Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

November 1926

Beloved of the Lord,

It is of you that ancient word was said: "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him." These are the sons of His right hand: the spiritual tribe of Benjamin.

It is well to have these promises sealed to us in Jesus' blood, for these are days when we need them. He would gather us under His wings from "the terror by night."

One of the burdens that shall afflict the hearts of men in the last days is "fear": "men's hearts failing them for fear." This will be the beginning of tribulation. But with every curse in which the adversary involves the world, he seeks also to invade the soul of the saint. "Fear" has always been one of his devices with which to intimidate and overcome the children of faith: for fear is the negation of faith.

How often in the scriptures does the admonition of God say, "Fear not!" To the pilgrim of faith, Abram, "Fear not. I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward." To the warrior, Joshua, oft-repeated, "Be strong and of a good courage... only be thou very courageous... be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed." To the prophet, Jeremiah, "Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee." And finally, to the apostle and revealer, John, "Fear not. I am the First and the Last."

These are but a few notes from the carillons of Divine Comfort to fearful saints.

It would seem that "fear" like a haunting shadow lies very near to a believing heart. For it is the godly who fear death: not the ungodly. And He, Who was our Representative, knew most of all the reality of that horror of great darkness. Are not these words which the Spirit of the Christ prophetically uttered as from His soul? - "My heart is sore pained within me, and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me." We realise their import in that later word, "Who in the days of His flesh; when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared" - literally, "for His fearing."

Thanks be to God for Gethsemane, for that "horror of great darkness" which our Saviour met is swallowed-up in Calvary's victory. "Fear and the pit" are conquered.

So, the Blood of Jesus speaks the word of strong comfort that dispels "the terror by night." That blackness which comes nigh to the believing soul by reason of the oppression of the enemy! It is well to be prepared and armed against sudden invasions of this "fear." Do you know aught of this, beloved? Peter did not, before Calvary. It would have been well if he had. The devil was able to stampede him into a denial of His Beloved with oaths which were the language of sheer panic. But likewise "all the disciples forsook Him and fled." Many of the saints of God are being assailed by "fear" in these days. To some Satan has even invested the "Coming of the Lord" with terrors of the night. And we are reminded of how He came to His own in the tempest, walking upon the sea, and they were affrighted. And He had need to say, "Fear not. It is I!"

So it would seem it is His own voice that must re-assure His saints in the last troubled days - "It is I." The Mighty God? Yes. But also our Prince of Peace: whose blood has quenched all the violence of fire, and silences every accusation and menace of the adversary. "Fear hath torment... He that feareth is not made perfect in love; for there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear."

Now there are countless and nameless fears; but they are all the phantoms of that nether realm from which you and we have been truly and everlastingly emancipated. Our flesh might well be smitten by the terror - but we do not live in that territory any more. The Cross stands between. We walk according to the Spirit. And the Comforter continually says, "Fear not. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid." Add to your faith, courage.

Yours, in this strength of God,
T. Austin-Sparks,
T. Madoc-Jeffreys.

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