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31/08/2009 / Test All Things

Letter To A Friend – December 13th, 1845

December 13, 1845

My dear Friend,

I like to receive letters, but I do not like writing the answers. However, we shall find through life one thing must be set over against another; there is no separating the bitters and sweets, the joys and the sorrows, and the sweetest pleasures and severest pains. All things are to work together for good for those called by grace, and surely trials, afflictions and chastisements will be experienced by the child of God, as well as the Love, Mercy and Goodness of God—all proceeding from the Loving-kindness of a merciful God. In our right minds, what could we wish to be altered in outward things? All things are right, well-ordered, and the language is, “God knows best!”

“May Your will be done” is a hard lesson to learn, and far beyond what flesh and blood can attain unto. Tribulation must work patience, and when God blesses us with that, we can hear the rod, and know who has appointed it. What have we to fear but sin, and in that we have very much to fear; although we may be blessed to have the sting taken away through a blessed deliverance, nevertheless that enemy never dies, and it has made all true Christians groan, and surely it will us. But what a mercy it is to groan on account of it—instead of committing it with delight and greediness!

I feel the power of it, and feel grateful to God that it does not reign with that power it sometimes threatens to do. And it is a great mercy that we are not left to contend with so powerful an enemy in our own strength. I desire to bless God for ‘restraining grace’ as well as ‘saving grace’, and I am sure that none are well kept, except those whom the Lord keeps. How much sin we are conscious of, and how much we are ignorant of! Who is a God like unto our God, who pardons iniquity and delights in mercy?

At times Christ is precious to my soul, and I can bless God for His great mercies to such a worm as I am; and at times I feel as if grace could not possibly be in my heart, and all comfort, joy and peace are gone. I seem to have no heart to read the Bible, no heart to pray, much less to preach. Nevertheless, through mercy I continue to this day, and to the Lord be all the praise! Necessity compels us to contend for the renewings and revivings of God’s Spirit, and makes us to know that all our springs are in God, and from Him all fruit comes.

It is an exercise to the mind to know what preaching invitations to accept, and what to refuse. It is well when we are not left to confer much with flesh and blood. To go where the Lord would have us go, and where He will condescend to bless His word through such worms, is the best. Last week I preached at Yately, Hartley Row and Wallingford. The friends in Wilts were asking whether you would come down there. . . I shall be glad to hear that poor P. is in a smoother path—though smooth paths are dangerous.

Yours affectionately,

William Tiptaft.

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