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28/01/2013 / Test All Things

A Letter To Thomas Godwin – November 27th, 1846

My dear friend, Thomas Godwin

I am glad you did not stand upon ceremony with me, and wait until I answered your first letter. I seem slower at writing letters than ever. Unless the heart indites a good matter the tongue is not the pen of a ready writer; and my heart just now seems to be inditing (“boiling or bubbling up,” margin Psalm 45:1) anything and everything but a good matter.

Everything vile and abominable I feel at work within me, and the more I sigh and cry the less help do I seem to find –

“How long
Deliverance shall I seek,
And find my foes so very strong,
Myself so very weak?”

It much casts me down and burdens me to feel so much of the power of temptation and so little strength against it. But I must bear my own burdens and carry my own perplexing trials. You well know how powerless is an arm of flesh to relieve and deliver.

Whatever I may suffer, this must still be my feeling; “Have you not procured this to yourself?”

I read part of Jeremiah 2 at Oakham chapel on Tuesday evening; what a picture is there of my heart, lips, and life!

I have been obliged to decline going to Zoar again. I have felt at times as I like to feel in that pulpit, and as I have not often felt except at Allington, sometimes at home, and more than once at Pewsey. My dear friend, you know the feeling I mean — not what is called liberty, that is, a flow of words, but a solemn, sweet, spiritual feeling, better experienced than described.

As editors of the Gospel Standard, we have erred often and shall, doubtless, err again.

But are not our motives in the main sincere, and for the glory of God and the good of the Church?

I am sure it has caused me little else but anxiety and labour; and I would gladly lay down my office tomorrow, if any one whom I could depend upon would take it off my hands.

I have had many bullets shot at me, my dear friend, but am alive to this day, and can tell you earnestly that I am more afraid of myself, my lusts and passions, and strong and horrible corruptions than of anybody in the whole world. Self is and ever will be our greatest enemy; and all our enemies would be weak as water against us, were we not such vile wretches in ourselves.

You were exercised about your preaching when you were here the Lord’s-day; but I believe it was blessed to the people. Our own feelings are not always to be the best judges whether the Lord has blessed the word or not.

Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.

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