A Letter To Mrs Pinnell – February 17th, 1860
My dear Friend, Mrs. Pinnell.
I was very sorry to hear through a letter, received today from Mr. Tiptaft, that my dear friend Mr. Pinnell did not improve in health so much as his friends could desire; but I was very much pleased to hear through the same channel that he is very happy in his mind, and bore his illness with much submission and patience, and was otherwise favoured in his soul.
It must be a great trial to you to see him brought down so low, but at the same time a great consolation to find him in so happy a state. The long illness of poor dear John must have long weighed heavily upon his spirit, and the suddenness of his death, though not unexpected, must have been a very great shock. I do hope it may please the blessed Lord to spare him a little longer for your sake, and that of his family. Otherwise, there is not much here to live for, as each year would add more and more to his cares and anxieties. Should it please the Lord to take him to Himself it will be to you an irreparable loss; but hitherto you have seen His kind hand stretched forth in every time of need, and He has promised that as our day is, so our strength shall be.
Now that this winter has been so severe, and his dear father is laid on a bed of sickness, you will see the wisdom and mercy why poor dear John was removed at the time that he was. You have quite enough on your hands with Mr. Pinnell’s illness, and how greatly would poor John’s continuance have added to your anxiety and care. Had there been any hope of his life being spared it would have been different; but that being hopeless, his removal was only a question of time, and the sweet assurance that you have of his safety softened the blow and mingled mercy with it.
No real blessing is obtained but through trials and afflictions, not that they in themselves can do us any good; for, if not sanctified by the blessed Spirit, they only cause murmuring and fretfulness. Nor can we choose our own afflictions, and what are chosen for us seem to be the very last that we should have selected had the choice been left to us.
Few things can be more trying to an affectionate wife than to witness the illness of a beloved husband; and we know that when the master of the house, especially where there is business, is laid aside, there is little else but disorder and confusion. You say very justly that mothers are hardly fit to manage sons and daughters, especially when grown up. They rarely have the authority which a father naturally possesses, and their attempt to exercise it, instead of producing quiet submission, often rouses angry feeling. But even here, as in everything else, the Lord is all sufficient, and can give to weak mothers a strength and authority which they do not naturally possess. Every family should strive for the benefit of each other and the whole, for union is strength, and few sights are more unseemly than to see division where there should be nothing but love and union.
It is now many years since I first knew you both. Many trials have we seen since that day. You have had many family cares, and Mr. Pinnell has had his cares and anxieties in business, besides family afflictions common to you both, and, no doubt, at times painful spiritual trials and temptations. How good the Lord is to support the mind under the weight of trials and afflictions, and while He gives enough to make us sail steadily over the sea of life, yet He never lays upon us more than we can bear. By these trials and afflictions He stirs up a spirit of prayer in the heart, gives us to cease from all human help and hope, and teaches us to look wholly and solely to the Lord of life and glory for salvation and all. Here, I can truly say, I hang all my hope, and the more I feel the weight of affliction and trials the more I feel to hang upon the blessed Lord as upon a nail fixed in a sure place. We are so apt, when things go well with us in nature, to forget the Lord, and live to self. In order, therefore, to bring us near to Himself, He lays His chastening hand upon us, and by these means brings us out of self to rest more in Him. I am still an invalid, nor do I seem at present to gather up my strength. The severe weather has been much against me, as it keeps up the irritation in the chest; and until that is removed I cannot hope to make much progress. It is a mercy, however, that I am able to attend to my necessary writing, though I am laid aside for the present from the work of the ministry.
Please to give my sympathizing and Christian love to Mr. Pinnell, and my sincere desire that he may experience more and more of the blessing which makes rich. My love to Mrs. R. and all your family.
Accept the same from
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.