[To the Rev. B. G.] London, December 1843.
My dear Friend,
My letters to you have sprung out of heavy troubles, wherein I have felt the necessity of clear work, and also have found repeated assurances of God's mercy to me and mine. I am still made to stand in awe of the inscrutable judgments of God, and tremble at their most distant approach. I see that the salvation of Jesus Christ is a great and wonderful thing, and cannot be found to prosper in a light profession. My various troubles by the mercy of God have led me to dig deep, and examine daily what is going on in my conscience. It is the finger of God that is or ought to be seen in all our various daily crosses, whether from ourselves, from the world, or from the people of God; and when we are well convinced of this, we shall find a readier inclination to go at once to him for redress; and I am sure we shall find none elsewhere.
It would have been written in vain, "we went through fire and through water" [Psa. lxvi. 12], if no such things were intended; and if they are, then we should entreat the Lord that we may be able to take the admonition of Peter, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you." I must confess every fresh trouble is strange with me, and I am so dull a scholar as to be obliged to begin all my lessons over again and again.
The Lord has sent you to be over the few scattered sheep at Hertford, and I am sure it will be your mercy, in experience and by hard spiritual labour, to keep before them. I doubt not you have many anxieties, and also many encouragements to meet your fears. All this springs from spiritual life, and you will reap the fruits in due time. I often look both at you and your little community, and foresee many changes; but I trust all will be to the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel. All things shall work together for good to his people; but many intervening circumstances appear to render this entirely impossible. As our minister said the other day, Who would suppose that the total destruction of Job's family and property would work for good? But that was recorded to encourage us, under the most discouraging circumstances, to hope and pray that the Lord would help us. I am often in that case as to my fears, and find no support whatever but in crying to God. I often feel as if I knew not which way the scale would turn; but the Word, this is my hope - THE WORD OF THE LORD. "They that trust in the Lord shall not be ashamed." And then this is left to see the end of it, "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord." To find spiritual liberty under such dark dispensations is a mystery; but surely there are many sweet smiles and encouraging drawings. Do tell this to poor Hastings and his wife. I believe that poor woman will most assuredly weather the storm, and that she will yet sing with Mary, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
Yours &c. J. B.