by Arthur W. Pink
Philologos Religious Online Books
Studies in the Scriptures
by Arthur W. Pink
To my dearly beloved friends, that small company to whom by the Providence of God, I have for some years past preached the everlasting Gospel. Grace, mercy, and peace unto you, from God our Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the eternal Spirit—
It is now many years since we have been called to worship God's great and reverend name together: during which time He hath been exceeding good to us, manifesting His power in our weakness, and His love in our unworthiness. He hath declared His name to be recorded amongst us by His coming to us and blessing of us. Some of you have been convinced, some converted, some edified, and all (I hope) quickened and encouraged heavenwards. And not only yourselves, but through the grace of God many others have been born to Christ amongst us and more built up in the holy faith. O the many warm, sweet, and refreshing Sabbaths we have enjoyed together! And what shall we say to these things? or what shall we do? O let us bow down at the foot of God, and adore His infinitely, infinitely, infinitely free, rich, and powerful grace, ascribing all the glory to that alone, to which (I am sure) all is due!
God hath now called me aside from you, and not only from you, but He seems to be calling me out of His vineyard, yea, out of this world. I have long had a weak and infirm body and now God, in His wise and holy Providence, hath seen good to reduce me to a far lower and weaker state of body, my health being now utterly broken. Yet I must say God is exceeding good to me and deals in Fatherly tenderness with me. I have neither much sickness nor much pain; only my disease, according to its name, gradually consumes me. Nor am I without some lucid intervals: God both lifts me up and casts me down, as He dealt with the Church of old.
Sometimes I am under some revivings which seems to give hopes of a return from the grave, others nothing but death seems to be in view. And in this dubious state I am waiting upon the will of God, which (I am sure) is holy, wise, and good, and which (I hope) shall be welcome to me, whether it be for life or death. Hitherto, through grace, death hath not been terrible to me; what it may be in its nearest approaches, I cannot tell; but I look to and rest upon Him who hath destroyed both death, and him that had the power of death.
And now only two things I beg of you: one is that you will give me room in your prayers while I am in the land of the living: and I desire you would beg of God these things for me. First, that all sin and guilt cleaving to me may be fully expiated and discharged through the blood of Christ. O beg both forgiveness and repentance for me, which (God knows) I greatly need! Second, that my will may be thoroughly resigned up unto the will of God, either for life or death. Third, that I may have much of God's presence with me and may always have good thoughts of Him and His dispensations towards me in all He doth or shall lay upon me.
Fourth, that if God should please to restore me, I may come out of this furnace purified and refined, as gold that is tried seven times and more fitted for my Master's service. Or if His pleasure is (which seems at present most probable) to put a period to my mortal life, that His love and the light of His countenance may shine upon me to sweeten the bitter pains of death to me; we cannot live comfortably without His love, much less can we die comfortably without it. That is my first request.
The other is that you will accept and embrace some plain but weighty counsels. God is my record that my heart's desire and prayer for you is, and has been, that you may be saved and in love to your salvation I leave these directions with you. 1. Above all things look well to and labour to make sure of an union with Christ, knowing assuredly that without union with Him all your religion is vain and ineffectual. 2. Take heed of too much addictedness to this world, as remembering, that if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him; and that the friendship of this world is enmity to God. 3. Dwell much within and be much conversant in heart-work, in studying the heart, searching the heart, cleansing the heart, keeping the heart, looking always upon it as the biggest cheat and impostor in the world, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
4. Take heed of splitting upon that fatal rock of self-deceit of which you have sometimes heard and upon which the greatest part of professors split and perish forever. 5. Set up and keep up the worship of God both in your families and closets. For the Lord's sake, let none of yours be prayerless families. 6. Always maintain a great honour and reverence for all God's ordinances and in an especial manner honour and sanctify His Sabbath. The Sabbath-day is your soul's market-day. O lose not your market! 7. Be universally honest and upright in your callings and your dealings in them. The fraudulent dealings of professors do much reproach to the Gospel.
8. Covet to seat yourselves under a sound, clear, searching, Gospel ministry, and keep mainly to the same ministry; and the Lord guide you therein. 9. Labour that your profiting under the ministry may appear unto all men. It will be a dreadful thing to enjoy rich means and bring no fruit to perfection. O sirs! be fruitful Christians! 10. Expect farther trials and sufferings, and prepare for them. There is a dark and gloomy day coming, wherein (possibly) you will think it best with them that God shall have hid in the grave beforehand; but be not troubled, it will be short, and a glorious day will follow, a day wherein the church of God shall sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, a day wherein our dear Lord and Head shall reign gloriously.
11. Pray and long, long and pray, much and earnestly, for the coming of the day of God, for the coming of Christ's kingdom. Thy kingdom come is a petition which should be much upon our hearts. O do not rest in low things as to Divine appearances and manifestations both in the world and in your own souls! These counsels I leave with you out of that affection I bear to your salvation and our Lord's honour, as concerned in you. I will conclude all with that solemn and cordial profession to you, which Augustine often made to those to whom he was wont to preach, namely:
“It is the desire of my soul, that as we have been often crowded together to worship God in one earthly house, so we may all worship Him together forever in the heavenly house: and if we must never pray and preach, hear and mourn, together more on earth, yet we may love and sing, praise and admire together forever in Heaven; which that we may do, the God of peace (who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant), make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you and me that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen and Amen.”—Last letter of E. Pearse to his flock.
N.B. Though the above was written nearly two centuries ago, it contains counsels for the Lord's people which are thoroughly pertinent to our own days. Many of the scattered flock are no longer in church fellowship with other saints and therefore there is the more reason why they need to attend with diligence unto the garden of their own souls. Re-read the closing paragraph and translate it into prayer and action.—A.W.P.