[To Mr. Harrow.] Hertford, 7 March 1843.
My dear Friend,
You have been on my mind since I saw you on Sunday evening, for I know that all faintings in elderly people betoken bodily infirmity. I also know full well that the enemy never loses an opportunity to alarm us, whether there be danger or not; and as he comes as a thief in the night, we are not always so awake as immediately to put on the whole armour of God; and no other armour can be proof against the dreadful fears and misgivings which he brings. Yet such is the marvellous mercy of our God, that when we are led to mourn and humble ourselves under these painful alarms, then (as the Psalmist sweetly sings) "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill," to which we naturally cleave. It is true the enemy comes as a terrible blast, and "as a storm against the wall; " but if I may be allowed to speak, this is the very place where the Lord has always, without fail, been my refuge, and given me " a feast of fat things, full of marrow," and refreshed my frightened soul with " wines on the lees well refined;" and here does the Lord " swallow up death in victory," and wipe away all tears of sorrow and fear. [Isaiah xxv. 4-9.]
When once we feel the sweet power of Christ's love in our hearts, we can leave all events in his hands, quite persuaded that he will work all things wisely after the counsel of his own will; and he makes us feel with the sweetest assurance the value he puts upon us, and that he will take care to oppose all other claims. "THEY SHALL BE MINE, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him" [Mal. iii. 17].
I know not how it is, but I perceive a sweet savour of rest while I write to you on this subject, as if it were not a shadow but a real substance that will uphold the spirit in a dying hour, and carry us safely through the valley of the shadow of death without the tormenting fears with which we are often threatened. May the Lord greatly comfort you, sick or well, and give you an abundance of peace. I have often felt, in our meetings for many years, that though you have said but little, you have fully understood the path of affliction and tribulation that I have spoken of, as well as the mighty deliverances God has wrought. It is this that unites the spirits of those who fear God, and they become sharers of each other's troubles as well as consolations; and here I desire to join you; and remain, my dear friend,
Yours &c. J. B.