One of my friends in Africa is a well-informed scientist and an earnest Christian believer. On the last day of February, Ryan Hill sent me this poem, entitled “Himself,” by A.B. Simpson:
Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is His Word;
Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.
Once ’twas painful trying, now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, now the uttermost;
Once ’twas ceaseless holding, now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting, now my anchor’s cast.
Once ’twas busy planning, now ’tis trustful prayer;
Once ’twas anxious caring, now He has the care;
Once ’twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking, now ’tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, now He uses me;
Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, now for Him alone.
Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.
I couldn’t remember encountering Simpson in the recent past, so I was somewhat amazed that there is so much about him readily available, with a little help from GOOGLE. For instance, Tim Melton posted a picture of Simpson and these paragraphs on 5 June 2008:
Albert Benjamin Simpson (1843-1919) the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance was a leader of the church during his day. He wrote a beautiful hymn called “Himself” that is absolutely stunning in its clear emphasis upon dependence on Christ. In the sermon that preceded this hymn, Simpson writes…
(I once thought) that the Lord would take me like the old run-down clock, wind me up, and set me going like a machine. It is not thus at all. I found it was Himself coming in instead and giving me what I needed at the moment. I wanted to have a great stock, so that I could feel rich; a great store laid up for many years, so that I would not be dependent upon Him the next day; but He never gave me such a store.
I never had more holiness or healing at one time than I needed for that hour. He said: “My child, you must come to Me for the next breath because I love you so dearly I want you to come all the time. If I gave you a great supply, you would do without Me and would not come to Me so often; now you have to come to Me every second, and lie on My breast every moment.”
Tim Melton continues: “So often we look to Christ as a means to an End. Simpson makes it clear that Christ is the Means and the End for which we seek.” He then enables his readers to click on the sermon “that preceded the writing of this hymn.”
There is so much else about Simpson on the Internet, but I thank Ryan Hill for mentioning him and his emphasis on salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This website was a big inactive during much of February, while Joan and I travelled amidst the beauties of North New Zealand with dear friends Dr Allan and Mrs Ruth Juriansz.
I was again deeply impressed by the abundant indicators of time that we saw: the fascinating, fertile soils from the Bombay Hills to the impressive volcanic outcrops that are so evident to anyone who passes through Auckland; the immense sandhills near the north end of Ninety Mile Beach; the Kauri forests buried for so many thousands of years, still being dug up to make beautiful furniture; the impressive contours of Lake Taupo, compelling evidence about one of the biggest volcanoes on earth; the limestone, its erosion, stalactites and stalagmites in the Waitomo Caves. We only visited three of hundreds of caves in the Waitomo area; the data they offer is profoundly important (see the earlier blogs on this site about the age of the earth).
However, now we’ve dealt with a tiny bit of the data about the age of the earth, let us give some attention to the theme of salvation. Several blogs under that rubric will appear on this website, during the next few weeks.
Arthur Patrick, 2 March 2012