[To T. O. and his wife.] London, 20 February 1843.
My dear Friends,
I was sincerely glad to see you so constant in hearing me, but you ought to be aware that something more than hearing will be necessary to your salvation. I am told you have got some right notions in your head, but that your feet go another way; that is, you do not live consistently with that profession of religion you make. There is nothing more dangerous to the soul than this, because it is an utter abhorrence in the sight of God, and he often cuts down such in the open face of all men, as an example for others to fear and depart from evil. I hope you will be able to lay this to heart and not seek in any way to deny it, but confess this truth in secret before God, and entreat him to have mercy upon your soul for the sake of his dear Son Jesus Christ. If you perceive the least fear of God to spring up in your heart, instruct your children in the same; and be sure to manifest that fear of God by meeting your family in some way to read a portion of God's word and to pray together, and make no excuse for your ignorance. Children begin at a very early age to watch their parents, and have often a clear discernment of the spirit in which they walk: they can soon discern sincerity or the want of it in their parents; therefore needs a spiritual discretion to be given us, how to walk before such as God has committed to our charge, It is no small thing to become a converted sinner. There will be found in such ten thousand changes and fears, which the Spirit sanctifies to instruct them unceasingly to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ for fresh, clearer, and brighter tokens of his mercy to them. If we only learn to talk about these things, we shall find ourselves sorely at a loss when sickness and death come, and our hopes are built upon a sandy foundation. Take heed, my friends; it is not everybody that possesses the religion you see in Sukey Harley. Vital godliness is a rare thing; anything in the shape of it, not being the real thing, will not stand the fiery trial which is to come upon all men; and woe be to such as come to that and have not the blessed Saviour for a Friend.
Give my kind respects to J. P.; tell him to give the Lord on rest until he finds a sweet hope to spring up in his heart that shall be his support in the fiery furnace. Tell R. O. to pray to the Lord that the vanities of youth may not carry him clean away into the world, and he be lost in the general deluge.
Yours &c. J. B.