London, May 1839.
Dear Mrs. Oakley,
How true it is that through Christ alone we are more than conquerors! You well know (by watching what goes on within) the power of our grand adversary; how he attacks our hopes, and seeks to sap the very foundation. He often almost makes us believe that the Lord has done nothing for us, and that all is a delusion; but our troubles rise so quickly, and the Spirit so helps our infirmities, that we cannot but cry mightily for mercy; and Jesus Christ steps in to our relief; our burden is gone, our fears assuaged, and the storm becomes a calm, so that we prove this enemy a liar. Sometimes he tells us that we walk in presumption, and find fault with everybody; and then sends some hypocritical professor to warn us of our danger, and tell us that we shut out the people of God and his faithful ministers, who show such feigned love; and these things are so plausibly brought before us, that it is not possible to withstand their influence, unless the Spirit of truth guide us. There hardly seems an ear left to hear the secret cry of the Spirit within, causing us to tremble, and putting some such words as these into our hearts - O Lord, I am distracted and drawn in all directions, but I am afraid to grieve thy Holy Spirit; let it please thee to lead me in a plain path, and "let my sentence come forth from thy presence."
It is in this way the Lord has led me through many difficult and painful paths, and has preserved my feet from the snare of the fowler. That trembling and weak dependence upon the Lord can never be put to shame nor confounded. It is only the fat and the strong that shall be destroyed. You will find by the papers that your friend will lend you that I have this winter waded through many deep waters, and that it has been only by the Lord Jesus Christ taking me by the hand, that I was preserved from sinking, and brought to praise him. My religion, like yours, as well as my outward matters, are by no means gay. Full of troubles and conflicts, I must bear this testimony - I never yet fell into any difficulty or trouble but the Lord delivered me, and made me to praise him for his goodness and mercy; and I am quite sure that you will find the same.
Keep watching what the Lord continually speaks upon your heart, and beg for grace to understand and follow that. Pray for spiritual obedience, and listen not to any "Lo here" or "Lo there." Let the Spirit be your guide, not only in spiritual matters, but also in your temporal affairs; and remember that God is the Guardian of the poor and afflicted. You need no better friend. It is to his love I commend you; and I desire in return your prayers, that we both may in the great day of account be accounted worthy through the worthiness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yours very faithfully in the Lord, J. B.