TO THE AWAKENED INHABITANTS
OF THE TOWN OF MEURS
By GERHARD TERSTEEGEN (1697 – 1769)
Your wish to make me acquainted with your names, and the desire of your hearts to belong entirely to the Lord, has occasioned me heavenly joy and delight, and has moved me to lay both your names and your intention at the feet of our dearest High Priest, that he may bless and confirm the same. O that all your names were indelibly engraved in the book of life, and that at that great day, they may be pronounced amongst those blessed names, which Jesus shall then confess, before his father, and before his holy angels!
This inestimable favor and honor, is not only earnestly desired for you by me, but is kindly intended for, and graciously offered, by Jesus himself, to the most wretched amongst you. Could we, who are deserving of the curse, behold even only through a cleft, the opened heart of Jesus, what should we not see ! what should we not feel !
As long as we lived in a state of carnal security, without God, and without Jesus, we stood on the brink of perdition’s yawning gulf, and were unconscious of it. Jesus loved us, sought us, and we knew it not. It is he that hath taken us by the hand, that hath drawn us away from that dreadful abyss, that hath directed our minds to him, and instead of the well-deserved pit of hell, hath opened unto us the unfathomable abyss of his loving heart, in order that we may fly to this safe and blessed city of refuge, from all sin and danger, and become eternally happy in him. O come my dear brethren ! Taste and see how gracious the Lord is, and how unspeakably blessed we may be in communion with him, even during the present state of existence ! Seek nowhere else alleviation for your burthened hearts. All besides is deception. You will not find it out of Christ, but only be adding to your burthen, by seeking it elsewhere.
He that abhors all his sins, has a right to believe, that he has the forgiveness of all his sins, and cleansing from them in the blood of Christ; but he that wishes to receive Christ, and yet secretly retain both the world and sin, his faith is vain. He that gives all for all, shall certainly obtain the pearl of great price; but how can a person receive anything, whose hands are already full? Do not console yourselves on unsubstantial grounds, till Jesus consoles you in his due time, lest you be injured by it.
Be willing to occupy the lowest place, till the Lord himself says, “Friend, come up hither!” (Luke 14) Only wait at Jesus’ feet, ye troubled hearts: no one waits in vain; for whilst we wait, the precious corn groweth up. We are not so happy in the world, when all things go well with us, as we are with Jesus in troublous times. Every tear, and every sigh will bring, in due time, abundant fruit. Learn to keep Lent with Jesus. Be not disquieted, dejected, or fainthearted, when sufferings, trials, and temptations arise. We ought rather, to fortify our hearts with confidence, when these things befall us, even as they happened to our great forerunner. For us, he was led by the spirit into the desert that we might not think we were alone in it. Let us put on the suffering mind of Christ ! Let us not lose courage, when the tempting serpent approaches us in angel’s guise, and says, “This or that will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” He that overcometh, he that endureth to the end, shall inherit all things.
Place no confidence whatever in your own hearts, your courage, your strength, your light, your virtues, or your faithfulness; but like myself, be as little children, who must perish, without a mother’s care. All that is our own, is worthless, and everything else is free grace, for which we must every moment wait and partake of. But we can never trust too much to our gracious Redeemer: to him, the most miserable may approach, on the footing of free grace, cordially seek his favor and friendship, pray to him without ceasing, filially depend upon him, and then boldly venture all upon him. He is faithful, and will perform that in us, and through us, which neither we nor any other mortal, would be able of himself to accomplish!
Now then, my dear brethren, if you have really given your hearts, and your sincere consent to this dearest friend of sinners, as you assure me you have; bow with humble thankfulness before him, who has commended his love to you, and who alone can establish you. If the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, my poor heart shall also rejoice over your happy lot, and cordially extend to you the hand of fraternal affection. Examine yourselves narrowly, lest any anathema be cherished in your hearts, and that they may cleave with guileless sincerity to Jesus, and become daily more complete in him. If we continue in him, we have boldness, we have fellowship one with another, we shall rejoice over each other, and shall shortly meet each other before the throne of the Lamb, with endless joy, to glorify him, who has ransomed us from the earth, with his blood. Amen. So let it be !
With this wish, I salute you, collectively and individually, before his face, and remain through grace,
Your faithful, weak, and obliged brother.