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01/05/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To John Grace – November 19th, 1855

My dear Friend, Mr. Grace,

I received quite safely both your kind letter and the book. I have not had much time as yet to read the latter, but like what I have seen of it. It is wrong to use such a term, but it has almost amused me from its pithy quaintness and dry expressions. It much resembles a book you are probably unacquainted with, a great favourite with Dr. Johnson, Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy.” The short Latin quotations were then the style of the age, as Latin was then as generally understood as French now. But apart from this there are many useful hints on experimental subjects.

I have lately adopted the plan of making a few short comments in a familiar manner as I read the chapter, and find it puts a life and interest in that part of the service of God. Our hearers are many of them exceedingly ignorant and need a little instruction, and things stumble them which a word of explanation might remove. A poor woman whom I knew was troubled that Peter should have had wicked Judas for his son (John 13:2), and a man, how there could be calling without repentance (Rom. 11:29). Two words would have removed these stumbling blocks. Many a poor child of God has gotten a real blessing from a verse in the chapter or a line from the hymn, when all the sermon was an empty sound. What we need is the blessing of God, and if that is not sought or wanted, preaching is but a worthless noise.

Yours affectionately,
J. C. P.

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