MY DEAR, FRIEND, — Through mercy I am brought on thus far. Who may fall this year by the scythe of death? Eternity! what a word! It will be well with the righteous. No man can do anything towards making himself a saint. What promises in God's word for the godly and the saints. Riches and honors of this world are light in the scales of those who fear God, and can really believe that they are interested in 'the sure mercies of David.' There is nothing in this world can afford true happiness. What various ways there are by which all such expectations may be blighted! How often those who envy the rich and great do wrong. How Asaph found he formed a wrong judgment, when he went into the sanctuary of the Lord, and saw they were in slippery places, and quickly went to hell. What solemn warnings we have in God's word! but what little real faith we have; if we had more precious faith in Christ, and loved him more, we should not want to please the world so much by what we say and do.
It seems you have had your share of trials and exercises since you came to Oakham. God's plans will be carried out, and sometimes we scarcely know what God's will is. There are motives as well as plans; it is a mercy when a man wishes to please God in what he says and does.
Through mercy I have my soul revived at times, and I can see, in some measure, vanity and vexation stamped upon what the world calls good and great. I am no worse I hope; I have a troublesome cough, and this severe weather tries invalids. My voice is much the same. A long affliction tries patience. I need divine blessings to reconcile me to my present position. If I am spared to preach again, I hope that I shall be more faithful, and I hope that I shall exalt Christ more. I wish that I could love him more and more. We are what we are by the grace of God. How Paul speaks of having grace to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. How few think or talk of such preaching. It is a great honor to be an instrument of good in the Lord's hands. What a very great mercy to be made fit for heaven! There is a fitness. What do we know of ourselves, and what do we know of Christ by the Spirit's teaching! What a great work is the work of God on a sinner's soul!
Friend Doe and his brother have been to Oakham. Mr. D. was well heard. Mr. and Mrs. K. have lost a son, a surgeon, about 31 years of age, after a short illness. What a warning! They send their love.
I thank you for your coming to see me, and for all your kindnesses.
Give my love to enquiring friends. — Yours affectionately,
Oakkam, Rutland, Jan. 7, 1864. WM. TIPTAFT.