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William Tiptaft, Letters

June 11th, 1831

My dear Brother, You will not be surprised at the proceedings of Bulteel and myself, as I informed you in my last what our intentions were. We arrived in Somerset on the 16th of May, and have almost every evening since been preaching, one or both of us, in church, chapel, or the open air. We have, almost in every instance, asked for the church, and if refused, preached in the chapel or open air. We have preached in dissenting chapels, in Wells, Glastonbury, Somerton, Langport, Castlecary, Bruton, Wincanton, &c., sometimes in a church and sometimes in a chapel. We last Sunday had four churches, near Hindon, in Wilts. We are now visiting Mr. Dampier, near Bruton. We are to preach each once in both the churches tomorrow, and, between the two services, I am to preach in Wincanton large Independent chapel. Mr. Rogers, of Yarlington, came here yesterday, to offer me his church for Tuesday evening. He is a man of large fortune, and went last evening, with Mr. Dampier and family, to hear Bulteel preach at Bruton, in the Dissenters’ chapel; and I preached at Wanstrow, near Frome.

I need not say that our conduct excited surprise. We have many hearers. The places of worship are generally much crowded; people come from far to hear us, and invite us to come and preach to them; so we may truly say, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” Many think we have no right to preach in dissenting chapels; but it is not forbidden, either by the canons or the word of God, for the latter is altogether in our favor. I believe the Lord is…

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May 2nd, 1831

My dear Brother,

I was very glad to hear by your last letter that your wife has safely delivered another son; and I hope that he will prove a blessing to you both. God’s mercies have been great and manifold towards you in this life, and I pray that they may not prove snares. The children of God almost always flourish more in trials and difficulties than in the sunshine of health and prosperity. The promise is, “As your days, so shall your strength be”; consequently, if there are not trials within from Satan’s temptations, or afflictions and persecutions from without, we would not call upon God heartily for help. So when we pray for grace, we at the same time ask for trials. In the case when Paul prayed that the messenger of Satan might depart from him, the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “Most gladly, therefore,” he adds, “will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” So the Lord answered his prayer, not as Paul asked; but he was content that it should be so, that he might enjoy more of the power of Christ in his own soul.

Your last letter was very short, and you never gave your opinion respecting the important change I contemplate about leaving the Establishment. My mind is perplexed upon the subject, which I believe will end in my leaving. “But he who believes shall not make haste.” I trust that God will direct me. I can assure you that the…

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March 14th, 1831

My dear Brother,

I feel much obliged to you for your last letter, and am rejoiced to find that you are desirous of knowing more of Christ. You have much to contend with in various ways from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Satan is a very subtle enemy, and never spreads his snare in your sight. I hope you will not be induced to value any knowledge which does not cause you to love Christ more, and to live more decidedly as a member of His kingdom. Satan does not care how much knowledge you have in your head, so long as he can keep possession of the citadel of your heart. Consequently, he will change his position a thousand times, before he will surrender his hold. But God’s grace must and will dethrone him, and set up the kingdom of Christ in your heart, so that you will serve a new Master, and for very different wages. All that Satan can boast of, or tempt us with, are perishable things of time, that will soon vanish away. But though we profess to despise the riches and honors of this life, none but those who have the light of God’s countenance shining upon them will view them in their proper light. Satan is the god of this world, and he blinds the minds of those who believe not. If one device will not succeed, he will try another; and every unregenerate man will be led captive by him, in some way or other. Many may think they have outwitted him by a knowledge of great truths in the head, while their heart is devoid of grace.

You may, perhaps, think these remarks may not be profitable to you; but I believe we think and speak a great deal too seldom of the greatest of all enemies, and I feel this is his most subtle device. Old disciples of Christ can say, “We are not ignorant of his devices.” But young converts will be entangled, more or less. Consequently, it becomes ministers of Christ to show forth particularly…

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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…

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My dear Brother,

I was pleased with your remarks upon religion in your last letter. As the Lord has been pleased to reveal to you a little of the light of the glorious gospel, a corresponding practice will necessarily follow, for a lively faith is known, as a good tree is known—by its fruit. It is an inestimable blessing to be taught the value of God’s word, so as to prize it, and to give much time to reading and meditating upon it. Let no one deceive you with vain words, and cause you to think, because you understand the plan of salvation, that you are sure of eternal glory. To receive the gospel in word is one thing, but to receive it with power, and the Holy Spirit, and much assurance is another. I hope and trust that you have received it that way.

If you have, my dear brother, be assured that a great change will be visible in your life and conversation; for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature—old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” “The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.”

You will meet with many professing to love the true doctrines of the gospel; but, alas! they at the same time love their sins, and too evidently show themselves to be boasters, proud, covetous…

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October 28th, 1830

My dear Brother,

I arrived safely at Sutton on the Saturday afternoon. I saw Mr. de Merveilleux, and had a little conversation with him. I believe him to be a lover of gospel truth, and I hope that you will call upon him when you go to Stamford. I met a few friends at his house, and spoke a few words to them. They seemed very desirous to hear, and, I trust, are spiritually hungering after the bread of life. My friend Philpot is ill, and not able to preach. He is coming to see me next week. He is a dear child of God.

I shall be glad to hear in your next letter what advances you are making in religion. I hope that you read your Bible much, and talk with those who fear the Lord. You will find much opposition, both within and without, against a spiritual work; but if it is the Lord’s work, it will surely be carried on. You will be…

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September 3, 1830

My dear Brother,

I intend (D.V.) to be at Oakham on the 14th or 15th, but I hope to be with you on the 14th by the Leicester coach, as I intend to return that way the following week, for I cannot conveniently be absent from so large a parish any longer. But you will be quite willing to part from a troubler of Israel in a few days. I shall give the greatest offence, I have no doubt, in speaking against much of the religion of the present day, which is nothing but the work of Satan, but is very near and dear to the…

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July 12, 1830

My dear Sister,

I am truly rejoiced that the Lord has given you an inquiring mind. You will not be distressed when I say that I have discovered that your views of salvation by free grace are by no means clear, as your letter plainly evinces; for in speaking of some of your relations you say, “I wish they would fix their minds above this world.” This expression shows that you do not believe “there is no health in us.” We could as soon make a new world as begin a spiritual work in our souls. It is this doctrine that lays man so low in the dust.

You have expressed a great wish to see me, and that others anticipate my arrival in Oakham. I can assure you that you will not very much like to hear the truths the Lord has taught me. I have given you nothing but milk, either by letters or by the sermon as yet, which is plainly seen by the little dislike with which my sermon has been received by you. I have things to say, “hard to be uttered,” because you are “dull of hearing.” The greatest offence is given when you pull down the…

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June 9, 1830

My dear Deborah,

I am rejoiced to think that you are so far humbled as to look to Christ alone for the salvation of your soul. You will find if you possess the Spirit of Christ that you will be despised and condemned by all in whose heart Satan reigns. But what does the Scripture say for your consolation? “Rejoice, and leap for joy.” “For the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is…

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June 9, 1830

My dear Brother,

I rejoice to say that the Lord still continues to bless the word preached by me. As He is pleased to lead me into deeper mysteries of His blessed gospel, I can more fully show forth the errors of false authors and ministers, which consequently causes me to be more hated and despised by a false professing world. There has been a book published called “The Calm Observer,” in answer to my sermon. The Christian Remembrancer, of the month of April, reviewed it, and has borne a strong testimony in favor of it, by not answering any of its arguments, but by heaping upon me sordid abuse. But even the enemies of the gospel are sorry it has been so reviewed, as abuse is well known to be generally bestowed when arguments to prove the truths of the gospel erroneous are lacking.

As you have, perhaps, not seen the work, I will give you two or three extracts—”The harangue which Mr. Tiptaft has published, under the title of a sermon, is the veriest trash, and most bombastic nonsense which ever proceeded from the…

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March 16, 1830

My dear Brother,

I am happy to say that the sermon has been blessed by God in this neighborhood, and consequently has made a very great stir. I received a letter from a poor man at some distance, thanking me for printing the sermon, as it has been a comfort to his soul and to others. Of course I shall have neither the praise of the unbelievers, nor their good wishes. The gospel is a fan that will separate the chaff from the wheat. The Pharisees and…

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April 30, 1830

My dear Brother,

My sermon seems to be received among you much in the same manner as I expected. Nature is the same in Rutland as in Berks. I rejoice to say that the doctrines which I preach receive the very testimony which the gospel always did, and always will. You will find that scarcely three respectable people will speak well of it, and very few of the poor. But there shall be a remnant to say, “It is the truth.” When I read the Scriptures, I daily discover that the…

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January 30th, 1830

Dear Brother,

Since I last wrote, I have preached in Abingdon Great Church, on Christmas evening, the only night in the year that it is lighted. I preached the truth, I trust, to a very crowded congregation, supposed to be (sitting and standing, who were able to get in) about 5,000 people. I pleased the believers, but very much displeased the carnally-minded, who were never so puzzled and confounded in their lives before. But even those who hate me and the truth acknowledge that the Bible has never before been so much read in Abingdon, or the Articles of our Church so much examined. I spoke the truth faithfully, and so as all could hear; but I had no idea that the gospel would have given so much offence. They have done nothing else since but talk about it. I allow there was much strong doctrinal matter in it, but I said no more than I fully believe.

On the Sunday after, a clergyman preached very much against me and the doctrines which I profess. Last week he published his sermon. He misrepresents my sermon so very much that, in my own defense, I am obliged to publish it, for which there is…

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