A Letter To Joseph Parry – May 18th, 1867
My dear Friend, Joseph Parry,
As regards myself, you have been rightly informed, for I have had an attack of my old illness, from which I am but slowly recovering. Mr. Gadsby expressed a great wish for me to marry his daughter at Gower Street Chapel; and as I had known her from an infant, I did not like to refuse. I took however the precaution of having a brougham to take and bring me back, hoping I would in that way escape cold. But it was a remarkably cold day, the wind being in the east, and when I went into the vestry there was no fire there, and I seemed struck with a sudden chill. There was a large congregation to witness the ceremony, and I must say that I was much helped in conducting the service, and the whole was carried on in a very proper and becoming manner. I took the opportunity of showing at some length that marriage was a divine institution; and in giving an address to the newly-married pair, I took the opportunity of showing what were the mutual duties of husband and wife, addressing myself as much to the married in the congregation as to the bride and bridegroom. My wife and elder daughter were with me; we lunched with a friend, and came home directly afterwards. Unhappily however, I took cold, and it has been rather a severe attack, so that I have been obliged to defer my visit to Gower Street for two or three Lord’s days, and indeed have had great fears whether I would not be obliged to give up all my engagements for the summer, and yours among them. But I am, through mercy, slowly recovering, and hope that it may please the Lord so far to restore me, that I may not wholly disappoint the friends.
How on every side we see the strides which death is making. In March, 1860, I was very ill, and as I was slowly recovering, a letter came one morning announcing the decease of our friend Isbell. About the middle of the same day our dear friend William Tiptaft, who was supplying for me, came to see me. He had not been long seated, before in came Mr. Grace of Brighton, bringing with him his friend Mr. Pickering. While we were conversing together on the best things, Mr. Brown of Godmanchester, who was then staying in Stamford, also came in. Mr. Grace was struck with the circumstance, and said in a very solemn manner—”We four ministers will never meet again together in one room. Let us, before we part, read and pray together.” This was of course done. William Tiptaft read, and Mr. Grace prayed. It was a solemn season with us all, and when we parted it was, I believe, in love and affection. Now since that date William Tiptaft, Mr. Grace, and Mr. Pickering have entered into their rest, and I heard yesterday, from good authority, that Mr. Brown is not expected to live. What a voice these dispensations have, and how they all say — “you also be ready!” How they call upon us to be as men whose loins are girt and lamps burning, and to be waiting for the Lord’s coming. My desire is to have every stroke of affliction sanctified and blessed, and to hear the voice of God speaking in every dispensation, especially those which are trying and afflictive.
I hope that the Lord may bless Mr. Hazlerigg’s visit, both publicly and privately, and that much of the presence and power of the Lord may attend his testimony. You will give him my love, and my prayers and desires for the blessing of God upon his visit.
We unite in love and sympathy with your family circle.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.