[To C. Bawley.] Pulverbach , 3 July 1844.
My dear Friend,
I truly rejoice with you in those sweet communications of the love of Christ to your soul which you have received, as I can well testify that his banner over us is indeed LOVE, although there have been times without number when I have thought it otherwise. I do not wonder at your continual crying to Jesus, for it is the Spirit himself that helps our infirmities "with groanings that cannot be uttered,", so that our burdened spirit vents itself in that sweet word JESUS, because he alone saves his people from their sins.
Remember, my dear friend, you have twice been told, "Gird thy loins up, Christian soldier." Surely this was not to alarm you, but to put you upon your guard. Our loins, in scripture, denote our weakness; and the counsel you have received to gird them up is to show your great need of that strength which is not naturally in us. The Apostle tells us to beware lest we get entangled with the affairs of this life, and to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, that we may please him who has chosen us to be soldiers, and not ourselves. What is so painful in these fights, is the continual fightings against ourselves and the great body of sin within. While love rules in the heart (as it did in yours when Jesus appeared) there is no difficulty in fighting against the evil within and without; but when this subsides, then to keep the field of battle, not knowing which way the bloody conflict will end, makes our fears run high, till the lovely banner of this sweet Jesus again appears in sight. This strengthens us for the onset, and we find at last we are "more than conquerors through him that loved us."
If it were not for these sharp conflicts we should soon think ourselves brave fighting men; but our Captain will teach us to know something of our own weakness, and that if he leave us but a moment we should only be runaway soldiers. He will have no independent soldiers in his army; all shall be poor, weak, lame, halt, blind, to confound the wisdom of the world. But call to mind that if we are brought to suffer with Jesus, we shall also reign with him. The Christian conflict is called a wrestling, which you know is a trial of strength; and when we consider what the Apostle says we wrestle against, it is truly alarming, unless our Jesus be near at hand, and be himself our shield, and our exceeding great reward.
Yours &c. J. B.