A Letter To Mr Copcutt – January 24th, 1867
My dear Mr. Copcutt — The United States is a wonderful country, and possesses in the largest abundance every natural gift of heaven. But unless God shows great mercy in the gifts of His grace, and raises up a people in your midst to fear His great name, all your wealth and power, and all the capabilities so largely possessed of furnishing everything in the shape of wealth and abundance, may only prove sources of sin and eventual misery. Amid so widespread a profession, one would hope that God has, here and there, some whose hearts He has touched by His grace; but there is a sad lack of a preached Gospel, and of ministers who take forth the precious from the vile, and so are as God’s mouth. As the editor of the Gospel Standard, I get letters sometimes from various parts of the United States, and in almost all of them I find the same complaints of the lack of a sound experimental Gospel ministry. Gracious people also, who have emigrated, send back the same report; so that I am forced to come to a conclusion that the truth as it is in Jesus is but little held and little preached.
I have the pleasure since I have lived here of sitting under a very sound, experimental, and much-favored servant of God, Mr. Francis Covell. During, indeed, the severe weather, I have been much confined to the house, but greatly prize his ministry, as his soul is much alive in the things of God. In prayer especially he is most warm and fervent, with great sincerity and simplicity of petition, much humble confession of sin, and great earnestness in wrestling for heavenly blessings. In his preaching also, though not what is called eloquent, yet his sermons are sound in doctrine, clear and savory in experience, and strictly practical in all fruits of Christian obedience.
Your various journeys, both at home and abroad, must bring to your mind many pleasant reminiscences, as well as striking contrasts. You have seen the palms and tropical vegetation of Cuba, the pine forests of Canada, the glaciers of Switzerland, and the green fields and well-cultivated lands of Bucks, besides, no doubt, a large acquaintance with the scenery of your adopted country. The face of nature thus affords many pleasant recollections; but how man has ruined everything and every place which he has touched! What sin, misery, and wretchedness meet the eye and grieve the heart on every side! Violence, injustice, cruelty to man and beast, oppression, falsehood, selfishness, and disregard of everything but the cravings of aspiring ambition, show themselves everywhere; not to mention those grosser evils in which man seems to sink to a lower level than the beasts.
There is one feature in this country which is especially admirable—the supremacy of law. No one, from the richest peer to the most abject pauper, can set himself against the law; and as our judges are men of great ability and sterling integrity, and are upheld and supported by all the power of public opinion, their decisions are final. Law is our grand protection, without which neither property nor person would be safe; and where there is in a nation a respect for law, liberty flourishes under its shade.
Yours very sincerely,
J. C. P.