The following letter, hitherto unpublished, was written to Dr. D—– of Alexandria, VA., who is now with the Lord.
London, 16 Dec. 1880.
MY DEAR BROTHER:
Thank you much for your kind and affectionate note, which I cordially reciprocate. I have often thought of you since I was with you in Alexandria (Virginia), and purposed writing when I heard your father-in-law was gone, but delayed it so long that I felt it would be untimely. I am still here, but now have entered on my eighty-first year, but up to a short time ago, in full activity through mercy, having gone to the chief gatherings in Scotland and the north of England, holding two meetings a day, for there is a general desire for the Word. At this moment I am laid by from active, though not from study, work, having had an accident and rheumatism as winter drew on, but really I think somewhat overworked. If up to the journey, have to go to the south of France to revise finally a translation I made into French of the Old Testament, but it is in the Lord’s hands.
I have been converted now fifty-nine years, and have had full peace some fifty-three, when the full truth shone in my soul.
All, and I delight to think it is so, is sovereign grace, for what could be so sweet as to have divine love, God Himself, the source of all. I have seen faults in myself, and need the constancy of grace, but it is a comfort to me to feel that I have had no object from the beginning but Christ. He is my all, and the Father’s love the dwelling place of my spirit.
Were I to look to myself, I see poor unworthiness, but I am sometimes afraid that where Christ is is too natural a home for me. He will be all there without distraction, and I shall be content to sit behind Him and see Him justly and fully glorified. There is another thing has been latterly a great source of joy to me, that not one saint then but will be exactly what He would have them, and that is a great joy. And He shall see of the travail of His soul (and it was great) and be satisfied. Ah, all will be right then! What we have to seek is that they should be so now. But here, alas, how short we all come! The Lord give you, dear brother, to have your eye fixed on Him, and believe that the work is His. All else comes to nothing. Soon, too, He will be here. I read in Ephesians, “Gave Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savor.” So we for others. And in seeking sinners, [our labor is] for them, but to God; and then eye and heart will be all right; the motive divine as object upwards, and divine as love downwards.
But I must close. I remember with unfeigned pleasure my visits both in Kentucky and at Alexandria. And with kind remembrance to your family, believe me,
Very affectionately yours in the Lord,
J. N. DARBY.