A selection from a letter to Robert L. Dabney by his mentor, Rev. William S. White, of Lexington, Virginia. Dabney was a young pastor and was in depression of spirits. Rev. White wrote to encourage him in the work of preaching. The letter was written on January 26, 1849:
Remember that it is ‘neither the first blow nor the last that fells the oak.’ Therefore, strike away, and the tree will fall and the forest be cleared. I know no means of building up and extending the borders of Zion but the truth studied, learned, communicated, and then followed by prayer. Preach as if your preaching was everything, and then pray as if it were nothing. If I could not rest in this view, I should despair.
The Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, by Thomas Cary Johnson, first published in 1903, reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust, 1977, p. 111.