Open as PDF
There dwelt in a certain town two men, and to each of them there had been conveyed by a clear will, and handed down through a long line of ancestors, a small but very precious life lot and dwelling house. But soon after they had conscious possession of the same, there began to spring up from their inherited soil something which seemed to sting their tender feet, and plant thorns in their happy hours: quite frequently it made their innocent and lovely faces look fierce and scowly, and changed their sweet voices to frightful shrieks. Sometimes these attacks of frenzy were so sudden and violent that they would cast them down and cause them to scream and wallow in the dirt, and sometimes they would become quite stiff while the fit lasted.
This evil tree grew with their growth and became more and more troublesome. It spread its branches over their abodes, and shut out the sweet and healthful light of the sun from both door and windows. Its wiry tendrils forced their way through every crevice of the house and coiled like serpents upon the walls. Its fruit was poison, its thorns dangerous and its leaves corrupting. Its spreading roots and prolific sprouts threatened to choke out every useful plant.
Accordingly these good neighbors communed together freely of their common misfortune. They heartily wished that the trees might be destroyed, but as they were large and very tough, and their branches legion, they could not see how to remove them. Moreover, as the years passed on, strange though it be, they acquired an appetite for the fruit. True, when they first partook, it caused intense suffering, but being always surrounded by it, it being also pleasant to look upon, they continued to tamper with it until the treacherous habit had firmly fastened it hold upon them (James 1:15), hence they were loath to part with the trees. But as their sottish life passed on they were often deeply convicted and most sorely pained with the fact that their desire for the fruit was abnormal and brutish, that if blasted their financial interest, corrupted their morals, benumbed their intellects and destroyed the peace and happiness of their families, that it bread discontent, filled the system with disease, and hastened to a wretched death and gloomy future (Proverbs 13:15; Job 9:4; Psalm 9:17). What troubled the conscience of these men most of all, they saw their poor, innocent children following their pernicious example and eating also of the deadly fruit (John 8:41, 44). These things brought sorrow and deep conviction upon their souls.
The real origin, the depth and great magnitude of the root that bore this tree, lay buried out of their sight, but for the outward manifestations of its fruits, and their eating thereof, to the hurt of their souls and others, they were themselves to blame, and being now awakened to see these things they were in very great trouble and convictions by reason thereof, yea, they could scarcely think of anything else by day an by night. The evil for which they were personally responsible entirely eclipsed the evil they had innocently inherited.
Having at last applied to the proper help, they were happily permitted to see the trees cut down to the very ground, their branches and fruit all destroyed. Then were they very happy, all the trouble that had born so heavily upon their hearts was removed. The pure sweet rays of light now shone directly into the house. Their companions seemed dearer than ever before, and their children much sweeter. They met together daily to congratulate each other for the new and happy change. They also talked of their folly in living so long beneath the gloomy shades, and indulging so much in the poison fruit of the old Adam tree (Romans 8:13). Then would their heart leap for joy and their tears of gratitude flow for the better life they had found. They both remarked that their present lot reminded them of their childhood innocence, before the tree of death had sprang up and brought forth its fruit (Matthew 18:3). The same kind hand that removed the trees with all their fruit, planted in their lots new seeds (Matthew 13:18-22; 1 John 3:9), which immediately germinated and decked all their walks with fair and lovely flowers of peace, and filled their lots with delicious and healthful fruit.
But ere long a slight gloom mingled with the sunshine of those heats. An occasional uprising of the old root was manifest among the good plants, at which they were no little pained and surprised, for they had supposed that it was clean gone forever. They had no more hankering for its fruits, yea, they dreaded its slightest appearance and hastened to suppress every sprout. They break their minds to each other, and find in each the same experience. They now begin to dig down and examine the trouble, when behold, they find the same root that bear the tree of their former sin, and all the evil fruit of their past life. They found, however, that it was quite an old root, and was much stunned by the recent change in their lots. They also observed that the roots of the new plants were much more vigorous and had by far the ascendancy in the soil. So they cheered their hearts and applied themselves diligently to the culture of the good plants, hoping that the “sarka” root would soon die out altogether. But, alas, it would not die; its noxious shoots even increased, and while they gave the more earnest heed to keep them down in one part of the lot they grew the more in another; and with all their watching and labor, at certain seasons these shoots would come near to bearing their deadly fruit (James 1:15). Thus they found trouble, and lived in much fear that the plague of their past life would again get the mastery. Their thrift was also much hindered, they “could not do the things that they would” because of the time required to prevent a recurrence of the wild olive fruit” (Romans 11:17).
Finally they began to inquire if there was not some more effectual way to dispose of the besetting evil than mere cultivation. Whereupon their neighbors about all said there was no deliverance to be obtained, that the lot had fallen to them thus, and thus they must live in it all their days. But as they pondered these things in their minds, a voice said unto them, “Heed not those counsels, perfect deliverance will yet come, the benevolent Father who had bestowed upon you such a good heritage has surely not decreed this evil upon it.” Then they bethought themselves to search the will of their kind and venerable Parent to see if this encumbrance was included in the original devise. Whereupon they soon found that everything that came from His hands was “very good” and that their lots were originally bequeathed free from every annoyance. Then they diligently searched the records to find, if possible, the source of the great nuisance. And, behold, thus they found it written, that the malignant root appeared in the soil as the natural conception of a grievous act of disobedience committed by their ancestors, to whom the heritage was first entrusted, and from them it has been transmitted to the lot of all their descendants (Romans 5:12, 19).
Then they greatly feared and trembled. But as they looked farther on, they found that their merciful and all-wise Father had made a second will (2 Corinthians 3:6-11; Hebrews 8:6-13), which, because of its wonderful and condescending offers of amnesty, and its out gushing of the Father’s love and good will, is called THE GLAD TIDINGS of great joy to all men. Now they plainly read in this last Will and Testament that every “root of bitterness,” yea, “every plant that my Father has not planted shall be rooted up.” Then were they glad when they saw that He, by whose good pleasure they held their lot, willed that it should be pure from every encumbrance as when first bequeathed, even as the “garden of the Lord.” Yea, so intent was the will for the purity of every lot that it contained this solemn warning, to wit, that every one who neglects or refuses to have the curse plague destroyed, by so doing forfeits all the good of his lot.
Now it remained for them to learn the way by which the pestiferous thing could be gotten rid of: they digged deeper and deeper, if possible to find the end of it, but they were only pained and humbled by new discoveries of its magnitude and offensiveness.
At last Anti Hobby, for such was the name of one of the men, when he saw how deep down he must go before the trouble could be taken out, became discouraged and gave it up. Now when Mr. Legality and Mr. Incredulity, who had all along made much sport of the endeavors of these two men, heard of this, they came at once to congratulate Mr. Anti Hobby for what they deemed his wise conclusion. They also assured him that the old stump and its pernicious roots could never be extracted and that it was all waste time to attempt it. Likewise Mr. Fight Holiness came a great ways to see him and admonish him of the great folly and dementing influence of seeking the complete deliverance. So he left the ugly old root stick and began to dig at its uprising sprouts. Now it came to pass that after Mr. Anti Hobby began to take counsel with those men, he thought more of the things of earth and less of the things that concern the soul. He had no relish for the company of his old friend, though when he chanced to meet him he talked much the same as before, but Mr. D. Faith could see that his heart was no longer in the matter. He went about his lot digging a little at this grub, then at that, hitting a lick first at one sprout, then at another; for, said he, I like a great deal of variety and do not believe in harping on one thing all the time.
But D. Faith “had another spirit with him,” his whole mind was steadfastly set for the removal of the old heart-root, the mother of all the evil in his lot, and only canker of his heavenly joy; hence he put in all his time digging at the one point, he aimed every blow at the same mark. Now it came to pass that Anti Hobby passed that way again, and seeing that the heart of D. Faith was till all united in the one thing and being emboldened because Mr. Fight Holiness was with him—these two were full brothers—he began to deride Mr. D. Faith and call him hard names, and said he was becoming crazy. Said he, “Why work at the one thing all the time? Why not dig from place to place? What will people think of you? If you knew the talk that was in the mouths of the neighbors, I am sure you would leave off your foolish hobby ways. Why, you can scarcely think or talk of anything else but the obtaining of a pure lot; away with such nonsense, I am disgusted with it, I hate to see a man ride a hobby to death.” Then said Mr. Fight Holiness, “I know I am accused of opposing holiness, but it is a mistake. I dearly love holiness, yea, I have been preaching it up these many years, but this fanaticism that teaches that God can take all the evil nature out of a man, and do it all at once, I don’t believe in. It is contrary to reason. I think we all have to fight our bad propensities as long as we live. I confess I do, and every expect to oppose these wild notions.” Then answered Mr. D. Faith, as follows, “You say, Mr. Fight Holiness, you do not believe that men can experience perfect salvation from sin in this life, and yet you confess that you will oppose the doctrine as long as you live; now it seems to me you are in small business, to oppose this experience, while you at the same time deny that it exists. Are you not then beating the air? Why trouble yourself to fight a thing you think no one can every attain? And you, my dear friend Anti Hobby, you would have me leave off seeking this definite experience, the destruction of this venomous old stump. Now I perceive of a truth, that it is the source of every noxious outgrowth in my lot and shall I spend time in cutting down the evil product, while their source remains to curse the soil with a new and increased crop? Is it not wiser to remove the cause at once? If we labor to kill out the sprouts only, we forever fail, though we may keep them from bearing fruit, but if we destroy this, their life source, they must die and disappear also. Moreover, I have more easy victory over these outcroppings since I seek this definite work, the death of their origin, than ever before; but I pray thee, consider once thine own lot, it thy way is so good, tell me why such an increase of the noxious growth since thou hast left off walking with thy best friend, Definite Faith. Alas! All the good of thy lot perisheth.” With these words their mouths were stopped, and they went their way. Anti Hobby was much convicted of the error of his way, but having joined freely in ridiculing Definite Faith, he was ashamed to follow his noble example now.
Now, when they were gone, D. Faith rejoiced in spirit and said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after” that my lot may be “free indeed” from everything that springeth not up to thy glory.
As for Mr. Anti Hobby, he hardened his heart yet more and more against Definite Faith, and daily joined with them that hated and persecuted him.
Now it came to pass that Brother Eye Single heard of the trials of D. Faith and came to see him. This good man lived in one of the high mountain cities of Israel , beyond Jordan , and it was a very bright spot on Praise Street where his house stood. But when Definite Faith saw him coming toward his house he feared to have him enter because the had heard that he was crazy and many other reports had gone out concerning him and agitated the who country round about.
Now when he came in, instead of going through the established formalities and talking about the business and news of the day, as the fashion was, he began at once to inquire how his soul prospered; but when he saw that D. Faith was somewhat shy, he waited not for an answer, but began to tell of the wonderful dealings of God with his own soul, at which the heart of D. Faith began to melt and his tears flow. Then he made his confession and said: Sir, in my heart I feared to have thee come into my house, but now I am glad that thou art come. Yea, now I know that the Lord hath sent thee and is with thee, for I feel that there is a light in thy heart, and wisdom and grace in thy words that shall greatly help me. Then he opened his heart and told him all his trouble; of the tree that appeared shortly after he became conscious of possessing his lot, of the guilt and misery that ensued from indulging its acrid fruit, and the bitter cup of repentance. But as he told of the happy day when the merciful hand of the unseen Deliverer destroyed the tree, with all its branches and fruit, his tears of joy and gratitude flowed freely, and he added, that through the favor of Him that upholdeth the weak, he had suffered not its cursed fruit, nor had but few occasion to drink again the penitential cup. He also told of the sunny days that passed ere he discovered that the old root remained still alive and that since then the joy of his new life had been mingled with the painful consciousness of another want, the extraction of the mother root of evil.
Then said Brother Single Eye, “What hast thou done to obtain this great blessing?”
D.F.—I have done everything I knew, and that was in my power, and I have wept much because I knew not what more I could do.
E.S.—Tell me, by what authority thou hast hoped for this perfect deliverance?
D.F.—The bountiful Father of us all, who has given me this lot, hath in His last Will and Testament most emphatically devised and provided this most excellent gift, which to bestow upon us He hath even sacrificed His well-beloved and only begotten Son; and being “willing yet more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath” (Hebrews 6:17). Therefore I verily believe the promise with my whole heart.
E.S.—Well said, my dear brother Definite Faith. I perceive of a truth that thou hast not thy name in vain. But I pray thee, answer me yet this question: If one will an estate to another free of all encumbrance, and aught be found upon it, who must make it good, the one who hath made the will or deed, or the one receiving the inheritance?
D.F.—The testator, and not the receiver.
E.S.—Thou has answered correctly, but tell me, why is this, that thou hast labored so long and hard thyself to dispossess the “old man,” who was wont to cover thy lot with his foul claim?
D.F.—O, my brother, I did not think of that before. Now I begin to see where I have missed the mark.
E.S.—Thou hast not only suffered in vain, all this trouble and labor to free thy hereditament, but thou has also insulted the honor and dignity of our Lord, who hath willed thee a clear lot, and sealed the Testament in His own blood, for in attempting to take His business into thine own hands, thou hast set Him at naught and distrusted His word.
D.F.—Surely, I have done foolishly, but as the Lord liveth, I knew it not, but now I repent. O, my Lord, forgive me for I did this thing ignorantly in unbelief. And now, my brother, since thou hast shown me these things, tell me, I pray thee, what may I do to obtain the great deliverance.
E.S.—Thou canst do nothing but submit the whole matter to Him who hath graciously willed it to thee, who also will do it. For though the will is very old, its business is yet far from being settled up. Therefore doth the Executor still hold His office and is ready to attend to every claim that is presented under the will.
D.F.—That is good news. Canst thou tell me the name of this great Officer, and where we can find Him?
E.S—His name is Hagion Parakletos. He delighteth greatly in His office and the power of the Almighty is with Him to execute all that is in the will. Yea, even the “exceedingly great and precious promises.” Moreover, be assured that “He is not very far from thee.”
D.F.—Blessed be thou that bringest me these good tidings. But think you He will do this thing for me now? And how shall we engage Him?
Then Brother Eye Single opened the Will and read therein these words, “Behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.” Then these, “I will yet be inquired of by thee to do this thing for thee.” “Ask and ye shall receive.”
So they drew up a petition to the great Father that He should immediately send the Hagion Parakletos (Holy Comforter) to execute His gracious Will in delivering poor Definite Faith from this grievous old heart root. Now that this petition might be received by the Father of mercies, they also added the name of His beloved Son Emanuel, and made mention therein of His blood that was shed for this very purpose.
Then began Definite Faith to look up with expectation, but instead of relief came greater distress and anguish than ever before. His soul fainted within him as he saw the dreadful tenacity of the ugly “old man” that had so long contested every inch of his lot. He trembled with horror and cried out in his agony, saying, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death. O, when will Parakletos come to my help. O, I shall die, I shall die, for the hand of the Lord is sore upon me, even the day of the vengeance of my God.” Thus the heavens and the earth shook at the presence of the Almighty. (Isaiah 63:1-4; Joel 3:16-21, 1:14-15; Malachi 3:1-3)
Then said Eye Single: Fear not, only believe, for Parakletos hath already come, and this that thou art suffering is His work of deliverance, for every sacrifice must be salted by fire, and it is a “faithful saying, if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.”
Then Definite Faith fully ceased from his own works and, with Eye Single, steadfastly looked to the Deliverer until He bowed the heavens and came down. Then Queen Quiescence stretched forth her lovely scepter and hushed the universe into silence, and there was a great calm after the storm. And when Definite Faith arose, behold, it was the Sabbath day, even the everlasting Sabbath of the Lord. Then was the old pestiferous root with all its outcropping clean gone. Then the peace of God, the wide, deep, and never ruffled river began its everlasting flow in the soul of Brother Definite Faith. His body seemed almost transparent with purity and irradiated with light, while his home seemed to be elevated millions of miles nearer the sun.
As we might suppose, the news of this wonderful change soon spread abroad and caused a great commotion in the country, insomuch that it was all the talk. And now, that the mighty Parakletos had made his permanent abode in the heart of Definite Faith, he was filled with boldness and published from house to house the wonderful works of God, so that the country was shaken for ten miles round about. Many were glad to be taught by him the more excellent way, and commenced to walk therein; and many more who would not sell out their stuff, were nevertheless provoked to amend their lot when they saw the purity and fruitfulness of his. But there were also many that jeered and mocked him as he went about his master’s work, and they of his own synagogue were much stirred up against him by Mr. Fight Holiness, who affirmed that he was gone crazy, so they cast him out; but he was the more exceedingly happy, even as his Lord hath said (Luke 6:22).
Now it came to pass, as he continued to fear and obey God only, and declare all the counsel of His word, that poor old Brother Fear-the-truth and Brother Love-my-church, who were both very conspicuous in their church, began to fear and tremble greatly, lest Brothers Eye Single and Definite Faith teach the people too much of the one way of the Lord, and thus overthrow the walls of partition.
Now as Definite Faith still loved his old friend, Anti Hobby, he thought well to go unto him once more, if possible, to prevail upon him also to inherit the blessing. But when he came to the place, behold, he had some time before moved from that street, over on “Thorn and Brier,” which “is nigh unto Cursing” Street (Hebrews 6:8). So he went to hunt him up, but who, when he saw him coming became ashamed because of the many brambles on his lot. Then he began with great hast to dig them up, and the nearer D. Faith came, the harder he worked; yea, he flung his mattock with such great violence that the ground fell all over him, so that he was covered and besmeared with the earth (John 3:31).
Poor man, when he saw the composure of Brother D. Faith and the clean, white robe he wore, he was troubled, and wished he would turn off another way, but when he still came straight toward him, he began to study by what words he could the sooner bluff him off and so get rid of him. Acting upon this thought he called out to him.
A.H.—Well, old neighbor hobby, I hear that you have found a religion that is all rest, now I have no faith in any such a lazy religion. I think we must work and strive against our sin as long as we live.
D.F.—Well, my dear brother, I too think we ought to be very active, for in this short life there is so much to be done; so many souls to be saved. But had we not better let the great Redeemer save us from all our sin, and keep us by His own power, so that we might be able to work the better for Him?
A.H.—I don’t believe that we can be free from the roots of sin; we must always strive against the evil shoots.
Then brother Definite Faith began to tell of the perfect deliverance he had recently experienced, whereupon Anti Hobby became no little exited and cried out, “All this I have experienced long ago.” To which Brother Definite Faith calmly replied, as follows: “Why, my brother, I am glad to hear this testimony of thee. But please now tell me, when was the old “sarka” root taken out of thy lot?
A.H.—Why, when the tree and its fruit was destroyed, of course the root was also destroyed, for God doeth not His work by degrees.
D.F.—I fear, my brother that thy testimony doth not agree. First, thou sayest we must contend with the corrupt inherited root and its sprouts while we live; then thou turnest right around and declarest that when the tree and its dearly fruit was destroyed, the original root was also taken clean out of thy lot—what sayest thou? And hast thou also forgotten the many times we have talked of this dreaded encumbrance, that remained after our fist happy deliverance; surely, thou rememberest well the numerous times thou didst, even with weeping, confess this evil bent in the soil of thy lot after its great outgrowth was removed. Can it be possible that all thy pains and trouble, because of this evil spring, came from imagination? How can it be, my brother that this tenacious monstrous foe was destroyed these many years ago, and yet thou hast only now found it out? And how sayest thou that the corrupt stump is gone when we see its pernicious sprouts all around? Yeas, alas! Its very fruit is manifest again on thy lot! Repent, therefore, and do thy first works.
And here he left him to ponder these things, and went on his way, being greatly blessed with the Comforter and filled with joyful assurance. So he broke out in this happy song.
O, I can no longer doubt it;
Hallelujah! I am free.
Jesus saves me, soul and body,
Parakletos dwells in me.
But with these heavenly transports in his soul, he could not forget poor Brother Anti Hobby, how well he had began the way of life, but now his hope is well-nigh perished, especially since he hath moved over on the street where Messrs. Formality, Legality, and Incredulity live. Moreover, he hath become somewhat inter-related with these families and they are all quite nearly related to Mr. I. N. Fidel, who lives a little farther down the street.
It might have been expected by some that the author should have herein written out his experience, but since I have been furnished with that of Definite Faith, I deem it unnecessary.
Grace and peace be multiplied to the reader, through the knowledge of God, and “His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Fare well.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
O, what a foretaste of glory divine.
Heir of salvation purchased of God,
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.