Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | October 23, 2014

Self-examination of FRH

From the close of her Autobiography darkness seems often to have clouded her path.  From time to time she writes:

I had hoped that a kind of table-land had been reached in my journey, where I might walk awhile in the light, without the weary succession of rock and hollow, crag and morass, stumbling and striving ; but I seem borne back into all the old difficulties of the way, with many sin-made aggravations.  I think the great root of all my trouble and alienation, is that I do not now make an unreserved surrender of myself to God ; and until this is done I shall know no peace.  I am sure of it.  I have so much to regret :  a greater dread of the opinion of the worldly friends, a loving of the world, and proportionate cooling in heavenly desire and love.  A power utterly new and unexpected was given me (singing and composition of music), and rejoicing in this I forgot the Giver, and found such delight in this that other things paled before it.  It need not have been so ; and, in better moments, I prayed that if it were indeed hindering me the gift of song might be withdrawn.  And now that through my ill health it is so, and that the pleasure of public applause when singing in the Philharmonic concerts is not again to exercise its delicious delusion, I do thank Him who heard my prayer.  But I often pray in the dark, as it were, and feel no response from above.  Is this to test me ?  Oh that I may be preserved from giving up in despair, and yielding, and I so often do, to the floodtide enemy.

I want to make the most of my life and to do the best with it, but here I feel my desires and motives need much purifying :  For, even where all would sound fair enough in words, an element of self, of lurking pride, may be detected.  Oh, that He would indeed purify me and make me white at any cost !  No one professing to be a Christian at all could possibly have had a more cloudy, fearing, doubting, sinning, and wandering heart history than mine has been through many years.

The first part of this year (1865) I was very poorly, and on the old regime of having to give up everything, Sunday school, and Saturday evening class, visiting, music, etc.  It was very trying to me, specially so because I had rather built upon being stronger, and several points of interest had arisen which made me feel the more being shut off from all.  But it was very good for me  :  I was able to feel thankful for it, and to be glad that God had taken me in hand as it were.  I do not think I would have chosen otherwise than as He ordered it for me  ; but it seems as if my spiritual life would never go without weights, and I dread needing more discipline.

Deep borings, even down into darksome depths, often precede the supply of unfailing springs of refreshing water.  Thus my dear sister knew much of doubt and gloom, so that she might be able to comfort others and reveal to them God’s deep teachings in the darkness.  Then, when she afterwards found such joy in the wells of salvation, she drew forth these teachings, refreshing other weary and thirsty ones with her words of sympathy both in poetry and prose.


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