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17/12/2010 / Test All Things

A Letter To John Grace – March 18th, 1863

My dear Friend, John Grace,

I believe that the truth is never really known, valued, or prized, except as we feel the desperate state into which sin has cast us, and feel something of the liberating, comforting, sanctifying power and influence of truth upon the heart. Every truth connected with the Person and work, love and blood, grace and truth, power and glory of our blessed Lord, becomes sweet and precious as it is really believed in and experimentally realized to be spirit and life. It seems as if we were sometimes obliged to hang upon the Lord’s words as a matter of life and death, as if the soul would bear its whole weight upon His words, to see and try if they are sufficient to sustain the weight; almost as a man struggling in a deep swamp, which seems as if it would engulf him, will fling himself upon a dry tussock that he may stand upon it firm.

Temptations are most trying to the soul, and I think there are few which I have not in some measure tasted of; but their effect is, when the storm has passed, to establish and endear the truth of God more to the heart. This, I suppose, is the reason why James bids us count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations, and why Peter tells us that the trial of our faith is much more precious than of gold, though it be tried with fire. As a matter of experience and observation, we find very few of the Lord’s people exempt from trials and temptations, and those who are, are generally as unsavory as the white of an egg. All must have their daily cross. You have yours and I have mine; and though we find it hard to carry, galling to the shoulder, and depressing to the spirit, yet we know what we would be without it. . . .

I quite agree with you in your comparison between Goodwin and Hart. At the same time I think that Goodwin’s “Mediator”, though it may be the deepest, is not the most unctuous of his works. I prefer some of his shorter pieces, and his “Exposition of Ephesians.” But to read him requires almost as much attention as a mathematical problem. His writings are too deep, too labored, and too prolix for the present age. I have been reading lately Huntington’s “Rule and Riddle”, and have felt it very instructive and edifying. You have perhaps heard that Mrs. L., who gave me Bensley’s edition of Huntington’s works, is dead. She was confined to her bed with paralysis for many months, but made, I understand, a good end.

It is rather more than three years ago (March 6th) since you, Mr. Tiptaft, Mr. Pickering, and Mr. Brown met in my room. You then said that most probably we would never meet all again together. How rapidly have these three years fled. On that very day poor Mr. Isbell breathed his last. We still are spared. Oh may we be blessed and made a blessing! This sums up all.

Yours affectionately in the Lord,
J. C. P.

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