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Thomas Williamson (“T.W.”) Hooper (1832-1915) was a graduate of both Hampden-Sydney College and Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, Virginia). Ordained to the ministry in 1858, he served different pastorates in his home state of Virginia (most notably in Christiansburg in 1865-1870 and 1888-1906), as well as in Selma, Alabama. He was at one a time a chaplain, and in 1884, he served as a delegate to the Presbyterian Alliance in Belfast, Ireland. Letters written by him (and others) on a 1873 overseas trip were published under the title A Memphian’s Trip to Europe. In 1876, he was awarded a D.D. degree by Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. He was a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College; a director of Columbia Theological Seminary in South Carolina; and a member of the executive committees of the Colored Theological Institute and the Orphans Home in Tuskegee. He delivered an address on the genius of the Westminster Assembly and its work in 1897, and authored other works and tracts.
We take note today of his little book of comfort to the discouraged titled “Lead Me to the Rock” (1892). It was the fruit of much pastoral experience and was written
Beloved People in Virginia and Alabama
For More Than Thirty Years, Amid Sunshine and
Shadows, It Has Been His Blessed Privilege
To Labor in the Gospel,
This Little Volume
Is Affectionately Dedicated
Within this book of comfort and encouragement is a chapter titled “An Antidote for Worry.” Taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Hooper refers to the timeless message from Christ to his disciples as “words to the weary.” Knowing that “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head,” Jesus spoke to people with real needs, but often over-anxious cares about “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”
Christ directed his hearers to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but [rather] lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” It is this treasure that Hooper reminds us of. Our Heavenly Father knows our earthly needs. But there is something far more solid to seek after: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto.”
Hooper: “Oh, what a blessed assurance that this is those who are sometimes filled with anxiety about even their daily bread! It is hard, very hard, to put in practice these plain lessons of the word. But the Lord has made good that promise so it has never failed.”
This is a promise to take hold of by faith. A treasure indeed, which does not decay, but gives everlasting peace. As Christ has said elsewhere, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). May T.W. Hooper’s “antidote for worry” be an encouragement to you, dear Christian, to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and therefore to cast your cares upon Him who cares for you.