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01/05/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – August 16th, 1855

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin.

I believe you will be pleased to hear that, through rich mercy, I have been brought through my labours here much better than I anticipated. I came up with many fears and faintings, but have broken down neither in body nor mind. I found more exertion needed than at Eden Street, but I think what tried me so much at Eden Street was the foul air. I had all the windows opened at Gower Street round the gallery, and therefore felt not the least bad air or closeness.

We had great congregations, and I hope I was faithful to them. I did not feel all I could wish, far from it; but I must not complain. I see and feel my great deficiency and shortcomings as a minister. I felt Tuesday evening before the Lord — “Oh, that I could preach better—with more power and savour, and be more blessed to the people!” I always seem to come so short of what I want spiritually to be. I am coming short all the day long, and sinning with every breath I draw. What a debtor to grace! What else can I preach to poor guilty sinners?

Gower Street was the first London pulpit I ever stood up in, as I preached once for Mr. Fowler, August 8, 1836, just nineteen years ago. I am much pleased with the chapel, and hardly know whether to be more grateful to the Lord for the chapel, and bringing me through, or to Him for putting it into the heart of Mr. and Mrs. Clowes to take us in. Their rooms seem to suit my health, so that I may say that, on the whole, I have not got through my London labours so well for some years. I hardly dare say much, as I may fall ill when I return home; but as far as present feelings go, I seem better than these last two or three years. I always much dread my Abingdon Lord’s day, both for body and soul. There are many gracious well-taught people there, and they come many miles, and I feel my weakness in every sense of the word.

I hope the Lord will come with you to Gower Street. What an affliction you have! But ballast we must have to sail steady. We do not like trials and troubles, but what are we without them?

Yours affectionately,
J. C. P.

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