A Letter To Thomas Godwin – April 4th, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin
I hope I may say I am better. I preached here last Lord’s-day morning, and went up and prayed in the meeting in the afternoon, and did not seem much fatigued by the exertion. As all tell me how much better I am looking, I cannot help believing what they say. I think, too, that I am getting flesh on my bones, which is perhaps more favourable than mere face-looks, which vary from day to day. . . . I would not have troubled you with all these details about my poor worthless body if I did not believe you wished really to know how matters stood with me.
I did not feel as I could wish on Lord’s-day. William Tiptaft has been here, and other supplies, and they have quite daunted me as a preacher. I never heard William Tiptaft preach so well and with such weight and authority as this time. He was, indeed, most searching, and made such appeals to the conscience, that at times it seemed quite to thrill through me.
Oh what a poor, ignorant, unprofitable, carnal wretch do I see and feel myself compared with some that I know!
I see them growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and preaching with power and savour, while I feel a miserable cumber-ground, going back while they are going forward. I think once I had some life and feeling in my soul, and in the ministry; but now I seem to be destitute of all I value and esteem, as the only things that make and manifest a minister and a Christian.
But I can assure you, my dear friend, that I find it a much easier thing to get guilt on my conscience than to get it off again; and more easy to talk about and lament one’s darkness and deadness, than get life and light into the soul. I told the friends on Lord’s-day why the Lord had afflicted me, though I could not enter into all the circumstances of the case. I can see mercy in it and mingled with it, and hope I shall one day see it more clearly.
I have written to the friends at Eden Street to decline going there this year. I have two reasons for so doing.
1. My health, which is not sufficiently re-established for the exertion, anxiety, and excitement of London.
2. As I have been so long laid aside from my own people, I think it hardly right to leave them just as I am getting a little better. . .
Still, I hope to pay my Allington friends a visit in August.
Since I wrote part of this I have been among some of the friends, and to my surprise learned that I was very well heard on Lord’s-day. I kept mumbling on with my own path, temptations, helps, and hindrances; and I suppose it suited some poor bewildered creatures.
How different is preaching from what I once thought it was!
All my vapouring knocked into nothing; and poor J. C. P. mumbling and stumbling like a fool.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.