Last Wednesday our pastor had us read a chapter from a book on Samuel Pearce. I read through the chapter, nearly highlighted the entire thing, and then immediately had Mark order the book on Amazon for me.
For two days I couldn’t seem to put the book down. Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory is skillfully crafted by Michael Haykin. He shares the life and ministry of Samuel Pearce- an eighteenth-century English pastor from Birmingham. Pearce was a friend of William Carey and played a key role in the early Baptist Missionary Society.
I loved this well-researched book because it recalls a time when words and relationships were prioritized. The book is a highly readable, and what amazes me is that in it we find an ordinary Christian pastor who only lived to be thirty-three, yet he lived what his contemporaries considered a “lifetime” of holy service, even though he only served joyfully in ministry for a single decade. His passion for people and his heart for missions nearly moved me to tears several times, and left me praying that God would give me a heart like Pearce.
A highlight in the book for me was Pearce’s marriage. His union was one of deep devotion and love. The excerpts from their letters are beautiful. They are full of affection and are deeply saturated with highlights from their spiritual lives with Christ. Their love and the way they spurred one another on toward Christ is inspiring. I was especially moved by how he wrote to his wife during times of tragedy. He not only resigned himself to the will of God in life or death, he encouraged her to as well. On our journey with Emerson, I pray along side Pearce, “Lord, let thy will be done; only let Christ be magnified by me, whether in life or death” (184).
Samuel Pearce’s short life was filled with encouragmet, instruction, and inspiration. I think this book will encourage anyone who wants to follow Christ with all of their heart.