by Arthur W. Pink
Philologos Religious Online Books
Studies in the Scriptures
by Arthur W. Pink
Dear Son: We are all well here, thanks be to God; the Divine Providence watching about our tabernacle and compassing us about with favour as with a shield. Our great inquiry is, What shall we render? Alas, our renderings are nothing to our receivings; we are like the barren field on which much cost is bestowed but the crop is not accordingly. Our heavenly Father is loading us with His benefits and we are loading Him with our sins, grieving Him that comforts us; and how long, how long shall it be so? O that it might be otherwise! that our mercies might be as on to the wheels, to make us so much the more active and lively in our Master's work. There may a day come when it will cost dear to be honest; but, after all, fear God and keep His commandments is the whole of man. I therefore commend it to you and you to God, who is a shield and buckler to them that fear Him.
We are well, but in daily expectation of that which we are born and born again to, and that is, trouble in this world, yet rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, which we are reaching after and pressing towards, as we trust you are also. Where you are, you see more of the glittering vanities of this world in a day than we here do in an age and are grown more and more in love with them or dead and dying to them; I hope dead and dying to them, for they are poor things and perish in the using. Be sincere and humble and choice in your company, always either getting good or doing good.
Your acquaintance, I doubt not, increaseth abroad and accordingly your watch must be, for by that oftentimes, ere we are aware, we are ensnared. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.” The farther progress you make in your studies, you will find them the easier: it is so with religion, the worst is at the first. It is like the picture that frowned at first entrance but afterwards smiles and looks pleasant. Your improvement is our joy. Be sincere and serious, clothed with humility, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and when you have done all, be saying, “I am an unprofitable servant.”
It was a good advice of the moral philosopher, In your converse with men, distrust; but I must add, In everything towards God, believe. Expect temptation and a snare at every turn and walk accordingly. We have a good cause, a vanquished enemy; a good second, an extraordinary joy; for he that overcomes need not desire to be more happy than the second and third chapters of the Revelation speaks him to be. I would have you redeem time, for, hearing the Word in season and out of season, your other studies will prosper never the worse, especially if you could return immediately from it to the closet again, without cooling diversions by the way.
See your need of Christ more and more and live upon Him; no life like it, so sweet, so safe. We cannot be discharged from the guilt of any evil we do without His merit to satisfy; we cannot move in the performance of any good required without His Spirit and grace to assist and enable for it; and when we have done all, that all is nothing without His mediation and intercession to make it acceptable; so that every day, in everything, He is all in all. Though you are at a distance from us now, we rejoice in the good hope of meeting again in the land of the living, that is, on earth, if God see good; however, in Heaven which is the true land of the living, and is best of all. The Lord God everlasting be your Sun and Shield in all your ways; see time hasting away apace toward eternity and the Judge even at the door, and work accordingly; wherever you are, alone or in company, be always either sowing or reaping.
As for me, I make no other reckoning but that the time of my departure is at hand and what trouble I may meet with before, I know not, the will of the Lord be done: one of my chief desires is that no iniquity of mine be laid up for you. Be careful of your health, but especially neglect not the main matter. The soul is the man: if that do well all is well. Worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. Expect trouble in this world and prepare for it; expect happiness in the other world and walk worthy of it unto all pleasing.
A good book is a good companion at anytime, but especially a good God, who is always ready to hold communion with those that desire and seek communion with Him. Keep low and humble in your thoughts and opinion of yourself; but aim high in your desires and expectations, even as high as the kingdom of Heaven itself and resolve to take up with nothing short of it. The Lord guide you in all your ways and go in and out before you, and preserve you blameless to His heavenly kingdom. Your loving father, Philip Henry.
The above was written to his son, Matthew Henry, the famous commentator.——A.W.P.