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06/02/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To Mr Tyrrell – November 21st, 1860

My dear Mr. Tyrrell.

I am obliged to you for your kind letter, and your liberal offer to take twenty copies of a sermon from Isaiah 17:10, 11, if I could bring it out in a similar way to Winter before Harvest. My time is so much occupied with The Gospel Standard, and a little work which I hope soon to bring out upon The Eternal Sonship of our Blessed Lord, that I almost fear whether I would be able to comply with your request. But as my sermons are frequently taken down here by a very excellent reporter, and published once a month, I may, with God’s blessing, be perhaps enabled to preach again from the same text at my chapel here, when it could be taken down. But though I may take the text, I am utterly powerless to preach from it, except so far as the Lord is pleased to give me thoughts and words, and to communicate a divine influence to my heart and mouth. Before I preached from that text in London, I had spoken from it last year at Oakham; and I was particularly favoured on that occasion, so that I think I spoke from it with more power and enlargement of heart and mouth than I did this year at Gower Street.

It is surprising, as all experimental ministers know, what a difference there is between the same man at different times; how sometimes he is so shut up that he has scarcely a thought in his heart, or a word on his tongue; and at others, has his soul filled with a sweet influence, which communicates a flow of spiritual ideas and suitable expressions, even to his own amazement. When I was in London I was very weak and poorly, and had, if I remember right, on that Lord’s day a severe cold and cough. But the Lord was better to me than all my fears, and brought me through the day, and especially the evening, far beyond my expectation.

I do not usually care to have my sermons taken down, but there were two which I preached at Gower Street this year under a peculiar influence, one on the evening of Lord’s day July 15th, from Acts 20:24, and the other on the last Tuesday evening, July 17th. Perhaps the congregation did not feel them as I did; but they were the two sermons that I would much liked to have had taken down, for I was very much favoured in delivering them. What I said on those two occasions has quite passed from my mind, nor can I now recall them; but I would have been glad to leave them as my living and dying testimony to God’s truth.

It seems to me that we live in a very awful day, when the shadows of evening are being fast stretched out, and the sun has well-near gone down upon the prophets. This awful error of denying the true and essential Sonship of our blessed Lord has taken a deep root in the minds of many doctrinal ministers and churches, and I fear has penetrated more into experimental churches than is generally thought to be the case. How then can we expect that the Lord should bless those who deny His only begotten Son? But no doubt there is a purpose to be accomplished in all this. It will make a wider and more decided separation between the letter ministers, and those who know the truth by sweet experience; and as the latter are enabled more clearly and more experimentally to hold up the blessed Son of God as the object of the church’s faith and hope, those who know and love His name will cleave with more affection to the men of truth, and be separated more widely from the men of error. All this brings down great hostility upon the head of those who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints—and I have had a large measure of it; but what is this compared with the testimony of a good conscience, and the conviction that one is labouring in the cause of God and truth?

I was pleased to hear the account that you gave of the good old woman who was blessed in reading Winter before Harvest. I have had many sweet testimonies of the Lord’s having blessed that little work, both to the quickening of those dead in sin, and to the comfort and consolation of some in bondage and distress, through the guilt of sin and the power of temptation. Letter-men and presumptuous professors may fight against living experience, the reason being, for the most part, that it condemns them; but it will have a voice in the consciences of God’s people; for it often meets their case, opens up mysteries which have often tried their minds, and casts a clear light upon the path in which the Lord is leading them.

May our desire be to know more of divine things by divine teaching; to see and feel more of our own weakness and helplessness; to have a stronger faith in the blessed Lord; and to have clearer and sweeter manifestations of His love, and blood, and grace. This will produce a separating influence from the world, will give more strength to fight against sin and Satan, and will eventually bring the soul off more than conqueror, through Him who has loved it with an everlasting love.

Yours in the best bonds,
J. C. P.

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