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05/04/2010 / Test All Things

A Letter To A Brother In Christ – April 21st, 1869

My dear Friend in the Lord, Mrs. Peake

The tidings contained in your letter of the removal of Mrs. Prentice from this valley of tears were somewhat sudden, but not altogether unexpected, for your last kind communication prepared me to anticipate such a change. It would indeed be a blessed exchange for her, for her sufferings during the last few years have been great and complicated; and perhaps she was not constitutionally able to bear suffering as some can who are similarly afflicted. I consider her, viewing what God did for her soul and the circumstances under which it was done, as one of the most remarkable instances of the power of God that have come under my personal observation. My memory is not what I may call a verbal one, which I have often regretted; that is, I cannot distinctly remember the exact words of a conversation related to me; but if I could do so, the relation which she gave me of the dealings of God with her soul would indeed be very marked and memorable. I have always considered her deliverance as the greatest that I ever heard with my own ears, and for clearness and power very little short of what was given to Hart and Huntington. But it was something to this effect — she was in very deep distress of soul, and went into a dark closet where she threw herself flat upon her face. All of a sudden, the dark closet was lighted up as if with a heavenly glory; she looked up astonished at the sight, and it seemed to her as if she saw God the Father sitting upon His eternal throne, and He spoke to her these or similar words — “You cannot be saved by the works of the law. Outside of my dear Son, I am a consuming fire; but for His sake I have forgiven you all your sins, past, present, and to come, and you shall be with Me forever; live to My glory.” This is the substance, and I think very near the exact words. I need not tell you what a wonderful revolution they wrought in her soul; but what seemed to make almost the deepest impression was the words, “Live to My glory”, for there she found the great difficulty, and her inability except by special grace. But it made, and kept, her conscience tender, and was ever set before her as the guiding rule of her life.

I think it was after this that she got so dreadfully entangled in legal bondage through sitting under a legal ministry, that she almost lost sight of this great deliverance. I believe it was about this time that my sermons first fell into her hands, and one of them, I think it was Winter before Harvest, was the means of bringing her out of this legal bondage. I have heard her say that the first time she read it, it seemed to her as if a light from heaven shone upon one special page, and from that was reflected into her heart. So blessed was this sermon to her soul, and so fond was she of it, that she carried it in her bosom until it was quite worn out. I have seen it, and tattered it was. She had no idea that the writer was alive, but thought he had been dead many years ago, and to use her expression, was with Abraham. Through her master’s son, who I believe heard me in London, she learned that the writer was still alive, and that there were more sermons to be had by him. Some of these she somehow procured, and finding they were preached at Eden Street sent me a letter directed there, which somehow reached me.

I cannot go through the remarkable steps in providence whereby she came first to Stamford, and then under my roof; but Mrs. W. knew all the circumstances and could tell you, and very probably remembers much of her experience which I have forgotten. Like most others she had her defects and failings, and these often obscured the work of grace; but taking her as a gracious character, I consider that there are few among you who were so well and deeply taught in the things of God, or who knew so much of the power and reality of the thing she professed. I had much union of spirit with her, and believe I can say I never heard her drop a word on the things of God which was not commended to my conscience. As regards spiritual things we never had a jar, and she always treated me with great respect and affection. But you know, as well as most, that generally there are trying circumstances when master and servant both profess, and we hope possess, the truth and fear of God. I have heard her say however, that she found it profitable to her soul to be under my roof, and though I dare hardly add it, that my example was good for her soul.

I enclose a letter of Mr. Parry’s, which you will hardly understand, from not knowing the people of whom he speaks. I am utterly unworthy, and ever was, of such a favor and such a distinction; but I would lie if I did not believe that God had wrought by me, and at one period very specially. This is the time of which Mr. Parry speaks, when I first went to Allington. There was a power put forth at that time inferior, I admit, but almost similar to that shown at Oakham when William Tiptaft first preached there, and the effects of that power are visible to this day, though nearly thirty-four years ago.

Yours very affectionately in the truth,
J. C. P.

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