My dear Friend,—I received your kind and welcome letter this morning. Last evening I felt you to be much on my mind; and I thought if the Lord spared me until today, I would drop you a line.
I have only been at home two Lord's days since I left your house; and I can tell you I have felt very weary of my life many times since I saw you last, and have had some hard plunges, deep sinkings, sore conflicts, sharp battles, heavy burdens, powerful temptations, trying crosses, strong oppositions, hard struggles, fearful apprehensions of soul, and perplexing cares. I have seen many fresh faces, and many have risen up in arms against me, and have tried to shake me out of my religion; but the more they have tried to move me, the more I have seen the hand of the Lord with me, and the more I have felt his truth confirmed within me. For when they persecute, the more the Word grows and multiplies.
I trust that God the Holy Ghost hath wrought that in my soul that neither the sins of my base heart, nor yet mine enemies, nor all the devils in hell, can ever touch or root out. No! "Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." Then, my dear friend, what a mercy it is for you and me that the Holy Ghost shed abroad this love in our hearts; which is an evidence and a token that the Lord has loved us with an everlasting love, and therefore it is with loving kindness that he has drawn us to himself, and is still drawing us after himself. I see by yours that you still feel it to be hard following after him, and have many fainting-fits of unbelief, are plagued with indwelling sin, and tried about the manifestations that you have had, whether they were real or not, because you have lost the sweetness and savor of them, and that the dew did not lie upon the branch of your soul long enough to satisfy your spirit. Well, my dear friend, did the sweetness, comfort, and savor of the blessing satisfy your soul whilst you were feeling it? Did it not draw up your heart and affections to the Friend of sinners? And does it not make you spiritually-minded? Did you not then feel dead to the world, and dead to a mere profession of religion, and your soul alive in the full possession of the grace, mercy, and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ? Did not everything here below then seem burdensome to your soul? Was not your conscience made tender in the fear of God? And did you not then hate sinful self, and also righteous self? Yea, I am sure you did. I have seen enough of you to believe that your religion does not stand in a mere form, but in life and power. The Lord, I believe, has given you a tender conscience. Where I can see no conscience I think but very little of a man's religion. And what grounds are there for us to think anything of any one's religion if there are no outward marks and signs of grace? Sure I am that where there are internal evidences there must be external signs; and although we, like the church of old, can't see any signs, yet others can see them. May the Lord work powerfully in our hearts, and bless our souls with more grace; grace to seek, grace to watch, grace to wait, grace to fear, grace to serve, grace to love, grace to humble, grace to deny self, grace to see, grace to hear, grace to feel, grace to understand, grace to support us, grace to bear us up, and grace to keep us under all our temptations and trials. Then sure I am that we shall be safe and saved from all our enemies.
I see that your wife has been baptized. May the Lord baptize her soul with the Holy Ghost and with fire again and again.
Pewsey, April 11th, 1845.
Yours affectionately, T. GODWIN.