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16/04/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To William Tiptaft – February 3rd, 1860

My dear William Tiptaft.

I am very glad that you have felt led to render us some assistance in our time of need; I have no doubt that the friends both here and at Oakham will be much pleased to see and hear you again. Mr. Keal was here last evening, and brought over your last letter. What you say in it about despair, I can well go along with. To be abandoned to it, and that at the last, is more dreadful than tongue can express or heart can conceive; but I believe all must have some taste of it, to make them in earnest about their souls, and to flee to Christ’s blood and righteousness as that which alone can save. Presumption and despair are indeed two wide extremes, and yet they touch so closely that as Hart says of two other extremes—”There’s scarce a hair’s-breadth between.” And I suppose there is no living soul who has not been tempted with both, and that not once or twice, but many, many times in his Christian course; nor can one hardly tell which is the more distasteful to his soul, for if he hates the false joy of presumption, he also dreads the deep feelings of despair. I am sure that it is good for the soul to be exercised in the things of God, and except being carried away by the power of sin, there is no worse state for the soul than to be at carnal ease.

But how impossible it is for us to produce any right or spiritual feeling! All is a sovereign gift, even to read the Word with a believing heart or any softened feeling, or to lift up the soul even for a few moments to the Lord in real earnest desire for His presence and power to be felt, and His blood and love to be made experimentally known. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ is thought by many a very simple and easy thing, and so it is when the Lord moves by His Spirit and grace upon the heart; but to believe in spite of unbelief, infidelity, and the misgivings of a guilty conscience, is no such easy matter.

What is there to be compared with a blessed manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ, to remove all guilty fears and to enable the soul to lie down in peace? I believe that the Lord, for the most part, will make His people thoroughly weary of this life before He takes them out of it. Sickness of body, trials in providence, afflictions in the family, and above all, the wearing conflict under a body of sin and death, with a blessed view of a glorious immortality, sooner or later will make them willing to depart and be with Christ, as far better than living in this vain world.

I hope the Lord may come with you.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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