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06/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – April 7th, 1851

My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin

It was my intention (D.V.) to write to you today, even if your kind letter had not met me here on Saturday.

I feel for you in your troubles, especially in one which I know presses you sore. My dear friend, most of us have to learn Micah 7:4-5, in painful experience. It is bitter work, especially where there is soul union. I do hope the Lord will appear for you in this trying case.

Oh, how He can soften hearts, melt away bitter feelings, and subdue that demon of hell — cruel suspicion!

My dear friend, how would I get on with you, if I could not depend upon your friendship behind my back, as well as before my face?

It is because I believe you to be a man who truly fears God, and a sincere affectionate friend as well, that makes me cleave to you. We have all great faults and failings before man, as well as awful backslidings and sins before God; and I dare say my friend T. G. has his, as well as others theirs. I do hope it may please the Lord to make this crooked thing straight.

I have not been well since my return from Stoke. The cold wet weather seemed to try my chest, though, through mercy, I was preserved from cold. I would be glad to slip out of my London engagement, my chest being unfit for the exertion, heat, and mental labour and exercise which I have at Eden Street.

What a life of toil, sin, and suffering!

All we do, cannot subdue those dreadful lusts, which swarm like ants in an ant-hill on a summer’s day. I have had two desires uppermost in my mind for years; one that I might not leave my wife and children destitute, the other that I might make a good end. The one has, by my poor mother’s death, been in good measure accomplished. The other remains with the Lord. But indeed it must be all of grace, and no common grace, for I have been, and am, no common sinner. I am beset with temptations on every hand, and my vile heart will still meditate villainy.

I hope we had a pretty good day yesterday. In the afternoon I felt some little life and liberty. The day was fine, and we were well attended. As far as I can see and feel, there is much more right and real religion in the country than in London. We know some in Wilts., and there are others in Berks, and a few, I hope, in Rutland and Lincolnshire, who in my mind outweigh those whom we see in town. They have more life, and feeling, and simplicity, and tenderness about them. But I hope the Lord will bless you among them in your own soul and ministry. It is no more preach those sermons now than I could fly. I had a large congregation at St a day of very small things, really and experimentally. There is much talk and noise, much light in the head, but little life or grace in the heart; and matters seem getting worse. I had more life and feeling ten years ago at Alie Street, and I have heard you and Tiptaft say the same. I had scarcely a barren season at Zoar in 1841, and I could. Ives, but I hardly know what to make of things there. The anointing oil seems much lacking. How easy to talk, preach, pray, and hear—without the only thing which makes them a blessing. Alas! I see the nakedness of the land, when I am a poor naked thing so often myself. Like a barren woman, I complain of the barrenness of others. God alone can make the barren woman keep house, and be a joyful mother of children.

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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