[To a clergyman ] London, 23 October 1813.
My dear Cousin,
I was sincerely glad to see your letter, and that it appears the good providence of God has placed you for the present where you may exercise a free conscience. I also sincerely hope that you will prove your conscience enlightened by the Spirit of God, so as to be useful to those you have undertaken to teach. If this should be true you are of all men most happy. How many in this island have taken upon themselves to teach others, and have themselves fallen into the most awful errors, and made-shipwreck of religion altogether! Instead of that divine and spiritual work which is set forth in the word of God as absolutely necessary to be found in the hearts of all men that attain to eternal life, instead of this, I say, men have turned to something that is to be performed in certain positions of the body, or in certain dresses, and the work of the Spirit upon the heart is completely set aside. I sincerely hope the Lord will discover to you the danger of the strange errors of the day, and that you will be made very honest and very earnest in your prayers, which run in some such way as this, "From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word and commandment, good Lord deliver us."
If you could fully enter into the danger to which you are exposed you would be much in earnest with the Lord in secret prayer to protect you; and you would be made to feel your weakness and want of understanding either to resist or contend against them. None are safer than those who under a feeling sense of weakness look to the Lord for help. Such never fail, because their battles are the Lord's; but as soon as we take the command and make the battle our own, we are sure to lose the victory, and with shame retreat. Retreat! (say you.) From what? From the truth; and so fall foully into errors and delusions, and firmly believe they are truths. Thousands perish here, going down this awful stream without being aware of their danger. How sincerely glad I shall be to see you preserved from all these various quick sands, and established on the Rock of ages! When the rains descend and the winds blow, the house there built will for ever abide; and such builders shall never be ashamed nor confounded world without end.
Your affectionate cousin, J. B.