A Letter To A Brother In Christ – August 24th, 1835

August 24th, 1835

My dear Brother,

Through mercy, I continue until this moment professing the name of the Lord Jesus; but not without difficulties, and trials, and temptations, and many fears whether I shall endure unto the end. Sometimes I think it will be well with me, and I shall endure unto the end. I meet with a share of the reproach and contempt cast upon the truth, and I believe God will ever bear testimony to, and defend the doctrines which I preach. But of late many violent opposers of the blessed truths have had the hand of God put forth against them in a conspicuous manner. I heard, last week, that a minister’s wife, who heard me preach some time ago in Wilts, was extremely violent against me and the doctrines; and in three or four days after hearing me, while severely condemning me and the truth, she was actually struck dumb, and remains so to this time. “The hand of the Lord shall be known towards His servants, and His indignation towards His enemies.” It is awful to see a person so very violent against the distinguishing doctrines of grace. I feel myself altogether unworthy to have the hand of the Lord known towards me; but may I ever justify Him in maintaining His own blessed gospel.

I am more and more convinced how little I know, and how unfit I am to preach; and the work of the ministry is a greater trial to me than ever it was. It seems to me, at times, to be almost presumption to stand up in the Lord’s name, being so ignorant, knowing so little of myself, and less of God. Hardness of heart, unbelief, and a sense of various inward abominations constrain me to contend for a free-grace gospel, the difficulty of going to heaven, and inability of man in every respect. I cannot think well of Christians who have always had a smooth path. If they have never had the pot boil within so as to be sensible of the scum, they have never valued mercy and the restraining grace of God. I get shut up in such places that I can neither go backwards nor forwards, and my hope of entering heaven sinks into nothing. When in that state, I wish someone would tell me how to exercise faith, and to get a glimpse of hope from the past.

When people talk about their religion without trials, conflicts, and diverse and manifold temptations, I think it is theirs, not God’s; for He will prove the religion that He gives to a poor sinner to be genuine. Look out for humbled, broken-down, devil-harassed, and heart-plagued sinners, and make much of them. Such will be low in a low place, and the eye of the Lord will be over them, and He will dwell with such. We are sure to meet with difficulties in the way to heaven, and we may question whether we are in the way without them. If the law works a little in a poor sinner’s soul, he will not want ministers to preach any free-will in their sermons. You and I have abominations in our hearts that we are little aware of; and if we are not brought to feel and confess how bad we are, we shall never know how good God is to us.

You are sure to be tried about your chapel, if any good be done. Though health, strength, and wealth are all Christ’s, you will grudge and murmur about spending much in His cause. When your unbelief shows itself, it will condemn you for your foolishness, for having anything to do with religion beyond a mere form to please the world. But when you are in your right mind you will feel thankful that you are counted worthy to be an instrument to promote the Lord’s cause, even in the least degree.

You are not to expect great things in yourself or others without great trials, afflictions, and persecutions. You may bless God, if grace enables you, for not giving you up to your vile affections, and thereby making you a dreadful example unto others. It is a great mercy that we are out of hell. Give my best love to all who love the Lord in sincerity.

Yours most affectionately,

William Tiptaft.

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