Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hope the Best

A selection from a letter by John Newton to John Ryland, Jr. Newton made reference to Ryland's son, John Tyler Ryland, who was about one year old at the time, who was gravely ill. Mr. Newton expressed his hope that all might be well with the lad and exhorted his father to do the same. The letter was written October 26, 1787.

I hope your little boy will live to be a comfort to you; perhaps he may preach the gospel, when you can no longer speak. However this may be, devote and entrust him to the Lord, and he will take care of him. Sufficient to the present day is the evil thereof [Matthew 6:34]. Why should you burden yourself by looking a great while forward to peradventures and possibilities? Hope the best; and when you meet with a dark cloud, wait and expect to see, in due time, a rainbow painted upon it, or a light and glory springing out of it.

Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letter to John Ryland, Jr., edited by Grant Gordon, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009, letter #40, pp. 194-95.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

As Though They Were The Same Age

A portion of a letter from William Falkner to his mother, while visiting a few countries in Europe in 1925. While in Paris, he observed the sweetness of family life one afternoon among French families visiting Luxembourg Gardens. What he saw and conveyed to his mother so beautifully, pictures what family life ought to be. The letter was written August 18, 1925.

I have a nice room just around the corner from the Luxembourg gardens, where I can sit and write and watch the children. Everything in the gardens is for children—its beautiful the way the French love their babies. They treat children as though they were the same age as the grown-ups—they walk along the street together, a man or a woman and a child, talking and laughing together as though they were the same age.

Selected Letter of William Faulkner, edited by Joseph Blotner, Random House, 1977, p. 13.

Friday, April 1, 2011


A selection from a letter by John Broadus to his good friend and co-laborer in teaching, J. P. Boyce. Boyce was president of the Baptist seminary in Greenville, SC. He was responsible for raising funds for the relocation of the school to Louisville, KY. His task was difficult. He faced, in the words of Tom Nettles, "post-Civil War distress, Landmark contrariness, and institutional suspicion." These things made it difficult to secure sufficient financial interest in the school. At a particularly low point, Broadus wrote a letter to boost his low spirits. Eventually Boyce met with success but his endurance through the difficult days was helped by the encouragement of friends like Broadus. The letter was written March 4, 1873.

I do not wonder that you sometimes feel discouraged, painfully. The task is difficult, and the kind of opposition encountered is very depressing. But life is always a battle. My dear Fellow, nobody but you can do this thing. I believe you can do it, and it will be, all things considered, one of the great achievements of our time. To have carried it through will be a comfort and a pleasure to you through life, a matter of joy and pride to many who love and honor you, an occasion of thanksgiving through eternity. Opposition—every good thing encounters opposition. Think of Paul, of Jesus! Nay, Nay, no such words as fail. Somehow, somehow, you are bound to succeed.

James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman, by Thomas J. Nettles, P & R Publishing, 2009, p. 255.