[To W. B.] Pulverbach, 19 May 1844.
My dear young Friend,
I am much disposed to enter into your feelings, having been myself entangled by bondage, misery, and sin in many ways, and I believe you are brought to this that you may be taught effectually how helpless you are. We naturally have a will and a way of our own, and no prayer or inclination to give it up. The Lord suffers us to fall into many difficulties that may appear to have no reference to the particular bondage that grieves us, and it is that our UNIVERSAL BONDAGE may be discovered to us, not only in one thing, but in all. This works despair of any remedy within; and it is God's design that it should. For it is a mighty work for one that is great in his own conceit to be brought down to feel himself very little. It is true, as Mr. Maddy says, that if we prosper in the least, we have such gentlemanly feelings; but the Lord will teach us effectually that all such rubbish shall be burnt up, and we shall appear before him as lost sinners, and nothing else.
The Lord has opened the eyes of your understanding to comprehend the meaning of a little encouragement from him in your distresses. You know that it is an assurance of the work begun; and though through the power of temptation you soon lose sight of it, yet you do not give up seeking for a renewal of the same; and though you say the power of temptation keeps you from seeking, yet it does not keep you from mourning, and we call that seeking; and though you are terribly alarmed at the hardness and bondage that sin brings, yet it is life that shows these dreadful effects of sin, which make the spirit sink. The hope which you find does not create bondage, but counteracts it, though it be but for a short season, and you return again to your sad place.
Bunyan writes, that though Christ's love is hated in the world, yet it is not despised by the tempted and distressed; and that it is our mercy to believe that we are HIS LOVE when assaulted with temptations, HIS LOVE when he hides his face, and HIS LOVE at all times. I would entreat you to look at Christ's love, and at his power and his willingness to save poor sinners. Search this out by prayer in his Word, and look less at your sin. The sore rankles worse and worse, the more you look at it; looking to Jesus can alone cut the bondage. Lay this to heart; I see the devil binds you down to the works of the law. The love of Christ will constrain, and gives a sweet and heavenly power which the law knows nothing of. May the Lord help you.
Yours &c. J. B.