God Speaks to the Soul
And God said to the soul:
I desired you before the world began.
I desire you now, As you desire me.
And where the desires of two come together
There love is perfected.
—Mechthild of Magdeburg, 1210-1282 from The Catholic Encyclopedia
1 John 5:9-13 The Message
If we take human testimony at face value, how much more should we be reassured when God gives testimony as he does here, testifying concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God inwardly confirms God’s testimony. Whoever refuses to believe in effect calls God a liar, refusing to believe God’s own testimony regarding his Son.
This is the testimony in essence: God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.
My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion.
Again it came, “Only believe.”
“Lord Jesus,” said I, “I will, I do believe; I now venture my whole salvation upon thee as God! I put my guilty soul into thy hands, thy blood is sufficient! I cast my soul upon thee for time and eternity.” Then did he appear to my salvation. In that moment my fetters were broken; my bands were loosed; and my soul set at liberty. The love of God was shed abroad in my heart and I rejoiced with joy unspeakable. Now, if I had possessed ten thousand souls I could have ventured them all with my Jesus. I would have given them all to him! I felt a thousand precious promises all my own; more than a thousand scriptures to confirm my evidence—such as, “He that believeth shall be saved: shall not perish; is not condemned; hath everlasting life; is passed from death unto life; shall never die; there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” etc, etc. I could now call Jesus Lord, by the Holy Ghost, and the Father, my Father. My sins were gone, my soul was happy; and I longed to depart and be with Jesus. I was truly a new creature, and seemed to be in a new world! I could do nothing but love and praise my God; and could not refrain continually repeating, Thou art my Father! O God, thou art my God! while tears of joy ran down my cheeks.
—Hester Ann Rogers, 1756-1791, The Experience of Hester Ann Rogers