[To M. and J. G.] London, 8 February 1810.
My dear Friends,
I am sorry to see you so cast down under your present trial. Surely you must be aware that the peculiar hand of God is in it all, and that it is for some express purpose as yet not known to you. But let me tell you the dispensation calls for great humiliation on your part; and instead of sorrowing as the world sorrows, you had need to watch and see if you can attain to that godly sorrow that works repentance unto life.
Paul tells the Thessalonians that they knew that they were appointed thereunto; and you ought to know it too, for it is through much tribulation you must enter the kingdom. He had told them before what I have often both written and spoken to you - "that we should suffer tribulation, even as it is come to pass;" and I still desire with him to write to you "to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain." I am sure I can also say with the Apostle, that I am "greatly comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith; for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord." I do not forget you in prayer, as I believe this is your hour of temptation, and what I wrote in my last you do well to attend to, especially that secret communion with the Lord in confession; the more you are found here, the nearer you will be allowed to approach unto him.
In Psa. lxxxi. it is said, "Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder" (this is where you now are); "I proved thee at the waters of Meribah." Now mind what follows, "Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee . . . . I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt" (the Egypt of this world); "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." O let me see and hear of the spiritual fulfilment of this! Your present circumstances call for it. if the Spirit ever was a spirit of grace and supplication in you, or if you ever knew what it was to have Christ for your Intercessor, let these things be seen now in your present difficulty, and do not let it be said, "My people would not hearken to my voice and Israel would none of me." If they had hearkened, the Lord would soon have subdued their enemies and turned his hand against their adversaries; he would have fed them with the finest of the wheat, and satisfied them with honey out of the rock.
By these things you may judge how you go on; and I hope the Lord will not suffer you to pore over your troubles, but encourage you to make much use of Christ, and see that this secret and spiritual intercourse be kept up. It can only be in Christ that you shall overcome your enemies; maintain an intercourse there or there can be no victory. I hope the Lord will make you very seriously to lay to heart the counsel you have had, and though the whole of it has been very contrary to flesh and blood, yet it has been a safe and sure way to come off more than conqueror.
Yours affectionately, J. B.