A Letter To A Friend – April 5th, 1859
My dear Friend,
I was glad to receive a few lines from you, and to find that your poor body was so far strengthened as to be enabled to use your pen. When I saw you at R.’s so brought down in body, I hardly expected that the Lord would raise you up to your present state of health. But He kills and makes alive both body and soul, and can and does at His sovereign good pleasure both pull down and raise up.
You have known much of these dealings of the Lord, both with your afflicted body and your exercised soul; and I dare say have found that there is a blessing in both, and that each of them is a part of the Lord’s sovereign work, and that the one is quite as needful as the other; indeed, that they are both so connected that they cannot be put asunder.
I am sure that every soul which knows and fears the Lord must be sensible how it wanders and departs from Him when He does not put forth His power and His grace to hold it up and hold it in. And I dare say that my dear friend finds that illness and weakness are not only very hard for the flesh to bear, but that they give rise to many peevish, murmuring, and fretful feelings, all which very much tend to darken the mind, confuse the judgment, bring guilt upon the conscience, open a door for Satan’s accusations, and cause the Lord to hide His face.
When the Lord puts a soul into the furnace it is to take away the dross and tin. But how can these be taken away unless they are first discovered and brought to light, and thus separated from the gold? It is very perplexing to the mind of a child of God to find so much of the old man at work under trial and temptations. On a sick bed he would gladly be spiritual, prayerful, and heavenly-minded, especially when he feels how soon life with him may come to a close. How full then he must be of self-condemnation to find so much sin still at work and so little grace. But here is the furnace which discovers the sin, and as it is hated and confessed there is a taking of it away; and when the Lord once more discovers Himself then the gold shines brighter than ever.
I wish for my dear friend much of the Lord’s supporting presence, and that she may feel it is well with her, come what may, that she is safe in the Lord’s hand for life and death, time and eternity.
Accept my best love.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.