[To M. H.] Matlock, 20 July 1843.
My dear Friend,
I was truly comforted with your description of your conflict. I felt you had a right view of that divine union which subsists between the eternal Son of God and his elect people. However short and transient these sweet seasons are, they are nevertheless very confirming for the time being, and leave a sweet savour which cannot be so quickly lost as the comfort often is. I not only understand you, but truly desire to be a partaker of the same consolation; and I am sure the next time the Lord visits you, he will confirm this which is past, and show you by all these changes the necessity of spiritual diligence and continual watchfulness. I know, as well as you, that these seasons do refresh both body and soul; they also humble us in the dust, and make all created comforts appear nothing but vanity; but they make the Lord Jesus Christ (as you say) "the chiefest among ten thousand," yea, "altogether lovely," to the lost undone criminal to whom he comes with a full discharge. This is better felt than expressed; one moment to be at the point of despair, and then presently to find, through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, hope abounding, and all guilt and misery removed.
I can most truly enter into your feelings of continual changes. If ever so peaceful in the morning, I am soon disturbed and robbed of my peace, and filled with sorrow and fear; and these sorrows are often long, and the comforts very short. Yet I believe by these changes the Lord keeps us humble and dependent, and without any room to boast, learning to die to the world and all its vanities, and to live more to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is by troubles the Lord, by little and little, teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, which before are last sought. God will not be mocked; and there are many ways of mocking, for it is nothing else when we walk lightly in our profession, and the things that are lame are not healed; or when the world or any vanity comes first, and Christ is put in the background. This is sure to be resented, and the furnace to be prepared to purge off all such dross. The Lord will have his vessels of mercy fit for the heavenly Refiner's use, and this can only be done by the spirit of burning. I often regret that there seems so little profit in the things I have suffered, though I dare not say it is altogether in vain. I have seen much of the goodness and mercy of the Lord in my troubles, which I never should have known in an easy path; so that I must say with one of old, "He hath done all things well."
Yours &c. J. B.