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13/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – August 20th, 1847

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin

I hope I may say I am, through mercy, mending somewhat under the treatment I am passing through here. The doctors give me encouragement to believe that I shall eventually recover; but they say it will be a work of time, and that I must give up all ideas of preaching for a considerable period. I think they consider me in a very critical state, and that I might soon go into a consumption if I go on preaching. They say that my lungs are not diseased, but would soon become so if irritated, and that, if not arrested now, irritation would pass on into disease. I need not say that it will be a trial to me to give up preaching for a time; and no doubt it will be a trial to the people at Oakham and Stamford also.

How mysterious are all the Lord’s dealings, and how unable are we at the time to fathom them!

I have never, I think, yet been in a trial in which I could at the time see the hand of the Lord. When seen, it has been afterwards. My enemies, no doubt, will rejoice and see judgments in it, but I hope the Lord will support me under, bless me in it, and bring me happily out of it.

I am here surrounded by the world, not a child of God to speak to. For nearly twenty years I have not seen so much of worldly people. But, through mercy, I feel at times a different spirit from them, and their presence and conversation, which I am almost obliged to listen to, is a weariness to me. I have a good bedroom fitted up as a sitting-room, and there I mostly pass my time when not walking or at meals. Sometimes I feel as carnal and as godless as any of the poor wretched creatures around me; but the Lord often favours me with a spirit of grace and supplications in my walks and on my bed, and I am often crying to Him, “Bring me near to Yourself,” “Keep me from evil,” and so on. But patients will stop and speak to me, and my mind often gets carnalized by their conversation, though it generally is upon our bodily ailments. I am not here by choice, and shall be glad to get away.

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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