[To Mr H. B.] - London, 1808.
For three weeks after I wrote to you last, I enjoyed much of God's presence -"the candle of the Lord" shone bright upon my head and "his visitation preserved my spirit;" and I often thought this was fitting me for some serious affliction, and that I should soon be fast "bound in affliction and iron." And surely the thing that I greatly feared came upon me, so that my spirit was overwhelmed within me. The enemy tried hard to turn me out of the chapel, telling me I was not fit to walk about; he has made me to skulk and hide myself where I could, like a thief that is detected. He followed me as close in my business, so that I was obliged to resign much of my employment. These things made me cry infinitely to God for help, for I knew not where it would all end. I could neither eat, drink, nor sleep; everybody perceived something was the matter, but none could find out the cause, for I told nobody the real state of my case. O what a hornet's nest appeared within? What rebellion, self-will, what tender compassion for self, and what secret anger sometimes against God, for not appearing immediately to deliver me! I have often lain on the floor weeping and calling upon God for a long time together, and it seemed as if the more I cried and groaned, the less help I found. I thought I went in faith; but alas! there was no resignation, and conscience has often secretly told me that from my heart I could not add these words - if consistent with thy righteous will. O no! I would fain be delivered at all events; no patiently waiting, nor quietly hoping. Here I lay for six weeks, like a fool brayed in a mortar. God has at length given me light and understanding to see that it was his hand upon me, and that for good. He has given me a measure of meekness and submission, and enabled me feelingly to say "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him." But then I am more brutish and proud than any man, and therefore the furnace must be heated sevenfold. I would be something, and God is showing me that I am less than nothing. I was taking the highest room; but God has said, Go down to the lowest, and give every man place.
Yours faithfully, J. B.