A PASTOR’S RESIGNATION
New House, Upottery,
August 21st. 1841.
To the Church of Christ meeting in this place. Beloved in the Lord,
For nearly 15 years the Lord has enabled me to sustain the Pastoral office over you. But now it appears evidently to me to be His will that I should resign it, and accordingly I do so. For this your mind must have been in some measure prepared, for you have witnessed the many instances in which afflictions have interrupted my labours, though our union has been marked by peace and some small degree, we trust, of prosperity. Let us not repine at its early dissolution, but say “It is the LORD; let him do what seemeth him good.” Acquiescence in His will becomes us, because He cannot err. Whatever is dark and mysterious in His dealings now will appear to us bright and clear when contemplated in the light of eternity.
In retiring into private life, I have one request to make in reference to myself: it is that in your approaches to the throne
of grace, you will remember your old afflicted Pastor. I trust no changing scenes or circumstances will induce me to forget you. I shall while life lasts be glad to hear of your affairs. If you continue to walk together in love; if you strive together in prayer for the increase and enlargement of Christ’s kingdom;
if you grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus ChristÂ—my heart will rejoice. But if, on the contrary, you should wax cold, indulge in a spirit of vain jangling, if you allow the root of bitterness to spring up, I shall mourn your state, and be constrained to adopt the language of the prophet “How is the faithful city become an harlot!” But we hope better things of you. We hope you will not suffer Ichabod to be written on your walls, because you would not keep near the Lord; for, remember, the Lord is with you whilst you are with Him.
The choice of my successor devolves on you. In the choice be unanimous. Let not a majority decide this matter. Be unanimous. Seek direction from the Lord. Make diligent enquiry for a suitable person. Let him come well recommended by credited ministers of the Gospel. Let his moral character be blameless; let his piety be unequivocal; let his knowledge of the Bible be comprehensive; let him be a man of faith, full of love, one who travails in birth for souls, who aims directly for the conversion of sinners, and who knows how to feed the Church of God. Yea, keep your eye upon the Apostle Paul’s description of a bishop. For this see 1 Timothy 3,1-7 and Titus 1,7-9. Such servants Christ has; such a pastor, you may find. Guard against mere speculators on abstruse doctrines. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you allow one of them to enter, farewell to your peace and all prosperity! I have dwelt on this subject because, it is one of vital importance, and because I love you, and because I would not see the fair prospect before you blighted.
The very delicate state of my health, and my feelings, of ardent love for you, will not allow me to appear before you in public to take my leave of you. You will therefore consider this my last address as my farewell sermon. And now beloved, “I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Finally, brethren and sisters in the Lord, farewell.
I remain, your afflicted brother,
T. W. Blackmore.