Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Way of Duty

A selection from a letter by Benjamin Morgan Palmer to his daughter, Anna, May 1, 1867, expressing disappointment at the cancellation of an anticipated trip to England:

It would have been delightful to travel with such companions [wife and daughters], and with the expectation of such a greeting in the land of my forefathers—but Providence has ordained a disappointment, and we are happiest, at least, in the way of duty.

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, Banner of Truth, p. 379.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Speaking and Thinking of Christ

A selection from a letter by Thomas Charles, to Mr. and Mrs. John Walker, of Chester, England (no date):

I am glad that it is my employment through life to speak of Him to helpless sinners. I am glad that others can speak better of Him than I can. But He is infinitely beyond what any of us can think or speak; and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves when we speak with the most light and warmth of Him. The more we know of Him, the less we shall think of our knowledge of Him, and the more we shall long to grow in the knowledge of Him.

Thomas Charles’ Spiritual Counsels: Selected from his Letters and Papers, by Edward Morgan, first published in 1836, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 330.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Much Easier

From the pen of J. C. Philpot, to his friend Mr. Godwin, April 4, 1848:

But I can assure you, my dear friend, that I find it a much easier thing to get guilt on my conscience than get it off again; and more easy to talk about and lament one’s darkness and deadness that get life and light into the soul.

Letters and Memoir of Joseph Charles Philpot, first published in 1871, reprinted by Baker Book House, 1981, p. 207.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I Heard Spurgeon

A selection from a letter by Frances Ridley Havergal to her sister, Maria, written in the summer of 1867:

I heard Spurgeon on Sunday A.M. Magnificant! I don’t recollect ever hearing anything finer… That “Tabernacle” is certainly one of the most remarkable sights in the world—the end of the season and London half empty, but it was thronged, and always is, twice every Sunday; and more than half are men, and intellectual-looking ones too.

Letters by the Late Frances Ridley Havergal, edited by her sister, Maria V. G. Havergal, first published in 1885, reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, p. 64.

Monday, January 21, 2008

No Rest But in the Grave

An extract from a letter by Patrick Hues Mell, Baptist preacher and Chancellor of the University of Georgia, to his son prior to his death, written on December 15, 1887:

My health is bad. I have broken myself down by overwork. My doctor orders me off for the recess. Many of the Trustees urge me to take a month’s rest; but I cannot do so, my colleagues are already overworked, and my classes would suffer. There is no rest for me but in the grave.

Life of Patrick Hues Mell, by his son, P. H. Mell, Jr., first published in 1895, reprinted by Gano Books, 1991, p. 248.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Plead For Me

From a letter by Rev. Henry Venn, to Mrs. Medhurst, informing her of his wife’s death, written on September 11, 1767:

Plead for me with our God and Saviour! He has made me very desolate; this day I am become a widower, and have lost as much as could be lost in the name of wife and mother. She testified how true the Lord, her strength, was; and spoke good of His name; and of her readiness and willingness to depart, having seen His great salvation… Jesus, hold me by thy right hand, till I reach the same blessed haven!

Letters of Henry Venn, by John Venn, first published in 1835, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 137.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

He Doeth All Things Well

From a letter by Mrs. Henry Venn, to her husband, who was away when she was stricken with an illness that ultimately brought about her death. It was written in August, 1767:

Remember, my dear, He doeth all things well. I feel it to be so at this present moment. I trust this loving Father will still give us another meeting here below; if not, you know we have often surrendered ourselves and each other to His all-wise disposal; and he cannot but do right. I feel His love to me at this time, though faintly, through the earthly clogs to which my flesh cleaves fast.

Letters of Henry Venn, by John Venn, first published in 1835, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 135.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Daily Exercises

A letter from John Calvin to William Rabot, July 14, 1550, a student of law at the University of Padua:

As I understand from your letter, that it is not very long since the Lord shed the light of His gospel on you, I could not give a fitter expression of my love towards you, than by exhorting and encouraging you to daily exercises. For we see sparks of piety immediately disappear which had shone forth on many occasions; because, instead of increasing the flame, they rather extinguish what little light the Spirit of God had enkindled in them, by the empty allurements of the world, or the irregular desires of the flesh. That nothing of this kind may happen to you, you must first of all give devoted submission to the will of the Lord, and in the next place, you must fortify yourself by His sacred doctrines.

Letters from John Calvin: Selected from the Bonnet Edition, the Banner of Truth, 1980, p. 118.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fears and Corruptions

A selection from a letter by Thomas Chalmers, Free Church of Scotland minister, to Jane Morton, February 6, 1824:

I am more persuaded than ever of the nothingness of man, that his wisdom consists in reliance upon God, in closing with Him as his reconciled Father in Christ Jesus, and casting the whole burden both of his fears and of his corruptions on that Saviour whose blood should wholly dissipate the one, and wholly cleanse from the other.

Letters of Thomas Chalmers, edited by William Hanna, first published 1853, reprinted by The Banner of Truth, 2007, pp. 189-190.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Revival Began

From the pen of Isaac Backus to Rev. Benjamin Wallin of London, November 16, 1764:

In the town of Providence, which is very populous, and which has been a place of much profaneness and irreligion, a revival began about the middle of last winter, and increased through the spring, and has affected all sorts of people. Some deists, leaders in gaming, and many profane persons, as well as others more civil, have been hopefully converted. I have been among them sundry times, and the joy of seeing such a marvelous change in the town, is better felt than expressed. To hear the profane praising Jesus, to see the irreligious thronging to a place of divine worship, and to discover such a heavenly temper in many, was surely enough to fill a cold heart with love and praise.

A Memoir of the Life and Times of the Rev. Isaac Backus, A.M., by Alvah Hovey, 1858, republished by Gano Books, 1991, p. 142.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

True Christianity

From the pen of Martyn Lloyd-Jones to his mother, May 17, 1948:

Anything short of preaching that Christ is the Son of God and that His death and resurrection save us is not true Christianity.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Letters 1919-1981, Selected with Notes, by Ian H. Murray, Banner of Truth, 1994, p. 108.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Translation of Scriptures

A selection from a letter written by missionary to India, William Carey, to pastor John Ryland in England, July 17, 1806:

We are all in good health and spirits, and live in love. I account the translations of S. [Sanskrit] Scriptures the great business of my life.

The Journal and Selected Letters of William Carey, collected and edited by Terry G. Carter, Smyth & Helwys, 2000, p. 98.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Intensely Serious

Extract from a letter by Rev. William Still to his congregation, Gilcomston South Church of Scotland, May, 1954:

No one doubts that our Lord was intensely human, and had a glorious sense of humour, but it is largely concealed in the Word! And rightly so, for no one who has caught the heart-beat of the eternal God in the agony of Calvary and who is called to communicate the Word will have time or inclination to be any other than intensely serious. Paul and Peter frequently affirm that we must be sober-minded! Away then, with all this silly theatrical display of human personality in Christian work, and let us rather wait to weep than laugh. There is need of it today! And yet, the opposite of carnal frivolity is not always tears, but often radiance.

The Letters of William Still, Banner of Truth, 1984, pp. 49-50.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Seek Grace

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

Let not, then, our deceitful hearts be entangled with the trifles of earth; but seek grace to discharge every relative duty with a single eye to His glory.

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. 106.