A Letter To A Sister In Christ – January 30th, 1868
My dear and valued Friend, Mrs. Peake,
I feel much obliged to you for your kind feeling towards my ministry among you, and could say much upon the point, if I could do so without seeming self-exaltation. The blessing of a sound healthy ministry is little appreciated, because, like our food, its influence upon the whole system cannot be always distinctly traced. To be kept from error which is so rife and so deadly—to have the eyes, heart, and feet guided and directed to the only true Object of real faith, hope, and love—to have all that is good in us by grace nurtured, strengthened, and encouraged—and all that is evil in us, worthless and unprofitable, to be exposed to view, beaten down, cast aside, or subdued—to have weak things strengthened, feeble things confirmed, and the grace of God and what we are by grace brought out of, and disentangled from, all creature admixture—this peculiar feature of a sound wholesome ministry is only valued by a few, who know that in it is their life.
My desire and aim from the very first of my ministry, with all its weakness and shortcomings, have been and are to exalt and trace out the special grace of God as manifested in and by the Three Persons of the glorious, undivided, and indivisible Godhead. And you, dear friend, in looking at and over my testimony, whether preached or written, from the earliest days in which I stood before the church of God, will be able to see that there has been a unity in it from first to last, whether by tongue or pen. Allow me to add that our dear friend William Tiptaft used to say that my writings would be more valued when I was gone. But I am sure of this, that if there be any value in them, it is because the Lord was pleased to show me from the very first, and to impress deeply upon my mind, the grand distinction between nature and grace.
The first sermon that I ever preached was from Romans 6:23, at South Moreton Church, in Berks., and a gracious godly woman, the late wife of Mr. Doe, who happened to be present and was considered a mother in Israel, I am told, said of me after it—”That is a good man, and he will leave the Church of England.” She lived to witness the truth of her prediction, and has often heard me at Abingdon Chapel. Excuse this much about myself.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.