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07/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – July 24th, 1849

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin

I believe on the main points of experimental truth and vital godliness we see eye to eye, and feel heart to heart, and this makes us cleave to each other in affection and esteem. I am quite sick of the generality of Calvinistic professors, and I believe we may read their charter in Ezekiel 34 — especially the ministers. But I leave them. Time and circumstances will make many things clear which now are dark and mysterious, and I wish neither their company, nor their standing, nor their spirit.

When Osbourn’s letter came out against me, these words were almost continually in my lips, “O Lord, fight my battles, and bring me off more than conqueror.” All their strife and bitterness only give me more errands to a throne of grace and stir up my soul, which is so sadly prone to rest on its lees. Osbourn’s scurrility, pride, and bitterness seem to excite general disgust.

Are these the fruits of gospel liberty, and such manifestations as few have been favoured with since the times of the apostles?

Judge such men by their fruits; and what is their religion really worth?

The blessed Lord did not speak in vain, “By their fruits you shall know them.”

Men may come in sheep’s clothing, while inwardly they are ravening wolves. “Not every one who says, Lord, Lord,” etc.

I am glad you saw Mrs. ____; she is a choice and well taught woman, and I think I never call upon her without seeing the grace of God shining forth in her; and I think I could show you some who attend the chapel at Oakham who can give as good an account of themselves as she, particularly some who have joined the church lately.

It is a consolation and encouragement to me to believe and feel that the Lord has a people at Stamford and Oakham to whom, from time to time, He blesses the word. Men may rage and storm, and try to crush me as a worm under their feet, but if the Lord blesses His word through me, what more, as a minister, can I desire?

I am well attended here. I think I never saw the chapel fuller than on Lord’s-day evening. They were standing wherever they could, in the aisles and about the doors. But it was not a good day with me either time, and I seemed to have neither life and feeling in my soul, nor a door of utterance with my lips.

I believe your remarks about the real hearers are quite true. It is not the great body of seat-holders, but the unknown in holes and corners. Our hire, like Jacob’s must be “the speckled and spotted,” – “the brown and the ring-straked;” all the snowy fleeced are Laban’s.

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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