A Letter To Thomas Godwin – May 18th, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin
I believe you have long found, by painful experience, that it is impossible to do anything according to the word and will of God without trouble before, in, or after. To serve God in any way is a bitter-sweet. Sometimes conscience, sometimes Satan, sometimes the world, sometimes an evil heart, sometimes foe, and sometimes friend cause trouble. If we are let alone to have our own way, and sup up the east wind—that brings trouble; and if the Lord exercises our souls—that brings trouble.
I do not mean to say that my troubles are so wonderfully deep and many, but pretty well all day long there is something as it were nagging and gnawing within. Love of sin, my poor body, family cares and anxieties, and a wicked, unbelieving heart, keep me from much rest or peace. I cannot, like the ungodly, rest in the world, and I cannot often rest in the Lord.
Oh, the amazing power of sin!
I am sure that very few know its mighty power. I sometimes walk in the streets feeling and saying to myself, “Death in me, death in me;” and yet sin is active, strong, and lively as if I were to live a hundred years. It is really dreadful how eye, and ear, and tongue, and heart, are all alive after sin, like fish after a May-fly. I keep preaching man’s dreadful corruption, and that nothing but grace through the blood of the Son of God, made known to the soul by the power of the Holy Spirit, can save such miserable sinners. My dear friend, we must plough deep, or we shall never get at the heart of the living family. I find that the worse I make them out to be, the better it suits them; and the more I draw from my own likeness, the more I hit theirs. But I cannot bring all out, only a hint now and then to the wise. A frail tabernacle and a wicked heart will I believe be more or less my daily plague until they are both laid in the grave.
I hope the Lord’s-day at Allington and Tuesday at Calne may be days of blessing to your soul and those of the people. I trust I have had good times at both places. I cannot at present preach more than once on the Lord’s-day, and I am afraid I can venture to do no more should I come to Allington in July. Preaching tries my chest almost more than anything, and a little extra exertion would soon, I think, make me as bad as ever. . . . We have to live and learn; sometimes more of ourselves, sometimes more of others. To be quiet and meek, to think little of ourselves, to prize grace in others, to think very highly of and to cleave close to the Lord Jesus for everything, is far better than striving who is to be the greatest.
Give my love to Mr. Warburton and any enquiring friends of the seed-royal at Calne. I wish you a real good day there.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
J. C. P.