[To M. C. B.] London, 12 May 1837.
My dear Friend,
Christ says "I counsel thee to buy of me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear" (by our spirits being dry, flat, barren, and lifeless); "and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see" [Rev. iii. 18]. The Psalmist tells us "The trees of the Lord are full of sap." There must be (more or less) spiritual energy; some measure of prevalency with God in prayer; so as not to be altogether carried away by outward circumstances.
I have always been led to fear that profession of religion which finds fault with, or complains of the post in which God himself in his allwise providence has placed us. It denotes an ignorance of God's ways, and a want of understanding that he can do no wrong. Your present circumstances will very likely be a test of your profession altogether. I read this morning, "There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time;" but it is added, "and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" [Dan. xii. 1]. You will be ready to ask, What did you say to this? This was my reply - Lord, thou hast said, "Come, my people, enter into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, and hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast" [Isaiah xxvi. 20]. You know as well as I that Christ is the only hiding place.
It is a sad mark to be discouraged when the truth is set before you, and not to find it attended with some bitter cries of your need of a Saviour, making your restless spirit to find no place for the sole of your foot in this vain world; but that is a. right discouragement which does thus lead you from self to the Rock. There is no situation in life, however difficult, wherein God has placed us, but he will fit us to acquit ourselves like people that fear God; and instead of withering under the circumstances we are placed in, we shall find the words true_"My grace is sufficient for thee." But do you ask for this wisdom and grace? Are you honest here? I fear there is some decay in secret, as the cause of the outward confusion and darkness in which you are shut up. You have been much upon my heart and in my prayers, and it would grieve me to find that you are not like the grain of mustard seed, in the parable; however small, we read that it grows until it, be manifest to all; and the Apostle says "I beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more."
I have as many and as great difficulties to contend with as you, yet I dare not repine, but cry to the Lord; and this morning, so crying, as I recommend to you, I was surprised to find the Lord Jesus Christ very near to comfort and cleanse my guilty soul. I recommend nothing to you that I have not tried, and I am confident you will find him a sure Foundation, for "with God all things are possible."
I entreat you as the Apostle does his son Timothy, "Meditate on these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear unto all." And O what words are added! Did you ever lay them to heart? They make me tremble while I consider them - "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment" (the word of the Lord) "without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Grace be with thee, Amen. J. B.