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An Instructive Letter
Key Thought: For His indwelling, beloved, you must know that the temple of each heart must be pure, as He desired the Temple at Jerusalem to be ere He could remain therein. When He saw the ungodly buyers and sellers trafficking in the sacred place He cast them out, saying: "My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." And this is an example for us; Jesus the King will come into the temple of your hearts; are they holy temples, houses of prayer, or are they through manifold sins and pleasures of the world converted into dens in which perhaps Satan has built his throne?
Hermannsburg, December 4, 1844.
Dearly Beloved Brethren And Sisters In The Lord: You have heard, and I am convinced with heartfelt sympathy and thanks to God, that I am in the ministerial service, and for your love and sympathy I thank you with my whole heart., and ask you to remember me as you always have done—in your prayers.
You also are assured that I bear you upon my heart, and always remember you in my prayers that God will, through the Lord Jesus, strengthen you with His Holy Spirit. In His strength, which makes the weak strong, you will be enabled to fight the battle of Faith against Satan and his fiery darts of temptation, against the world and its allurements, against all defilements of the flesh and spirit. And this I do the more in this Advent and Christmas time, in which the Saviour is welcomed anew in your hearts and homes.
For His indwelling, beloved, you must know that the temple of each heart must be pure, as He desired the Temple at Jerusalem to be ere He could remain therein. When He saw the ungodly buyers and sellers trafficking in the sacred place He cast them out, saying: "My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." And this is an example for us; Jesus the King will come into the temple of your hearts; are they holy temples, houses of prayer, or are they through manifold sins and pleasures of the world converted into dens in which perhaps Satan has built his throne? Oh, beloved, the blessed Son of God, whom you have loved, recognizes the pure in heart., for He is pure; therefore let each confess his sins to God, and examine himself by the test of the holy commandments, comparing his course of life with them, that he may, by the help of the Holy Spirit, perceive his sins.
Let us not rest satisfied, but pray earnestly to God that he will scourge our hearts; and though the flesh be wounded, let there be driven from us the ungodly, worldly thoughts and aims, the open and concealed sins, crucifying the old nature which wars against the soul.
Let us pray humbly to Him that under this discipline He will not turn His face from us, nor withdraw His Holy Spirit, His love, His mercy; for He has said for our encouragement and comfort, Turn ye to me so will I to you, and those who will come to me I will in no wise cast out. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee."
Lay hold then upon His strength and call upon His holy name, and renew your earnest resolve. Lord, my Saviour, teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God, Thy good Spirit accompanies me upon my way. I will remain with Thee, Lord Jesus; will no more live to myself, but to Thee, and by Thee will I die; so that, living or dying, I shall be Thine. Take from my heart all sin, that I may not offend Thee by word or deed, and burden the world with my guilt.
Oh, beloved, so pray I for you, and so plead with you with all the solicitude of my heart, that you grieve not your Saviour. Do not forfeit your eternal happiness by estimating lightly the power of the blood which was shed for you. Let not your Christianity be merely in words, but give evidence of it in deeds; in all your walk in life. Let Jesus dwell in your hearts; Jesus, who can have no companionship with Belial, but is zealous, and will not suffer sin in His people, therefore often uses severe punishments that none may be lost.
Follow the example of the disciples at Jerusalem; they spread their garments in His path and bestrewed the way with branches of palms. So lay down your sins, the robes of your self-righteousness, the loved sins of your heart; extol not your virtues and piety, lay down your palms in the dust, throw all at the feet of Jesus, humble yourselves with true repentance. Look to Him who became a child for you, and bled upon the cross; take this Jesus as the propitiation for all your sins, take from Him anew heart, that you may say with joy: “Praises to God that the old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. I thank Thee that Thou hast had mercy upon me."
These, beloved brothers and sisters, are the Advent and Christmas blessings which I, in this new year of the church, wish you in heartfelt love, that I implore for you in earliest prayer. Oh, then, beloved, as chosen of God, have compassion, love, friendship, courage, mercy, patience; sanctify your hearts and minds in the peace of God, which is higher than all rationalism, and when I come again to you I will have no cause to weep, but my heart will rejoice. Strive after the kingdom of heaven, and you will then have chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from you. Yes, Jesus, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.
And, oh, for this Saviour's sake, take not anger, nor hatred into the new-year; as you hope to be forgiven for your sins, so forgive one another that your prayers may not be unavailing. May the Triune God grant it. Amen.
Lately I went to Hanover for my ordination, and God watched over my outgoing and incoming. While there I thought much of you, and prayed for you.
On the second Sunday in Advent I will here—God willing—preach my entrance sermon, as I will on the first Advent Sunday become assistant pastor of this congregation. I tell you this knowing you wish to hear it from me.
And now I commend you to the true God, and to His grace, by which you will be strengthened and established through His Holy Spirit. In hearty love I greet you.