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03/02/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To Joseph Tanner – June 20th, 1861

My dear Friend, Mr. Tanner,

Once more am I in this great metropolis, being, through infinite and most undeserved mercy, spared to proclaim again salvation by grace in Gower Street pulpit. It is about twenty-five years since I first opened my mouth in London, and I have but once or twice since then failed to come up every year; but I think I never in all those years so much felt my weakness in body and soul as on the present occasion. When the train which brought me up was passing through the last tunnel, I could have wished it was taking me out of London instead of bringing me to it. But the Lord was better to me than all my fears, for I was scarcely ever brought more comfortably through. “Strength made perfect in weakness” has long been my experience, and so I found it then.

I had been suffering for more than a week with an attack much as that I had at your house, so that I could scarcely walk a hundred yards without pain and labor; yet I was enabled to stand up in the pulpit, so that few would have seen that anything ailed me. Is not this wonderful? and to whom does the praise belong but to the Lord? I never expect to be free from trial, temptation, pain, and suffering of one kind or another while in this valley of tears. It will be my mercy if these things are sanctified to my soul’s eternal good, and the benefit of the Church of God. I cannot choose my own path, nor would I wish to do so, as I am sure it would be a wrong one. I desire to be led of the Lord Himself into the way of peace, and truth, and righteousness, to walk in His fear, live to His praise, and die in the sweet experience of His love. I have many enemies, but fear none so much as myself. O may I be kept from all evil and all error, and do the things which are pleasing in God’s sight, walk in the light of His countenance, be blessed and be made a blessing. Our days are hastening away swifter than a runner; soon with us it will be time no longer, and therefore how we should desire to live to the Lord, and not to self!

My dear friend, I do not feel able to preach twice at Cirencester on July 25th, and should prefer 6:30 p.m., as I think we should have more people in the evening, and I rather prefer that time of day. The Lord’s-day at Abingdon generally much tires me, and so do my labors at Allington; then there is (D.V.) the Calne anniversary on the 30th. I shall be pleased to stay at your house (D.V.) from the Tuesday until the Friday, and renew our friendly and affectionate communion.

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

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