A Letter To A Friend – February 12th, 1848
I shall be very glad to have any or all of the late Mr. Gadsby’s letters which you can furnish me with. They generally contain much of the fullness and sweetness of the gospel, and in most cases are well backed with such views of and glimpses at man’s deeply and dreadfully fallen nature as prove him to have been well and experimentally acquainted with both sides of the question. It is this which gives sweetness and savour to his very scraps of notes and short letters — that he wrote them out of his heart, and that his knowledge of Christ and of himself was not notional, doctrinal, and theoretical, but spiritual and experimental. The Lord in mercy teach and lead us in a similar way; for I am very sure that no other knowledge will “Stand every storm and live at last.”
I shall be very glad to insert them in the Gospel Standard as opportunity may offer, and will give directions to have the originals carefully preserved. I am still laid aside from the ministry, and it seems at present uncertain when I shall be restored to labour in the vineyard. The winter and two successive attacks of influenza threw me back; but I trust I am gradually recovering from their effects, and slowly, very slowly, progressing onward. I laboured too hard during the last two years for my weak constitution, and did not take warning in time, continuing to preach when perhaps a little rest might (D.V.) have restored me. I was once before, about seventeen years ago, laid aside in an almost similar way, though weaker then than now, and did not recover for more than a year.
I would not have troubled you with these details about my poor clay tabernacle but for two reasons — 1. I was induced to think that my kind friends at ____ — are interested about my bodily health; and, 2. so many false reports are in circulation that I thought it might be desirable to give a true statement as far as I can of my real state.
I hope you are being made and kept sensible of your utterly lost and undone state by nature, and that you cannot possibly deliver yourself from it, but at the same time are pressing after that experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ which is eternal life. It is a great and inestimable mercy when our various trials and troubles are made a means of driving us to the Lord, as our only hope and help. Those circumstances, outward or inward, temporal or spiritual, which stir up an earnest spirit of prayer and supplication, make us cease from the creature, beat us out of all false refuges, wean us from the world, show us the vileness and deceitfulness of our hearts, lead us up to Jesus, and make Him near, dear, and precious, must in our right mind be considered blessings. It is true, troubles rarely come to us as such, or at the time appear as such; no, they usually appear as if they would utterly swallow us up. But we must judge of them by their fruits and effects.
Hezekiah saw no blessing wrapped up in the sentence of death (Isaiah 38), but he found one when it had made him turn his face to the wall. Job could not see the hand of God in his troubles and afflictions; but it was made plain after he was brought to abhor himself and repent in dust and ashes. The smiles of God in providence, and the flatteries of his friends did not do him half the good that the frowns of the Lord and the cutting speeches of his old associates did. I am very sure, if we are in the right way we shall find it a rough way, and have many trials and troubles. I am obliged by the friends at ____ still bearing me in affectionate remembrance. It is nearly seven years since I saw them face to face. My kind love to them; greet them by name.
Remember me affectionately to your wife and all that have any spiritual desire for the welfare of,
J. C. P.
J. C. P.