LETTERS OF WILLIAM TIPTAFT (1831)
January 8, 1831
My dear Brother,I am very anxious to hear how the work of grace is going on in your hearts, whether you prove all things and hold fast that which is good. The way to heaven is strait and narrow, and Satan is an unwearied adversary, in disputing every inch of the way. You will be much despised and cast out for Christ's sake, and nothing will offend more than separating yourselves as much as possible from carnal people. It is the life which condemns the professing world. When the world sees you unmoved by the riches and the pleasures which it so much adores; when you are led by the Spirit "to count all things but rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord"; when you prove the light which you have to be from above, by giving you a single eye to God's glory, you must expect then to bear reproaches from the Hagar race.
I hope and trust you study much the word of God. When you read that, you know that you are on safe ground, and you can say to Satan and his allies, "It is written." There is but very little true religion anywhere. Our hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and the Scripture, which cannot be broken, tells us that the righteous scarcely are saved. It is a very narrow way to heaven, and if we enter in, it will be entirely by the grace of God. You will be led to see how vain the doctrines of the Arminians are.
It is very plain that the world is too much in the hearts of Christians, and Satan covers over covetousness under the name of prudence. How Christians compare themselves one with another, instead of with the word of God; but God has a people, whom He will separate from the world. He will show them, by His blessed Spirit, what He has done for them through our Lord Jesus Christ, as Paul says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." Happy and blessed are they who have not the spirit of the world ruling in their hearts, but the Spirit of God, so that they may understand the things which are freely given to them, such as justification through the blood of Christ, pardon of our every sin, promises of help, support, and strength to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and a certainty of our being more than conquerors through him who died that we might live, who was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
I am very anxious to hear from you, and to know whether the word comes to you with power, and with the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. It must be a great source of joy and delight that you and your wife think alike, that you are both agreed that salvation is of grace, and grace alone, that you can provoke one another unto love and good works, and cheer one another under the temptations of Satan and the persecution of a wicked world. You must be partakers of the sufferings of your great Master, so shall you also of His consolations, and He will never leave you nor forsake you.
I have spent this winter very pleasantly, being blessed with such a valuable friend as Philpot for my companion. He is a very highly gifted man, but he desires to present his body a living sacrifice unto Christ. He is delicate in health, and is affected with a pain in his chest. He will continue with me during the winter, I hope, for his conversations are very profitable to me, and we see eye to eye in almost every point; so there is no jarring and arguments.
I have had as yet this winter my church very crowded. Some leave, and fresh ones come; some say I am a good man, and others say I deceive the people.
I am not heaping up treasures upon earth for moth and rust to corrupt. I feel thankful to the Lord I am so provided with every comfort in this world. I hope that He will teach me self-denial, that I may more liberally assist others who lack even the necessaries of life—poor and afflicted brethren in Christ. It is more blessed to give than to receive. It is a hard saying, "Sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasures in heaven." When great grace was upon the primitive Christians, they had all things common. As a Christian, your mind will be much more easy the less you have to do with the world. Having food and clothing, be therewith content. Riches and cares choke the seed, and keep you from communion with God through Christ. Those who will be rich fall into many snares, etc. (1 Tim. 6:9.) Your kingdom is not of this world.
Believe me, yours affectionately,W. Tiptaft.