Friday, September 28, 2007


From Maggie Paton, wife of missionary to the New Hebrides, John Paton, to her sister, about what a native called her husband, November 3, 1875:

We were amused at his calling him Cap’ain, evidently intending it as a great compliment to John, who would scorn to put even the title of King on a par with that of MISSIONARY!

Letters and Sketches from the New Hebrides, by Maggie Whitecross Paton, printed by Reformation Heritage Books and Sprinkle Publications, 2003, p. 237.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Happiness of Man

From a letter by Henry Venn, Church of England minister, to a friend, September 22, 1766:

Strange as it sounds, and worse than nonsense, in the ears of a carnal man, yet it is most true, that the happiness of man consists in his humbling views of his own sinfulness; and he enjoys the presence and the love of God deeply in his heart, only in proportion as he feels himself deserving of hell.

Letters of Henry Venn, by John Venn, first published in 1835, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 116.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Had Not He Stretched Forth His Hand

From the pen of John Calvin, about the death of his wife, to his friend, William Farel, April 11, 1549:

May the Lord Jesus strengthen you by His Spirit; and may He support me also under this heavy affliction, which would certainly have overcome me, had not He, who raises up the prostrate, strengthens the weak, and refreshes the weary, stretched forth His hand from heaven to me.

Letters from John Calvin: Selected from the Bonnet Edition, the Banner of Truth, 1980, p. 107-108.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It Is A Wonder

Extract from a letter by the New England Baptist preacher, John Leland, to Rev. John Taylor, Dec. 10, 1830:

On a serious reflection, I cannot much condemn myself, that I have not devoted as much of my time in my ministerial labors, as human and civil duties admitted; but, have much cause of self-condemnation when I reflect on the languor of soul, and indifference of spirit that have beset me when preaching eternal realities. It is a wonder that ever a holy God should have crowned my imperfect labors with any success; and yet, amidst all, I have great joy to think that I have not altogether ‘run in vain, nor labored in vain.’

The Writings of the Late Elder John Leland, 1845, reprinted by Church History Research and Archives, 1986, p. 602.

Monday, September 24, 2007


From the pen of Thomas Chalmers, to his friend Robert Brown, April 17, 1832, upon the death of Brown’s mother:

Nothing brings home more experimentally to my heart the lesson of my native carnality than the constant need which there is of having the doctrine of mortality so repeatedly told to me; and it does shew how prone we are to cleave to the dust of a perishable world, that though told of death over and over again, yet do we persist in living here as if here we were to live forever.

Letters of Thomas Chalmers, edited by William Hanna, first published 1853, reprinted by The Banner of Truth, 2007, p. 181.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Worth of Souls

From the pen of Isaac Backus to his mother regarding the awakening of several sinners who were seeking Christ, written on September 27, 1762:

I daily look upon myself as a vile creature, yet the worth of souls and the great concerns of the kingdom of Christ, have, I think, engaged my mind as fully as ever in my life, to labor in his vineyard. Oh, these are golden moments, and woe to those who trifle them away.

A Memoir of the Life and Times of the Rev. Isaac Backus, by Alvah Hovey, 1858, republished by Gano Books, 1991, p. 138.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Most Momentous News of All

From a letter by Martyn Lloyd-Jones to his son-in-law and daughter, Fred and Elizabeth Catherwood, April 5, 1954, about the sermon he preached the night before from Acts 17:1-3:

My theme in general was this: Paul did not discuss the questions of the day but always preached Jesus. His method is important… He ‘opened’ the Scriptures, then reasoned in them and then alleged or propounded his message that Jesus is the Christ. It is the most momentous news of all.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Letters 1919-1981, Selected with Notes, by Ian H. Murray, Banner of Truth, 1994, p. 119.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


From the pen of Jonathan Edwards to Deborah Hatheway, a teenager who had been converted in a revival in the spring of 1741, and turned to him for spiritual advice since her church was without a pastor. The letter was written on June 3, 1741:

Remember that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the soul’s peace and of sweet communion with Christ. It was the first sin committed and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan’s whole building, and is with the greatest difficulty rooted out, and is the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts, and often creeps insensibly into the midst of religion, even, sometimes, under the disguise of humility itself.

A Sweet Flame: Piety in the Letters of Jonathan Edwards, edited and introduced by Michael A. G. Haykin, Reformation Heritage Books, 2007, pp. 44-45.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Work While it is Day

Excerpt from a letter by William Carey to his Son, Jabez, February 3, 1817:

What need have we to work while it is day. The night of death will soon come when none of us can work. I look with deep regret on my past life and am ashamed to see what a loiterer I have been.

The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, collected and edited by Terry G. Carter, Smyth & Helwys, 2000, p. 100.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nothing Else but the Word

A selection from a pastoral letter by William Still to his congregation, Gilcomston South Church of Scotland, Aberdeen, April, 1970:

There is not a situation in Christ’s church in the whole wide world that cannot be dealt with by the Word of God. There is nothing else to deal with it. What other authority or means have we for dealing with evils but God’s Word? That Word, if we ransack it from cover to cover, has the very word for our situation.

The Letters of William Still, Banner of Truth, 1984, p. 102.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tribulation and Sorrow

From the pen of Mary Winslow (1774-1854) to a friend:

Life to me has had its great and precious blessings, but tribulation and sorrow have followed me, and yet not one stroke that was not needful. Christ has been in them all—His love has sweetened all—His presence has comforted me through them all—and His grace has sustained me under them all.

Heaven Opened: A Selection from the Correspondence of Mrs. Mary Winslow, edited by her son, Octavius Winslow, 1864, reprinted by Reformation Heritage Books, 2001, p. 107.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Christ and Free Grace

A selection from a letter by Samuel Rutherford, written from jail to John Laurie, June 10, 1637:

I counsel you to think highly of Christ, and of free, free grace, more than ye did before.

Letters of Samuel Rutherford, With a Sketch of his Life and Biographical Notices of His Correspondents, by Andrew A. Bonar, first published in 1664, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1984, p. 331.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Divine Blessing

From a letter by John A Broadus to his wife, Maria Broadus, June 4, 1853:

I know that I am grievously prone to overestimate men’s opinion of me and lamentably inclined to be vain when I ought to be humble. Pray for me, Maria, that a little applause may not be permitted to turn my weak head and bewitch my silly heart in that I may remember my nothingness and my entire dependence for all true success on the Divine blessing, and that more than anything else I may carry back an increased desire to labor for the conversion of men to Christ.

Life and Letters of John Albert Broadus, by Archibald Thomas Robertson, 1901, reprinted by Gano Books, 1987, p. 109.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Predestined to Take Advice

Extract from a letter by Augustus Toplady to Mrs. Macaulay, June 11, 1773, who after exhorting her to watch after her health, said:

Say not, ‘How does this advice comport with your doctrine of predestination?’ For I hope you are predestinated to take the advice; and that a predestinated old age will be the result. Our friend, Mr. Northcote, sometimes says, ‘Mr. Toplady believes absolute predestination; and yet he is loth to ride on horseback, for fear of breaking his neck.’ I answer, ‘True.’ And, perhaps, that very fear may be an appointed means of preserving my neck unbroken.

The Works of Augustus Toplady, Bookshelf Publications, reprint from the 1794 edition, pp. 844-45.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

True Religion

From the pen of John Newton to Rev. Thomas Scott, June 23, 1775:

People may, by industry and natural abilities, make themselves masters of the external evidences of Christianity, and have much to say for and against different schemes and systems of sentiments; but all this while the heart remains untouched. True religion is not a science of the head, so much as an inward and heart-felt perception…

Letters of John Newton: with Biographical Sketches and Notes, by Josiah Bull, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, p. 247.

Monday, September 10, 2007

In the Furnace

A selection from a letter by Elizabeth Prentiss to Miss Eliza A. Warner, September 27, 1868:

Some of His children must go into the furnace to testify that the Son of God is there with them; I do not know why I should insist on not being one of them.

More Love to Thee: The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss, George Lewis Prentiss, reprinted by Solid Ground Christian Books, p. 247.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Hold Christ

From a letter by Andrew Fuller to the Baptist Church in Kettering, September 22, 1782, who had called him to be their pastor:

Hold Christ and your religion with a close hand, but me and every other creature with a loose one! God can bless you without me, and blast you with me!

The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller, edited and introduced by Michael A. G. Haykin, Joshua Press, p. 85.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Counsel to a Son About Baptism

From the pen of David Kinghorn to his son, Joseph Kinghorn, who had openly professed faith in Christ and was desirous of baptism. The letter was written on October 14, 1782:

Every ordinance of divine appointment ought to be attended to with seriousness and caution, and, as you observe, with prayer for the divine presence and blessing. Two things are necessary antecedents to it: First, a sense of our lost condition by the fall, and our inability to recommend ourselves to the favour of God by and duties or acts of obedience we are able to perform. Second, a hearty reception of, and dependence on Jesus Christ for salvation. Without the first, the second cannot be; nor can the first be of any advantage without the second—therefore both must go together, and obedience to the precepts of Christ will flow from love, not from slavish fear, if he is viewed and depended on, as an able, all-sufficient Saviour, and loved as such…

The Life and Works of Joseph Kinghorn, by Martin Hood Wilkin, reprinted by Particular Baptist Press, 1995, pp. 44-45.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


A selection from a letter by A. W. Pink to John Culver:

One book read slowly, mediated upon and assimilated, is worth twenty skimmed through hurriedly.

The Life of Arthur W. Pink, Ian Murray, Banner of Truth, p. 137.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Prophetic Initials

An extract from a letter by C. H. Spurgeon to James S Watts, August 25, 1854:

A friend has, in a letter, expressed his hope that my initials may be prophetic –


I can truly say they are, for I have comfort in my soul, happiness in my work, and satisfaction with my glorious Lord.

(Letters of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Selected with Notes, by Iain H. Murray, Banner of Truth, p. 53)