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01/09/2009 / Test All Things

Letter To A Brother In Christ – August 19th, 1839

August 19th, 1839

My dear Brother,

Through mercy, I arrived safely here on Wednesday evening, the 7th. I had, upon the whole, a favorable journey, and felt myself but little fatigued by it. I preached once on Lord’s day, the 11th. Very many came to hear; so also yesterday; and some professed to hear with much profit. It has been reported several times, far and wide, that I was dead; and also that during my absence, that I have been confined in a madhouse. Some seemed pleased to see me again; but many, who had hoped never to see such a ‘troubler of Israel’ in these parts any more, are disappointed.

We live in times which need a searching ministry; but ministers must be searched themselves, before they can search others. Searching work is trying work, for it takes away false confidence, and keeps a man from boasting of an untried faith. It makes hypocrites manifest, and separates the poor, tried, and humble souls, from the mere professors with a name to live while dead. But the work is in the Lord’s hands, and if He does not cause the ‘chill north wind’ to awaken, and the ‘warm south wind’ to blow, ministers will labor in vain. He has, however, promised that “His word shall not return to Him void, but that it shall accomplish that which He pleases, and shall prosper in the thing whereto He sends it.”

How much preparation of heart is needed to receive the word! What trials, afflictions, and sorrows are required to separate us from the world; and very seldom is it that afflictions are without profit to God’s people. How hard, carnal, and selfish does a man become who has nothing to soften him! We need daily crosses and daily trials to keep us in any way alive to eternal things, and to maintain a spirit of prayer and watchfulness.

I trust I can say that my sickness has proved profitable to me; but I am a very dull scholar in Christ’s school, and need line upon line and precept upon precept. I have to lament a heart full of wickedness, vanity, and folly; and I feel a strong inclination to avoid every cross. But I am sure, nevertheless, that crosses are daily needful. How we cleave to the world! What pride, vanity, flesh-pleasing, and worldly conformity are manifest in us, especially to those who are spiritually minded, and can discern our state.

Yours affectionately and sincerely,

William Tiptaft.

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