A Letter To A Brother In Christ – May 4th, 1832
May 4th, 1832
My dear Brother,
I am going on much as usual, giving offence to many, and pleasing a few. I have many invitations to preach; but I am not much inclined to leave Abingdon for the present. I have great numbers of hearers, so that my chapel is not large enough, although it will seat 500, and many can stand in the aisles, but many cannot even enter the door, and they are nearly all poor people. I believe the Lord is with us, and will, I trust, continue to bless us. I am not a great favorite among professors and formalists, nor do I wish it, for if I yet pleased men, I, should not be the servant of Christ.
I am glad that you liked my ‘letter of resignation’ to the bishop. Some do not, but they scarcely know what to say against them. The truth is very powerful, and man cannot gainsay it. The Lord shows me more fully, that there is no more true religion than what is felt, known, and experienced in the soul. There must be the kingdom of God within; and if this work of the Spirit is not described in some measure by ministers, they cannot minister comfort to God’s tried and afflicted family. Many hold a form of sound words, but they must know more, or they will never go to glory. They must be brought to see themselves in need of a Savior, or they will never speak of the preciousness of His blood, or sing His praises. Many talk about religion; but ask them about a work of grace upon the heart, and they will immediately change the subject. There is but very, very little vital godliness, and the more you know of your spiritual darkness, the more fully will you discover the darkness of all around you.
I have laid out more money in the Lord’s cause than many are inclined to do; nevertheless, I have a very vile and covetous heart. How closely the disease cleaves to us! it is between the very joints. How little do we understand self-denial, and making sacrifices in the Lord’s cause! But what a mockery is a mere profession of a religion which costs a man nothing! He wants creature comforts and spiritual consolations, the friendship of the world and the favor of God; and, if so, we desire what we shall never enjoy together.
I liked many things in your last letter, but I fear, from what you say, religion is very flat among you.
Yours affectionately in the Lord,
P.S.—The Lord has decidedly blessed my preaching lately, I am rejoiced to say. I am not much of a favorite among the clergy. Philpot has paid me a visit this week, and heard Warburton in my chapel.