Friday, August 14, 2009

Delight In Being Heirs Together of the Grace of Life

A selection from a letter by Rev. J. H. Thornwell to his wife, Nancy. In The Life and Letters of J. H. Thornwell by B. M. Palmer, six letters are printed which he wrote to his wife during a summer trip to Europe in 1841. He wrote her from England, Scotland and France. The letters reveal how close they were. He referred to her as “my dearest, most precious Nancy.” He said she was “ten thousand times dearer to me than all the world besides.” But in one letter, written from Glasgow, he shared how he hoped that they would have a better spiritual relationship together. The letter was written July 15.

It is with heartfelt pleasure that I sit down to hold communication with her whom my soul loves, in the only way which is now left me. I feel that, in your affections, I possess a prize of inestimable value; and I look forward, with interest and delight, to the renewed joys which we shall experience in the society of each other, when God shall bring us together again, after our long and painful separation.

I have thought much of the best methods of sanctifying our love, and of being fellow-helpers to each other in our heavenly pilgrimage. I feel a renewed obligation, from God’s great goodness to me since I left home, to devote myself wholly, unreservedly, to His service and glory. He has protected me from danger, and has, I trust, entirely restored my health. What can I render to Him but that life which He has preserved, that health which He has restored, and that strength which He has increased?

Let us both endeavour to be more holy, watchful and devoted; let us endeavour to build each other up in the most holy faith. I am afraid that, in past times, our intercourse has not been sufficiently of a religious character. We have both been a little shy in communicating our spiritual states, our joys or sorrows, our hopes and fears. If there has been an error of this sort, let us try to correct it hereafter, and delight more in being heirs together of the grace of life. It is my earnest prayer that God may give us grace to glorify His name in all things.

The Life and Letters of James Henley Thornwell, by B. H. Palmer, first published in 1875, republished by the Banner of Truth, 1974, p. 175.

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