Fittleworth, Sussex, 20 July 1840.
Dear Mr. Maddy,
I was much struck with reading in Rom. iv. how Abraham was not disheartened at the thoughts of his own body being dead, but rather looked to the promise of God, and staggered not. That dead body is a figure of the dead works that dead professors bring to Christ; and why will they attempt at this? Because they have light in some measure to see their sins, and yet not light enough to see that this death is no hindrance to him who is the Resurrection and the Life. Though through the blackness and multitude of our sins there seems no prospect of life, yet Abraham "against hope believed in hope," and so must we believe; yea, believe that though we are barren and fruitless and dead, yet Christ has died to revive such sensibly barren fruitless and dead sinners, whom he has made to pine after him. Nothing is said of our wonderful performances in all this chapter; but the contrary is insisted upon and established.
Nothing is more dangerous than the slightest deviation from the truth of God's word; and nothing makes so ready an entrance for all error as a legal spirit; it will go on in an untoward way in thought, word, and deed, contrary to God, nor will anything turn that mighty torrent of obstinacy but the rod of correction.
I have been greatly exercised since I came here, but not in vain.
Yours very truly, J. B.