April 21, 1832:
I would offer here a word of warning to believers. Often the work of the Lord itself may be a temptation to keep us from that communion with him which is so essential to the benefit of our own souls.
On the 19th I had left Dartmouth, conversed a good deal that day, preached in the evening, walked afterwards eight miles, had only about five hours’ sleep, travelled again the next day twenty-five miles, preached twice, and conversed very much besides, went to bed at eleven, and arose before five.
All this shows that my body and spirit required rest, and, therefore, however careless about the Lord’s work I might have appeared to my brethren, I ought to have had a great deal of quiet time for prayer and reading the word, especially as I had a long journey before me that day, and as I was going to Bristol, which in itself required much prayer.
Instead of this, I hurried to the prayer meeting, after a few minutes’ private prayer. But let none think that public prayer will make up for closet communion.
Then again, afterwards, when I ought to have withdrawn myself, as it were, by force, from the company of beloved brethren and sisters, and given my testimony for the Lord, (and, indeed, it would have been the best testimony I could have given them,) by telling them that I needed secret communion with the Lord, I did not do so, but spent the time, till the coach came, in conversation with them.
Now, however profitable in some respects it may have been made to those with whom I was on that morning, yet my own soul needed food; and not having had it, I was lean, and felt the effects of it the whole day; and hence I believe it came that I was dumb on the coach, and did not speak a word for Christ, nor give away a single tract, though I had my pockets full on purpose.