LETTERS of J. C. Philpot (1850 - 1857)
March 25, 1850
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—My, I can assure you, has not arisen from lack of friendship and affection. Since I have had so many enemies and so many 'treacherous friends', I have only more valued and cleaved to my few real friends. But writing is to me a great burden generally, and thus I keep putting it off until at last conscience compels me to make the attempt. But this morning, something I hope more than conscience, urges me to drop you a few lines in answer to your kind and affectionate letter. . .
I am glad you were comfortable at Leicester. Preaching is very pleasant when the Lord is present, but when all is dark and barren it is indeed hard work. I often wish I was anything else, or that I had more grace and qualifications for it. I had but a poor day yesterday, and seemed unable to get at anything which had dew and savor in it. I have so much opposition without and within. On the one side the Pharisees, and on the other the Antinomians; who are the worse, I can scarcely tell.
And then so much opposition within, so many temptations, lusts, and follies, so many snares and besetting sins, and a vile heart, dabbling in all carnality and filth. I am indeed exercised by "sin and grace", as you say. I liked the expression, it suited me well. Sin or grace seems continually uppermost—striving and lusting against one another. What workings, checks, lustings, sorrowings, fallings, risings, defeats, and victories. What a battlefield is the heart, and there the fight is lost and won. When sin prevails, mourning over its wounds and slaughter; when grace and godly fear beat back temptation, a softening into gratitude. Thus I keep hammering on at the old strain—soul exercise; and this sometimes meets with the experience of the poor and needy, and we see eye to eye and feel heart to heart in the things of God.
I have never wished nor cared for my sermons to be published, but if the Lord condescends to bless them, to Him be all the glory. I have never lifted up my little finger to spread or circulate them after I have corrected the proofs to prevent errors. Nor do my friends take any trouble about them more than myself. None of my people recommend them or circulate them. They are what they are; and are cast upon the waters and left to the Lord to do as He pleases with them.
Thus, if they are blessed it is of Him. And I think, sometimes, how hard the devil has been trying for years to poison people's minds for fear any good should be done by them.
I baptized Miss N. on the 17th.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
December 30, 1850
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—You must not measure my feelings towards you by the frequency of my letters. Letter-writing to me is usually quite a task; unless there is something which I much wish to communicate, I go to it as a schoolboy to his homework. But I have felt for the last few days desirous to drop you a few lines.
I hope on the whole we had a pretty good day yesterday. I felt a little of the spirit of prayer on Saturday evening, and I trust we had a good morning. One of the friends, with whom I have a good union, told me afterwards what a spirit of prayer she had had through the week, that we might have the Lord with us yesterday, and she had found her prayer answered. Our old friend at Trowbridge says, when he is shut up, the friends often hear him best. That however is not my experience, nor do I think it is yours. When I have some life and feeling in my soul, I generally find it is so with the Lord's people; and when I am dark and shut up, they are often so too. At those seasons I can get into nothing and describe nothing, and therefore how can I reach their hearts and consciences? The well is deep, and I have nothing to draw with; and then what water is there for minister or people? I do hope there is some little work going on here. One candidate was well received, and we have two others coming forward, whom I feel some union with.
At Stamford too, I had more life and feeling on the 22nd—more than I have had since I came home. I told the friends I hoped it might be the dawn of a better day; that was the meaning, if not the words. I am, I hope, also somewhat better in health, and have less irritation about my chest. The Lord is good, if we could but trust Him.
You are, I dare say, exercised about your Liverpool engagement. Well, you don't know what you are going there for. It is not the seen, but the unseen, whom the Lord often blesses—some poor creature, cut up with sin and sorrow, who has neither pew nor seat, place nor name, among the great folks. Look at our large towns, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol, etc., what a state they are in. The only time I ever was at Liverpool, and heard preaching, there were less than twenty present, that was on a week evening. But there may be scattered individuals, who may creep in, whom you don't know. I believe you would sooner be going among our friends in Wilts.
To by far the greater part, the Gospel, it is to be feared, is but the savor of death unto death. I am more and more convinced of this. We, who know a little of ourselves, need not wonder that men are what they are. What are we ourselves when left to our fallen nature? When I have felt my own carnality and aversion to spiritual things, I have ceased to wonder at the general ungodliness. . . .
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
February 7, 1851
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—Before the February number of The Gospel Standard came out, I saw that I had laid myself open to attack upon the point which you so kindly and faithfully name, and sent a partial correction to the office; but the letter being delayed to the morning mail, the Standard was already on the printing machine.
My meaning was, that the body of Christ was not natural in the sense of deriving any taint of corruption through natural generation. I did mean that it was not animal, nor strictly identical with ours; but that it was sanctified in the very moment of conception, and was therefore intrinsically holy. I have thought that the supernatural generation of the dear Redeemer's human nature is too much overlooked. My mind was drawn to it many years ago, chiefly through Irving's heresy about Christ's "sinful flesh". And what I wished to convey was, that the human nature of Jesus was and is "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners". And this because begotten in a spiritual, supernatural way. Indeed, what but a holy nature could be taken into union with the Son of God?
When upon my bed I had, as I hope, a revelation of Jesus. I saw by the eye of faith, most distinctly, His two natures, in a way that I cannot describe, which has always made me so firm a contender for them.
I shall hope (D.V.) to explain my meaning more fully in the next number. I was wrong in using the words natural and spiritual. Meanwhile I thank you for your kind and faithful letter, and will (D.V.) look into the subject more closely.
J. C. P.
February 24, 1851
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—I am glad you are coming our way, but am sorry your stay will be so short. It generally takes a little time before we get into the marrow of anything. The bone, you know, lies pretty deep in the flesh, and the marrow deeper still. We need an evening together, and a little oil on the heart and tongue, such as we had, I hope, once before at my house. . . .
At present we are very comfortable here as a church. We had a church meeting yesterday, and received two candidates, and had a very comfortable meeting indeed. I never saw a better feeling among the friends; and the simple tale that one poor old woman told seemed to melt our hard hearts. I have not seen so many tears shed since Mrs. L. came before us. We are very full too as a congregation, and I hope the Lord is sometimes with poor vile us.
I am called, "the blind leader of the blind", but if I am blind, I have, I am sure, some who can see and feel too, and some who will shine as the stars forever and ever. Nor am I blind to my own sins and follies, ignorance, unbelief, and helplessness; nor am I blind to the blessedness, grace, and suitability of the Lord Jesus Christ. And in standing up before the people, I feel a sincere desire for their soul's profit; and as far as the Lord enables, labor for their edification and consolation without fear or flattery. Herein I have, through mercy, the testimony of a good conscience.
My dear friend, I was not in the least hurt or offended with your kind letter about the review. I know you are a sincere friend, and that what you say or do, you do out of real affection. I would be a poor proud wretch—worse than I am—if I could not take advice from friends. I know how many enemies I have, and how many are watching for my halting; and there is so much hypocrisy in men, that I am weary of most professors. How true is Micah 7:2, 3, and there is such cursed pride, envy, and enmity in the heart! I see it in myself and in others too. Oh what a wretch is man, and the best of men!
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
March 25, 1851
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—I would have answered your kind and friendly letter before, had not my time been so much occupied.
I have been down to Stoke, to pay the last mark of respect and affection to my poor dear mother. She died early on Thursday morning, the 13th. I left home on Monday, slept at Exeter that night, and reached Stoke Tuesday evening. I found Mrs. Isbell better than I expected, and more calm and collected. On Wednesday morning her remains were committed to the earth. She was buried in the new cemetery at Plymouth (Dissenters' side), and Mr. Isbell performed the ceremony. He did it very well, reading 1 Cor. chapter 15, and making some remarks on her character, etc., closing with prayer. It rained nearly all the time, and therefore we were not long at the grave. My mind was in a whirl from the time that I heard of her death; and what with so much traveling, I was so confused that I could not realize that she was dead. Indeed I seemed hardly able to believe it, until I saw the coffin, with her name on the plate, let down into the grave. She was in her 79th year, and had suffered much from rheumatism in her hand and limbs. Her last malady was influenza and bronchitis, from which she suffered much. Mrs. S., whom I think you know, has a good hope of her—indeed, has no doubt of her state. She knew more of her feelings and experience than anyone, as my poor mother was much attached to her, and could converse more freely with her than almost anyone else. She had once a sweet manifestation of the love of God to her soul, on which she seemed to hang, but was for the most part much pressed down with a sense of her unworthiness, and fears of being deceived, and being a hypocrite. She was always to me a most kind and affectionate parent; and I do not recollect that we ever disagreed once in our lives. When I left the Establishment, she felt it, but said her house was open to me, and that I might go and live with her. And I can assure you, I have sometimes wished I had done so, and thus lived a quiet obscure life, without the troubles and trials which I have had in occupying a more prominent place; but God has fixed the bounds of our habitation, and it is folly to think of carving out our own path. The weather being so wet and cold, made the journey more trying, and has made me feel quite poorly and out-of-sorts. My poor mother's death will be much felt by Mrs. Isbell, who was much attached to her.
I baptized three persons here last Lord's day, and hope the Lord was with us. . . . All here is labor and sorrow. Our own sins, and the sins of others, will always make it a scene of trouble. "Oh, you hideous monster, sin!" What a mighty power it has—a power which grace alone can subdue. It seems sometimes subdued, and then rises up worse than before. Well may we cry out—"Oh, wretched man that I am!" etc.
Yours every affectionately,
J. C. P.
April 7, 1851
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin—It was my intention (D.V.) to write to you today, even if your kind letter had not met me here on Saturday.
I feel for you in your troubles, especially in one which I know presses you sore. My dear friend, most of us have to learn Micah 7:4, 5, in painful experience. It is bitter work, especially where there is soul union. I do hope the Lord will appear for you in this trying case. Oh, how He can soften hearts, melt away bitter feelings, and subdue that demon of hell—cruel suspicion! My dear friend, how would I get on with you, if I could not depend upon your friendship behind my back, as well as before my face? It is because I believe you to be a man who truly fears God, and a sincere affectionate friend as well, that makes me cleave to you. We have all great faults and failings before man, as well as awful damnable backslidings and sins before God; and I dare say my friend T. G. has his, as well as others theirs. I do hope it may please the Lord to make this crooked thing straight.
I have not been well since my return from Stoke. The cold wet weather seemed to try my chest, though, through mercy, I was preserved from cold. I would be glad to slip out of my London engagement, my chest being unfit for the exertion, heat, and mental labor and exercise which I have at Eden Street. What a life of toil, sin, and suffering! All we do, cannot subdue those dreadful lusts, which swarm like ants in an ant-hill on a summer's day. I have had two desires uppermost in my mind for years; one that I might not leave my wife and children destitute, the other that I might make a good end. The one has, by my poor mother's death, been in good measure accomplished. The other remains with the Lord. But indeed it must be all of grace, and no common grace, for I have been, and am, no common sinner. I am beset with temptations on every hand, and my vile heart will still meditate villainy.
I hope we had a pretty good day yesterday. In the afternoon I felt some little life and liberty. The day was fine, and we were well attended. As far as I can see and feel, there is much more right and real religion in the country than in London. We know some in Wilts., and there are others in Berks, and a few, I hope, in Rutland and Lincolnshire, who in my mind outweigh those whom we see in town. They have more life, and feeling, and simplicity, and tenderness about them. But I hope the Lord will bless you among them in your own soul and ministry. It is a day of very small things, really and experimentally. There is much talk and noise, much light in the head, but little life or grace in the heart; and matters seem getting worse. I had more life and feeling ten years ago at Alie Street, and I have heard you and Tiptaft say the same. I had scarcely a barren season at Zoar in 1841, and I could no more preach those sermons now than I could fly. I had a large congregation at St. Ives, but I hardly know what to make of things there. The anointing oil seems much lacking. How easy to talk, preach, pray, and hear—without the only thing which makes them a blessing. Alas! I see the nakedness of the land, when I am a poor naked thing so often myself. Like a barren woman, I complain of the barrenness of others. God alone can make the barren woman keep house, and be a joyful mother of children.
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
January 28, 1852
My dear Duncan Mathieson—I have indeed reason to bless the Lord for the way in which in His mysterious providence and grace He has condescended to spread and bless my little productions. And this because I have never attempted to spread them myself, and have no pecuniary interest in them. It is indeed mysterious that they should have reached your remote district, and especially so that your first knowledge of them should have come through such a remarkable channel [The Duchess of Gordon]. A few days before your letter came to hand, I received one from a clergyman in Herts, who had been under great distress of soul. Change of air was recommended, and he went to Ramsgate. Going one morning to bathe, his eye glanced in at a shop window, in which the "Heir of Heaven" sermon was exposed for sale. He was struck with the title, and went in and purchased it. It was made a blessing to his soul. He was led to procure my other writings and sermons, and speaks of them as being blessed to him.
How mysterious are the dealings of God! Feeling my own dreadful sinfulness, it makes me wonder at His free, sovereign, matchless, superabounding grace. Of all men, I was most unlikely to be made useful to the Lord's family. Until I went to college in 1821, I actually never knew there was any such thing as religion professed, beyond the mere Church of England formalism in which I was educated. There, by the conversation of a fellow-student, my judgment was convinced, but my heart untouched; until in 1827, in a solitary part of Ireland, in the midst of a deep affliction, the Lord was pleased, I trust, to quicken my poor dead soul. This entailed the overthrow of all my University prospects, which were good, as in human learning I had in 1824 taken what are called high honors; and indeed my heart was devoted to books and the acquisition of earthly knowledge. From 1828 to 1835, I was a minister in the Establishment, residing chiefly in a lonely village, where I had much sickness, and learned, I hope, in soul some of those lessons which are embodied in my ministry. As my conscience became burdened with the unscriptural character and services of the Church of England, I was compelled to leave it. My path has been, and is, one mainly of trial and temptation, having a heart so evil, a tempter so subtle, and so many crosses and snares in which my feet are continually caught and entangled.
But I hope that my trials and temptations are mercifully overruled for the benefit and edification of the church of God. We are overrun with a shallow, superficial ministry, which is destitute of all life, savor, and power. The trials and exercises of the family of God are untouched, or if alluded to, are trampled down with contempt. A dry, dead-letter scheme of doctrine, as mathematically correct as the squares of a chess-board, prevails, where what is called "truth" is preached, and to move texts on the squares as pawns or pieces is the art of preaching. Where heart and conscience are not reached, where the inward conflict is not opened up, where the sweet and savory Gospel is not preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, there the flock of slaughter cannot feed. Ezekiel 34 is a true picture of the false shepherds.
How simple is truth! Man's misery, God's mercy; the aboundings of sin, the super-aboundings of grace; the depths of the fall, the heights of the recovery; the old man and the new; the diseases of the soul, and the balm of a Savior's blood—these lessons learned in the furnace of inward experience, how different from the monkish austerity of the Puseyite, the lip service of the Pharisee, and the dry Calvinistic formulary of the church!
A friend of mine, now departed, was called, in the providence of God, to Glasgow. Thence he wrote to me that he had wandered from church to chapel, and, I think, the same at Edinburgh; but all was dead joy. At last he used on the Lord's day evenings to leave the town, sit on a hillside, and there pray and read, drawing sometimes from his pocket one of my little sermons. He would have rejoiced to find a few there with whom he could have united. When I sent forth my little productions, I had not the remotest idea of their being so widely spread, or that the Lord would condescend so much to bless them, as I trust He has done. With the sermons which have been taken down, I have had still less to do; but as they have obtained a wide circulation, and are read in many little chapels where there is no minister, I think it right to revise them before they go forth.
May the Lord lead us more deeply into His most blessed truth. What are all the painted toys of time, compared with the solemn, weighty realities of eternity? But alas! what wretches are we when left to sin, self, and Satan! How unable to withstand the faintest breath of temptation! How bent upon backsliding! Who can fathom the depths of the human heart? Oh, what but grace, superabounding grace, can either suit or save such wretches?
Tender my love to all in your circle who bear me in their heart. I deeply need their prayers. May the Lord keep and bless you.
Yours, I trust, in the best bonds,
J. C. P.
March 25, 1854
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin,
Mrs. S. gave a sweet and blessed testimony before the Church. I never heard a sweeter account of the love of God shed abroad in a poor sinner's heart. But it was fresh and warm in her soul, and therefore came forth sweet and savory. I understand she has been much tried about it since.
I am (D.V.) to baptize three candidates tomorrow, and hope we may have a good day. I expect we shall also soon have a baptizing at Oakham, as we have received one candidate, and another is coming forward.
I have been applied to about the propriety of breaking up the church at C., and re-forming it. There are, I believe, not more than four or five members left, the others having withdrawn on account of F.'s bad conduct; and as the present members seem to have sanctioned his evil ways, it has been thought an advisable step to break up the church, and so remove the reproach, and then form a new one. My own mind is in favor of it, as I think there will be neither peace nor prosperity while the present church continues. But the question arises, "Who has a sufficient authority to do so?" A 'temporary Supply' hardly seems to have sufficient authority to do it. For if one Supply may do it, why not another? And then you may establish this principle, that a Supply may go and break up a church, like Eden Street or Allington, where there is no pastor, whether the church agrees to it or not. So that, while I think it would be best for the church at C. to be broken up, I hardly see how it is to be done, or who has authority to do it in a Scriptural manner. Turn the matter over in your mind, as I dare say they will ask your opinion about it. I think it must eventually be done; but I believe it can hardly be done in a right way before they get a permanent minister.
Monday, March 27
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin,
I had a hard day's work yesterday, and having a bad cold, was almost unable to finish. The baptistry here is most inconvenient, being so long; and the women were all much agitated, and I had almost to carry them through the water, after I had baptized them, to the further side, and the lattice under my feet quite slippery. I hope however we had, on the whole, a good day. I am quite poorly today, and therefore am not much fit for writing; but it is a mercy I was brought through yesterday, and did not disappoint the candidates and the people.
Mrs. Philpot is, through mercy, better in health. Amid all our trials and afflictions, we have our mercies and favors. My chief burden and trouble is sin, which haunts me night and day. Oh what an enemy to the soul's peace!
Yours very affectionately,
J. C. P.
February 1, 1855
My dear friend, John Grace—I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kind present of the fourth volume of the invaluable "Posthumous Letters of William Huntington", and for your friendly and affectionate letter. I have been reading some of his most sweet and savory epistles this morning, and find them instructive, edifying, and profitable. They contain the cream and marrow of vital godliness, and real, genuine, heartfelt religion unmixed with that controversial spirit, which sometimes mingles with his other writings. What I admire most in them, next to their sweet savor, is the way in which he draws up the living water from his own experience, and that past as well as present. I would much like to make them better known through The Gospel Standard, and put down a few thoughts which have occurred to my mind in reading them. What a dreadful lack is there of such preaching now! I look round and see so few men qualified to feed the church of God. We are overrun with parsons, but, oh dear! what are they? I cannot but attribute much of the low state of the churches to the ministers, who rather preach them dead, deaf, and blind, than stir them up and ministerially quicken, enlighten, and enliven them. I am sure that the life of God much consists in, and is much manifested by, the breathings, cries, and longings of the soul after Him, and that by these, that coldness and deadness are sensibly relieved, which many so much complain of.
With you, I admire above all others, Hart's blessed hymns. I would be glad to help in their circulation, and I think a notice in the Standard, or short advertisement, might help this. As all his hymns are in Gadsby's Hymn book (with one or two omissions), our friends are pretty well furnished with copies, but I will mention the cheap edition to them.
Do you not think the churches should use prayer and supplication at this momentous crisis? The Lord's hand seems going out against us at home and abroad. How paralyzed and dislocated all the men of war and counsel seem, and none able to stand in the gap. Mr. Huntington was a true lover of his country, and lived in still darker times than our own. With what boastings was the war entered upon, and now what despondency. How few acknowledge that the Lord reigns!
I desire to sympathize with you in your trials and afflictions, but they are all in due weight and measure.
J. C. P.
March 6, 1855
My dear friend, Miss Richmond—I am much obliged to you for your kind communication of the closing scenes of our lamented friend's earthly life. I perceived, when I last saw him, the inroads which his disease had made on his appearance and constitution, and was therefore the less surprised to hear of his decease. He was a man so thoroughly sincere, and indeed so scrupulous to say nothing of himself but what his conscience could fully bear witness to, that we can receive with implicit credit what he said in those solemn moments. In those who have walked many years in tribulation's thorny road, and have at various times been favored and blessed, we do not expect such a, what is called, triumphant death-bed, as in those who are removed in their first love. The promise is, that in Jesus they shall have peace. Their experience of the deceitfulness of their own heart has stripped them of lying hopes and a false peace; and therefore when we see them in the enjoyment of peace, with eternity in full view, we cannot but believe that the peace of God is keeping their heart and mind through Christ Jesus. This our dear departed friend seems to have felt and enjoyed. I attach more weight to this, and his holding up his hands at the last, than what you mention of a more visionary nature. He was, as you justly observe, a firm friend to, and unbending pillar of, truth; and his quiet demeanor and consistent conduct for many years recommended and adorned his profession. Being so long afflicted with a complaint from which recovery was hopeless, we need not wish him detained here below. Among the blessings of the realms above, is that "the inhabitants thereof shall no more say, I am sick." Those only who have a sickly tabernacle can fully prize such a promise. Our dear friend, we fully hope, has entered into the enjoyment of it.
I am at present but poorly myself, having an attack of influenza on my chest. Truly this is a dying world. On last Saturday, my friend Mr. Harrison, of Leicester, was removed from this valley of tears. In helping to move a tree, he received a blow on the chest which produced inflammation of the heart, under which he sank. He was one of the kindest, sincerest friends that I was ever blessed with. How all these dispensations speak to us with a loud voice, "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth!" Twenty-four years have passed away since I spent the winter at Sutton Courtney, and nearly twenty since I left the Establishment. Mrs. Lowe, H. Witney, and poor Brookland, with many others who used to hear my voice, have been removed from time into eternity, and these departures of our friends all seem to say, "you also be ready". But the Lord Himself must be our help, and hope, and all. To Him, and to Him alone, must we ever look, for there is salvation in no other. He is the way, and the truth, and the life, and no man comes unto the Father but by Him.
J. C. P.
August 16, 1855
My dear friend, Thomas Godwin—I believe you will be pleased to hear that, through rich mercy, I have been brought through my labors here much better than I anticipated. I came up with many fears and faintings, but have broken down neither in body nor mind. I found more exertion needed than at Eden Street, but I think what tried me so much at Eden Street was the foul air. I had all the windows opened at Gower Street round the gallery, and therefore felt not the least bad air or closeness.
We had great congregations, and I hope I was faithful to them. I did not feel all I could wish, far from it; but I must not complain. I see and feel my great deficiency and shortcomings as a minister. I felt Tuesday evening before the Lord—"Oh, that I could preach better—with more power and savor, and be more blessed to the people!" I always seem to come so short of what I want spiritually to be. I am coming short all the day long, and sinning with every breath I draw. What a debtor to grace! What else can I preach to poor guilty sinners?
Gower Street was the first London pulpit I ever stood up in, as I preached once for Mr. Fowler, August 8, 1836, just nineteen years ago. I am much pleased with the chapel, and hardly know whether to be more grateful to the Lord for the chapel, and bringing me through, or to Him for putting it into the heart of Mr. and Mrs. Clowes to take us in. Their rooms seem to suit my health, so that I may say that, on the whole, I have not got through my London labors so well for some years. I hardly dare say much, as I may fall ill when I return home; but as far as present feelings go, I seem better than these last two or three years. I always much dread my Abingdon Lord's day, both for body and soul. There are many gracious well-taught people there, and they come many miles, and I feel my weakness in every sense of the word.
I hope the Lord will come with you to Gower Street. What an affliction you have! But ballast we must have to sail steady. We do not like trials and troubles, but what are we without them?
J. C. P.
January 15, 1856
My dear friend, Miss Richmond—I am much obliged to you for your kind and sympathizing letter, and the invitation therein contained.
I am much pleased to learn that the Lord has graciously turned your captivity. It much resembles a manifestation which I was once favored with, when the Lord Jesus was so presented before the eyes of my enlightened understanding, and I had such a view by faith of the two distinct natures in one glorious Person. It was on my bed one morning, during a long illness. I can therefore quite understand your feelings and experience. It will give truth a deeper place, and a firmer hold in your heart; and though it may be often disputed or doubted, hidden in darkness, and buried in confusion, still it will afford you some standing-ground which you had not before.
It is a very blessed thing, and a high favor, to have clear and spiritual views of the Person of Immanuel. It gives faith a firm foundation to rest upon, and makes Jesus all in all. We are exceedingly obliged to you for your kind invitation, but all our family are now with us, and we cannot leave them to servants.
J. C. P.
February 22nd, 1856
My dear friend, John Grace—I cannot call to mind any distinct promise to review (my usual way of noticing) Huntington's letters. I may possibly do so, but much must depend on how I am led in the matter. I cannot write a review, unless the subject be one which I feel I can handle in a manner edifying to the church of God. I take a book more as a peg, on which to hang an essay on a subject which I think I can write upon feelingly and profitably, than to commend or censure the book itself. Now it may be a most excellent work, but unless I can produce out of my own mind, independent profitable matter on the same or some allied subject, I cannot review it. A review to me is almost like a text. It must come to me, not I go to it; and therefore I can no more promise a review, except conditionally, than I can promise to preach from a given text. Whether good or bad, the reviews cost me much time and thought, and are written with great care. I have a large well-instructed and critical circle of readers, besides many cavilers and fault-finders; and I must not attempt subjects which I cannot handle Scripturally and experimentally. I may, if not just at present, take up the "Posthumous Letters", and the best time will be when the angel troubles the waters.
I feel much as you do about the truth of God. It is dear to me, and I can neither buy nor sell it, as men would have me. It is to be bought without money and without price, and to be sold for neither. It alone makes free. How can it then be parted with? Many of God's children are weak in judgment, and soon drawn aside, which should make us doubly desirous to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints. I am, through mercy, a little better, and have resumed preaching, but my chest is still tender. That and my own heart are my two greatest trials.
J. C. P.
October 13, 1856
To The Deacons and Members of the Church of Christ Assembling themselves for the worship of God at Gower Street Chapel, London, mercy, peace, and love be multiplied:
My dear friends,
Having taken into serious and prayerful consideration the expression of your desire that I should come among you for a season, with a view to a settlement as pastor over you in the Lord, if approved of by you, I have been obliged to come to the resolution to decline the proposal.
Two obstacles have, from the first, presented themselves to my mind, which I feel would be insuperable, unless specially removed by the Lord Himself.
1. The first is the delicate state of my health, in consequence of which I am sometimes laid aside from the public exercise of the ministry. This, which is much felt by my own people in the country, would be a serious objection in London, and with a large and more mixed congregation. Besides which, my general delicacy of health, and susceptibility to cold, would much hinder those pastoral visits, that attention to the sick, and interment, when needed, of members of the church, which would reasonably be required of a settled minister. Nor can I reasonably hope that, after so many years' duration of ill health, it is likely to improve with advancing life.
2. But, secondly, I have felt that, after having been settled over two churches and congregations for about eighteen years, among whom I trust the Lord has blessed my labors, I could not dissolve that connection, unless I had some clear intimation that such was the will of God.
My own people, both at Stamford and Oakham, have deeply felt even the idea of my leaving them, and have expressed their apprehension that such a step might, at least at one of the places, issue in the breaking up of the church altogether.
Unless therefore I clearly saw my way, and unless the pillar of cloud went more manifestly before me than it does, I feel I could not take a step so important as that to which you invite me.
There are indeed many circumstances, both as regards you and myself, which would have made your invitation acceptable to me, had these obstacles not intervened. But I am very certain that, to undertake such an important charge without clearly seeing the will and hand of God, would issue in sorrow and disappointment to both you and myself.
I am, my dear friends,
Yours affectionately in Christ,
J. C. P.
November 24th, 1856
My dear friend, Jesse Crake,
I hope this illness has not altogether been unprofitable to me, as during it I have had many seasons of prayer, meditation, and reading the Word with sweetness and feeling. There must be times, especially in a minister, for laying up, as well as laying out. There is a trading in divine matters, whereby the soul becomes enriched with heavenly treasure. Seclusion and solitude, of which I have had much, are favorable seasons for confession, meditation, and self-examination; and when the mind is solemnized with the weighty matters of eternity, prayer and supplication are made to the Lord for those blessings that we feelingly stand in need of. Much of my time, at various seasons during my illness, has been so spent. And there has been joined with it, at times, careful study of the Word of God, especially some of the Epistles of the New Testament.
The mind and judgment need to be informed and established in the truth of God; and a minister or writer who does not give his mind to the revelation of God's truth, and does not take solemn delight and pleasure therein, will not much feed the church of God. Here I see many ministers deficient in our day. There is so much gossiping and visiting from house to house, not as godly instructors, but for mere society's sake, that precious time is wasted, and the mind dissipated, until the soul becomes like the garden of the sluggard. My delicate health, it is true, in a good measure, keeps me from these things, and thus it may be, for this and other reasons, a blessing in disguise. . . .
J. C. P.
October 30, 1857
Dear Mr. Tips, friend and Brother in the Lord of Life and Glory,
I received and read with much interest and pleasure your gratifying letter, the whole of which I was able to make out with tolerable facility. But though I understand enough of the Dutch language to be able to read it, I am not sufficiently conversant with that tongue, as regards its idioms and grammar, to be able to write it. I therefore avail myself of your kind permission to write to you in my native tongue, which it appears you understand, and in which I hope to express myself in a manner intelligible to you and easy to myself.
The information which your truly interesting and spiritual letter contains, that very many of my sermons have been translated into Dutch, and widely circulated among the tried and afflicted people of God in your country, humbled and melted my soul before the Lord, and I was enabled to praise His holy name for His great goodness and wonderful condescension, in making use of so sinful and unworthy an instrument as myself, to spread abroad His gracious and glorious name, not only in my own country, but in a foreign land (2 Cor. 2:14).
It also led me to supplicate His gracious Majesty, that He would still go on to make use of me as an instrument in His hands, to spread the Gospel of His sovereign, distinguishing, and superabounding grace. What made the matter more surprising in my eyes, and showed me more clearly that it was the Lord's own work, was this circumstance, that I had no hand in the matter, and knew nothing of the work that was going on, until the pleasing news reached my ears. And it has been the same in this country; for with the exception of two or three little publications sent abroad by me twenty years ago, I have never had any hand in spreading my own sermons in this land, but have left the matter wholly in the hands of the Lord, as feeling if they were worthy to live and be spread, it would be done, and if not, let them die.
It may perhaps be interesting to you, and the readers of the sermons in Holland, to learn how they first came into public notice in this country. You are perhaps aware that I was brought up in the communion of the Church of England, our great national establishment, and was educated at the University of Oxford, where, to speak with all humility, I distinguished myself by my knowledge of Greek and Latin literature. I was ordained to the ministry in the Church of England in the year 1828, being then not quite twenty-six years of age. At that time I hope the Lord had, about a year and a half previously, quickened my soul into spiritual life, and taught me, by His Spirit and grace, something both of sin and of salvation. But my eyes were not then open to see the errors and corruptions of the National Church. I was much afflicted with illness in the years 1830 and 1831, and as eternal things came to lie with greater weight and power on my heart, and the Lord's work was deepened in my soul, I became led to see more clearly, and feel keenly, the errors and evils of the Church of England; and after some years of trial and prayer to the Lord to lead and guide me, I was compelled, in the Spring of 1835, to withdraw myself from its communion, though obliged to relinquish at the same time a comfortable living which I had in it, and to renounce all my prospects of future advancement, which were much bound up in it.
At that time I was in a most delicate state of health, without any property, or the prospect of any; but like Abraham, I went out at the call of God and conscience, not knowing where I went, and I was enabled, through rich grace, to esteem, with Moses, the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. A door however, in answer to the prayers of a spiritual friend, was soon opened for me to preach the gospel outside of the Church of England, and since that period my ministry has been among the Particular Baptists—a religious denomination in this country called by that name, as holding the baptism of believers only, and also holding that the Lord's Supper is, by Apostolic practice, restricted to baptized believers, holding those particular doctrines which are generally termed the doctrines of grace, and which were so clearly laid down by your forefathers at the Synod of Dort.
Since the year 1837, I have been in the habit of going to London once a year in the summer season, for the purpose of preaching the Gospel, as well as to other places, where I proclaim the Word of life; though my stated residence and ministry are chiefly at the town whence I date this letter, and another about twelve miles distant.
In the summer of 1839, being then in the metropolis on my annual visit, I preached a sermon at Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, which has lately been translated into Dutch by J. Nieuwland, and published by J. Campen of Sneek, in his "Eerste Zestal Leerredenen, von J. C. Philpot", from Psalm 106:4, 5, under the title—"De begeerte des harten van elken wedergeborene".
This sermon was taken down entirely without my knowledge, and printed in a publication called, "The Penny Pulpit", but I saw neither the MS. nor the printed sermon, until it was put into my hands. This sermon however, which was on the whole a faithful report, had a most rapid and amazing circulation, the sale having reached, I believe, nearly twenty editions. This circumstance, of course, encouraged the printer to work a mine, which seemed likely to yield him such profit, and thus since that date it has gone on, Mr. Paul and other publishers having availed themselves of my visits to London, to take down and publish the sermons which I have been enabled to preach there, so that they now amount to a considerable number, and many of them are out of print and cannot be procured. They have also been taken down at other places, and published in the same way. In all this matter I have taken no steps to have them reported, or to forward their sale; nor do I derive any pecuniary profit from them. But in order to secure myself from the unavoidable errors which would arise if I did not look them over, I make it a point to revise them before they are published, and thus they have all passed under my eye.
I have looked over those which you have kindly sent me through Mr. Bayfield, and as far as I have had time and opportunity to examine them, they appear for the most part faithfully and ably translated. The idiom of the two languages so much differs, that it is not possible always to preserve in Dutch the exact structure of the English sentences, in which much of the force and clearness of the English language consists. Nor is it possible in extempore preaching (all my sermons being delivered completely voor de vuist) to give that clearness and precision of thought and expression which can be communicated to a written discourse. Yet as far as the Lord enables me, I do what I can to make them clear, distinct, and forcible, that the trumpet may give a certain sound (1 Cor. 14:8). The sermons, I know, are much read in this country, and by all classes, both rich and poor, educated and uneducated. Knowing therefore how much the truths I preach are opposed to the carnal mind, and how gladly many would make me an offender for a word, I bestow what pains I can to cut off occasion from those who would seek occasion to wound, through me, the truth of the Gospel. At the same time, I bear in mind that whatever the sermons are, much more dwells in Christ, for "it has pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell" (Col. 1:19); and it is declared that "God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). It will be then our wisdom and mercy, to be ever looking unto this blessed Jesus (Isa. 14:2; Heb. 12:2); and to be living upon Him, as the Apostle declared, that he did (Gal. 2:20). It is in this way that we receive out of His fullness (John 1:16), feed upon His flesh, and drink His blood, and thus dwell in Him, and He in us (John 6:56). We should be much in prayer and supplication to the Lord for His own teaching and blessing. This is the direction given to us by James (1:5), and the same Apostle describes to us the blessed nature of that wisdom which is from above, and which, with every other good and perfect gift, comes down from the Father of lights (James 3:17; 1:17). The promise is—"All your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children" (Isa. 54:13); and the Lord Himself tells us what the effect of this divine teaching is (John 6:45). To come unto Jesus for salvation, for pardon, for peace, for sanctification, for victory over our besetting sins, is the fulfillment of the declaration, that every man who has heard, and who has learned of the Father, comes unto Christ (John 6:45). It is not a name, or a sound creed, or a mere calling Jesus "Lord", that can or will save the soul from death and hell. There must be a living faith, a good hope through grace (2 Thess. 2:16), and a spiritual love shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), in order that the soul may be saved and blessed. Thus it is not merely the soundness of his creed which distinguishes a Christian, but that work of the blessed Spirit upon his heart, whereby he knows the truth, and finds to his soul's joy that the truth makes free (John 7:32).
There is a blessed unity of spirit among all who are truly taught of God. They are loved by the same everlasting love, and redeemed by the same precious blood, are justified by the same righteousness, are led by the same Spirit, and are traveling toward the same happy and heavenly home. They all too speak the same language; for though in their time state one may speak English, another Dutch, and another German, yet they all speak a pure language, according to the Lord's own gracious promise (Zeph. 3:9).
I much thank you for your kind invitation to come to Rotterdam, but I cannot accept it, as I am so much engaged in the work of the ministry. Besides which my health is delicate, and has been so for many years, so that I cannot go about as many do, who are more favored with bodily health and strength. But the Lord has been pleased to spread my writings among those who know and love His truth, and I hope that they have been blessed to many.
My friends in England greatly rejoiced in the circumstance that my sermons had been translated into your native language, and spread among the believers in Christ Jesus in Holland. Many wept rejoicing tears over your letter, which I translated into English, and inserted in The Gospel Standard. As this periodical circulates nearly 10,000 copies, it made your letter widely read. I have been requested to insert in the same periodical my answer to it, but have not at present done so. It is a blessing to be fellow-helpers of each other's joy and fellow-laborers in the service of the same blessed Master. As there is a commercial connection between Holland and England, each interchanging with the other the commodities of life, so there may be, with the help and blessing of God, a spiritual exchange of those heavenly wares, the possession of which makes the owner rich indeed.
If anything spoken by my mouth, or written by my pen, has been blessed to my believing brethren and sisters in Holland, to the Lord be given all the praise, honor, and glory. It does not, it cannot, belong to me. Everything worth having, knowing, or enjoying is the pure gift of God, and to Him be rendered everlasting praise by the suffering saints below and the glorified spirits above.
My Christian love to your wife and all who love the Lord and His truth.
Yours affectionately in the truth of the Gospel,
J. C. P.
From The Gospel Standard,December 1, 1857
Good news from a far country–
I always feel a great unwillingness to obtrude myself on public notice more than absolute necessity may require, and have therefore considerable hesitation in bringing the following letters before the readers of The Gospel Standard; but as most of my friends who have read them have felt much interest in their perusal, and have rejoiced with me in the glad tidings communicated, I have been induced to comply with their expressed wishes to make them more widely known; and I hope in doing so, I desire to seek the glory of God. Apart from all personal considerations, it may rejoice our hearts to see that the Lord has a people in other countries as well as our own. Of course, where self is in question, it is extremely difficult to judge righteous judgment; but as I had not the least hand in the matter, and well know that the truths which I endeavor to set forth are only acceptable to the poor and needy children of God, I may well hope that the translation into Dutch of my sermons, and their great circulation in Holland, afford some evidence that the Lord has a people there who love and fear His name. A few words, however, of explanation may be necessary, to give a clearer understanding of the circumstances under which the first of the following letters was written.
I received some time ago a very kind and friendly letter from a minister in London, mentioning that he had, in the providence of God, a short time before, visited Holland, and that at Rotterdam he had met with a Dutch gentleman, who asked him if he knew me, and could furnish him with my address. On his answering in the affirmative, the gentleman showed him several volumes of my sermons which had been translated into Dutch, and which, he said, were much read and valued by the children of God in Holland. In my answer to his letter, as he had mentioned he was likely soon again to visit Rotterdam, I begged him to mention to his Dutch friend that I would be happy to receive a letter from him. The first letter, which I have translated from the Dutch as faithfully as the two languages, so different in idiom, admit, it will be seen was sent to me in consequence of this reply.
The second, which was written in English, was sent to me by one of the publishers of my sermons in the same country, and has no connection whatever with the first letter.
I cannot but say that I felt both humbled and softened in my soul at the receipt of these glad tidings, and was enabled to bless and praise the Lord's gracious name for His kind condescension in making any use of one so unworthy to take even His name into his polluted lips. Though my prayers and supplications have been up to the Lord, that He would bless me to the souls of His saints, yet I never sought even here in England, still less in a foreign land, to spread anything that fell from my lips or pen, knowing well how much the pride of the flesh and self-exaltation mingle with such matters, and being perfectly conscious that it is with the Lord alone to bless whom and what He will bless. My feeling has ever been this—if anything spoken or written in the Lord's name be worth living, He will make it live; if worth spreading, He will make it spread; if not, let it all die and come to nothing.
I felt also, as an additional reason for bringing forward the first letter, that it would be read with interest as unfolding a little of the present religious condition of Holland; and though a dark cloud of unbelief and infidelity broods over that land, yet there are evidently bright gleams that break through.
J. C. P., November 18, 1857
The following are the Dutch letters referred to—
"Respected Sir; It is now about three years since the glad news became generally spread among the people of God, that your sermons had been translated into Dutch, purchased by many people, and read and re-read by not a few with an insatiable pleasure—and this in consequence of the hunger which, by God's grace, is still felt by many in Holland—a hunger, not after natural bread, and a thirst, not after the water of the River Maas that flows by Rotterdam. Many a soul among that people, which in self is ever poor and wretched, has been revived and refreshed by the precious grain strewed by your hands; and the indispensable growth of that grain, which alone proceeds from God the Holy Spirit, is to the praise of free grace, both here and elsewhere not withheld.
"To me also was the privilege given to purchase one of your sermons, to read aloud to my wife and friends; and in truth, as a blessing attended it, this sermon, to use an expression of an excellent but departed friend, 'created a taste for more'. In consequence, I kept buying and reading one sermon after another, until I have now in my possession all your sermons (about fifty-four in number), which have been translated into Dutch, besides your answer to the question, 'What is it that saves a soul?'
"But just in proportion as I found and received more and more food for my soul from your sermons (and I must confess that in these things I live, and in them is the life of my spirit), there arose a strong involuntary desire in my heart to learn to know more about you. And every now and then among the people was the question asked—'Who is this J. C. Philpot, a man so taught by the Holy Spirit? Where and when did lie live? Is he still in this wilderness, or has he already entered into the heavenly Canaan?' These and several other questions about you were not seldom asked of me, and exchanged among us. But my inquiries continued fruitless; my questions remained unanswered; no one knew these particulars about you more than myself; and so my hope vanished like smoke, to become ever better acquainted with you.
"But wonderful even in this case have been the ways of God, as I have frequently found before by experience. When we give up all heart, when our counsel is all come to an end, that is often the Lord's time to appear. Just see it in this case. Some weeks ago, the Lord sent me a person whom you know, Mr. — from London. He happened to come to the counting-house of Messrs. —, where I am chief manager. When I learned that he was a preacher in London, I at once asked him if he were acquainted with you. 'Yes', was his answer, 'I know Mr. Philpot very well, and he is yet alive; but he does not live in London'. Upon this I related to him how your sermons had been translated into Dutch, and also what a great desire there was to buy and read them. I also told him how closely I felt knit to you in spirit; and I begged him, if possible, to favor me with your address and residence. 'That I certainly will do', was his answer. And now all that he promised is fulfilled; for through the free goodness of the Lord, and His providential disposing, I have now your address and place of abode in your own handwriting, for which I return you my friendly thanks.
"And now let me address myself more particularly to you. Forgive, respected Sir, the liberty taken by a stranger, unknown to you even by sight, and separated from you by the sea; but one who feels in and through the Spirit, that you in a spiritual sense are one of the same family. Forgive, and count it not amiss, that I take the liberty of writing to you these few lines; and in my opinion, I think I have a ready inducement so to do, since you in your letter to Mr. —, which I have read, use these striking words—'There were formerly in Holland many distinguished Christians; but I understand that vital godliness, for the most part, has sunk there to a very low ebb'.
"As you will remark, I have underlined your words, and feel willing to communicate to you something (for all is impossible) of our present state. But do you see with me in this point? And in the first place may I ask, 'Do you mean preachers and people, as well as the professors in the universities?' Alas! your supposition is too true, and is not a mere fancy. It is so. The 'peculiar people' are not now so numerous as they were formerly; and the doctrine of the Bible, and that of our fathers which was founded upon the Word of God, and compared with which they held life and goods cheap, is, sad to say, by their cowardly descendants, not only dragged in the mud, but trodden under foot. A pestilential teaching has thoroughly penetrated through all the higher and lower schools in Holland, so that even the precious Word of God is banished from the greater part of the schools; and through the venom so strewed, thousands are poisoned; and alas! through that circumstance, my beloved country, where God has wrought so many wonders, has thereby declared that it has no longer need of the God of its fathers. If Satan has thus mounted the throne, and if he rules as supreme among us (through the Lord's permission), and if God does not preserve us, we are all undone. If you would wish to read some account of the erroneous and lying spirit which is openly proclaimed in Holland as from the housetops, I will, with your permission, buy you a work of Mr. I. da Costa, entitled—What is taught and delivered by the Theological Faculty at Leyden; A Voice of Woe and Lamentation. By this you will perfectly understand the present religious condition of Holland, and will indeed see that there are not now so many Christians as formerly. But, through mercy, there are still a few men who blow the Gospel trumpet. There are still those who will not keep silence, but lift up their voice loudly in defense of the truth against these lies. There are still on Zion's walls, watchmen who pray earnestly for the peace of Jerusalem.
"You speak, in the second place, of the spiritual condition of Holland, and say that 'vital godliness is here at a low ebb'. If I do not mistake, I understand you to mean by the expression 'vital godliness', the inward spiritual life of the children of God. And alas! on this point generally one must speak with the mourning prophet—'Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep over the condition of Zion here!' Ah, how has the gold become dim! Much more is heard spoken about points of disunion and disagreement, than on points of agreement and union. These things should not so be. One says 'I am of Paul', another 'I of Apollos', and 'I of Cephas', and 'I of Christ'. And I ask sometimes with Paul, 'Is Christ divided?' Alas! this is the greatest of all our condemnation, that because the tongues are so confounded, the children of God do not understand each other now as once they did. But the Lord, the faithful Three-in-One covenant God, will Himself again once more arise to heal what is now so lamentably broken, and to gather together what is now so widely scattered. When? In His own time. 'Watchman, what of the night? The morning is come, and yet it is night' (Dutch translation). Come Lord, heal the breaches of Your people. O Lord Jesus! come quickly; redeem Israel from all her distresses. But God be thanked, for Jesus Christ's sake, His only and eternal Son, through the Holy Spirit, there are here, as in the days of the man of God, thousands who have not bowed their knee to Baal. There are both preachers and people who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.
"And—but what more shall I add? Already I have perhaps put your patience too much to the test, for this letter is already much longer than I intended when I began to write. Yet a few words more. Though we and our fathers have grievously sinned, and our sin and guilt, together with the guilt of the land and the church, press us sore, yet through the light which God the Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake, sheds abroad, we are at various moments deeply humbled, confess our guilt, and fall down into the dust; we mourn sore like doves, with this cry gushing out of the depth of the soul—'Pity us, O Lord! pity, and show mercy. To us belong shame and confusion of face, but righteousness belongs unto You. We have sinned. Do to us that which is good in Your eyes; only deliver us in our time, O Lord!' Surely the Lord does not deal with us after our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities. He is the Lord, merciful and gracious, patient, and abundant in goodness and truth, even to this day. Peace alone through the blood of the cross.
"Will you be so good, dear Sir, if the Lord will and give you time and inclination, as to send me a reply to my letter as early as possible. And may the Lord give you an understanding illuminated with divine light, that you may write such things as shall be suited to our necessities, and for the building up of our mourning Zion here upon her most holy faith. Tell me if a spiritual union has been formed between you and me; and do you feel disposed now and then, if the Lord will, to allow me the liberty of corresponding with you?
"I have procured, according to your request, some of your works which have been translated into Dutch, which I send to you through our friend. Send me word if they are all translated correctly and genuinely, and how you like the prefaces in Dutch which have been prefixed to some of your sermons; also if you are acquainted with the translators, and knew that so many had been translated.
"And now I have taken the liberty which you gave me in your letter to Mr. —, to write to you in Dutch, as I find that you are acquainted with that language, and I can express myself more readily in my mother tongue. If possible, write to me back in the same language; but if not, write to me in English.
Yours in the Lord,
G. T., Rotterdam, September 30, 1857."
(The preceding Letter was an answer to the above)
Having long ago intended to write to you, I take the liberty to do so now. I have become acquainted with your name by reading one of your sermons, on Psalm 43:3—'Send forth Your light and Your truth'. This sermon I have translated into Dutch; and because I found so much excellent and precious truth in it, I have published it at a very low price, as I thought that in our country just such sermons were needed. Not that we have not, even here in Holland, faithful watchmen. Oh, yes, thanks be to God, who continues to supply us with some! I say 'some', in comparison to the many who ought to be shepherds of the flock of Christ—and it is sad to say, they are wolves, trying to disperse the flock, and they do not practice the word of the prophet Isaiah—'Comfort, comfort My people, says your God'. Since then I have also published a few more of your sermons, and must tell you, Sir, that the people of God find food convenient for them therein. They say—'Oh give, give! supply us with the sermons of J. C. Philpot'. And now those sermons are among the most celebrated and extensively read in our country.
"I should feel infinitely obliged to you, Sir, if I might have all your sermons and other writings; and my request is that you will go on publishing sermons. May the Lord, who gives so great a blessing on these sermons, continue to make them serviceable to the extension of His kingdom; and that His poor people may long be fed with them, is my sincere wish. The Lord, who has His children everywhere, and makes the one a means of comfort to another, move your heart to send me a reply; for besides myself, there are a great many friends who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, who would feel honored to receive an answer to these lines.
Trusting to your kindness for sending me an answer very soon,
Your humble Servant and Brother in Christ Jesus,
H. B., October 16, 1857."