That book I was raving about, a couple of posts ago – Gordon’s Why Johnny Can’t Preach – says plenty of excellent things, especially in the chapter on the content of the message. That includes this piece of correspondence addressed to RL Dabney by his friend CR Vaughan. Apparently Dabney was on his deathbed, and apparently concerned about whether his faith was strong enough to face the end. Vaughan wrote him with this advice. He asked him, What would a traveller do, if he came to a chasm, and wanted to know if the bridge was strong enough to let him cross?
What does he do, to breed confidence in the bridge? He looks at the bridge; he gets down and examines it. He doesn’t stand at the bridge head and turn his thoughts curiously in on his own mind to see if he has confidence in the bridge. If his examination of the bridge gives him a certain amount of confidence, and yet he wants more, how does he make his faith grow? Why, in the same way: he still continues to examine the bridge.
Now, my dear old man, let your faith take care of itself for a while, and you just think of what you are allowed to trust in. Think of the Master’s power, think of his love; think how he is interested in the soul that searches for him, and will not be comforted until he finds him. Think of what he has done, his work. That blood of his is mightier than all the sins of all the sinners that ever lived. Don’t you think it will master yours?
… May God give you grace, not to lay too much stress on your faith, but to grasp the great ground of confidence, Christ, and all his work and all his personal fitness to be a sinner’s refuge. Faith is only an eye to see him. …
Dabney was one of the greatest Reformed theologians America ever had.