Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It Is Best to Fall Into His Hands

A selection from a letter by J. C. Philpot to his friend, Mr. Tanner. Philpot was a Strict Baptist pastor and editor of the Gospel Standard magazine. His letters are filled with spiritual counsel of a high quality. He began this letter by reminding his friend that it is better "to suffer from the Lord than to sin against the Lord." The letter was written November 22, 1861.

Our coward flesh shrinks from every affliction and trial, and even though we may have proved in times past that there has been a blessing couched in them, yet our heart murmurs and frets under the weight of the cross. But the Lord, like a wise parent, does not consult us as to where, when, or how He may lay on the chastising stroke. It is best, therefore, to fall into His hands, and to lie at His feet begging that He will sanctify to us every afflicting stroke, not lay upon us more than we can bear, and remove the trial when it has done its appointed work. Of one thing I am very sure, that it is far better to suffer from the Lord than to sin against the Lord. There is no evil which we need really fear except sin; and, though the Lord, in tender mercy, forgives His erring, wandering children, yet He makes them all deeply feel that indeed it is an evil and a bitter thing to sin against Him.

Letters by the Late Joseph Charles Philpot with a Brief Memoir of His Life and Labours, London, 1871, p. 338.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Beautiful Land; A Needy People

A selection from a letter by missionary and doctor to Africa, David Livingstone, to J. H. Parker of Homerton College, London. Livingstone had gone to Mabotsa, and area near where another missionary, Robert Moffat, had been. He gives a description of the lovely countryside but comments on the spiritual condition of the people. The letter was written May 11, 1844.

We came here in Feb last and have fairly made a commencement among the Bakhatla. Our cottage is built about 30 miles North West of what is called the Kurechane. We are in a delightful part of the country. Mr. Moffat's description of the region to the East of us answers in almost every respect to our locality. We have fine scenery, the vegetation luxuriant – the mountains covered with trees (many of them evergreens) to their very summits and abundance of excellent water. But when we think of its moral aspect it is as yet a land of darkness – a {vast} howling wilderness which has never yielded any of those fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father.

This letter is found in a collection of Livingstone's letters now online at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cling Only to Him

Jonathan Watson gave a few samples of letters written by Alexis baron von Roenne in the March, 2011 edition of The Banner of Truth magazine (pp. 21-27). Alexis baron bon Roenne was born in Prussia in 1902 [03?] and was a career officer in the German army. He opposed Nazism and was later implicated in an assassination attempt of Hitler, of which he was not guilty, yet he was executed. He had strong Christian convictions and died with great faith in Christ on October 12, 1944. This letter was written to his wife on the day of his death.

My dearest beloved:

In a moment now I shall be going home to our Lord in complete calm and in the certainty of salvation. My thoughts are with you, with all of you, with the very greatest love and gratitude.

As my last wish, I entreat you only to cling to Him and to have full confidence in Him; He loves you.

Any decision you may take for all of you, after prayer, has my complete sanction and my blessing. If only you knew with what inconceivable loyalty He is standing by my side at this moment, you would be armoured, and calm, for all your difficult life. He will give you strength for everything.

I bless both of our beloved children, and include them in my last ardent prayer. May the Lord let His countenance shine upon them and lead them home.

Heartfelt greetings and thanks to my beloved Mama, to your parents and my brothers and sisters. May they, safeguarded by Him, survive even difficult times in our ardently beloved fatherland.

To you, my very dearest of all, belong my ardent love and thanks to the last moment and until our blessed reunion.

God keep you.

Dying We Live: The Final Messages and Records of Some Germans Who Defied Hitler, edited by Helmut Gollwitzer, Kathe Kuhn, Reinhold Schneider, translated by R. C. Kuhn, Harvill Press, London, 1956.