[To the Rev. B. G.] London, 20 October 1842.
My dear Friend,
I was very glad to receive your letter, and think I perceive that the Lord is leading you into that path of tribulation which shall prove your calling to be of him. You may collect a number to hear you from many causes, but if you set before them the daily cross and the furnace, you will find many to serve you as they served the Saviour - "they walked no more with him." The few that are enabled to hear and receive the word will be glad to find one that has already passed through what seem to them most sad and stick-fast places. I would not naturally like to be so weak, so dark, so ignorant; but I believe the Lord brings me down to such a condition, not only to teach me to pray and look only to the Lord Jesus Christ for my evidences, but that I may declare in a pure language the way and manner in which the Lord saves his people, through the sovereign mercy of Christ, displayed in the behalf of the most wretched sinners. I know not how to get from this point, nor how to express the manner of God's bringing us down, down, down, and keeping us down in this low place, and there showing us all the glorious things he has promised in this world and in eternity. I feel the flesh at times to revolt; but when the Lord gives me but one transient look, I beg pardon for my rebellion, and with all my heart acknowledge his wisdom in all his ways with me.
I often think of your little community, and what the Lord will do to make his work manifest. I could desire to see more life in some; and I believe the Lord will give it to you, and from you its savour will be spread; and, inasmuch as your own spirit grows, so will it be with the people. May the Lord comfort your heart with repeated fresh tokens of favour, and bid you be of good cheer, because of his power and mercy towards a poor seeking people.
I often wish our dear friend W. could by the help of the Lord "leap over a wall," but the grievous clog of unbelief prevents his springing. In meditating on these words - "To be spiritually minded is life and peace," it struck me that many sorrow because they cannot attain to this peace, and do not notice the LIFE which is often to be seen where the peace is not manifest. Godly sorrow for sin is most certainly spiritual life; and that, with many more graces of the Spirit, may be found in exercise, while as yet peace is not felt. This ought to encourage us; and if the encouragement come from the Lord, it will have a pressing power to urge us not to rest until he is pleased to brighten our evidences, and give its that peace "which passeth all understanding;" and this will "keep our hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus," from all the vanities of this life, and make us watchful that the day of the Lord should not overtake us as a thief in the night.
What you say of the simplicity which appears in , I also say - I wonder. The Saviour's words proved many, so that at last they could walk no more with him. The trial makes manifest; but at present he has all things, within and without, sailing with a fair wind. We, by the mercy of God, and by that alone, have found that the wind often changes, and storms arise, and at first we see not how nor whence they spring; but when "God thundereth marvellously with his voice," we "stagger like a drunken man," and know not what the end will be. But "the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm," and though he bring us to our wit's end, yet if we be in his purpose of mercy, he presently says, "Peace, be still." This is the calm that stills the accusations of the law, conscience, and Satan, and causes that spiritual-mindedness which is life and peace. But oh, to be wrecked in that storm! Christ is called the Rock of offence; and it is said, "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
I witnessed our friend Mr. T. draw his last breath on Tuesday morning. The Lord visited him with sweet supporting power, so that he was abundantly satisfied.
Yours &c. J. B.