A Letter To A Brother In Christ – April 28th, 1837

April 28th, 1837

My dear Brother,

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter, with thanks, together with its contents.

You may, perhaps, not be expecting another application for money before I visit Oakham; but I have so many opportunities of assisting in real distress, without even seeking objects of great poverty, that I soon find my purse empty. I trust that you do not suppose I spend much of my money in luxuries and ornaments, and for the gratification of the flesh; nor am I speculating in any manner. It is a great mercy when our consciences are made tender in such things. If we are enabled to dispose of any of our riches for the real benefit of the needy, we prevent the temptation of falling into the snare of spending the money on our fancies and selfish desires. Distrust and unbelief keep the purse-strings tight; but I feel satisfied, in my right mind, that a little money well bestowed to others, is better than a great deal well laid up for ourselves. But we have to steer against a tide of selfishness in our own hearts, and to climb over heaps of examples and maxims of unbelievers, if we go along in the path of liberality, which may be considered such in the light of God’s word. With respect to liberality, Paul says, “See that you abound in this grace also.” And what does the apostle mean by the word “abound”? We have such self-seeking hearts that we are slow to believe the full extent of the expression, but readily consent for ‘Mr. Worldly Prudence’ to put his construction on it.

While we are in these tabernacles of clay our souls will cleave to the dust; and “Spare yourself!” is written so deeply on our hearts that we need provoking by example and exhortation to consider those who are in adversity. “When we would do good, evil is present with us.” Nevertheless, where there is a living faith accompanied with this world’s goods, the hungry and naked, and especially the Lord’s family, will meet with something better than the mere words, “Be fed, and be clothed;” although much may be done in this way by mere natural people, and even to the condemnation of those who profess to love the Lord Christ.

Various sins will ever try us while in the body; and it is a mercy when we feel them, and groan under their weight. We are ready to excuse in others the sins we are most inclined to indulge in, in order to justify ourselves, when we can speak very severely against other sins which we think ourselves more free from. Pride and selfishness are nearly allied.

This you will consider a kind of preface to asking you to be so kind as to send me a ten pound note on Monday next. I am aware that I shall find myself very much in arrears; but it has been a long winter, and I am glad to say that I do not regret what is disposed of to the benefit of the poor and needy, for I am convinced that an empty purse with a large heart is a thousand times better than a full purse with a small heart; and may the Lord teach me ever to value the former, for it has even the greatest blessing in this life.

I shall be glad to hear how you are going on in the ways of God. Darkness and deadness are more known than the light of life. I get on much as usual, and wonder how it is at times I get on at all; for I have much evil and corruption to contend with, and my mind is frequently very much exercised and tried. O that the Lord would bless me!

I am full of fears about eternal things very frequently. I scarcely know how the scene will end, my unbelief and inward wickedness testify so much against me. May the Lord keep us. The work of the ministry is very trying. Without trials and exercises of mind we are very dead and unprofitable, yet we want to go to heaven without tribulation; but it is impossible.

Yours very affectionately,

William Tiptaft.

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