A Letter To A Brother In Christ – April 15th, 1836
April 15th, 1836
My dear Brother,
Whatever charge they may bring against me, they cannot say that I am guilty of heaping up riches, while God’s children are in such painful and trying straits.
I find myself too ignorant and sinful a creature to be a preacher of the gospel; and I wonder that God blesses me in any way. I would like to be more holy and heavenly-minded, and to enjoy more of the Lord’s presence and love; but instead, I have to feel the bitter evils of my heart, and to question what right I have to make a profession of religion in any way whatever. I learn that there is no real hope, but in God’s mercy. I am sure that I deserve hell. I have sinned; I am unclean; I am vile. I need the Lord’s helping hand, and His delivering goodness. I feel no union with those who are not exercised with the evil workings of their hearts, and feel their helpless state. The Lord’s people must and shall know that their strength is in God. I want to know more of the fullness of the gospel, and of the riches of God’s grace realized in my soul, so that I might speak more clearly of what the Lord has done for me. I do not like to be obliged to take so low a ground, and to find so many oppositions within to everything that is good. I do not much expect to be quiet and at ease here long. Real religion will surely be opposed and appear very scarce, so that we shall be disappointed if we expect to see much in ourselves, or in others. It is only a “pledge” that the most gracious will ever have in this time-state; and whatever sweet and blessed testimonies any one may have, there will surely be ballast.
I hope the Lord will graciously appear and manifest Himself in your prayer-meetings, so that you may be encouraged to go on; for you will feel so dead, backward, and careless that you will need either a ‘stripe’ or a ‘smile’ to keep you moving. But remember, “he who believes shall not make haste.”
All is vanity here below and vexation of spirit; everything earthly is full of dissatisfaction; but we have a nature that cleaves to the dust; our hearts especially cleave to ‘fine gold dust’, because it is the representative of all things; and we have hearts like those whose “idols are silver and gold.” We like to be laden with ‘thick clay’ rather than be freed from such a burden; and at times we feel it no favor to have opportunities of doing good, even to the Lord’s children. We cannot trust God. We are very much like those who have no religion. I wish that the Lord would make me esteem all things but rubbish and dross compared to the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. It is one thing to preach, another to practice.
Grace must make us to differ, for we have the same evil hearts as the rest of the world. What a mercy it is to be enabled to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am!”
Yours very affectionately,