[To a Friend.] 1831.
I cannot help writing to tell you, that though am surrounded with difficulties, yet I would not have my path other than just what it is; only that my unbelief might for ever depart. In reading that ever to be remembered chapter, Gen. xxviii., I have had such a sweet sense of the unchangeableness of God's power, love, mercy, and faithfulness, as I never felt before. How sweetly could I, by the help of God's most Holy Spirit, climb up to the very top of that ladder! Stones have been my pillow some time; and, instead of envying, I learn to pity such as have downy pillows. There is no place so fruitful as the furnace; no way so safe as to take first the lowest step of the ladder. Precious 15th verse! ["Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."] My heart is too full to explain anything; but I find that every dreadful place into which the Lord brings me proves eventually none other than "the gate of heaven." When destruction is threatened on all hands, then the Lord says, "Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh" [Luke xxi. 28]. I know not how to debase myself enough! With what holy reverence and godly fear I draw near Not with slavish fear, but at a loss how to crouch low enough, or to honour his holy Name enough, for noticing one so unholy. Sin is hateful, and I cannot forgive myself; yet mercy is so sweet, that I cannot but adore his love. Precious, precious word! It has been more to me than life itself. Head the chapter, and see if it will not fit you as well as me; and may the Name of the God of Jacob defend you.
This is the sincere prayer of your unworthy friend, J. B.