A Letter To Mrs Peake – October 24th, 1864
My dear Friend, Mrs. Peake,
I was beginning to feel very desirous, I may say anxious, to learn how matters were proceeding with you at Oakham, when your kind and affectionate letter came to hand to relieve my anxiety. I read it with very great interest, and I hope some feeling, not only on account of the expression of your affection towards, and continued interest in, my unworthy self, but as giving me some account of what I wished so much to hear—what was doing as regards the settlement of a minister and pastor among you. . . . May the Lord guide His servant to do that which shall be most for His people’s good and His own glory; and I hope that my dear friends at Oakham and in the neighbourhood will unite their supplications that the Lord would make His will clearly known; for without that no real blessing could be expected.
It is as much for the interest and comfort of the church and congregation that it should be the manifest will of God to bring Mr. Knill among you, as it can be for his. His coming might seem at first to settle matters quietly and comfortably; it would remove the trouble and anxiety about procuring acceptable Supplies; and all for a time might seem to go on prosperously. But unless the blessing of God rested upon his settlement among you, storms would arise in the apparently settled sky, and there would spring up difficulties and perplexities of a most trying nature. But if it were the manifest will of God that he should be settled over you, then whatever difficulties might arise, the power and presence of God and His blessing, would overrule and overcome all. There is no use therefore trying to settle such an important matter in a hasty, I might add, fleshly way, nor to tempt him as it were to decide such a point, by offering worldly advantages.
I always foresaw that if it pleased the Lord to remove me, it would open a door for much perplexity how to get my place supplied. Not that I wish to attach any value or importance to my labors among you, but as knowing the extreme difficulty in procuring acceptable Supplies. It was with the greatest difficulty that I could get my pulpit supplied when I went out. All these things have been present to my mind for years—in fact, ever since I have been strongly pressed to go to London. I have always felt that I would stay with you as long as health and strength were granted, and nothing but most painful and trying necessity would have compelled me to leave you. I feel therefore deeply anxious that Mr. Knill should be settled over you by the will of God, and that His blessing might rest upon every step which has been taken in His fear to promote it.
I shall not soon forget my last days among you; for surely I was helped both in body and soul to speak to you in the name of the Lord at my parting farewell. I have just finished revising the sermon which I preached from Phil. 1:5, 6, and I seem to think that it will be acceptable to the friends when it comes out in print, as I felt some sweetness and savour in revising it. I would much like to have my three farewell sermons put together in a little cover, when the third has been published in The Gospel Pulpit, that they may be a little memorial of my ministry among you, and may show both to friends and enemies what it has been. I would prefix a little preface, if thought desirable; and Mr. Ford probably would be willing to strike off some extra copies. I certainly had no wish that they should be written down, but I now seem pleased that they have been; and may the Lord condescend to bless them abundantly. I would not have named this subject, had you not been the person through whom it was brought about. . . .
At this critical time, all who love the Lord and His truth, and feel knitted to the cause of God at Oakham, should join heart and hand, to tide as it were the ship over the present waves; you dear friend, and others who can pray in secret, and the male members who have the additional privilege of praying in public. My poor prayers are put up for you all, that the Lord would bless you, and appear for you in this trying hour. I much liked the quotation you made from some good man about the uniting power of prayer. Oh that we might know much more of it!
I am getting tolerably settled in my new abode. I have much coveted the special presence and power of God upon my soul, as a testimony of His approbation; but though I have been favoured with a spirit of grace and supplications, and at times some nearness of access to the throne, I have not realized, as I could wish, the coveted blessing. I have been reading with much pleasure, and I hope some profit, Huntington’s Posthumous Letters. The more I read them, the more I seem to see the fullness and blessedness, and the varied experience of God’s living truth, as set forth in them. Indeed, they are most choice and profitable reading. I would like you, dear friends, to read sometimes in them during the winter. They are short and sweet; you can take them up and lay them down without their requiring any stretch of thought, or continuous reading. I am so much occupied myself in writing, that I have not much time to read authors. What therefore I read, I like to be of the best; and I find no writings suit me better than those of the immortal Coalheaver.
At present I have seen none of the friends, except Mr. Covell, who is very attentive and friendly.
Our united love to yourself and your dear sister, our dear friends at Wharfland and the Terrace. My love to all the dear friends. I shall not soon forget our last church meeting. Greet them all by name, and indeed all who love the Lord.
Yours very affectionately in Him,
J. C. P.