[To M. A. H.] London, 1834.
Dear Friend, I am sorry to hear such sad accounts of your health, but I go about and perceive that affliction is the lot of all God's people; and as you have prayed to be manifestly His, this is the universal means of being made so. I am just returned from Mrs. 0., and find her past all hopes of recovery, but wonderfully supported. She told me that when in health she used to think that death was so awful and so tremendous, that she should not he able to bear its approach; but that now, when she feels herself sinking and very near it, she finds the Lord removes her distress and dark feelings about it. A few days ago the Lord whispered to her, if it had not been so, he would have told her, but that he went before to prepare a place for her; and that it is far better to be with Christ than in the world. Though she often complains of deadness, yet she says he brings some such word as this, "I will love you to the end;" on which she is caused to hope.
This is very encouraging to me, and I hope it may be so to you. The Lord has been pleased to lay his afflicting hand upon you, and your great mercy will be to find grace to stoop under it as low as possible. I have learnt that the place where we may find the Lord is the LOWEST PLACE where no strength remains shut up [Deut. xxxii. 36], and we are so weak as not to be able to look up, but would, if possible, absolutely accept the punishment of our sins. Here, if we pray and cry, no harm can come to us, but God will in due time both hear and relieve. In this low place let us listen to the many good lessons that are and ought to be learnt, and we shall believe that though the Lord chastens us sore, he will not give us over unto spiritual death; and that the intended profit shall be accomplished to his honour and glory.
Press on, my dear friend, and though it be through a crowd of hindrances, yet be determined to make your way to Christ. If this spiritual labour be ever so secret, the Lord will reward you openly. Seek not natural life as the chief good, but let spiritual life be earnestly desired and maintained in the soul. In the exercise of this your profiting will appear, and your growing up in Christ, your living Head in all things. Be much in the word of God and prayer; and when it is well with you, remember me.
Yours &c. J. B.