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01/05/2011 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – September 27th, 1854

My dear Friend, Mr. Godwin

I desire to sympathize with you in all your trials and sorrows, which the Lord has laid upon you so very heavy and severe. But I see in them marks of a kind and gracious Father’s love to make you more useful to the Church of God, and establish you more in the truth and blessedness of the Gospel.

Whatever men may think or say about you, they cannot say that yours is the illegitimate child’s portion, and that you have all that the carnal heart can wish for—you are plagued all the day long and chastened every morning.

But what a mercy that you are not left either to hardness of heart or to rebellion under your afflictions, but are favoured with a spirit of grace and supplications, and prove from time to time that the Lord is a God who hears and answers prayer!

I hope it may please the Lord when this affliction has worked out its destined end and brought forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness, to remove it in some measure. I say “in some measure,” for I never expect poor Mrs. Godwin will have much health in this life. It will be a daily cross for you both until her poor frail tabernacle is laid in the grave to wait the sound of the great trumpet on the resurrection morn, and then she will have a new and glorified body, fit companion for an immortal soul, and each as full of glory as they can hold. But she had better be tried in mind and afflicted in body, and have grace in her heart, than be mistress of Woburn Abbey and be called “Your Grace.”

I am going (D.V.) to Leicester, Friday next, for Lord’s-day and the Tuesday after.

I am much as usual in health. I did not come home very well, but feel a little stronger since I returned. Few places suit me better than my own home.

I am afraid our friends at ______ are in a good deal of trouble and confusion. I hardly know what advice to give them. When churches get wrong it is like family troubles, which people out of the family are very sorry for, but cannot interfere in. We can only give them kind and scriptural advice, and there we must leave it. I dread church troubles, as there never is an end to them, and they break up all peace, confidence, and union. We are, through mercy, pretty comfortable at present at both places.

I hear the old warrior was well heard at Leicester. The place was very fully attended, and many came a long way.

My dear friend, we have all our trials and sorrows.

The great question is, what they are doing for our immortal souls?

That is the main thing after all, for they must come one day to an end.

Yours affectionately,
J. C. P.

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