Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Final Testimony

I am reproducing two pieces of correspondance that Grant wrote shortly before the Lord took him Home. They stand as shining examples of how the grace of God is able to shine through an earthen vessel, revealing His glory.

Grant's email from Saturday Oct.30th

Dear All,How y'all doin'? I hope you're all in good health with a suitable measure of strength to go along with it.

But I can hear you all saying, "We're OK, but we really want to know how you are!"

Well alright, but I must first tell you how I am, and later tell you how I feel. They really are two different things. First unless the pain gets to be real predominant, I have through God's grace been able to keep my mind about as intact as ever (we all know it's somewhat deficient anyways!) I still know who I am and my purposes in this life, both primary and secondary. To know the one true and living God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and to enjoy Him forever, is the chief purpose all men are responsible for from birth to the day of Divine Judgment, when all men will face that dreadful scene. I accept that duty and enjoy its sublime privilege; I rejoice with you who likewise recognize the duty and correspondingly have ordered your lives in keeping with it. I on the other hand weep for those of you who through fear and ignorance and unbelief cast sins back in God's face as if somehow our faults were really His, or who ignore Him completely saying He doesn't exist and who sin as if He'll never know nor care.

God has not given us exhaustive knowledge about anything, any more than men have been able to attain to infinite knowledge about any of their endeavors; the best men can do is to find out a thing which then brings up a whole new round of questions, almost an infinite number of them. But God has indeed given men enough knowledge to know our duties and the attendant blessings on those who obey what He has revealed, the curses upon the disobedient. He has verified His word by giving it to faithful witnesses, prophets, priests, kings, apostles, elders, teachers, and to the One who fills all these offices perfectly, Who is called the faithful Witness, our Lord Jesus Christ. This knowledge, suppose it had been given to petty criminals who live down your street. Or to some tyrant emperor of Rome or Saddam. If it was the most pure knowledge in the world, would it have ever been transmitted so you could know it? Never! God being faithful by nature, has always made Himself known through faithful witnesses. It is up to men to figure out who tells the truth and to thereafter listen up.

So since the realizing of these things and that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," I have endeavored to follow that way as most faithfully as I could. Not at all without the shame of my own sins, I say, but faithfully. So from the matters that pertain to true and false worship in the 2nd Commandment, to the 3rd Command and its relation to personal and social covenanting, to the keeping of the Christian Sabbath of the 4th, the relations of superiors, inferiors, and equals to each other of the 5th, and the ramifications of all the other ones, besides the everlasting Gospel of our Lord which makes all the above even possible, these things all being understood as faithful men and churches of the past and present teach.

Knowing that my religious practices have greatly affected our ordinary everyday life has no doubt made some of you to withdraw to more comfortable territory, but please do not be offended at me; I hold what I believe not from wild-eyed fanaticism, or because some other person or institution holds my conscience bound, but freely, from well reasoned thought and would not be afraid to defend myself or to answer any question.

Now the reason I write this stuff is because it seldom or never otherwise gets told. I'll tell you how I feel. For the last two years as both my broth Danny and I have both noticed, I have been really slowing down (we work together),not because of willfulness or laziness or old age, and now I think I know why. About 25 years ago I had what I would consider a minimal exposure to an occupational hazard of airborne asbestos, as a machine brake material. Recently I wrote telling you of extreme pain coming from the pleura sac of the left lung. The biopsy proves mesothelioma, a class of cancer that spreads by taking over one kind of tissue at a time, so after it destroys the pleura it would move over to the lung or the diaphragm or both; it is caused by asbestos and a couple of other kinds of silica I've never heard of. The sharp rock fibers of the asbestos migrate, through gravity and natural use of the lung as it breathes, from the lung to the pleura.

Patients with this type of condition do not usually last very long. Treatments range from the extreme to almost useless but the results are mostly the same. The most promising results for other cancers at an extended stage has been the use of chemotherapy along with hefty use of the glyconutrient complex Ambrotose.I

n any case the 6th Commandment calls on men to save their life, as opposed to giving up and throwing it away. So during my time in the Royal Alexandra Hospital I learned the tremendous God-given benefits of that derivative of the Oriental Poppy, morphine, and how to use it so that the rest of me will at least function. Pain drives one crazy! Appointments with an Oncologist (cancer Dr) will be made this week. The future is unknown, shaded in darkness.

Oh yes! I learned something from old Samuel Rutherford, a great albeit forgotten minister of the 17th Cent. "Be not ashamed of your guiltiness;necessity must not blush to beg. It standeth you hard to want Christ, and therefore, that which idle on-waiting cannot do, misnurtured crying and knocking will do."

Crying out to Christ, my hope and comfort, for the restoration of soul and body,
Grant Soles

This was penned by Grant while we [note that "we" refers to his dear wife, Cathie--CG] were in Southern California in order to attend a Cancer Clinic. Grant loved studying Church History.

Nov. 14, 2004

I had Cathie read a letter of Samuel Rutherford's to James Hamilton dated July 7, 1637. I was reiterating afterward to her what I had heard, saying that in the affliction of Rutherford having been removed by the Stuart government then 180 miles from his congregation, forbidden to preach,to a place where there were none that Rutherford could in conscience go and hear, and if I recall forbidden from such an act, anyway by authority of the King. Rutherford had finally stopped blaming Providence and began giving thanks in his affliction. He had begun to see Christ's smiling face toward him, behind the darkness of his trouble, the Lord chastens every son that He receives.

I can't help but think of my trouble; pain makes it ever present. It is admittedly very difficult to even blurt out thanksgiving or praise; at times it seems as if all is darkness. Yet at other times focusing on these are easier, more welcome. Things make better sense, the words and actions of brethren are seen as the smiles of Christ.

It's all very humbling. We know from Christ's word that the most insignificant act done for even the most insignificant brother or sister is like having been done unto Christ Himself. We know our own shame and unfaithfulness, our corruption, our own running and hiding from Him, our excusing ourselves. Our brethren don't know but an infidesimile fraction of it. But here they smile on us by their love and encouragement. That's humbling, for so much favour, yet, how much more when Christ, who knows us infinitely better than we do, smiles on us.

What blessing! What glory! For all of heaven smiles with Christ.

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