to talk to you about a great river and a boundless sea.

You are all sailing on the river now, soon you will reach the sea.

The great river rolling on, on, on, towards the vast sea, is called “TIME,” and boys and girls, and men and women, are the ships and boats floating on its bosom, all going with the river’s flow.

Many are large, strong, stately-looking ships, moving quietly and steadily on—these are the men and women. Some are gaily painted, with fair white sails and flags floating on the breeze—they are the rich and well-to-do. Others, which are rougher craft, with darker sails, are the poorer folks. Then there are ever so many small boats going on side by side with the larger vessels, and these last are you boys and girls.

But though varying so much in size and appearance, one thing is true of all—whether plain or pretty, little or big, all the ships and boats on this great river are going the same way—all going down the river towards “the great sea;” for no ship was ever yet built, or ever will be, which could stern the torrent and sail up this rushing stream—all go one way—all are bound for that great sea, “ETERNITY.”

On the banks of the river milestones are placed to tell the voyagers how far they have come—these mark the years which pass so quickly by. Today we have reached a milestone with “1885” written so plainly upon it that almost the youngest can make it out. But even as you read this letter, we have passed the stone, and are hastening on to the next, marked “1886.”

Every milestone seems to speak to us as we pass, and each more loudly than the one before asks, “Have you thought about the great ocean beyond—that vast sea, Eternity”?

Never before were your little craft so near that “eternal sea,” and even before another milestone comes in sight, the mouth of the river may be reached by you, and you will then be in ETERNITY.

If so, which will it be—“Eternity” in Heaven, or “Eternity” in Hell?

If you have the Lord Jesus with you, if you know Him as your Saviour, you are safe, for He will direct your little vessel all the voyage through, and bring you safely to the eternal harbour called “Heaven;” but if you know Him not, I would warn you of your danger, for without Him you will never reach that harbour, but your boat will drift on to the dark, dark depths of eternal woe called “Hell,” and, once there, you must spend a never-ending existence in misery untold.

Do not go on any longer alone. Turn now to the Lord Jesus, who waits to save you, and He will give you the Holy Spirit to pilot you to the haven of rest “above the bright blue sky.”

May God richly bless you all!

Your loving Friend,

I.Fleming

2. 1st February, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

How many times during the last few weeks have people been wishing each other, “A Happy New Year.”

I have wondered whether those to whom these words are spoken really know what true happiness means.

Do you know the secret of lasting joy?

There are many lads and girls who have, as some people say, “everything to make them happy,” yet they are not bright or joyous at all; they are like a girl who wrote me a letter some years back: in it she said, “I do not know what true happiness is.” Why was this? She did not know the Lord Jesus then. Some time after that she wrote to me again, and in this second letter says, “I am so happy now I know that all my sins are washed away by the precious blood of Christ. I feel like singing all the day because my sins are washed away.” What a difference there is between the first letter and the second.

I do so long that you should know my Saviour. He has saved me—He has made me, and many others like this girl, bright and happy, and I want you to be bright and happy too. Do not go on any longer without this Loving One who died for sinners—but come to Him believing, and He will on no account cast you out, and you will then be able to say that my Saviour is your Saviour too.

Then there is another thing needful—when you know the Lord Jesus, seek to please Him. This will give you true joy. You will never be happy if you try to please yourselves. If you seek to do His will, and to live and work for Him, confessing Him in your home and among your school-mates and friends, there will be sunlight in your heart, and sunshine on your face.

Even in the darkest hour of sorrow, the Lord will give those who seek His pleasure “a merry heart.” Look at Paul and Silas in that innermost dungeon of the Philippian jail, their feet fast in the stocks, and their backs smarting with the prison lash—what are they doing?

“At midnight they prayed”—“Yes, they might well do that,” you say—but wait,—they did something besides: gladness so filled their hearts, which neither dungeon, nor stocks, nor stripes could dim, that they “sang praises unto God.” They were so happy, and sang so loudly, that “the prisoners heard them.”

Paul, writing to the believers at Philippi, many years after, when a prisoner at Rome, could say, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice.”

May God give you all to know and please the Lord Jesus—then I am sure if He tarry, you will have a Happy, Happy Year.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

3. 1st March, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

It is hardly fair, I think, that I should do all the writing, and you only read “my letters.”—Will not some of you answer me now and then, and tell me what you think of the papers in our magazine, and which you like best? And ask about anything you do not understand in them.

Many of you, of course, are now so busy with your lessons and books that you “really cannot find, time to write a letter.” But, perhaps, on some dull, wet half-holiday, when you have finished your schoolwork, and played out all your indoor games,—when you have gone to the window, time after time, and still it rains on and on, faster than ever, and at last you say, “Well, what shall we do now?” Why! then think of Mr. Editor, and sit down and write him a good, long letter, and then, when he has time, he will answer you.

“Well, but what shall I write about?” you say. Just anything you like. I am very fond of stories, and perhaps you can tell me something about your brothers and sisters, or your dogs, or horses, and what clever things they have done; and how you are getting on at school.

And then you can tell me something about yourself. One thing I should very much like to hear—whether you really do know the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour; and whether you have had all your sins forgiven, and are fit for that bright, happy home where the Lord Jesus now is.

My name and address can always be found on the second page of the cover, and at any time I should be very pleased to hear from any of you. So remember this, that Mr. Editor likes letters, and that he looks on the breakfast table, when he comes from his room, to see if any of his young friends have written him, and generally opens and reads their letters before those of his elder friends.

Then one more message, and I have done. I want not only to hear from you, but also to meet each one of you—each of you lads and girls—and as I could not name a place on earth near to all your homes, I will ask you to meet me in heaven. Jesus the Lord is coming again soon, and will then gather all His own dear ones to Himself, and take them home. Home—such a bright home—room for you all to gather there. Will you meet me there? If so, you must come to Jesus now.

God bless you, dear young folks!

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

4. 1st April, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

Some months ago I was staying in a large town not many miles from London, where I was having some meetings for young people. One day when walking along the main street I saw quite a number of men at work, setting up large poles at the edge of the pavement on both sides of the road, and decorating them with crimson cloth, and hanging large mottoes across the roadway. I wondered what it could all mean. Further along I found flags flying and banners waving; the whole town seemed astir. Then at last I saw notices in the shop windows, and upon reading them, found that the Duke of Edinburgh was coming on the following day to lay the foundation-stone of a large school which was to be built.

This accounted for all the excitement and bustle; the towns-people wished to welcome the Prince, and were making preparations for his arrival.

All this made me think of another “Prince” who is coming—the Prince of Peace, King of kings, Lord of lords. But how few are prepared for His coming. Once He came to this world in lowliness, and men saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him; they did not believe on Him, and ere long they cast Him out, and with wicked hands crucified and slew Him. But God has raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in glory, and soon Jesus, the Rejected One, will come again with power and glory to set up His kingdom, and then all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. There will be no rejoicing then among those who cast Him out—no welcome given Him by His enemies; for they will be judged and punished, cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

There were a great many came with the Duke of Edinburgh in his suite or train, and they all doubtless thought it a great honour to be in his company. So, when the Lord Jesus comes to reign, He will bring a great many with Him. Who will they be? Who are counted worthy to come with Him in His glory? They are those boys and girls, and men and women, who in this, the time of the Lord’s rejection, find out their need as lost sinners, and coming to the Lord Jesus, find in Him their Saviour, and then own Him as their Lord. These are waiting now for God’s Son from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10), for He has promised to come again and take all believers to be with Himself (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Yes, He will gather into the Father’s House all who have been washed from their sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5); and then, when He comes in His glory, He will bring them all with Him; for we read, “The Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14), and believers know that when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).

Will you, who read “My Letter,” be among that number who will be so privileged, who will come with Him and reign with Him?

May God grant that you may receive the Lord Jesus, and then seek to be found watching and waiting and working for Him until He comes.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

5. 1st May, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

Several years since I was asked by a gentleman if I would go to Waterloo Railway Station to meet a little niece of his, who was coming from the country to stay a week or two in London. I said I would gladly go. Then her uncle told me what the little girl would be dressed like, and what parcels she would have, and all about her, so that I could not make a mistake. And of course he told me what day the little maiden was to come, and the time the train was due to arrive at the station.

I well remember the bustle and noise there was when the train I was expecting arrived at the platform, and the numbers of people there were. Of course I looked at every little girl, and very soon I saw the one for whom I was waiting. Then, taking charge of some of her parcels, we went outside the station together, got into an omnibus, and before very long she was safe and sound in her uncle’s house, warmly welcomed by her young cousins.

Doubtless that little girl would much rather that her uncle had met her himself, but he was so busy that he could not go, and had to send instead.

Do you know that the Lord Jesus has many dear ones here in this world, who are going to spend eternity with Himself?

Will He send some one to fetch them to His home in glory? No! indeed. He loves them so much that He will come Himself.

In John 14 we read His own loving words to the sorrowing disciples whom He was leaving, and His own blest promise was, if I go away “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye maybe also.” What comforting words these must have been to them. To be told by the Lord Himself that He would come again, and take them home to the mansions in the Father’s house, which He was going to prepare.

Then if you turn to 1 Thessalonians 1, you can read of some poor heathen, who turned to God from their idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven. They had heard that the Lord Jesus was coming, and so they were waiting for Him—not waiting for death, but waiting for a person—the same blessed One who had delivered them from the wrath to come, by bearing the judgment due to them upon the cross.

There are a great many scriptures about Christ’s coming again, and they all tell the same thing, that He will come Himself.

In the very last chapter of the Bible, the Lord speaks of His return again and again, telling us three times over, that He is coming quickly. His farewell message to His people being in the 20th verse, “Surely I come quickly.” Can you send back the invitation. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”?

I do hope many of you young readers are believers on Him; washed from all your sins, and made whiter than snow. Then I am sure you cannot help loving Him, and would rejoice to hear His own shout calling you home (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

God bless all of you.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

6. 1st June, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

About a month since I was driving in Suffolk, and when passing through a little village, met the village postman delivering the letters at the houses and cottages as he went along. I stayed a few moments to speak with him a little, for we both knew and loved the Lord Jesus, then I asked him what sort of news he had with him, and he told me that many of the envelopes he carried contained good news and many of them bad news. Good news for some people—bad news for others.

That postman’s letter bag reminded me of the “word of God,” the Bible, for it contains “good news” and “bad news” too. Good news indeed for all who now feel and own their need of a Saviour. Bad news, indeed, for those who refuse and reject Jesus, the risen Son of God.

In Acts 13 you may read how Paul carried the glad tidings first to Antioch in Pisidia. Gathered in the building in which he spoke were different classes of people—all alike, however, in their need—for they all were sinners, and needed that salvation which God in His grace has provided.

Simply and solemnly the apostle told them of the “Saviour, Jesus”—how those to whom He came “knew Him not,” and though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired Pilate that He might be slain. That He had died on the cross according to the Scriptures, had been taken down and laid in a sepulchre, and that on the third day God raised Him from the dead, and then before He ascended that He was seen, and walked and talked with His disciples.

Then the apostle announced the “glad tidings” and said, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” How sweetly these words must have sounded to those Who felt their need of the forgiveness of sins. “Glad tidings” indeed they were to such.

Then the apostle had his “bad tidings,” for those who despised the good news, and solemnly he warned them of their doom: “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish.”

You see he had glad tidings for all who would accept the Gospel message, and bad tidings for all who rejected it.

What was the result of that preaching?

Some believed the things that were spoken, and some believed not.”

Some accepted that great salvation, and believing were forgiven and justified from all things.

Whilst some, neglecting and despising the good news, turned their backs on Jesus the Saviour, and passed on to perish in their sins, and to spend a Christless and hopeless eternity in the lake of fire.

“Which ‘some’ are you among, dear young readers? Do you belong to ‘the some who believe’; or to the ‘some who believe not’”?

In Revelation 21:8, we read the awful doom of those who believe not, and in Revelation 22:3-5, the blessed portion of those who believe.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

7. 1st July, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

Some few days since, I left my London home and came down into the country to stay for a little while at a farm house amid the beautiful fields and meadows.

How the wild flowers remind us in their simple beauty of God’s care: “He clothes the grass of the field.” Our Lord told those who gathered about Him on the mount not to be careful and anxious about their clothing, for God who clothed the grass would much more clothe them. They were to seek God’s glory, and He would look after and care for them.

Those of you who live in the country, well know that in most parts hay cutting has commenced, and many of you may have been into the hay fields with your school-mates and friends, tossing the hay about, and playing hide and seek among the hay cocks, or burying one another in the sweet scented heaps.

Since I have been from home, I have very often watched the hay-cutters, with their sharp, shining scythes, mowing down the tall grass, and laying it all in long rows across the field. None of it escapes—even the beautiful flowers which the children love to gather, and which look so smiling in the golden sunlight, all meet the same sharp edge—one moment waving in the breeze, and the next laid low upon the ground.

There is another lesson we ought to learn at this hay time: that “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass” (1 Pet. 1:24).

How quickly the grass fades away. It comes up at first the tiny, light green blade, then growing taller and stronger, at last its feathery flowers press forth; but soon the heat of the summer sun withers it, and its beauty is gone, or else the mower cuts it down (Job. 14:2).

And yet how anxious many people seem in striving after earth’s fleeting glories; seeking for a time, as it were to be the tallest blade of grass in the great field. But soon all will be laid low alike, and those who only had the poor, passing glory of this Christless world will pass away to be with that “rich man” of whom we read in Luke 16.

I do hope my young readers will not be seeking for worldly pomp or glory, but for that heavenly glory with Christ above. The one fades away so quickly, the other is eternal.

Many of you have heard of the rich man who, while walking upon his estate, met an old stone-breaker by the road side, and said to him, pointing to the rich fields all round: “All you can see is mine.” Do you remember what the poor old man replied? He took off his broken hat, and looking up, said, “I can see heaven, sir!” He did not think of earth’s glory, but of heaven’s glory. That poor stone-breaker was rich in faith, and an inheritor of that eternal kingdom, while the wealthy man of the world had all his inheritance here, and knew nothing of those possessions which will last for ever.

It is only those who are “believers on the Lord Jesus Christ” who have a portion in that eternal glory, and I do long that all who read “my Letter” should be there.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

8. 1st August, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

Some few weeks since a house in the south of London was on fire, the flames were spreading rapidly, and burning with great fierceness in the lower part and up the staircase. Very quickly the alarm was given, and the inmates were aroused from their sleep; whilst outside, the street was becoming thronged with excited onlookers.

Many faces were soon turned anxiously to one of the upper windows, for there could be seen, amid the smoke, the figure of a young woman.

The fire-escape had been sent for, but had not as yet reached the scene of danger; and those who were accustomed to such scenes at once saw that ’ere the escape could arrive the roof would fall in, and all the occupants perish amid the flames.

Thus, directly Alice Ayres was seen, many people from the crowd shouted to her to jump, and stood below with arms outstretched in readiness to catch her.

With great presence of mind, however, she left the window, and soon was seen thrusting out a large bed, which, falling to the ground, was immediately seized by some strong men in the crowd, and held out, in expectation that she would leap out of the window upon it. But no! she disappeared, and while the onlookers awaited in suspense below, she was observed at the window with a little babe folded in her arms. Her object was at once seen, and those below waited to catch her little charge, which the brave girl carefully threw from the window—the little one being received in safety upon the soft bed, amid the cheers of the crowd.

Again she appeared with another child, which was also thrown and caught without harm, and then back into the smoke and heat again, to bring back the third and last of the children. But her strength was nearly gone, her aim was less exact, and it was only with great difficulty that the child was caught by the helpers in the street. Then the brave woman herself was called upon to leap ’ere the flames should reach the spot—and, climbing to the window-sill, she half sprang, half fell, but missing the bed which had so saved the children, she lay crushed upon the stones.

Soon, strong but tender hands carried her to the hospital, and there she was tended by the watchful doctor and nurses, but without avail, for within but a few hours she breathed her last. She had saved others, but lost her own life.

Does not this remind you of One who laid down His life—One who saved others, but would not save Himself. Surely you know of whom I speak—for the Lord Jesus gave His life a ransom for many. He could have saved Himself had He so wished: He could have gone into heaven without dying, but He had come to do His Father’s will—He delighted to do it—and His heart loved and yearned over perishing sinners—and He had come to save them. So He would not save Himself, but lay down His life in order that sinners such as we might be saved.

Now He is risen and glorified, and those who really trust in Him are saved, and should be seeking to show forth His praises, both with their lips and lives, while they await His coming again.

May God bless you.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

9. 1st September, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

At some meetings for young people, which were held last summer in a large midland town many miles from London, there was frequently to be found a little fellow who enjoyed the gatherings of young folks so much, that he did not miss any of them if he could in any way manage to attend.

At the close of each meeting a little gospel leaflet was given to every lad and girl present, and the little boy, of whom I have spoken, of course always received one, which he would carry home and read.

One evening, as he was leaving with the picture leaflet in his hand, a big rough boy rudely snatched the paper from him, and crumpled it in his own hands, then tearing a piece off, he gave the rest of it back to the little fellow, who carried it sorrowing to his home.

His mother had found out (what I hope each of my young friends has already discovered) that she was a sinner, “without strength”—lost and undone. She had sought to make herself fit for God, but without avail; her prayers, and tears, and good deeds were all of no effect—they could not cleanse her from her sins—they could not save her soul or make her fit for God. Now at last she was almost giving up in despair.

Sitting down, after her work that evening, she picked up that torn and crumpled leaflet, and read its simple message. It was called, “The Gift of God,” and told of the love of God which led Him to give His only begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life;” and told too, “that the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). It gave a simple illustration of a gift received by a little boy in France, whose Sunday school teacher had offered his watch to each boy in the class, beginning at the eldest; but none of the lads believed that their teacher meant what he said when offering it, and so did not take the watch, when, however, the teacher at last held it before a very little boy, and said the same words as to the others, “I give you that watch,” the child put out his little hand and quietly took it.

He was the only one in that class who believed his teacher, and so was the only one who had what was offered.

“The gift of God is eternal life.” “Why!” thought the woman, “I am trying to earn it and cannot, but God says it is a gift;” and then in simple faith she believed God’s wonderful message, and, believing, had everlasting life (John 3:16-36). Peace and joy filled her soul when she saw that the precious blood of Christ cleansed her from all sin, and now she is seeking to live for that blessed One who died for her, and to show forth her thankfulness to God, for His “unspeakable gift,” in a life for His praise and glory.

Remember, “eternal life” is a gift. God is a giver, and is now, in this day of salvation, giving eternal life to “whosoeverbelieves on His Son. Only believers get this wondrous blessing.

Young Christians, seek to spread, far and wide, the little books and tracts you may have; send them to relatives and friends, lend them to the neighbours; then perhaps some precious soul may “see all things clearly,” and this would lead to the glory of Him who so loves us.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

10. 1st October, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

The bright, gladsome summer months are ended, and autumn, with its faded, withering leaves, which ruthless winds are scattering now so far and wide, is upon us, telling us of the approach of winter, and bidding us prepare.

The harvest, too, is passed. I watched the first green blades appear, just tinging, with their pale hue, the dark-brown, broken earth from which they sprang, and soon, as days passed by, the fields were covered with the rising shoots.

Ere long “the ear” was formed, and pressing ever onwards, forced its way beyond the blade, and saw the light. The sunshine of the summer months developed it, and day by day it ripened until there was “the full corn in the ear.” Then, when the fields were white to harvest, I watched the reapers come, and cut down the golden grain, binding it quickly into sheaves, to wait till the groaning, creaking wagon came to take them home.

One by one the fields were bared,—their fullness robbed, and nought but the short stubble left; and now, in many places, the cry—the welcome cry—of “Harvest Home” has been heard along the lanes.

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we—” must you finish the verse?—“are not saved.”

Sad, indeed, if this is so, that you have still to close the glad harvest time, when even this poor world, which groans because of sin, seems for the moment joyous, with those solemn words, “I am not saved.”

How blessed are those young people, and I doubt not there are many such, who will, with full hearts indeed, be thanking God that those solemn words are true of them no more, for now, by God’s grace, they have “inclined their ear and come unto Him,” they have heard, and their souls live.

May be it was (as with some I know), by the rippling waves they heard the joyful news which has so gladdened their once sorrow-stricken hearts; hearing that wondrous message of love, so often told, but ever new, that “God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5). They have found out their need, as sinners needing a Saviour, and hearing the gospel of Christ, have simply believed on Him, and received the forgiveness of sins, proving the blessed truth of the Apostle’s word, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16).

The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, but they are saved, and have gone to their homes and schools to seek to confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus, upon Whom they believe in their hearts. Are you one of such? There is no time to lose, this is the summer of salvation, this is the harvest time of God. Sheaves of saved souls will soon be gathered into that great heavenly garner. The glad sound of “Harvest Home” will ring through heaven’s wide arches, and the Lord Jesus, who laid down His life, will see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. Will you be there? God grant you may.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

11. 1st November, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

“He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth,” were the words of the Lord Jesus to those who surrounded Him when on earth, and who were rejecting Him, “the true Light,” and going on in their folly and sin—whither they knew not.

I remember walking in the darkness in a strange room once. I knew not where I was going, for I could see nothing that was around, but thought all would be well, that I should find that which I sought; but suddenly I made one step in a wrong direction and fell down a deep hole. My fall shook me greatly, and sprained my knee so severely that I had to stay still several days, and was unable to walk properly for a long while.

I had, I think, been offered a light, but said I should be all right without it, and thus had myself to blame for my folly.

Perhaps many of you young readers are as foolish as I was, or more foolish still. You are “walking in the darkness,” and know not what the result may be. You have heard of “the true Light,” the Lord Jesus, but you will not receive Him. You love the darkness—your own will and ways please you so well that you will not give them up and come to the light—but I would ask you to think what the end of your dark walk may be, nay, what the end assuredly will be—for there is a way which seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Nothing is before those who thus go on in darkness but death, and “after this the judgment.”

The light shines brightly, shines amid the darkness all around—but the evil doers hate the light and will not come to it.

I do desire that my young friends who read my letter should “do the truth,” and take their true place before God, owning what they are; there is rich blessing indeed for all who do this, and no blessing without it.

Be warned, young reader, walk no longer in darkness, for you are in a position of danger indeed. Be like that poor wanderer among the worked-out coal mines, who had left the road and lost his way in the darkness, and was just walking towards an open pit when a flash of lightning revealed his awful peril to him. He dare not move another step in the black darkness which enclosed him on every side; he stood still, and his cry of terror rang through the midnight air, “Lost! lost!!”

Ere long that cry was heard, and a guide with a light came to his help, and conducted him in safety to the road.

Let your cry go up, “Lost! lost!!” and one who Himself is “the light” will appear to your aid and conduct you, not only a portion of your way but, all the way, never leaving nor forsaking you, leading you on to His own glorious home where all is bright, gladsome and joyous, there to spend eternity with Himself—there to sound His praises, who laid down His life upon Calvary’s cross to save sinners, and Who ever lives now in the glory to guide His loved ones all the journey through.

May God in grace open your eyes to see your peril, and to “come” just as you are, then you will know Him and delight in Him as your Saviour and your Light as well.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

12. 1st December, 1885.

My Dear Young Friends,

Ceaselessly the moments have sped; unperceived the minutes have gone, and the days and weeks rolled on, until at last the closing month of the year has begun, and even it is now quickly passing from us.

How miserable a time for some would the winter be if there were no spring to look forward to, no summer to anticipate. As day by day the autumn waned, so would their sorrow increase; and were winter’s cold, dark days to continue, despair would fill their hearts. How often one hears it said, when some remark is made as to the cold, or fog, or slush of winter, “Soon we shall have spring-time here, and the days will be warmer and brighter,” and this encourages and cheers.

You young folks love the summer months best of all, I doubt not; for though the bright, frosty days please you well, and the sliding delights you, or the fallen snow provides you with a game of mimic warfare, yet such days are few and far between, and the cold, dark nights are so long, that the summer time is wished for, and its seaside pleasures, rural walks, and outdoor enjoyments anxiously expected.

The poor, at least, appreciate the brighter, warmer days—for fuel is dear, and clothes are thin, and ofttimes food is scarce—and thus winter, with its cold, bleak winds, and biting frosts, affects them much, and with eagerness they long that its end may soon arrive.

Have you, boys and girls, thought of the wondrous summer time for the people of God, which now is drawing so near? It has been a long, dark winter of earthly sojourn for them, but soon the endless summer of joy and gladness will have come, and all those who have received God’s great salvation will enjoy their eternity in the company of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Terrible, indeed, for those who are having all their summer here on earth, and who are refusing to own the Lord Jesus; for them, nothing but darkness and desolation are in store—an eternity of misery untold.

What a contrast, indeed, to the golden summer which awaits the believer.

How such may comfort themselves, amid all the sorrows and disappointments of earth, with the cheering knowledge, “Though the road may be rough, it cannot be long,” that soon the winter will have passed, and the eternal summer have commenced; and ’tis all sunshine there, no sighing nor care, no tears of sorrow, no dark clouds dim its joy; the wintry blasts of suffering too and pain all passed, never to return, and nothing but the unchanging, ever increasing bliss of His presence, where there is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.

May God grant in His grace that my readers may receive the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, and seeking now to live for His glory, anticipate with delight that blissful time.

Your loving Friend,

13. 1st January, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

The year 1885 has closed, “its tale is told.” All of you like to hear a tale told by some loved friend or relative; and when one story is finished another is desired. And thus it is that years pass on in quick succession. “We spend our years as a tale that is told.”

The new year dawns upon us, bright with many a joyous prospect to most of you young folks, but darkened with clouds of trouble and sorrow to many of older years, who think more of the real side of life, with its disappointments and bitterness; for they have proved in the past that the things which promise most do not satisfy; and, like Solomon, who possessed ivory palaces, wealth, honours, and all that heart could wish, are ready to say, “All under the sun is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Eccl. 1:14).

There is no earthly joy that is lasting—sorrow darkens it, or death blights it. Probably you young people had looked for and counted upon some special joy last year, and were disappointed. So it may be this year.

Do you remember how our Lord Jesus stood and cried out on the last, the great day of that feast of earthly joy at Jerusalem, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink”? ’Tis Jesus who alone can satisfy the heart; and I long that you may know Him, and be at rest during the year upon which we have just entered. He can and does satisfy the heart.

In 1 Peter 1:18-19, we read of the “precious blood” which meets the conscience, cleansing us from all sin, and leaving not a spot; and then in the second chapter we are told of a “precious person” to satisfy the heart. It is the same blessed One who laid down His life upon Calvary’s cross, and whose precious blood was shed for sinners, who is now risen and glorified, and become “precious”, to all who believe.

May God give you, young readers, at the commencement of this year 1886, to know the value of that precious blood for the conscience, and the love of that peerless person for the heart.

He is coming again “quickly” to take His loved ones away; perhaps long before this year has passed His “welcome home” will be heard. “A little while,” and all who know Him will see Him, whom not having seen they love, and be like Him and with Him for evermore. I long that you should be there. Remember, “the time is short.” Are you ready to meet Him? If so, seek to spend this year for the glory of Him who died for us, and rose again.

If you really come to the Lord Jesus, and seek to please Him, this will, I know, be indeed a Happy New Year; and though sorrows and disappointments may be yours you will prove the Lord Jesus “a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother”—One who never leaves and never forsakes.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

14. 1st February, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Some of you may remember “My Letter” of March last year, in which I asked any of my readers to write me an answer. I had a good many letters from unknown friends; some from long, long distances, such as America and New Zealand, as well as many from friends nearer home.

Very varied were the messages they contained; and, in answer to my desire that those who wrote should tell me whether they really knew the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, many could say they did know Him, and knew that His precious blood had washed away their sins, and that now they were waiting with delight for the bright cloudless morning when He should come.

Others there were, however, who, after telling me about brothers and sisters, and the home pets, had to close their letter by owning that they were not saved—did not know their sins forgiven, and were not ready if the Lord should come.

What a contrast between these two classes. Imagine the difference when sorrow comes. The saved one has a Friend into whose open ear all the trouble may be told, a Friend who proved His love in the agonies of Calvary, and who now proves that same unchanging love by “ever living to make intercession for us.” “Able to save to the uttermost.” He is—yes, all the way through—from the very first moment when the simple trust of the perishing one is placed in Him, to the last moment when the Lord shall welcome with His shout the victorious saint caught up to meet Him, or receive the spirit of the one who has departed to be with Christ, which is far better. Absent from the body to be present with the Lord.

The unsaved, knowing not the Saviour, is passing on a dark dreary road burdened with trouble. “The light of the world” is Christ, but they know Him not; and withal there comes in thoughtful hours the solemn sense that all is not well with them for eternity. Oftentimes that voice is hushed, and the conscience quieted if possible with, “I am quite as good as so-and-so;” at other times that voice will not be stilled, louder and louder it calls, and then pleasures are sought to drown the awakened fears. Or the Lord’s coming is spoken of, or pondered over, for an instant, and death comes before them, and then all seems miserable and dark. Why? Because the One who gives light and joy is still refused.

But still He waits; still He calls: “How long, ye foolish ones, will ye love foolishness?”

“Why are ye troubled when death comes in view?

Christ giveth rest, giveth rest.

Though after death there comes judgment too,

You may be blest, may be blest.

“Christ bore God’s judgment, poor sinners to save,

He gained the vict’ry o’er death and the grave;

Oh! now believe Him, and life you shall have,

You shall have rest, shall have rest.”

Yes, true divine rest is the portion of every precious soul who simply accepts the invitation, and comes just now.

May God in grace give you, dear ones, who read this letter, to come as you are, then you also will be ready for eternity, and not only so but ready for time as well. Able now to live for Him—to spend your early days in His service, which is perfect freedom.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

15. 1st March, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

“Try your weight, sir! Try your weight! Now’s the time to try your weight!” Again and again has that cry sounded along the railway platforms as I have awaited the arrival of a train, and often have I thought of you, young readers, when I heard the boy’s shrill voice inviting travellers to be weighed in the cushioned chair. It reminded me of the balances of God in which He weighs all.

“I have been tried, my boy, and have been found wanting,” was my reply to one of these business-like lads who cried, “Try your weight!” Yes, “weighed and found wanting,” like Belshazzar, the impious king.

With what pride of heart he gathers round him Chaldea’s thousand lords—and, great in his self-esteem and haughty arrogance, commands the vessels taken by Nebuchadnezzar from the temple of the house of God to be brought.

They drink from those holy vessels to their gods of gold and silver, brass, iron, wood and stone, and loudly shout their praise.

But judgment lingers not, and the same hour his doom is written upon the plaster of the wall. His mighty kingdom is at an end, and given to the Medes and Persians—himself weighed in a just weight and balance. Well might his proud countenance blanch, and his strong knees tremble, for God had spoken, and spoken in judgment.

TEKEL: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.”

That night the sword of judgment fell—Belshazzar was slain.

This was God’s verdict on that godless king. And this is the verdict upon all—for the whole world has been tried, and is found guilty before God—all “wanting.”

Yes, all alike—men of low degree, and men of high degree—all laid in the balance, and proved lighter than vanity (Ps. 62).

By the Lord actions are weighed (1 Sam. 3), and though all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes—the Lord weigheth the spirits.

What is the result?—all are found wanting.

Well I can remember my soul-distress when I learnt that TEKEL was true of me—that all I was—all I had done was known to God. My own way I had trodden—my own will I had sought—God’s glory I had been careless of—for the Son of God I had no room nor love.

Weighed and found wanting; and soon I knew judgment would fall, and if it fell on me, eternal misery must be my portion.

But who can tell my joy, my bliss, when I saw that the very One Whom I had slighted had died for me—had proved His mighty love on Calvary’s cross—had given Himself for me. Sent by Him who had weighed and found me wanting—proved me worthless, declared me guilty—sent by Him to bear the judgment I deserved, and thus to set me free.

Well might I sing and shout for joy, as I saw that upon Jesus my punishment was laid—that the chastisement of my peace was upon Him, and that by His stripes I was healed.

Turn now, dear ones, to that blessed Saviour. TEKEL is true of you, but if you come to Him, then pardon and peace will be yours now, and power to walk so as to please God as well—a bright prospect be before you, and endless glory with the Lord Jesus be your portion for ever.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

16. 1st April, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Well do I remember standing, when a boy, with a young friend on a high wall, from which we could see a large clock, the gilt hands and figures shining brightly in the sunlight. There I learned to “tell the time.” That simple lesson has been of daily and almost hourly use to me.

We read a good deal about “the time” in the Word of God. Sometimes it is measured out by hours and watches, at others by day and night.

Shall we look at our Bibles, and see if we can learn what “time” it is now?

First of all, let those who do not know the Lord Jesus turn to 2 Corinthians 6, there we find that this is “the acceptable time—the day of salvation.”

Yes, “now” we have reached that hour—“now” sinners are invited to come just as they are. The Lord Jesus has visited this world, in wondrous grace, telling out the love of God to sinners, and has been to the place which is called Calvary; there He suffered—suffered for sins—the just for the unjust; there He bore the judgment of God—there the victor’s cry, “It is finished,” sounded loudly forth, and Jesus bowed His head and gave up His life; and there the precious blood flowed from His side—that precious blood which cleanseth from all sin. God has raised Jesus from the dead, and crowned Him with glory and honour.

“Now is the accepted time.” Yes, now the vilest of the vile may come, for it is the day of salvation—the time when the grace of God brings salvation to all men.

This is “the time to get” salvation, eternal life, and a bright home in glory. Take care lest you miss the opportunity, for soon the “time of judgment” will arrive, and then—“too late! too late! will be the cry.”

If you are a young believer turn to Romans 13:11, and you will see that it is “high time to awake out of sleep,” for “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Every moment brings us nearer to the coming of our Lord, when He whom we believe will save us out of this poor, dark, sin-smitten world, and take us to be with Himself. Let us not then be asleep, but fully awake, and with lamps well trimmed be waiting for Him (Matt. 25:6-10).

Let us seek, too, to “redeem the time”—to use every opportunity of telling of His wondrous love, Who died for us; for the days are evil, and soon will be darker still for those left behind, when we, who know the Lord as our own dear Saviour, are caught up to meet Him in the air.

Remember “the time,” young readers, for it is “short.”

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

All this period, since the rejection of the Lord Jesus, is called “night.” A glorious time is coming, called “day.” Then Christ will shine forth as the sun of righteousness, and the radiancy of His glory will fill the whole scene.

May God bless you all, and give each to “remember how short your time is” (Ps. 89:47)—whether, if saved, to spend in His service, or, if unsaved, to get that salvation that is to be had now.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

17. 1st May, 1886.

“I know He died for me; I know He lives for me; I know He’s coming for me,” said a poor old man to a Christian who had called to see him in his cottage home.

What did the old man mean? Of whom was he speaking? I think I hear you reply, “He meant the Lord Jesus Christ. It was of Him he spoke.”

Yes. You are right. But now another question: Can you truthfully say what the old man said; can you say, “He died for ME; He lives for ME; He is coming for ME”? Happy, indeed, are those of you who can.

There is a word-picture drawn by our Lord in the tenth chapter of Luke, which contains these three blessed truths.

A traveller had gone down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and on the road had fallen among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and left him lying half dead by the wayside. That is the picture of a sinner—of you—of me. Going “our own way”—downward, farther and farther away from God; then stripped and wounded by the great soul-robber, Satan, and left helpless and dying in our sins.

Who will rescue the poor stricken wayfarer? A priest, by chance, comes by, and, seeing the dying man, coldly passes by on the other side—he cannot help such an one. A Levite next approaches, and he draws near, and looks upon him, but that is all, for he turns away and continues his journey. But now a Samaritan, on his journey, comes—one with whom a Jew would have no dealing—he cannot expect anything from him. But lo! he stops, and lights from off his beast, and with tender care comes to the sufferer, and binds up his wounds, pouring in both oil and wine; then gives him his own place, setting him on his own beast, brings him to an inn, and takes care of him. Who can this stranger figure but the Lord Jesus?—on “the journey” from heaven’s highest glory to the cross of Calvary. The One whose grace we know. For though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9). This, indeed, IS GRACE, for we deserved nought. We were sinners, rebels, enemies. We had no dealings with Him—but He came and died that we might live. But more, He rose again, and, having purged our sins, is seated at the right hand of God; and now “He ever liveth” to “take care” of His loved ones all the journey through. He is the Advocate (1 John 2:2). He is the great high priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

But the Samaritan has to leave. He passes on, but takes out two pence, saying to the host, “take care of him”; and tells of his coming again—and surely he was coming soon, for the two pence would provide for but a short time.

Yes, the Lord Jesus has passed on—He has gone into heaven; He has left His loved ones behind, but He loves them to the end (John 13:1), and has sent the Comforter—the Holy Spirit—to dwell with and in believers (John 14:16-17), and tells them, “I will come again” (John 14:3). Yes, His love will not have rest until He has those for whom He died—for whom He lives—at home with Himself in the Father’s house.

Thus each believer can look back to the cross and say, “He died for me.” Can look up to the throne of God and say, “He lives for me,” and can look forward with joy, and say, “He will come for me.”

May God enable each of you to say what the old man said, and give you to live now unto Him, who died for us, that we might, through eternity, live with Him (1 Thess. 5:10).

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

18. 1st June, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

There is a precious statement in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, which I very much desire should be true of all of you, for those whom it speaks of are really happy, and will be so eternally, is found in the seventh verse: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”

Now, there are many persons in the world whose sins they themselves seek to cover; but such are not among the “blessed” ones alluded to in our verse. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper,” says another scripture (Prov. 28:13). Do you seek to cover your sins?

A little girl, named Ellie, of whom I once read, tried to do this. Some friends were coming to her home one day, and she had on her best new dress, that she might be fitly attired in the presence of visitors. While waiting for their arrival Ellie asked to be permitted to go into the garden. After much entreating, and promising to walk quietly, and not go near the pond, the desired permission was given.

For a while Ellie walked quietly enough; but, presently, she quite forgot her promises, and, skipping lightly along, first on one foot, and then on the other, soon reached the flower beds. There a beautiful blue butterfly attracted her attention, and her whole energies were at once directed to catch the pretty wanderer. Off she darted, never heeding that her footsteps neared the pond. Making, then, a final dash at the butterfly, which had hitherto escaped her grasp, her foot suddenly slipped, and she fell right into the slimy, green mud. Alas! when she got up again she found that the front of her dress was soiled all over. What should she do? Could she hide it from her mother? If her disobedience were discovered she would be deprived of the pleasure of seeing the many expected guests. So, stealing back to the house, and up to her little room, she took from a drawer her prettiest pinafore, and hastily put it over the stained dress; then, after washing her hands and face, hurried down to her mother, who was calling her to the drawing-room. After shaking hands with the visitors she sat down on her low chair at her mother’s side. Soon Mrs. P. turned to her little daughter and said, “Ellie, how is it you have a pinafore on?”

Ellie’s face flushed crimson; her head drooped low, and she remained silent and ashamed. Mrs. P. quietly unfastened the pinafore, discovering to all present the new dress muddy and spoilt. Ellie had sought to cover her sin. Had she prospered?

Ah! how many, from the time of Adam downward, have tried to cloak their sins. But all fail. Sooner or later the awful truth must come out, and their sins be laid bare before God.

Take now, my dear young friends, your true place before God; own to Him your folly and sinfulness, and rich, lasting blessing will be yours.

Is it not a happy position to be in among those blessed ones whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered?

Are your sins covered before God?

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

19. 1st July, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

At the close of an address to young people, a friend who was present put a large basket of oranges upon the table. Immediately all eyes were turned in that direction. A stick two or three feet long was fixed in the wickerwork of the basket, and at the top of the stick was a verse of Scripture printed in such large letters that all, without any difficulty, could read:—

“WHOMSOEVER WILL,

LET HIM TAKE

THE WATER OF LIFE

FREELY” (Rev. 22:17).

Calling attention to these precious words, my friend urged upon our young hearers the acceptance of the blessed invitation—telling at what a cost that fountain had been opened so freely to all, since none less than the blessed Son of God had laid down His life, so that forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life might be their portion; that now Jesus had done all; that His work was FINISHED, and that having risen again, the water of life was freely given to all who will take it. He urged them to avail themselves of that provision that very evening.

Some of us had noticed that the text was printed on two separate pieces of cardboard, the lower one lying on the face of the upper piece. My friend having spoken to them thus, took away the lower portion, and now the message was—

“WHOSOEVER WILL,

LET HIM TAKE

AN ORANGE

NOW.”

All had watched intently the removal of the text; and as soon as the new invitation was read and comprehended, a look of pleasure passed over many faces.

Without a minute’s delay one, who sat near the front, left his seat, and, coming forward, took an orange. No one hindered him. Then a little girl ran up; she was just tall enough to reach over and grasp one of the many large ones in her tiny hands.

Then there was quite a rush, for when the others saw the invitation was accepted by these, and resulted in the fruit being obtained, the children, one and all, left their seats, and came for the welcome refreshment.

Suddenly the giver stood in front of the basket containing his gift, and asked what all were pressing to the front for. The answer readily came—“AN ORANGE, sir!” “But who said you might have them?” “You said so, sir!” “Where?” “On the card, sir! for WHOSOEVER means anyone.” And so the young folks interpreted it rightly, and, of course, soon had their wish fulfilled, and went back to their seats each with an orange.

Warning words were then spoken, showing the folly of losing the wondrous opportunity now given by God to “WHOSOEVER will.”

An orange is a gift of small value, but how readily the children accepted the invitation to receive one. Alas! how many slight the wondrous gift of the water of life, to partake of which “WHOSOEVER will” is invited.

Have you, young friends, partaken of that water of life yet? Soon the day of grace will end in a night of judgment. The water flows freely for all now, and everyone that thirsteth is entreated to come.

We read of one who gladly would have come when too late—then no water, not even a drop, is found to cool the parched tongue (Luke 16).

May this not be your case.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

20. 1st August, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

“Ready and Willing” may often be seen printed upon the walls of both town and country fire engine stations, and surely the brave firemen give effectual proofs of both their readiness and willingness to aid or rescue those in peril amid the blinding smoke and scorching heat of homes being gutted by the flames.

At Manchester, some time since, a fire occurred in which a fireman displayed the accustomed bravery of his class.

The flames had mastered a portion of a large building, defying all efforts to quench them. The rapid spread of the flames had cut off the escape of a young man employed on the premises, and soon he was seen on the sill of a fifth story window. Sheets were held for him to jump into, but he could not be prevailed upon to trust himself to them. A ladder was procured, but found too short. All this time the flames had been bursting out from the windows near him, and, at times, the dense smoke hid the poor fellow from view, and the greatest excitement was manifested by the crowd.

When almost all hope of his rescue seemed gone, it was seen that, by some means, a fireman had gained the roof above the window, and was lowering a rope, with a noose at the end, to the man. This he seized without delay, and was let down by the fireman into the escape which just then arrived. Amid loud cheers, the young man was rescued apparently unhurt. The fireman too found means to effect his descent in safety.

“Ready and willing” is the Saviour of sinners to save those who are perishing in their sins. Alas! how few know their danger, or avail themselves of the proffered escape. Had that young man refused the noosed rope, and been suffocated amid the smoke, it would have been his own fault. A way of escape was provided; if he neglected or spurned it, his would be the blame. The fireman had risked his life, and done all that was needed to save; no blame could attach itself to him.

The Lord Jesus Christ has given His life to save the sinner; upon the cross He hung and suffered; all the judgment has been borne by Him; the cup of trembling is emptied, and now He lives no more to die.

He is “Ready” indeed—“Willing” indeed—to save all who are in danger; to them the gospel is preached—those good news of peace and blessing—glad tidings of great joy. Many have accepted this so great salvation. They have believed the message; they have trusted that word of life, and now are at rest, knowing Christ as their Saviour, and heaven as their home, whilst their hearts make melody to Him; their tongues speak of His worth, and their lives show forth His praise.

Others, alas! neglect the provided salvation, or spurn the Saviour’s love, and pass on to perish in their sins.

To which of these classes do you belong?

Once I belonged to the neglecters, but the Lord, in grace, lingered. His Spirit strove, and, at last my danger dawned upon me; my heartless rejection of Christ came before me. “Unthankful” I had been; unholy too, and hearing again His message of love, “Come unto Me,” I took Him at His word, and found it sure and steadfast, faithful and firm. Thus I am now one of the accepters. Which are you?

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

21. 1st September, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Two little girls were, one evening, gazing most intently into a picture shop, enjoying the many subjects before them. One picture seemed a special favourite; in it a little girl was sitting upon the hearth-rug before a blazing fire, reading a letter which she had just received from her absent father.

The two children, thus occupied, were poor, their homes so dark and desolate, that they often wandered along, hour after hour, looking at the attractive windows of the shops in that wide, noisy thoroughfare. Their faces were pinched with hunger, their clothes ragged and threadbare, and, to add to her sorrow, one of them “Sally,” as her sister called her, was a humpback.

“No one ever sent me a message like that; I never had a letter posted to me,” said humpback Sally as they gazed together at that well-known, oft-admired picture.

“I know One who has sent a message to you,” said a kindly voice behind them.

They turned quickly to see by whom they had been overheard. A gentleman stood close by, who had drawn near to look at the picture, and when Sally spoke he had listened, and now by his reply she became aware of his presence there.

“Not for me, sir!” replied Sally, when she recovered a little from her surprise; “No one has ever sent a message to me.”

“Yes, there is One, my little friend, who has sent a message even to you. If you will come with me to a Hall close by, you shall hear about this unknown Friend who has sent this message with an invitation to you.”

Taking her younger sister by the hand, the elder girl quickly followed their new acquaintance, and soon were seated, with many other children, in a large, well-lighted building.

There they heard of a Saviour who cared for the poor and weak, as well as for the rich and strong,—for the ragged as well as for the tidy,—for the young as well as for the old, and who had shown His care and love in such a wondrous way, that, though He was rich,—rich in His glory in the Father’s house, yet He had left it all and visited this world so stricken by sin and sorrow, and become poor; laying aside His glory, and, as a man, the carpenter’s son, treading a path of love and goodness.

The beasts and birds He had formed had their homes, but He, their Maker, had not where to lay His head. At times He showed His power and glory; He stilled the storm, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes; but He had come not only to minister, to serve in a world of such need; He had come to give His life as a ransom. All had gone their own way, all had offended a holy God by sin, all were held captive to death and judgment, but Jesus had come to save, and, by laying down His life, to redeem and deliver.

The two girls heard that the work of Christ was finished, and that now He was sitting on the throne of God.

But more than that, the invitation was given even to such as humpbacked Sally to come to that blessed Saviour just as they were, and the promise held out, “Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out.” They heard, too, of that Father’s house being open for all to come,—of joy and gladness ever known in that land of glory.

Whether they accepted the invitation I cannot tell. I do not know if they came to that loving Saviour, but let me ask, “Have you yet come to Him?”

The invitation is for today, not for tomorrow. If you have come, take the message to others and give them an invitation too.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

22. 1st October, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Those of you who sought to answer the questions given to the younger ones for last month, will have read through four chapters in the Gospel by Matthew.

I have something I would remind you of in three of those chapters, viz., the eighteenth, nineteenth and twenty-first.

The eighteenth commences with a rich portion for young folks. It may, I think, be called a children’s chapter.

The Lord takes a little child as His text, and tells the disciples they must be converted, and become like little children, or they could not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoso should receive one such little child in Christ’s name received Christ, but if any should offend, lead astray, or snare one of the little ones which believed on Him, better would it have been to have had a great millstone tied about his neck, and been drowned in the depths of the sea.

Then, after more words of comfort, He tells how He had come to save children—lost and ruined as they were. He had come to carry out His Father’s will, and save the little ones.

This brings before us

The LORD’S WORK for CHILDREN.

If children were to be saved Jesus must suffer, Jesus must die; and blessed it is for us to know that He has suffered for sins. He has died as a sacrifice for sin, and is now risen again; and through His death of shame and woe it is that blessing comes to children as well as to those older in years.

In the nineteenth chapter we read of

The LORD’S WELCOME to CHILDREN.

He would not have the young children who were brought to Him turned away. The disciples may have no care for them, but He has, and rebukes not the children, but the disciples, saying, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Then, laying His hands upon them, He bestows rich and lasting blessing on those helpless little ones.

In the twenty-first chapter we find children again brought in; not receiving something from Him now, but giving something to Him.

Here we find

The LORD WORSHIPPED by CHILDREN.

Though chief priests and scribes may be silent, the children’s praise shall be heard, and, like the palm-bearing multitude, the infant voices unite in the temple in crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.”

Does He listen to their feeble praise?

Indeed He does, and, doubtless, He delighted in hearing their chorus in His honour.

Soon He was to lay down His life for them; and again He takes the children’s part, asking the chief priests and scribes, “Have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?”

And does not the Saviour delight in children’s praises still?

Indeed, I am sure He does. In Psalm 148 we find young men and maidens, old men and children, all called upon to praise the name of the Lord.

May God give all of you who read “My Letter” to be able now, and through eternity, to sing the praise of Him who has done so much for us.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

23. 1st November, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Many of you are, I trust, readers of the Word of God, finding delight in searching its sacred pages.

There is a very useful habit which I should much like all of you to acquire, and which I have found, among the circle of my younger friends, of the greatest value.

It is this: the habit of learning, every day, one or more verses from the Bible.

This has been made a blessing to many.

The few words committed to memory the first thing in the morning, perhaps even whilst dressing, proving the very truth needed during the work or play of the succeeding hours, enabling them to resist the temptations that arose; and, by the words of His lips, they have kept them from the paths of the destroyer, and by the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, they have overcome one enemy after another.

Let me tell you how “Happy Ben,” as one of his school-mates always called him, found a scripture so learned stand him in good stead.

One day Ben was “scoring” at a friendly cricket match between two schools. The game was going against his side, and one of his school-mates came up and whispered in his ear.

Ben’s face flushed crimson, and he was heard to say, indignantly, “I will not.”

“Take that for your pains then,” was the only answer of the bully, as he gave him a heavy blow on the cheek.

“Halloo, Ben,” cried one of his friends, “what is the matter? Why has that fellow struck you in that cowardly way?”

No answer was given for a moment or two, but he wiped away the flowing blood, and brushed from his eyes the starting tears.

“What is the reason of this, Ben?”

“He wanted me to cheat, and I could not,” was the reply.

Shall I tell you the reason?

Ben had learned, that morning, “Thou God seest me,” and, with God’s eye upon him, how could he do that which was displeasing to a holy God?

The game went on, and the match was won by his side after all, and chiefly through Ben’s play. He seemed to carry everything before him, and, at the conclusion of the game, all joined in cheering Ben.

But this was only a poor victory compared with that which he had gained earlier in the day, by the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Now let us turn to Matthew 4, and see there how the Lord Jesus acted when tempted of Satan. What was the weapon He wielded to ward off the attack?

It was the Word of God. Three times over we read, “It is written.” Thus He defeated the devil with the Scriptures.

And this is the weapon we must use now, if we would wage successful war with the enemy of our souls. Hence the value of having the Word stored within our hearts.

One verse in Psalm 119, will answer the three following questions:

What did the Psalmist hide?

Where did he hide it?

Why did he hide it?

When you have found the verse, will you seek to imitate the Psalmist day by day? Thus you, like Ben, will be able to stand in the hour of trial.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

24. 1st December, 1886.

My Dear Young Friends,

Another year is fast hastening to its close. We reach the last month now, and soon its final moments will have gone—gone into eternity—and who can say but “the acceptable year” will have closed too.

This period of grace, since the preaching of the Lord Jesus, is called “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:19-12). In patience God has waited, in grace He still waits; but its dying moments may be already here; and these may have passed ere another month is gone.

The acceptable year closed, the day of vengeance will be ushered in—a day that will be of darkness indeed, no ray of hope or gleam of joy to brighten it.

I remember hearing of a preacher who had been warning his hearers of that coming judgment, and who quoted that solemn verse in Luke 13, “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door.” Earnestly he told how that door of salvation, which was now wide open, would then be closed; that none knew at what moment the Lord would rise; that now all were invited to enter.

At the close of the meeting a young lad was found shedding tears of sorrow mingled with joy, and, in answer to a friend’s enquiry, said, “He told me the door was open now, so I thought I had better go in.”

Will you not enter now, ere the door shall close? You cannot pass in too soon. If you delay you may seek to pass in when it is too late.

Does this letter find you still in your sins, still thinking hard thoughts of God, still ungrateful, unthankful to that blessed Saviour who came to die? Month after month has gone by, and now another swiftly wings its way towards the close. Shall this year leave you still outside the door? Oh! let it not be so. Lovingly I would call to you once again, Enter, enter now.

Many will press around that door when it is too late. Multitudes then will see their folly, and seek to enter in. Knocking at that bolted door their cry will be, “Lord, Lord, open unto us;” but from within they will hear Him, who so oft invited them, say, “I know you not whence ye are . . . depart from Me.” Will this be your lot, dear young friends? Delay not further, lest it should be.

The Lord Jesus Himself is the door. “By me,” He now says, “if any man enter in he shall be saved.” Yes, the invitation is to “any man.” None need linger, all are welcome, and entering, “any man” will find his need met, and more than that, richer, deeper liberty and joy than ever was known in the Christless throng around. Yes, not only is the sinner, who by faith passes in through that open door, saved, but he goes in and out, he has blessed liberty, boldness to enter into the holiest, praising and worshipping that God whom now he knows, and then, too, set free about his own salvation, can go out in service to his Lord, and seek to win others to that same Saviour. And yet further blessing is his as well; he finds pasture, he is fed. No longer a starveling at the world’s bare board, but a satisfied one in the banqueting house of love.

The door is open; you too, like the little lad, had better enter now.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

25. 1st January, 1887.

My Dear Young Friend,

“It shall be the first month of the year unto you,” were the words of the Lord to His people Israel.

They were to make a fresh start, a new beginning altogether; all the past had been, as it were, lost; they must commence again, for the Lord was about to bring them from the land of bondage and slavery, to the land He had chosen for them.

The passover was to he killed; a lamb, without blemish and without spot, must be slain; its blood sprinkled to shelter the firstborn from the coming judgment, and then the land of Egypt was to be left, and a journey taken through the Red Sea, across the trackless desert, and into the promised land.

This was to be a new start indeed, and so the beginning of their year was altered.

Have you had a new beginning yet? Have you been born again? Are you sheltered by the precious blood of Christ from the coming judgment? Are you delivered from the bondage of Satan and sin, and set free now to serve the living God? Are you one of the people of God, loved, cared for, and watched over by Him, “kept as the apple of His eye”?

I do not ask, “Have you turned over a new leaf?”

Merely turning over the page of life will never fit for the presence of God, will never remove the smears and stains of sin. You must be born again. It must be a new start altogether; a new volume of your life entirely.

And will it be a happy year which begins with conversion and forgiveness? It will, indeed, for you will find peace and joy in believing, and then, in company with the Lord Jesus, who never leaves nor forsakes, you will prove His constant, unchanging grace, and His power to save you unto the uttermost, all the way from beginning to end of the journey of faith, ever leading you on to that place which His own hands have prepared for His loved ones.

May God grant we may all meet there.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

26. 1st February, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

It was, perhaps, five years ago when I was present at a tea given to some Sunday-school children in a small Lincolnshire town.

All seemed thoroughly to have enjoyed the plentiful supply of good things which had been provided for them, and a look of satisfaction rested on each face.

The time for the address, which was to follow the tea, was drawing on. The teachers and friends who had waited on the children were just finishing their meal when an old woman, with wrinkled face, entered the room, and, with trembling, tottering steps, came towards the tea table.

She was one of several poor women who had been invited to come and have “a cup of tea with the children.”

As she drew near we saw under her arm a parcel, neatly done up in newspaper. When duly seated and supplied with all the table could afford (and there was enough and to spare for many yet), she began slowly to open the parcel she had brought. Several thick crusts and pieces of bread and butter were disclosed to view.

One of the friends immediately said, “Oh! You must do that up again, we have provided everything, and you are welcome to all.”

At first the poor old lady demurred, but, seeing they really meant it, packed up all she had brought in the newspaper, and proceeded to partake of the abundance provided by the love of others.

She had thought she would bring something of her own, but, of course, by so doing cast a slight upon the friends who had bidden her.

How many are doing this with regard to salvation! Our gracious God has, at great cost, made a great supper of salvation, and bidden to it a great company. In grace, wondrous grace, He gave His Son to die, in order that the table might be spread. The Lord Jesus came to do His Father’s will, and laid down His life, suffering the just for the unjust. In John 19:28 we read what Jesus knew, that all things were now accomplished; and in the thirtieth verse what He said, “IT IS FINISHED.” Now He is risen and seated at the right hand of God, and the message goes forth, “Come, for all things are now ready.” Everything provided to meet the sinner’s need, and the sinner invited to come just as he ís. How is the invitation received? Many make light of it, politely decline, saying, “I pray thee have me excused.” But how many even of those anxious and troubled and longing for rest are there who do not believe that all things are ready! They think they have some part in to accomplish—something to bring to God. Ah! they know not that He is a giving God, delighting in bestowing even the very best to the very worst. Thus they go on until they see their true condition, that all they have is defiled and marred by sin, and then it is that, at last, discovering that all their righteousnesses are as filthy rags, they come empty-handed to that feast of love, to find their need supplied through His work, their heart satisfied in the fullness of His love.

That you all may come to this gospel feast is the earnest desire of

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

27. 1st March, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

It was shortly after ten o’clock in the morning that a fire broke out on the premises of some Manchester merchants, and spread with most alarming rapidity, baffling all the efforts made by the work people to extinguish it.

The fire brigade was quickly upon the scene, and everything possible was done to stay the spread of the flames, but, for a long time, without any apparent effect.

A young man employed on the premises had gone back, for some reason, into the burning building, and found, when endeavouring again to get out, that his escape had been cut off by the flames.

Soon afterwards he was seen by the crowd on the sill of a fifth story window, and heard calling loudly for help.

Sheets were at once held out to receive him, but he would not jump. A ladder was then tried, but found too short. All hope for him seemed gone.

The flames were bursting from windows near him, and, at times, he was hidden by the dense smoke.

It was then that a brave fireman seized a life-line, and, passing through an adjoining warehouse, made his way to the parapet of the burning building

He at once lowered the line to the window, and felt that it was grasped by the young man. Then, making the rope fast around a chimney-stack, with the aid of an assistant, the fireman lowered him to within reach of the fire-escape, which just then arrived, and, amid the cheers of the crowd, the young man was received in a fainting condition, and soon, in safety, reached the ground. The fireman and his helper make good their escape by the way they had come.

This brave act illustrates the Gospel in a very simple way.

Our position, as sinners, was one of awful danger. The judgment, so well deserved by us, was fast approaching, and all way of escape cut off; for how could we undo the misdeeds or redeem the years spent in self-seeking and Christ-rejecting. The help of friends unavailing, the ladder of the law too short to reach us in our perilous position, then, when without strength, and without hope, help came from the place least expected, from above, from that holy, sin-hating God, against whom we had always turned our backs, thinking only hard and sinful thoughts of Him.

But He loved us when we loved Him not, and sent His Son, the well-beloved, to visit us in all our sin, and save us.

His work upon Calvary’s cross is the alone means of escape from that fast-approaching judgment. His precious blood the sinner’s only plea.

Grasping this life-line with the hand of simple faith, the believer is placed in safety, where condemnation never can reach him.

That finished work avails for all who believe. The most forlorn and hopeless here find certain rescue. The chief of sinners has been saved, so the vilest and worst may come, and, owning their need, and relying alone upon the merits and worth of the precious blood of Christ, find refuge and shelter.

This is the only way. None other name under heaven is given among men whereby we must be saved.

Remember, the Judge standeth before the door, ready to enter, but the way of escape is still open to a place of safety “in Christ,” where the judgment cannot reach.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

28. 1st April, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

Let me tell you how God, in His grace, used a fish-bone to arouse a young girl to a sense of her soul’s need. She had often attended preachings where the gospel story, in its own simplicity, was told out; and so Annie, as I will call her, was no stranger to the good news. The Bible, too, was well used in the home to which she had come, and yet she was still without Christ. Not without morality, not without religion, indeed, but without Christ as her own personal Saviour.

God, in His grace, by a very simple accident, brought Annie to see her true state of need. She was partaking of some herrings at her dinner, and, through lack of sufficient care, allowed a bone, unseen, to pass with the fish into her mouth, and thence into the throat, where it became fixed. All the afternoon she bore the pain without mentioning the matter to her mistress; but at last, her throat becoming more painful and sore, she called upon a doctor, who speedily dislodged the bone, telling Annie that her throat was ulcerated, and in a very inflamed condition.

That night she could not sleep. Thoughts of death and judgment presented themselves again and again. The Spirit of God was at work, showing her the need of her soul; and at length, rising from her bed, she cast herself upon her knees, and cried to the Lord for mercy and salvation. She owned her sins—how her past life had been spent for self, how she had left God out of her thoughts, and slighted His loving calls; and then, as the glad gospel she had heard passed before her, the work, the finished work of the Lord Jesus for the sinner, was shown to her newly opened eyes, and the value of that precious blood which cleanseth from all sin.

In simple faith she rested there. She believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and was saved; and was, when I last heard, seeking to shine for Christ, and waiting for His coming again.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

29. 1st May, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

An aged woman lay dying. Soon the thread of life would be snapped, and she in eternity.

Whilst visiting her, a Christian read slowly that peace-speaking message from God, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The words of that visitor were indeed like cool waters to a thirsty soul, and with eagerness and earnestness she drank them in. She had been troubled about her sins, and could not find rest, but now the Word of God calmed her troubled conscience, quieting every fear.

“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Yes, that was what she needed, something that could cleanse, and cleanse from every stain.

Turning to the Christian beside her, she stretched out her withered hand saying, as a light for a moment lit up her dimmed eyes, “Put—my—finger—upon—that—word—all,—I—can—meet—God—with—that.”

You must meet God. Whether you wish it or not, sooner or later you will have to meet Him, for it is written, “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:11-12).

Now grace reigns through righteousness, and if you in all your need and sin draw near, you will find the God of all grace waiting to receive and cleanse you.

God has been glorified by the death of His Son Jesus, and the message of salvation can, and does, go out fully and freely. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” and thus fits the believer for the presence of God.

In simple faith place your finger upon that little word all, and, resting on the word of the living God, who cannot lie, let His praise and glory be your aim and object until the Lord Jesus comes and takes you to be for ever with Himself.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

30. 1st June, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

In a little grocer’s shop, at which a gentleman, whom I knew, sometimes called to purchase fruit, was a piece of card that attracted his attention, as doubtless the attention of many.

It was tacked up immediately behind the counter, where all could see it, and printed in bold characters upon it were the two simple words,

“NO TRUST.”

The shopkeeper had found that he must not give credit. No doubt he had proved that his customers were not all honest people, and that it was needful to do a “ready-money” business.

Those words often come before my mind now: “No trust!” No trust in man. And yet how many, who could not trust their neighbours, trust themselves; but God, who knows the hearts of all, has written, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man” (Jer. 17:5). And again, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26).

Alas! there are numbers of people, young and old, who have plenty of trust in themselves. They are trusting in their works or prayers, their morality and uprightness, and have not learned that “the heart of man”—their heart, my heart and your heart, young reader—“is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;” and known only to the Lord (Jer. 17:9).

Yes! I fear many of my young readers have trust in self; in their promises of turning over a new leaf by-and-by; and trust too in the whispered words of the soul-deceiver, soul-destroyer, the Devil, who says, “There’s plenty of time yet.”

How many there are who have NO TRUST in God. He has, in His love, given His own dear Son to die for sinners, and yet they do not trust Him. He has raised from the dead the Lord Jesus, and glorified Him; and now sends out His servants to tell of the value of the precious blood shed upon Calvary, that whosoever will may come; but how few there are who seem to avail themselves of the proffered forgiveness and salvation.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord. His Word can never, never fail, and the one who has confidence in the Lord is kept in perfect peace: he is able to say—

“All the work has been done, I believe on God’s Son,

I am saved through the blood of the crucified One.”

Such a one not only knows that his sins are forgiven, and that he is saved, but he knows too that he has a home and an inheritance in the glory of God, with Him whose precious blood has purged and purchased Him (Acts 26:18).

May you be found among these blessed ones.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

31. 1st July, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

She stood in the summer evening at the garden gate of her roadside cottage, waiting with her child, looking down the quiet road with gladdened heart, for her husband was just returning with an elder child. I know not whither they had been, whether their journey had been short or long, their absence from home only for a few hours, or whether it had been for days or weeks. But there she stood, waiting to welcome them home.

As we drove past from a village preaching, and looked on the simple scene, my thoughts went to 1 Thessalonians 1, where we read of a company waiting—with longing expectation—for a much-loved Person; One who had won their hearts by a deed of matchless love, and who had gone away, promising quickly to return. Waiting they were for the Son of God from heaven, even Jesus, who had delivered them from the wrath to come.

They had been idolators, dying in their sins, passing on to judgment; but the Lord’s messenger, with the Lord’s message, had visited their city, telling of the grace of God to sinners, of the sufferings and death of Christ, of His glorious resurrection, of His present Lordship, and of His coming again.

This wondrous message had been refused by many, but some had owned their need, and had believed the Gospel, and now knew that their sins were gone, gone for ever; that judgment and wrath had been borne by the Saviour in their stead, and was now past. Rejoicing in the knowledge of this, they were looking with joyous hearts for the return of that Saviour, to take them from this world to His own eternal home.

It is only those who know that their sins are put away by the precious blood of Christ, and who are made fit for the presence of God, meet for His glory, who can really look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. May you be among the number.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

32. 1st August, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

“Man overboard! man overboard!” Quickly the life-belt is thrown, and the course of the boat changed, so as to return to the spot where the sailor fell; and everything is done to save the missing man. Anxiously all on board gaze in the wake of the craft, seeking to catch a glimpse of their comrade Ever and anon he is lost to view as the billows rise and fall, but the life-belt which he has reached buoys him up, and, as they see this, it inspires them with hope that the boat may reach him in time.

How earnestly the drowning man watches the course of the boat. How eagerly he clutches the floating belt—he knows his danger.

Those on board are in earnest to save their drowning mate; he is equally in earnest to be saved.

And what gladness fills each and every heart when the poor fellow is safe on board again, and being cared for by those who so longingly had sought and accomplished the rescue.

Once I was like that drowning man, struggling in the sea of sin. Ere long I should have been lost eternally, for all my efforts to effect my own salvation were without avail. At last I gave up in despair, and then saw close to me, even within my reach, the life-belt of salvation—salvation through Christ Jesus through faith in Him, not through my works. Thankfully I saw that His work was well done, and all done, and that God had accepted it; for Christ was no longer on the cross, but on the throne, and in simple faith, taking Him at His word, I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and was saved, forgiven, justified, cleansed, and made nigh by His precious blood.

Then it was I learned that His joy in saving me was greater, far greater, even than my joy in being saved; and now I know that He not only saves but keeps, for the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep, and sought until He found, is, like Abel, a Keeper, not a loser, of the sheep.

May you all know Him as your Saviour, and your Keeper too.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

33. 1st September, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

From bondage and slavery, oftentimes cruel and barbarous, how many have at various times sought to escape, frequently without avail, and then only a worse condition as a result? Scripture tells us of one who had successfully accomplished his escape, and afterwards returned to the very master from whom he had fled.

It would seem that Onesimus, the slave of Philemon, had managed to free himself from his bondage, and reach Rome, where the aged apostle Paul was then awaiting his trial before the Emperor; and, dwelling in his own hired house, with the soldier that kept him, the apostle received all who came unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the goodness of God, Onesimus was brought under the sound of the gospel of the grace of God. The glad tidings for bond and free were proclaimed in his hearing, and faith was mixed with the preached word, and the runaway slave believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and was saved.

The grace of God brought salvation even for him, and the apostle’s heart, but above all the heart of God, rejoiced when Onesimus received it.

Paul, loving his new-born child in the faith, seems to have found him useful to him; but, learning, perhaps from Onesimus, whence he had come, and to whom he belonged, will not allow him to remain at Rome, but sends him back to Philemon, bearing, I suppose, the apostle’s letter.

How tenderly he pleads with the master for the slave: “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account: I, Paul, have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it.” How it reminds us of the glorious and blessed One, even Jesus the Son of God, who stood in the guilty sinner’s place, and suffered in his stead. The sinner had wronged God, had dishonoured Him, and owed a debt of sin which he could never pay; but the Son of God, in grace, charged Himself with the sinner’s salvation, and, becoming surety, had the wrong-doing and sins of all who believe on Him put to His account. All their iniquities were caused to meet upon Him, and He bore them in His own body on the tree, setting the believer free from all charge, healed by His stripes, to serve the God who in grace gave Him to die, and in righteousness raised Him from the dead.

Paul stands, as it were, surety for this converted slave, and yet reminds Philemon that he himself owes everything to the apostle.

With what mingled feelings would Onesimus approach Philemon’s house. Little had he expected ever to return there willingly; but grace had altered all his plans, leading him to go back to his rightful master, by whom, I doubt not, he would be received as a brother beloved; for both could now rejoice in the same “so great salvation,” and both now, in their different positions, could seek to glorify that God who, in His grace, had set them free from the cruel slavery of sin.

All saved by Christ are the Lord’s bondsmen; purchased at the infinite cost of His own precious blood, they are no longer their own; bought with a price, they are to glorify God in their bodies, seeking whatsoever they do in word or deed to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.

Well may all such say,

“I could not work my soul to save,

For that my Lord has done;

But I should work like any slave,

From love to God’s dear Son.”

From such a Master, and such a service, surely none would seek to flee, but, delighting in doing His will, be found waiting their Lord from heaven.

May God give like precious faith to all my young readers.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

34. 1st October, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

Another harvest is passed, another summer is ended, and all around us there are tokens that autumn has arrived. The swallows, and other migratory birds, now fast leaving our shores for warmer climes, remind us that winter will again be upon us; and remind us, too, of a moment when, at our Lord’s call, all His loved ones will rise and leave this wintry scene of their sorrow, suffering and sin, for the joy and brightness of the glory-home, prepared for them by their Lord’s own hands.

As we bid farewell to the fleeting birds, let us remember that long ere they visit these coasts for their summer outing, all who believe may be gone for ever, from the earth to the glory, to spend their eternal summer in the light and liberty of the Saviour’s presence.

It is to many a saddening sight when the swallows are gathering before their final flight; but there is always their return to look forward to when again the spring arrives. And when the Lord’s home-call to His loved ones has sounded, and all the redeemed in answer to it have risen to meet Him, there will be their return to expect, when, in company with their Lord, they come forth to reign.

What a moment, when the Saviour Himself, in His glory, awakens the sleeping bodies of His people, and changes the bodies of His living loved ones, and receives them all in the air to be for ever with Himself. Will you be there?

“If you trust the Living Saviour now,

Who for sinners came to die,

When He gathers His own in that bright home,

Then you’ll be there and I.”

The Lord grant we all may be there

“To hear His voice,

To see His face,

And sing the glories of His grace.”

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

35. 1st November, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

I was in a strange land. The manners of nearly all around me were unlike those to which I had been accustomed. Their language, too, was different, and but little could I understand of all they said. The faces, the clothes, the buildings, the money, all were foreign, and there I was alone, without a relative, friend, or even acquaintance.

A day or two passed slowly away, and, bag in hand, I journeyed towards the pier, from which the steamboat was to start, bound for my native shore. I was a pilgrim now, bound for my home; and when the moorings were unloosed, and the vessel was speeding on, I rejoiced in this, that every moment brought me nearer to the loved ones whose welcome back I expected to receive.

The apostle Peter, writing to believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, says, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims.” Born from heaven, they were bound for heaven; only strangers on earth, and pilgrims towards heaven; they had been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and made the children of God, being born again by the Word of God, contained in the gospel which they had heard.

Once they had found their home, their prospects, and their joys here on earth; but now all was changed, they were partakers of a heavenly calling—called by the God of all grace to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, and now found themselves strangers in the very place where once their home had been.

Christ, who had suffered for them on the cross, was now in glory, and their hearts had been attracted to Himself, and as pilgrims they were pressing on to reach the place where He had gone. Their endeavour being not to get on in the world where their Lord had been spit upon, cast out, and crucified, but to get out of it, and to be with Himself for ever.

Reader, are you a stranger here? Are you a pilgrim pressing on? May God in His goodness give you to find your joys, your delights, and your home in the place where Christ sits at the right hand of God.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

36. 1st December, 1887.

My Dear Young Friends,

What do those stitches mean?

How many a time, when grandmother has sat knitting, she has been watched by eager eyes, the little owner of which is wondering whatever all the different operations of “casting on,” “seaming,” “knitting together,” “taking up,” “slipping,” “drawing through,” and so on, can possibly be for.

Often I myself have looked up from my book, and followed the pins as they darted one towards the other, doing ceaseless, but harmless, battle, and to my untrained eyes it has seemed as though the work were aimless, and at times undone, for the pin now covered with stitches was soon bare again.

But I have satisfied myself with the thought, If I know not, the knitter knows. The purpose has been formed; some useful and comfortable article is to be made, and every stitch brings the work nearer completion.

And how like the Christian’s path is this! Many of the Lord’s dealings with His loved ones seem strange and unaccountable, or even useless and altogether wrong, but, as a paralytic once said, when converted on his bed of pain, “God makes no mistakes”; and WE know that all things—yes, all the stitches—work together for good to them that love God.

When the little sock, or scarf, or cap, is finished, then the object of all the knitter’s stitches can be clearly seen—that every stitch was needed, not one too many, and not one too few.

And ere long, when we, who by grace belong to our Lord Jesus Christ, reach the eternal glory to which God has called us, we shall look back and see how every sorrow, and trial, and difficulty into which His hand brought us, was for our lasting blessing, and for His own glory; and that He worked everything after the counsel of His own will.

“Known unto God are all His works”; and we may ever comfort ourselves, that, if we know not, He knows.

“With mercy and with judgment

My web of time He wove,

And aye the dews of sorrow

Were lustred with His love.

I'll bless the hand that guided,

I’ll bless the heart that planned,

When throned where glory dwelleth,

In Immanuel’s land.”

May all who read “my letter” month by month meet in that glory to sing His praise.

Your loving Friend,

#x00a0I.Fleming

Scattered Seed 1885-1887






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