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09/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – February 23rd , 1849

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin

It is a mercy amid all one’s coldness, deadness, and hardness sometimes to feel a little revival, and to be blessed in speaking of the Lord’s people. It encourages us to go on in spite of all opposition within and without. I think more of the value and blessedness of the preached gospel than I once did. It often stirs up prayer, shows where we have been wandering, revives the soul, points to Jesus and His precious blood, and encourages us to believe that where sin did and does abound, there grace does much more abound. And, I believe, where the preached gospel is little valued, it arises from deadness and carnality.

It is, I believe, a great mercy when the heart of the preacher is enlarged and his mouth opened to set forth the truth as it is in Jesus, and the ear and heart of the people enlarged and opened to receive and feel it. It will detect many snares, make the soul cry at times, “Search me, O Lord, and try me,” and give now and then a little strength to fight against besetting sins and temptations, as well as lead the poor soul at times to the fountain once opened for all sin and uncleanness.

I once thought I really would get better before I died; more holy and pure, and strong and spiritual. But I find that these things are only at times and seasons, as the Lord is pleased to work in the soul to will and to do of His good pleasure; and that left to ourselves we are, and ever shall be, sinners of the deepest and blackest dye.

But religion and experience, and all that regards the work of grace in the soul will ever be a mystery; and we not only can know only just as much as we are divinely taught, but seem only then to know it when under the feelings and influences. I can recollect having seen and felt such and such things, and may, perhaps, be able to describe them; but how different this is from being under their power and influence. Then they seem to be really known, and only really then. . .

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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