LETTERS of J. C. Philpot (1848)
January 13, 1848
My dear friend, John Grace—I hope that by this time you are fully recovered from your fall, and have had additional proof that, if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without your heavenly Father, much less the body of John Grace. How much better, my dear friend, to fall from a scaffold, and break a couple of ribs, than fall into sin and break all your bones!
There is no guilty conscience, nor hanging down of the head, heart, and hands before God, nor rejoicing in the Philistines' camp, when we have only broken a rib or a leg. The dreadful consequences of sin, external or internal, I need not tell you.
I am sorry to have cast any doubt upon the previous non-publication of the letter of Huntington, and have, I hope, set the matter right in the forthcoming Standard. The great similarity of thought and expression to what I have met with in his published letters led me to believe I had seen it before; and I was not willing to give occasion to those who seek occasion to bring charges against the Standard, in order to wound and injure its reputation and influence, and that of its editors.
I am glad you like the writings of John Rusk. I myself have the highest opinion of them, and think them most scriptural and experimental. Few writers, it appears to me, dive so deeply into the mysteries of nature and grace, and bring forward Scripture so closely and pertinently to clear up and prove every point and well-near sentence. He often describes the very feelings of my heart. He was, I believe, a poor sail-maker, and lived in Rotherhithe. He was a constant hearer, if not a member, at Mr. Huntington's chapel; and, after his decease, heard first, I believe, Mr. Robins, and then Mr. Henry Fowler. He died a few years ago; and, I think, there is some account of his death in the Spiritual Magazine, some years back. I know a person who knew him well. Mr. Gadsby bought all his MSS. two or three years ago, amounting to seven or eight good sized volumes, and we hope to insert them gradually in the Standard.
Send me, when you can, more of Huntington's letters.
J. C. P.
February 9, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin—If I delay much longer to write you will think I have fulfilled the old saying, "Out of sight out of mind," or that something has occurred, as illness, to prevent me. I am glad, however, to say that neither of these causes has prevented; for, as regards the former, I can say, I never felt a better union with you since we first knew one another; and, as regards the latter, I am much as when you left Stamford.
I hope, my dear friend, your visit here was of the Lord. I am sure that our friends heard you with sweetness and power, much more than they ever did here before, and I hope we may one day see more clearly that you came with a message from God by the fruits and effects following. We sometimes do not hear for years, and perhaps never, of any blessing that may have rested on our ministry. We could not bear much of either—for or against. To hear too much, or to hear too little, of what God may condescend to do by us might not suit our pride or our despondency. I have sometimes thought myself a wonderfully great man, and sometimes felt myself one of the poorest noodles that ever stood up in a pulpit.
My dear friend, how much I feel as you describe; and it is, in my right mind, one of my greatest griefs and troubles that I am so earthly, sensual, and devilish. I remember, as I think I told you, somewhere about this time twenty-one years ago, when eternal things seemed first laid with weight and power upon my soul, that for many months two subjects only occupied my mind—a temporal trouble that I was passing through, which cost me almost rivers of tears and sighs, and the solemn things of eternity. I may one day open up a little of what I then passed through, when I have often wetted the pommel of my saddle with tears amid the lonely valleys of the Wicklow hills, or galloped half distracted along the seashore, where no mortal eye could see or ear hear me cry and groan, sometimes from natural trouble, and sometimes in pouring out my soul before the Lord. I did not then think I would ever be the carnal and careless wretch which I often now feel to be. I once told friend Parry, when I first went to Allington, that "I often had no more religion than a horse." Friend Parry could not then receive such a speech, though since he has often found himself in the same plight. Next to the cutting feelings of a guilty conscience I feel my own carnality my greatest burden. Oh, what a cumber-ground! Oh, what an unprofitable wretch! Oh, what a fruitless branch do I feel myself to be! with just enough feeling to sigh a little after the Lord as I lie awake in the dead and still night. As Hart says– "Fickle fools, and false to You." And again– "Only wise by fits and starts."
I think I feel a little stronger these last few days. I get out and walk, which seems to do me more good than anything else. George Isbell and I walked to Tinwell today, and I felt all the better for it when I came home. The fresh air seemed to revive me. He is but middling, and much harassed with different things.
My poor sister, Mrs. Watts, is, I fear, very ill, and much tried both in mind and body. I hope the Lord may appear for her. . . . I wish you could drop in, that we might have a little talk as we had when you were here. I much enjoyed your visit and company. I have not had your depths nor heights, but I know scarcely another man that I can travel so well with in spiritual things. Your letters seem sometimes written out of my heart. I am, you know, a black man, and I must have an Ethiopian companion.
I once made great attempts to be holy, and was going on pretty well, with, however, some terrible inward pull-backs sometimes, until the winter of 1830-31, when it all went to wreck and ruin. Death stared me in the face, and I used to count how many months I had to live. How I used then to roll about on my midnight bed, with scarcely a hope in my soul, and turned my face to the wall like good old Hezekiah!
Some have said and thought that I stole my religion from books. But I preached experience before I knew there were such men as experimental preachers, or such writings as experimental books. I never stole a searching ministry from anyone, for I did not know there were such ministers. But I was searched, and I searched others; and I actually thought when I left the Church of England that all the Baptist Calvinist ministers were in that line of things. And I believe, in my conscience, that at my Thursday evening lecture at Stadham, when I was in the Church of England, I used to preach at times more searchingly than I have done since. For why? Because I was being searched myself. But I must not run on any more like this, for if I do you will begin to say, "What is my friend J. C. P. about, praising himself so?"
My friend, I have sometimes gone into the pulpit full of confusion, and sometimes as guilty as a malefactor, begging mercy, cut up with guilt and shame. Where was my, 1st, doctrine, 2nd, experience, 3rd, practice, then? And after preaching at Zoar I have almost roared aloud in the cab with real sorrow of heart, and just stopped while the wooden pavement was passed over, lest the cabman should hear me. There was not much self-applause for a nicely divided sermon then. To my mind, what we read together in —'s sermon cuts up experimental preaching root and branch. Where was your nicely divided doctrinal sermon, the first evening you preached here, when the friends heard you so well? I know for myself that when I preach doctrinally it is when my soul is not exercised; and when I am in that carnal state I sometimes hate myself for every word that I say, and hate and am condemned for any prating chatter.
To preach what is called "a great sermon," condemns me inwardly as a presumptuous wretch; and my carnal liberty and great swelling words about Jesus Christ trouble me more than darkness and bondage. In my right mind I would rather stumble on with a little life and feeling in my soul than preach the greatest sermon in the world without it, and I know that my friend Thomas Godwin is of the same mind. How little godly fear can a man have to say inwardly, after preaching free grace, "Well done!" But I shall tire you with my chatter.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
February 12, 1848
Dear Friend—I shall be very glad to have any or all of the late Mr. Gadsby's letters which you can furnish me with. They generally contain much of the fullness and sweetness of the gospel, and in most cases are well backed with such views of and glimpses at man's deeply and dreadfully fallen nature as prove him to have been well and experimentally acquainted with both sides of the question. It is this which gives sweetness and savor to his very scraps of notes and short letters—that he wrote them out of his heart, and that his knowledge of Christ and of himself was not notional, doctrinal, and theoretical, but spiritual and experimental. The Lord in mercy teach and lead us in a similar way; for I am very sure that no other knowledge will "Stand every storm and live at last."
I shall be very glad to insert them in the Gospel Standard as opportunity may offer, and will give directions to have the originals carefully preserved. I am still laid aside from the ministry, and it seems at present uncertain when I shall be restored to labor in the vineyard. The winter and two successive attacks of influenza threw me back; but I trust I am gradually recovering from their effects, and slowly, very slowly, progressing onward. I labored too hard during the last two years for my weak constitution, and did not take warning in time, continuing to preach when perhaps a little rest might (D.V.) have restored me. I was once before, about seventeen years ago, laid aside in an almost similar way, though weaker then than now, and did not recover for more than a year.
I would not have troubled you with these details about my poor clay tabernacle but for two reasons—1. I was induced to think that my kind friends at — are interested about my bodily health; and, 2. so many false reports are in circulation that I thought it might be desirable to give a true statement as far as I can of my real state.
I hope you are being made and kept sensible of your utterly lost and undone state by nature, and that you cannot possibly deliver yourself from it, but at the same time are pressing after that experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ which is eternal life. It is a great and inestimable mercy when our various trials and troubles are made a means of driving us to the Lord, as our only hope and help. Those circumstances, outward or inward, temporal or spiritual, which stir up an earnest spirit of prayer and supplication, make us cease from the creature, beat us out of all false refuges, wean us from the world, show us the vileness and deceitfulness of our hearts, lead us up to Jesus, and make Him near, dear, and precious, must in our right mind be considered blessings. It is true, troubles rarely come to us as such, or at the time appear as such; no, they usually appear as if they would utterly swallow us up. But we must judge of them by their fruits and effects.
Hezekiah saw no blessing wrapped up in the sentence of death (Isa. 38), but he found one when it had made him turn his face to the wall. Job could not see the hand of God in his troubles and afflictions; but it was made plain after he was brought to abhor himself and repent in dust and ashes. The smiles of God in providence, and the flatteries of his friends did not do him half the good that the frowns of the Lord and the cutting speeches of his old associates did. I am very sure, if we are in the right way we shall find it a rough way, and have many trials and troubles. I am obliged by the friends at — still bearing me in affectionate remembrance. It is nearly seven years since I saw them face to face. My kind love to them; greet them by name. Remember me affectionately to your wife and all that have any spiritual desire for the welfare of,
J. C. P.
March 9, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin—When I tell you that my poor sister, Mrs. Watts, is dead, you will not be surprised at the paper on which I write. She departed on Lord's-day morning about 8:30. She was a great sufferer both in body and mind, believing herself to be a reprobate and filled with condemnation and despair. We have, however, some hope that her poor soul is not lost, as three times on the night before she died she said, "I am going to God above," and, I believe, never spoke after, being insensible all the night. My Sister, Mrs. Isbell, said that her convictions of sin were very deep; all her sins of childhood, etc., were laid on her conscience, and her distress of mind was very great, being fully persuaded hell was her portion forever. She was a remarkably sincere and honest person naturally; and, I think, the most reserved character almost that I ever knew. So that, knowing her disposition, and what she passed through, we cannot but hope that a sense of mercy at last reached her soul, and that she felt she was going to God above.
My poor mother is at present calm and resigned, though she was her favorite child, from whom she has scarcely been ever separated, and her life was almost bound up in hers. But I have often observed, and no doubt God has wisely ordained, that old age blunts and dulls the feelings, so that aged parents do not feel the loss of their children as younger ones do. . . .
Oh, my friend, what is all preaching or all the gifts in the world unless the power of God accompany it to the soul? I am at a point here. We need the mighty power of God to be felt in the soul, and without that, all is nothing. What two sermons William Tiptaft preached here last Lord's-day! As regards 'giftedness', what most professors would despise, and perhaps ridicule, but what weight there seemed to be in them to exercised souls!
I cannot say much about soul-matters just now. We need a little flowing in before there can be any flowing out; and where this is not the case the pen or tongue move in vain, or like Pharaoh's chariot wheels drive heavily.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
March 16, 1848
My dear George Isbell—I am truly glad to learn that my dear mother and sister have been supported under this heavy trial and affliction; and I hope they may still find that as their day so is their strength. It is a great mercy to be supported in and under the first outbreak of trouble when the heart is too full to find relief in giving vent to its feelings. The grief afterwards may be more poignant, but is more endurable.
I think that we are warranted in indulging a good hope that our dear sister's poor soul is at rest. Having sunk so low and been so near despair, putting away all hope, I think she would hardly have uttered the words which her nurse and husband heard, had not some divine intimation of mercy and acceptance reached her soul. There at least I wish to rest; and, indeed, have found my mind to lean upon it as a support. We might, indeed, have wished for earlier and clearer tokens, but these are not always given. We are apt to forget, or, rather, hard to believe, that salvation is all of grace from first to last; and that the Lord in all His dispensations is and will ever manifest Himself as a Sovereign. I have often thought of the dying thief. What a display of grace! One short prayer, one believing look, one act! Oh what a mighty act of living faith upon the crucified Son of God, and his soul was fit for paradise! What a death-blow to works and work-mongers! Simeon Stylites on his pillar for thirty-seven years, and the thief on the cross—how different their religion! Of the latter I would say with Hart– "Be this religion mine."
When I have sometimes felt my miserable carnality and earthly-mindedness, so that it has seemed impossible for me to be either going to or to be fit for heaven, I have, as it were, fallen back upon the dying thief. Where was his fitness, externally or internally? I have thus seen what grace can do by what grace has done; and I neither expect nor desire to be saved in any other way than the dying thief.
We may know, or think we know, a great deal, but really and truly in what a narrow compass does all vital religion lie? I am tried because I am day after day the same carnal and earthly wretch. No better, no better; no, never shall be in myself anything but a poor, filthy, fallen sinner. I have long believed the doctrine of the non-sanctification of the old nature; but am now compelled to believe it whether I would or not. I might as well doubt whether ink were black or snow white, as doubt that my fallen nature is incurably corrupt. I must, therefore, ever despair of salvation from self or from anything short of the blood of the Lamb; and in teaching or preaching, dreams or doctrines, that lay the least stress on creature doings or duties, piety, or holiness, I look upon as I should a zealous defense of perpetual motion, squaring the circle, or aerial navigation.
I have attempted to speak a little here on the Oakham Lord's-day, confining myself, however, at present to exposition and prayer. I do not think what little I have hitherto done has at all hurt me. Still I hope to move cautiously, and not to attempt too much at first. I find this cold, damp weather much against me, and I am anxiously expecting the advent of a warmer and drier season.
I wish you could got a little rest. I think when medical advisers of acknowledged skill recommend rest, it is desirable to attend to their directions. I know, indeed, that it is a trial to be silent, but you know the adage, "for lack of a nail the shoe was lost." . . .
[The remainder of this letter is missing.]
April 4, 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 favorable 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 savor, 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.
April 15, 1848
My dear friend, Joseph Parry—I hope I may say I am through mercy better in health. I have partially resumed the work of the ministry, having commenced to preach once on the Lord's-day. I seemed shut up and embarrassed the first Lord's-day that I spoke here; but had somewhat more life, liberty, and feeling at Oakham. I seemed favored with a little of the spirit of prayer while going there by the coach, and also in the morning before preaching. It is a mercy to feel the heart sometimes a little softened and humbled, and life and power to accompany the word. I was in hopes that my long affliction would have done my soul more good, and produced more solid, spiritual, and visible fruit, internal and external, than I have yet experienced from it. It seems to be indeed a sad and lamentable thing to be continually chastened, and yet be after all an unfruitful branch and a vile cumber-ground!
A sickly body and a dreadfully diseased soul make a daily cross, and one sometimes hard to be borne. I cannot throw aside my religion, and yet how hard it is to keep it. To think, speak, act, and live as a Christian; to be one inwardly and outwardly; to be a true follower of the Lamb wherever He goes; to walk daily and hourly with godly fear in exercise; to conquer sin, master temptation, and live a life of faith in the Son of God—if this be true religion, how little I seem to have of it! I never could boast much of my exploits and attainments, or the great things I have done or mean to do; but now seem less disposed to do so than ever. Nothing short of an almighty miracle of mercy and grace can suit or save me! We often prate and prattle about sin and grace, faith and repentance, and Christ, and so on, when we really know scarcely what the words mean. Many painful lessons and humbling cutting strokes are needed to teach us the A B C's of vital godliness; and perhaps all that we may know about eternal things, may be no more than what a babe a few days old knows of this life. It breathes, and cries, and nurses, and sleeps; and as regards divine things we may never here do much more.
I hope that the Lord may own and bless Thomas Godwin's word among you this time as He did before. I am very sure that all preaching without the power and blessing of the Lord upon it will be but empty breath. I never saw the littleness of man so clearly, and my own littleness in particular. I never felt so much my miserable ignorance, unfitness and insufficiency for the ministry. Indeed, I am and have nothing.
I hope Mrs. Wild will be comfortable at Allington. You must not, however, expect too much from one another. Man is a poor fallen creature, a selfish wretch, a very monster of iniquity. At least, I am. Nor does grace always reign even where it dwells. I very much esteem and respect her, and perhaps think better of her than she does of herself. But there is truth in what William Tiptaft says, that Christians are like cabbage-plants which flourish best when not too near. I am afraid of everybody, and afraid of none so much as of myself. No one has ever so much tried me, so much plagued me, or so much frightened me, as J. C. P., and no one, I am sure, but myself knows what reason I have to be afraid of him. . .
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
May 12, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin—. . . I am much as I was in health, and do not seem to gain much strength at present. I still continue to preach once on the Lord's-day, and for the last three weeks have also spoken here on Thursday evenings. The friends at Oakham all seemed to hear well on Lord's-day. The day was fine, the congregation large, and I was enabled a little to speak on some vital things. My dear friend, we must plough pretty deep, if we are to get at the heart and conscience. Skimming the ground over will not do; but to be learning every day how vile we are is trying work. My preaching seems shut up into a narrow compass—sin and grace. I can assure you that when I was laid aside I seemed to have lost completely the power of preaching, and felt as shut up spiritually from a door of utterance as I was naturally. This made me a better hearer, for so far from thinking I could preach better than the ministers who supplied for me, I actually felt that I could not preach at all; and according to my feelings had not ten words to say upon any text, good or bad. I cannot describe how entirely all preaching gifts, if I have any, were as much taken away as if I had never opened my mouth, and I felt that even were I better in health, I could not get into a pulpit. I think I can see now this was not a bad thing for me, for when I heard Thomas Godwin and others, I was not measuring my abilities with theirs, and thinking how the great "I" would handle the text, but I really felt I could not preach at all, even as to words and gifts, much more power and savor.
But I think I may tell my friend that since I have been able to stand up a little in the Lord's name I have not always been shut up, and have sometimes gone beyond the time when for my poor body's sake I ought to stop. Last Lord's-day morning I felt such a vile sinner that I could hardly help telling the Lord He would do right if He stopped my mouth. But it was not so, as I believe I may say without boasting (and how can such a vile sinner boast?), that I was well heard that day, and that the friends seemed melted and blessed. Oh that God's mercy and goodness would constrain me to live to His glory, would overcome that raging love of sin that so ensnares and captivates me, and make me and manifest me a Christian indeed! I cannot, oh, I cannot subdue and mortify my pride, and lust, and unbelief, and infidelity, and a thousand other monsters that, like the beast in Daniel's vision, are opening their mouths and saying, "Arise, devour much flesh."
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
May 18, 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.
August 4, 1848
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin—We arrived here safely, through mercy, on Tuesday evening, and found my mother looking pretty well. Friend D. is supplying at the chapel, but is not very well attended. I was there last evening, but there were very few hearers. Truth is pretty much fallen in the streets, as regards these three towns, with a population more than eighty thousand. It seems strange that there should be so little concern about their never-dying souls, until we feel what careless hardened wretches we ourselves are, except at times and seasons when eternal things lie with weight and power on our consciences. When my poor soul gets a little revived out of its dark and dead state, I wonder at my own previous state of carnality and worldliness. I need not then go far to find the cause of all men's carnality and carelessness, for where would I not, and where, indeed, do I not get when the Lord does not revive my poor dark soul? If we had no gracious dealings from the Lord, either in judgment or mercy, we would soon be a great deal worse than the professors whom we are so loud to condemn. A sense of these things stops my mouth, and makes the stones drop out of my hands, which, in times past, I have been ready enough to throw at others. I cannot say what I would not do, or what I would not be, were I left to myself; for I never hear of evil or error committed by professor or profane which I do not find working within my heart, and a great deal worse too; for no man ever did, or ever could, carry out in word and act what our imagination can breed and sit upon until hatched, like a serpent upon its eggs. It is a mercy when our eggs are crushed before they are hatched, for, depend upon it, an adder would come out of every one of them!
What a mercy it is to have our hard hearts softened and blessed at times, and to hate and abhor those vile things which at other times our fallen nature so lusts after! What a paradox are we! What a bundle of contradictions! We love what we hate, and hate what we love; we follow what we flee, and flee what we follow. Sin is our sweetest, and sin is our bitterest morsel; God is our greatest friend and most dreaded enemy. But I must not run on with my contradictions, or I shall fill up my sheet with them. You have got both the riddle and the key locked up in your heart.
As there was a very great attendance at Allington I was induced to preach twice on Lord's-day. I think I never saw the chapel so crowded. It was, I think on the whole, my best day; but I have not been much favored at Allington this time. I had so many outer-court hearers that they seemed almost to stifle any soft or tender feeling; and I was several times led rather to hammer away at Wiltshire profession than feed the lambs.
I am much as I was in health. That great blessing, good health, I never expect to enjoy again. I only could wish that my various trials, exercises, and afflictions were more blessed to my soul, but I have lived to prove that nothing but almighty grace can do the soul good.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.