A Letter To A Brother In Christ – September 3rd, 1868

Dear Friend in the Truth,

I expressed in my last letter my inability to accept the kind invitation of the church to come among you, so as to have the opportunity of conversing with you upon your present trying circumstances. Indeed, there is scarcely any position more trying to a church than when it loses a beloved pastor, who under God has for many years been the honored instrument of feeding, guiding, and ruling it in the fear of the Lord. Such a loss, humanly speaking, is irreparable; for whatever gifts and graces his successor may possess, he can never be to a church what their own beloved pastor was. And it seems to me that in this day there is a peculiar dearth of men qualified for the pastoral office. They have neither the gift nor the grace to qualify them for that most important office. Even as Supplies, there is a great deficiency in the needful gifts and graces.

I wish that I could name any man as one whom it is likely you could receive as qualified to go in and out before you. Meanwhile you cannot do better than wait upon the Lord under a sense of felt weakness, that He would supply all your need out of the fullness which is in Christ Jesus. The great thing is to hang together in a spirit of love and union, and walk as far as you are enabled in the footsteps which your late lamented pastor for so many years laid before you. Some among you will probably get weary of meeting together in weakness, and be crying out to get the pulpit supplied rather than have no preaching. If indeed you can get a gracious, humble, spiritually-minded, faithful, and experimental servant of God to speak to you as occasion serves, it would be a great blessing, and would, I doubt not, be highly prized by those among you who love to hear the Gospel preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. But merely to desire preaching for preaching’s sake, and to want the pulpit supplied because they cannot bear to see it empty, and think God has no other way of feeding his people when they meet together, is a great mistake, and often leads to very painful consequences. Strife and a party spirit come into the church and congregation. They are not united in one mind and in one judgment; they do not stand fast in one spirit, striving together for the faith of the Gospel, but have men’s persons in admiration because of advantage; and this breeds strife and confusion, with every evil work. I have seen this again and again, and have observed how churches have in this way lost all their former spirituality and love to the Lord, His truth, cause, and people, and sunk down into carnality and death.

I hope therefore, dear friends, that you will cleave to each other in love, waiting upon the Lord in prayer and supplication, that he would send you a man after his own heart to feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Yours affectionately in the truth,
J. C. P.

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