March 30, 1835.

My dear sister Fanny,—The tidings I am about to communicate may concern you more than surprise you. After many trials of mind about it, I have come to the resolution of seceding from the Church of England. In fact I have already resigned my curacy, and shall, in a day or two, give up my Fellowship. I could have wished to have retained my income and independence, but, as I could not do so with a good conscience, I was compelled to give it up. The errors and corruptions of the Church of England are so great and numerous that a man, with a conscience made tender by the blessed Spirit, cannot, after a certain time, remain within her pale. And though I have thus resigned my ease and income, I feel my mind more easy and at liberty, and trust I shall never come to poverty. My needs are now much less than they used to be, and I trust I shall be content with such slender fare as I may have to expect. Life is short, vain, and transitory; and if I live in comfort and ease, or in comparative poverty, it will matter little when I lie in my coffin! I trust, if I have health and strength given me, I shall not be a burden to my dear mother.

The cause of true Religion has, indeed, spoiled all my temporal prospects, and, doubtless, made the worldly and carnal think me a fool or mad. But, after all, the approbation of God and the testimony of an honest conscience are better than thousands of gold and silver. My resolution was rather suddenly executed. I had thought of giving my incumbent notice that I should resign the curacy at Midsummer. But it seemed to me inconsistent to tell my incumbent that I could not continue in the curacy but a certain time because I was doing evil. It was as though I had said to him, “Will you allow me to do evil for three months to come?” So I resolved to resign it at once, especially as my assistant promised to undertake it, if required, for the ensuing quarter. I told only two people of my intention, and having, on Sunday the 22nd, preached in my usual way, I added at the end—”You have heard my voice within these walls for the last time. I intend to resign the curacy and withdraw from the ministry of the Church of England.” It was as if a thunderbolt had dropped in the congregation. I did not wish any excitement or manifestation of feeling, and therefore shut it up as quickly as possible. The people were much moved. And the next day some met, and said they could build me a chapel if I would consent to stay. To this, however, I do not feel inclined, though the people wish it much, and say it should not cost me a farthing.

I think, God willing, at present, of staying at Stadham until some time in June, and then I shall probably go to a place called Allington, near Devises, Wilts, where there is a chapel in which I shall preach. The deacon heard me preach about one year and a half ago, and as soon as he heard I had left the Church of England, he had his horse saddled and rode to Stadham to see me. I happened to be here where he came. So I have consented to go to Allington for a few weeks.

I am now writing a letter, which I mean to publish, to the provost of Worcester College to resign my Fellowship, containing my reasons for seceding from the Established Church. It will be not more than twopence or threepence. If you would like to have some copies, I will ask the London bookseller to send you a hundred or so. It will be rather strong against the University and the Church of England system.

I trust that my dear mother will not be much hurt at this step I have taken, and I sincerely trust I shall prove no burden to her. The disgrace and the financial hardships, I do not think she will mind. The reproach of Christ is greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. At present I can speak nothing as to my future plans. I may spend some little time with you in Devon, and obtain that rest which I find necessary after preaching, and I trust the good Lord will never leave nor forsake me. He has many ways to provide for His servants, and can make the ravens feed them as Elijah of old. If I had health and strength, I might be able to make a living from preaching, or might keep a school. But at present I can say nothing, as I do not see my way clear, as to anything. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

I have been staying here, at my friend Tiptaft’s, since Saturday, and I shall stay a day or two longer. So that I do not know whether you may not have already written to me. Direct your letter Stadhampton as usual, and tell me what you have settled about going into Devon.

This life is soon passing away, and an eternal state fast coming on. The grand question is, What do we know of Christ by the inward teachings of the Spirit? What true faith have we in a Savior’s blood and righteousness? What do we know of His having died for us?

The time of the post going presses so that I will add no more than that I am, with love to my dear mother and all your circle,

Your affectionate Brother,

J. C. P.


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