Monday, August 10, 2009

Experience of B.F. Biggs

ENGLEMAN, TEXAS, August 3, 1887.

Robert A. Biggs: My Son: By your request I now attempt to write to you of my hope in Christ. I was born June 20, 1818, in Tennessee. My father, Asa Biggs emigrated from N. C. before I was born; he was a Baptist preacher, and was in the division on the Mission question. Just before I was grown, there was a consid­erable revival of religion among the Methodists, and I went up to be prayed for, like others. A good many-made profession~ and so did I. From then on I tried to live strictly moral, so long as I was under that influence ~ but when I got away from there I was just what I was before. Shortly after this I married, and moved to Mississippi, where there was a revival among the Missionaries. A neighbor professed religion, and I thought he was a good man, and that if he could get religion I could too. So at it I went by trying to pray and reading the Scriptures; but I did not go up to be prayed for as others did; but as soon as the meeting was over, and the excitement ceased, I was just as I was before. Soon after this I moved back to Tennessee; and then in February 1841, to Texas. Here I heard Elder Daniel Parker preach; also Elder William Brittain. Here, in April, 1843, while plowing in my field by myself, some­thing got hold of me, or in me, that caused me to mourn and shed tears; and when I got to the fence, I laid my arm on the corner of it and said, “Lord, have mercy upon me.” I then thought, if I can’t quit crying, I will plow to the other end of my row, and go off to the woods, but when I got to the other end, the first thing I knew, I was in the corner of the fence, crying for mercy upon me a sinner. I got up, went to the house, wiped my eyes as best I could, as I did not want my wife to suspect any thing, went through the house to the other door, and on the steps my knees gave way, and I fell on the ground and cried, “Lord, save, or I perish. Have mercy on me, a poor, helpless sinner.” My wife came to me, asking what was the matter. I told her I thought I was going to die. She ran to a near neigh­bor’s; he came; I asked him to pray for me, for I thought I should soon die; and he prayed for me. After awhile his wife came; then the news went all over the neigh­borhood. My father and mother came to see me, and I asked him to pray for me; he did so. I was still lying on the ground; and laid there from ten in the morning till about two o’clock in the afternoon when by help, I got in the house, and lay down on the bed. I got up about sunset, walked off about a quarter of a mile, sat down under a large tree, and mourned over my condition, as a poor sinner, condemned to die without God or hope in the world. By morning I was able to go to work, and did so.

And now, my son, to make a long story short, I will just say, I was in great trouble, going and coming, for eleven months. About that time I was taken sick with measles. I had made many vows and promises; had tried to pray; but it all seemed to avail nothing. I was going bowed down in sorrow and distress, and could not see how God could be just, and the justifier of such a poor, condemned sinner as I was. I had read the Scriptures a. great deal, and had read where the Savior was born in a manger. So I concluded in my distress to go to the stable, just as I was getting up out of the measles and just as I reached the place my troubles, sorrow, and grief all left me, and I was praising God with all my heart. Then I thought I could see how God could be just, and the justifier of such a poor sinner as I was, through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The next day I saw my father coming to see me. I thought I could tell him all about it, but I could not. I thought I would tell my wife, but could not. The next Saturday I went to preaching, not thinking of joining the church; they offered an opportunity for members; I got up, walked out about fifty yards, when this scripture came into my mind: “He that is ashamed of me and my words, of him will I be ashamed.” I then thought I was not ashamed; so I went back in the house; the invitation was still extended; I went, and told them a portion of this; was received into their fellowship; baptism was deferred a month.

My son, I saw more trouble in that month, seemingly, than in the eleven before. I thought I was deceived, and had deceived the church. But when the time came, I was willing to follow in the footsteps of my Savior. There were six baptized the same day I was, I think, and your mother was one of them. Then we enjoyed religion. Soon after this my wife died, leaving me with three children to mourn. Four months later your mother and I were married. About these times we had good meetings, and refreshings from the presence of the Lord; but this was followed by a difficulty in the church. Then came trouble, such as envy, hatred, evil speaking; and finally, dissolution; all for the want of strict discipline in the church. Jesus says to his disciples, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother transgress against thee, rebuke him; if be repent, for­give him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith;” Luke xvii, 3--5.

Now, my son, and the household of faith, I think, from the above, that a brother is required to turn and repent; then you shall forgive. To turn means to change your course, and go in another direction. Repentance is a godly sorrow for sin. The apostle James has told us, “Keep yourselves unspotted from the world.” This may be done by keeping the commands of Jesus. Peter says to follow his footsteps. Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Jesus says, “If a man love me, he will keep my words.” Eternal life is the gift of God to us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation is by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost. Then, the Holy Spirit quickens sinners into spiritual life; and when he commences a good work in them, he will com­plete it.

Now, what shall I render unto the Lord for I all his benefits unto me, but the fruit of my lips, in an orderly conversation? May God bless you, my son, together with the household of faith, is the prayer of your old father.

B.F. Biggs.

From The Primitive Monitor--October 1887