A Letter To J.C. Philpot – July 12th, 1864
July 12, 1864
My dear Philpot,
You will be glad to hear that my soul has been greatly blessed. It was a blessing similar to the one I enjoyed at Oakham, last October 15th. “Thus far my God has led me on, and made His truth and mercy known.”
The friends were anxious that my soul should be blessed in my new house. Friend H. had been praying that my soul might be blessed on Lord’s day, at chapel. Although a conveyance was sent twice for me, I was not well enough to go. About tea-time on the 10th, my soul began to enjoy the Lord’s loving-kindness and goodness. I shed very many tears, and could realize my saving interest in the covenant of grace, so that I was not afraid to die. I did not want to be robbed. Friends came to see me, and were witnesses of my blessed frame of soul. I valued the blessing and do still. Anyone afflicted as I am will surely be grateful; and if their mouths were not filled with praises, they would be condemned for ingratitude. I would not barter away my spiritual blessing for riches and honors.
I read the March ‘Gospel Standard’, where the blessing is recorded of the first baptism at Abingdon. My soul was blessed at Oakham, May 22nd, in the evening; but I had a greater sense of God’s loving-kindness and of His pardoning love this last time. I am near the Cemetery. What a very great mercy to be made fit for the great change! May the Lord cause me to pray earnestly that my last days may be my best.
What a difference there is in having a knowledge of gospel mysteries, and having the soul blessed with heart-felt experience of the various portions of Scripture setting forth the liberty of the gospel, and also sweet enjoyment of hymns exalting the riches of God’s grace in saving vile sinners. We cannot value too highly, a grain of humbling grace. Such a religion must be bought; no cross—no crown. It is through much tribulation that we are to go to glory. Then what can we say in favor of a smooth path, or of such ministers who please their hearers by encouraging those who have only a knowledge of gospel mysteries, and a little morality? Real saints, who fear God, find that they have many trials and crosses, and that they need them. How few ministers in London preach the Spirit’s work! How little there is of that preaching that goes from heart to heart! Those who want to be searched and tried would be a very small proportion to those who want smooth things and peace. It is a very narrow way to heaven, and none can be rightly in the path except by God’s grace; nor can they keep there, except by grace. What debtors we are to grace!
“Come, You fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Your grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.”
It is thirty-two years this month since I first preached in the large, dark city of London. Many have died in Christ, with a blessed experience of divine things; but how very many have died who have not had a religion of the right sort! Many great professors in town, before they die, may be brought low enough to say that it is a mercy to be well laid in the grave. God has been a kind and good God to me, in various ways, for more than sixty-one years. I wish to acknowledge His goodness to me.
“Mercies of providence and grace
Flow from Your bounteous hand;
These claim incessant songs of praise,
And fervent love demand.”
How little gratitude for such great blessings in upholding, keeping and preserving us to the present moment! If we know that it is a mercy to be out of hell, we have no room for boasting. What a precious Saviour Christ is to those who really need Him!
May the Lord bless your own soul in preaching, and others will be blessed also.
Yours very affectionately,