Taken from The Gospel Standard, November 2005
Frittenden, January 23rd, 1923
My dear Friend,
As my letter touched a chord in your heart, so has yours in mine. It brought to mind the Lord’s former kindness when also upon a bed of affliction, and in meditating thereupon whilst taking a quiet country walk, my heart was a little softened and my eyes a little moistened. In fact, two or three times yesterday this was the case with me, also a little renewing today, and in my mind I wrote you a few lines which I seek now to commit to paper.
A few years since, the Lord put me to bed with these words:
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
I was very comfortable in my mind, but as the affliction increased, so did my consolations decrease, until I found myself in a very rebellious frame of mind, and I so replied against God that I was afraid of Him and of His Word, so that I could neither pray to Him or read His Word. This was my miserable condition for about five days, when I asked my wife to bring me Mr. Philpot’s Life and Letters. I thought possibly I could read this, though afraid to read the Word. In reading, the Lord most mercifully broke up my prison cell, brought me to repentance, self-abhorrence, and godly sorrow for my sins; and so completely did He favour me that I could see nothing, feel nothing, but love and blood. I drew the bedclothes over my head and wept, and wept, and wept. My wife entering the room, inquired how I was. I replied, as best I could, “All right inside and out.” She had wisdom immediately to withdraw, and I wanted no other company but that of my most adorable, most precious, most lovely Redeemer. You know the sweetness of these visits, and it defies all my efforts to express by tongue or pen a thousandth part of His worth, or to give expression fully to one’s feelings at such a time.
We love a touch, but O, these overwhelming visits of our God are more than touches. In speaking of a touch, I remember visiting a dear old saint and finding him in dire poverty. I said in my ignorance, “This wants a lot of putting straight, doesn’t it, old friend?” The dear old man turned his face to me with a sweet smile, and said, “One touch does it.” What a reproof entered into my heart, what a fool I saw and felt myself to be; my unbelief had a set back. One touch does it. Yes, you and I have proved one touch, bringing us to submission, has made the crooked things straight and the rough places plain. We get our touches now and again by the way, but those overwhelming visits are very few and very far between; at least I find it so.
Your affectionately in the truth,
This would be Frederick Kirby, pastor at Staplehurst from 1903 to 1934.