[To the Rev. B. G.] Pulverbach, 8 January 1843.
My dear Friend,
I have by the mercy of God finished my day's labour. I had many fears and many misgivings, thinking my subject was much too high for one like me; and though I was in prayer the night before, yet I could not find that spiritual liberty I wished. When I arrived at the room and saw the people collecting, my heart sank, and it made me in earnest with the Lord, and he heard my cry, and my subject unfolded from these words - "Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" [Eph. ii. 18]. The Lord was very near to me, and helped me to speak upon that precious doctrine of the Trinity; he also enabled me to point out how each divine Person was engaged in the work of redemption. I set forth, as at the beginning of the chapter, that it is the Spirit that quickeneth and giveth life, and that through Christ we are reconciled to the Father, and that in consequence of this mysterious work of grace upon the heart, according to the purpose hid in God from all eternity, but now revealed, we no longer continue strangers and foreigners, but are fellow-citizens with the saints, and make it manifest by not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." They know it by the measure of spiritual liberty they have in Christ Jesus. [Rom. viii. 1-15.] This part I somewhat enlarged upon, and felt a sweet liberty which the Lord had most graciously bestowed upon me, with much comfort in my own heart. I believe that many were enabled to receive the word; and though I set forth, by the help of God, his eternal purpose in Christ Jesus in saving some and not all, yet they seemed patiently to endure it. I spoke also of that foolish supposition which some advance, that if they are elected they may live as they like; though the Apostle says "we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them;" namely, godly fear, repentance unto life, and self-abhorrence.
This subject was so sweet and so extensive that I was obliged to continue it in the evening, when there were present more than I had ever seen before. I found Ephesians i. a key to my evening's discourse, and am sure that the Spirit helped my infirmity in describing the sovereign choice of God, and how they should be both holy and without blame before him in love, and that all things needful for our salvation were in Christ, and that the sealing of the Spirit would confirm the same; so that we should be quite sure and clear of our interest in these things, which would all be found in a path of great tribulation. I then, by the help of God, showed them the earnest prayer and desire of the Apostle, that the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ would open the eyes of our, understanding, to know "what is the hope of his calling, and what THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS."
My heart was filled with the love of God, in considering the amazing condescension of the Lord to such worms as we are, and even to me. Can I believe that I am a part of his rich inheritance? As I said, so I write - I cover my face with shame while I consider the value the Lord puts upon me, and the wretched return I make; how often listless and lifeless in my walk, and how often forgetful of his kindness and care. Yet, these are the feelings that make us to abhor ourselves, and repent in dust and ashes; and we are encouraged to hope that the Lord, who says such mighty things, will never leave his afflicted people.
Yours &c. J. B.