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07/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – July 17th, 1849

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin

I never came to London more unwillingly. I left Oakham very poorly, and weak in body and tried in mind, and called myself a thousand fools to have made the engagement. But hitherto the Lord has helped me, and I hope the poor and the needy may have reaped some little benefit from my trials and exercises. I hope the Lord was with me on Lord’s-day, and I was enabled to speak pretty plainly upon the difference between exercised and unexercised persons, whether ministers, deacons, or hearers.

I see this — that we must give up all idea of being what is called generally useful. There are very few children of God anywhere, and of these very few who are really tried and exercised, and know what they hear. There are but few who are really panting after heavenly blessings, or know the difference between the letter and the power. A ‘doctrinal’ sermon about Jesus Christ will suit them far better than a real experimental one fetched out of the furnace. However, all we can do is to deliver our conscience, and speak what we know and feel to be true, and leave it in the hands of the Lord, who has promised that His word shall not return to Him void. There may be a few poor needy souls to whom it may be blessed, and that is all our reward and comfort as regards the ministry.

I think I have not felt so strong in speaking for months, I might almost say years, as I felt on Lord’s-day. Though the place was very full, my voice seemed to ring through it like a bell. The preceding Lord’s-day it seemed like speaking through water. But I had some life and feeling on Sunday; and that, you know, makes a wonderful difference even with our natural voice. What poor creatures we are without the Lord! And with Him we seem able to thresh the mountains! It seemed to raise up a little gratitude that the Lord had so far restored my health and enabled me to speak.

I hope you have found the Lord with you at Oakham and Stamford. I hope there is a work going on at Oakham, and that we shall have more come forward to declare what God has done for their souls; but it will be sure to make Satan rage, and stir up new trials and temptations.

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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