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26/12/2010 / Test All Things

A Letter To Mr Tips, December 9th, 1861

My dear friend, Mr. Tips,

I am truly sorry to hear from your kind and affectionate letter that you have been and still are sick. The Lord, my dear friend, has seen good to take this way of afflicting you, and to lay upon you His chastising rod. It must have been a very great trial both for yourself and your dear wife; but I am truly glad to find that the affliction is working in you the peaceful fruits of righteousness. Good King Hezekiah was laid upon a sick bed, and, as it appeared, a bed of death. But he cried unto the Lord; the Lord heard his prayer and, by giving him a blessed manifestation of pardoning love, cast all his sins behind his back, and thus healed his soul as well as his body. This made the good old king say—”O Lord! by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit—so will you recover me, and make me to live” (Isa. 38:16). Illness is often made use of by the Lord as a furnace in which He tries the faith of His children. Job could say when he was tried—”I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). And I hope that my dear friend will find it so. The refiner of gold does not keep the metal in the furnace longer than is absolutely necessary. He knows exactly when the dross is separated, and when it is time to remove the pure metal out of the fire. So, I trust, the Lord will deal with you.

You will find it good to be much engaged in prayer and supplication at a throne of grace; to read, study, and meditate over God’s holy Word; and to examine His gracious dealings with your soul. It is a great blessing to be spiritually-minded, for that indeed is life and peace. When a Christian man is taken aside from his worldly business, and has to spend much of his time in the quiet solitude of a sick room, it separates him in heart and spirit, as well as in body, from the world. He meditates on the solemn realities of eternity—the salvation of his soul is felt to be his chief concern; and if the Lord is graciously pleased to draw him near unto Himself, and to commune with him from off the mercy-seat, he has a sacred pleasure which none can know but those who have experienced it. He sees and feels how time is passing away, how soon he must stand before the bar of his righteous Judge; and this makes him feel that nothing is worthy of a moment’s comparison with being saved in the Lord Jesus Christ with an everlasting salvation. It is in these seasons that we learn lessons which we have never learned before, or at least not so deeply or effectually. It is a good thing to see and feel how short we come of being what we should be, and how little we really know of the grace and glory, love and blood, beauty and blessedness, suitability and preciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. “He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes unto the Father but by Him” (John 14:6). “He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). But we cannot believe in Him to the saving of our soul, nor receive Him into our heart and affections, unless the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and reveals them unto us. We should therefore be ever praying to the Lord to send forth His Holy Spirit into our hearts, that He may reveal Christ in us, intercede in and for us, and enable us to cry, “Abba, Father”.

Your affectionate Friend in the Gospel,
J. C. P.

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