[To M. D.] London, 22 February 1843.
My dear Friend,
It gave me sincere pleasure to see you so desirous of instruction. If I mistake not the word of God entered your heart, and the Spirit convinced you of sin, producing many fears and misgivings; for while the Lord Jesus Christ is out of sight there is no hope of heaven, and at such a time death is often brought very near, and 'the guilty spirit sinks very low. Thus the Lord brings us to a sense of our utter ruin; and the way is safe, though it appears very dreadful, for by these terrible means we are made steady; our lightness is burnt up in this furnace, and we learn to value the Saviour more. I know you were not without some encouragement; and though you soon lose the sweetness. of this in the trial, yet if the work be of God, you will learn to cry to him under the heaviest darkness and misery. It is said of the hypocrites in heart that they cry not when God binds them [Job xxxvi. 13]. It is a marvellous thing to be brought to understand, and more so to feel, the wrath of God in a broken law. Your fellow-servant can tell you of a thousand snares that will be laid for your feet, to keep you from coming to Christ for mercy; and the enemy will subtly whisper in your ears that you have only to go to worship, for there is nothing more to lie known. This will be done to make you contented without a sense of Christ's pardoning love; and if he can persuade you to this point, your profession will soon wither, I and you become a fruitless branch. I hope that all you in the same house will make it manifest that you walk in the same spirit. If, through a backsliding heart, you withdraw, there will be ground to suspect your profession is not sincere. I believe you will have your religion sharply tried, even so that all about you shall see whether the Lord stands by you or not. I do not write this to dishearten you, but to forewarn you, that you may lay up many petitions to the Lord against. that day.
If you are tempted to seek the Lord where he is never to be found, you will find this will bring you into great confusion. Excuse what I am about to say. The Lord will never send you amongst the congregation of the dead for spiritual food. Be tender of God's honour, and true and honest to your convictions. If you argue or reason with the devil, he, being a special pleader, will soon put you out of countenance, and make you firmly believe you will be ruined for ever, if you walk so contrary to your interest; all will forsake you, and you will come to want. This is language I am accustomed to, and have often been made to fear the worst, but being through mercy secretly supported by the power of God, I have stood my ground, and found all threatenings conic to nothing, my conscience comforted, and God honoured. Human contrivances always fail; God will blow upon them. We may think we should prefer a voyage to Tarshish, but God designs we shall go to Nineveh; and to Nineveh we shall go, if we go to the bottom of the sea first. "The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way." Therefore pray for godly simplicity, for "a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." May the Lord give you abundance of spiritual life and discernment, that you may escape the terrible snares all round about you, and that you may come clear out as "a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use."
Yours &c. J. B.