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17/12/2010 / Test All Things

A Letter To David Beattie – October 16th, 1863

Dear David Beattie,

I sincerely wish that I could, with the blessing of God, write you anything that might afford relief to your troubled mind, but I feel how helpless I am in this matter.

Your case, as you describe it, is truly pitiable; but it is what many have passed through before you, who afterwards had reason to bless God for the fiery trial. We have all by nature a great deal of vain confidence and self-righteousness, which have to be burnt up in all who truly fear God; and the Lord often sees it necessary to show His people terrible things in righteousness, that they may learn experimentally somewhat of the depth of the Fall, and the need of being saved by the free sovereign grace of God. Besides which, the Lord has to make His people see and feel the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they may truly loathe it, and themselves for it.

Now when the soul is under these painful exercises, it cannot tell what the Lord is about, nor how the scene will end. Sometimes it hopes and sometimes it fears, but its fears are usually much greater than its hopes; and so it goes on, often it may be sinking lower and lower until the Lord appears. You will find in this month’s Gospel Standard, and in the forthcoming number, an account of exercises even greater than your own, in the first piece, called “A Mirror of Mercy”, so that you have no need to despair. And you will find in “Grace Abounding”, by Bunyan, an account of his deep troubles and almost despair.

If I could give you any advice, it would be to continue as far as you can reading the Word, and above all plying the throne of grace with earnest prayers and entreaties that the Lord would pity your case, have mercy upon you, and reveal to you a sense of His pardoning love. The great thing is not to give way to despair, nor give up what little hope you may have that the Lord will in due time appear for the deliverance of your soul. The blessed Lord is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25). And the same gracious Lord has said—”Him that comes to Me, I will in never cast out” (John 6:37). You will find it good to plead with the Lord His own promises, such as the one I have just quoted, and that also—”Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). The blessed Lord came to seek and to save that which is lost (Luke 19:10); and thus there is hope for every poor sensible sinner who feels himself in a lost condition.

That the Lord may soon graciously appear for your deliverance is the desire of,
Yours very sincerely,
J. C. P.

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