A Letter To Mrs Clowes – February 25th, 1867
My dear Afflicted and Widowed Friend, Mrs. Clowes — I would have written to you before this to express my deep and affectionate sympathy with you under your distressing bereavement, if I had not thought it best to wait a little until the first gush of your sorrow had found vent. When sorrow is so very recent and so pressing, there is no room in the heart to receive any word from a friend—and none but the Lord Himself can either console or support the troubled spirit. Knowing how all your affections, and almost your life, were bound up with my dear departed friend, I am sure that your grief must be very great. But I do hope that the Lord may not only impart some sweet consolation to your troubled heart, but give you also some submission and resignation to His holy will.
I would be glad if you could bear in mind how many mercies have been mingled with your bereavement. He was spared to you for many years, and was permitted to live to a good old age, possessing all his faculties both of body and mind to a remarkable degree.
Was not this a mercy for you both?
The Lord also took his earthly tabernacle gently down, and thus gradually prepared your mind for his final removal.
Was not this a mercy?
How much more deeply you would have felt it if he had been taken away suddenly!
How united also you both were, both in natural and spiritual love; and what a kind, tender, and affectionate husband you always found him to be. The recollection of this, I know, only increases your grief, for you keep thinking upon all that you have lost in him.
But is it not a great mercy that you can look back upon the years of your married life with satisfaction, and without any regretful recollection?
You were also enabled to nurse him tenderly and affectionately to the last, and do everything for him which his illness and infirmities required. Was not this a mercy, that sufficient health and strength were given you to do this?
But the mercy of mercies is that you have so good a testimony that he is gone to his eternal rest. It pleased the Lord indeed, for His own wise purposes, to keep him for many months in a low place. Poor dear man! He was so afraid of presumption, vain confidence, and hypocrisy, that he almost misjudged his own state and standing. Having been blessed in days gone by with clear manifestations of the Lord’s love to his soul, he could not rest satisfied unless they were renewed. I never doubted him, though he often doubted himself; for not only his past experience, but his life, conduct, tenderness of conscience, godly fear, true humility of mind, separation from the world, and Christian spirit, clearly manifested his possession of the grace of God. In all my long communion with him, I never received from him anything but the greatest kindness and affection. A man of more tender spirit I never knew, or one who boasted less of himself, or in any way put himself forward. I much feel his loss, and shall always think of him as long as I live with the highest esteem and affection.
I much regret that my health did not allow me to come up and see him, and to comply with your wish that I should pay the last tribute of affection to his remains. I was glad to learn that the Lord shone upon his soul before He took him hence, though, had it even not been so, I would not have been shaken in the least as to his eternal happiness.
And now, my dear friend, I do hope that you will not abandon yourself too much to your great sorrow. You cannot recall him; nor would you in your right mind wish so to do. Resignation and submission to the will of God are very desirable for you; and when you can say, “Your will be done”, it will bring you relief. May the Lord sweetly shine upon your soul, and give you a word to comfort your heart. I endeavor to pray to the Lord that He would give you resignation to His holy will, comfort your heart, and grant you faith and patience. If you could drop me a line just to let me know how you are, and especially anything about the last days of my dear departed friend, I would esteem it a favor.
Please present my kindest regards to Mr. Lavell; I feel for him as well as for you. He has lost, indeed, a most kind and affectionate father.
My dear wife unites with me in kind love and sympathy.
Yours most affectionately,
J. C. P.