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01/05/2010 / Test All Things

A Letter To A Sister In Christ – October 28th, 1868

My dear and much esteemed Friend, Mrs. Peake

I have often admired the spirit in which Mr. ____ acted when he had to curtail his expenses. He said the question was whether he should give up two extra carriage horses, or give up his donations for various religious end benevolent objects, and he at once preferred the former course. What we are enabled to give to the Lord’s cause and the Lord’s poor sanctifies, so to speak, the whole of the rest, and no one can expect to see the hand of God in providence stretched out in his behalf who from a spirit of covetousness or self-indulgence diminishes, unless actually compelled, what he has thus consecrated to the Lord’s service. I have proved again and again, in providence, that the Lord will abundantly make up to us, any sacrifice that we may make, or any act of kindness and liberality that we may show to the members of the mystical body of Christ.

I was much pleased and struck with E.’s letter. There is so little in our days of that sweet communion with the Lord of which she speaks, that I have thought that its insertion in the Gospel Standard might be both a stirring up, as Peter speaks, of the pure minds of others, as well as a tacit reproof and rebuke to the cold and carnal state in which Christians are for the most part so deeply sunk.

The feeling of weakness, when one has so much to do which demands energy and strength, is in itself a severe trial. Only those who know how exhausting mental labor is can form an idea of the trial which there is in weakness even where there is no pain; but when pain is mingled with it, it makes the trial severe and the burden of the daily cross heavy. But I trust I am deriving some spiritual benefit from it. We need trial upon trial, and stroke upon stroke to bring our soul out of carnality and death. We slip insensibly into carnal ease; but afflictions and trials of body and mind stir us up to some degree of earnestness in prayer and supplication, give a force and reality to the things of God, show us the emptiness and vanity of earthly things, make us feel the suitability and preciousness of the Lord Jesus; and as we taste any measure of sweetness and blessedness in Him He becomes more feelingly and experimentally all our salvation and all our desire. The Lord has His own way of dealing with us. None can lay down lines for Him, and though His dealings with each seem to differ widely, and few at the time can read His purposes, for He brings the blind by a way which they knew not, yet in the end all His ways are found to be ways of mercy, truth and peace—all stamped with the impress of infinite wisdom, and tender mercy and love.

Yours very sincerely and affectionately,
J. C. P.

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