[To the Rev. B. G.] London, 9 December 1834.
I was not taken by surprise when your sister called this morning to tell me the issue of your late trial, which I look upon as only the threshold of another. Therefore you must still remember that "Elias was a man subject to like passions" with you; and as he prayed, so have you, and found much support and many tokens for good, by which your spirit has in a measure been kept from contention. You have often prayed that you might know the mind of God in your anxious case, which is now unfolded. It is said, "Elias prayed again that it might rain." Fresh necessities and fresh trials will bring forth further cries, and, like Elias, you will find yourself compassed about with many contending passions. Yet this did not stop his prayers, nor must your fears and anxieties stop yours, but rather put a keenness to your spiritual appetite, to clear every step of your way. What makes prayer effectual and fervent? The intercession of Christ, and a deep sense of want. [James v. 16-18].
Remember how Christ was rejected of men, and "we hid as it were our faces from him" - ashamed of him, his laws, his government, his kingdom, his crown, his cross; and you will find many will be so ashamed of you as that they will not be seen walking or talking with you, and will cross the street, or turn short down another, rather than meet so mean a person. Despised - afflicted - held in contempt - but let the contempt be what it may, our Lord has suffered more. He therefore tells you, "In your patience possess ye your souls;" "In due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not."
I have been in these sad places, and felt it at times hard to bear; but prayer ascended and pity came down, and here it was that "the oil and the wine" were poured in, with such a light upon my path as I cannot describe, and many secret assurances respecting both body and soul, that I dare not tell anybody; an unfolding of the mysteries of providence and grace, which in due time were fulfilled to the confusion of all my enemies, and the salvation and consolation of my own soul.
There is need that we should be at times "in heaviness through manifold temptations" - you, in order to know how to speak to such as are tempted, and I, to keep me constantly dependent upon the Lord Jesus; and all of us for the humbling of our souls in the dust, and for keeping in continual remembrance the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
You will find your great advantage over your enemies by dealing earnestly with God in secret. While they are talking, you must be praying; and this will bring about the open reward. "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end." All opposition and persecution is as grass, all kind intrusion of false friends is as the flower of grass - both must wither and fall away, "but the word of the Lord endureth for ever;" and if the Lord speak this word to you, woe to them that mock! "Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." May he manifest to you his full purpose in sending you "to root out, and to pull clown, and to destroy, and to throw down, and to build, and to plant" [Jer. i. 7-10].
Remember "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall DOUBTLESS come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Yours &c. J. B.