Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 24, 1961

A Personal Letter Of General Interest

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

(Editor's note: A few weeks ago I received the following letter from the venerable W. W. Otey. Although written as a personal letter, I feel it will be of general interest to our readers, and pass it on. Brother Otey typed the letter himself; and while he did not always strike the key he thought he was striking, there can be no mistaking of his meaning. Friends who wish to write him may address their letter to 305 7th Street, Winfield, Kansas.)

Dear Brother Tant:

I have written you twice before what I thought would be my last letter; but surely this time will really be the last! As I near the end of my journey, and look back over the years, the one thing that gives me greater satisfaction, I think, than any other thing in my life is this: If I have ever preached one sermon, or written one paragraph, favoring the doing of what God wants us to do through any organization other than the church of our Lord, I have long since forgotten it. And unless I badly deceive myself in my memory, not one word of that kind has ever fallen from my lips or escaped my pen. If the church of our Lord is not a perfect institution for the doing of God's will, then God has failed in his greatest work. I know, of course, that many have neglected their duty. But that gives no man any excuse for trying to improve on God's plan.

It is only when we shall see the great city coming down from God, adorned as a bride for her husband, that we will see the church in her perfect condition. Until that day human frailties and human weaknesses will be apparent — but God's plan is as perfect now as it will be then. How I long to see that Holy City, with her wall of jasper and her streets of pure gold; her twelve gates of pearl, gates which are never shut. How I long for that river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God. And what, glory it will be to hear that hundred and forty-four thousand sing that song of Moses and of the Lamb. Oh I if only the mercy of the Lord can admit one so unworthy and whose life has been so imperfect!

I can still read my large type New Testament. By closing one eye, and by much straining I can read a little bit of news print. But I do not read the papers much, as I try to save my eyes and my strength to read the blessed word. I am troubled by the threat of atomic war, and wonder if there is any way at all to avoid it without submitting in complete surrender to Godless Russia. But my chief concern is not in that realm, but rather concerning the condition of the churches. I am sure you are better informed here than I can be. What a fearful responsibility rests upon those who guide the affairs of the congregations today! And what heavy burdens must be on the hearts of those who are trying to stem the tide of Digression. I thank God that in such a sorrowful hour you are in a position of influence: as editor of the Gospel Guardian. I feel you have the right qualities of mind and heart for this task, a truly exacting one. And I pray that God may continue to give you health, wisdom, courage, and length of days for the battle that lies ahead.

My arthritis is not so painful as it was a year or more ago. I am now in a nursing home, only two blocks from Verna's home. She comes at noon and at evening to aid with feeding me; and with the aid of a hydraulic swing she lifts me out of bed and into a wheel chair. She then wheels me out of the room and takes me "riding" for an hour or so. Were it not for her tender care I suppose I'd never get out of bed again. You may search the world over and never find another woman who has shown such love and care for a parent! More than a year ago Dr. Norris told me that he would not be surprised at any day to find me dead from a stroke or from a seizure of the heart. Every few days I can feel a severe constriction in the chest; and each time it comes I sincerely pray, "Father, if it be thy will, let this be the hour." But the call is still delayed. Surely, it cannot be much longer! It is a solemn thought that I am so near to eternity, where there can be no change, and from whence there is no return. I am now well into my 95th year, and I am very certain that "the time of my departure" is close at hand. It would seem almost presumptuous for me to use the words of Paul to Timothy concerning that good fight, but I can say that to the very best of my understanding and ability I have tried to "keep the faith."

May God bless you and give you wisdom and strength for many years to come.

C. R. Nichol

Pryde E. Hinton, Dora, Alabama On July 7, 1961, I received a telegram from sister E. A. Priddy, saying her great father, C. R. Nichol, had gone to be with Christ. I have received many letters from brother Nichol during his rather long illness. He would tell of his progress toward physical recovery. Then he would ask a question concerning the Scriptures, for me to answer in my next letter to him. He said once, not more than a year ago, that he was now learning more than he had ever learned, and he was enjoying his studies in the Book. I shall collect all his letters to me, and keep them for future reading when I get discouraged, or need the strength that comes from such a brother in Christ.

To sister Priddy I wrote:

"In the language of Elgar Guest, with 'Nick' substituted for 'Riley,'

I, who knew your great father, and loved him dearly, would say:

'There's a heap of sadness in this good old world today,

There are lumpy throats this mornin' now that 'Nick' has gone away.

There's a voice now stilled forever that in sweetness only spoke,

An' whispered words of courage with a faith that never broke.'

"I had hoped that he might recover sufficiently to come over to Alabama and preach for us again. I wrote to him that all I needed was just enough time to get a lapel 'mike' so that not one precious word of his masterful sermons might be wasted."

I think I loved C. R. Nichol most for the way he made me feel that I was his equal, though I knew well his superiority. "How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle?"