Under the Sovereign Eye of a Merciful God.
The following letter to Rev. John C. Lowrie was penned upon the occasion of the death of his brother, the Rev. Walter M. Lowrie, who had gone to Shanghai, China, as a member of the committee for the translation of the Bible. As he was returning to Ningpo, the Chinese junk on which he had taken passage was attacked by pirates, and the young and gifted missionary was thrown overboard and drowned, on August 19, 1847, about twelve miles southeast of Chapoo, in the Hangchow Bay.
From the Rev. J. L. Wilson, of the Gaboon Mission, Africa.
Mount Clio, January 13th, 1848.
REV. JOHN C. LOWRIE—
MY DEAR BROTHER:—The papers brought us yesterday the astounding intelligence of the death of your dear brother. If it is the slightest alleviation of the grief that you must all feel, be assured of our most cordial sympathies, and I have no doubt but thousands of other Christian hearts feel equally as much.
Your honored father must have been almost overwhelmed by this event. And yet, why should he? It was under the sovereign eye of a most merciful God that this deed of violence was perpetuated; and as inexplicable as it may be to us, I have no conviction more firmly made on my mind, than that this very event will be overruled, so as to subserve the cause of missions and the salvation of the heathen more effectually even than the life of your brother.
My own aged father, who could more easily enter into the feelings of your father than most persons, could scarcely compose himself to sleep last night after hearing the painful intelligence read; and if such were his feelings, what must have beenthose of your own family? God grant you all grace to recognize his hand in this event, and to exercise the most cheerful resignation of his holy will!
Accept of my sincere sympathies, and believe me, as ever,
Your affectionate brother in Christ,
Words to Live By:
Truly our lives are in His hands. Every breath we take is by the grace of God. How can we not praise Him for His mercy and grace? But so very much more, because in love He sent His only Son to die for an elect people, how then can we not strive to live each and every day for His greater glory? To give our very lives in His service is no sacrifice, but only a fitting tribute of thanks.