[To the Rev. W. Maddy.] Bushey, 10 August 1835.
My dear Friend,
I have been under various exercises lately, and not the less so since our afflicted friend Mr. Nunn came down here. How can a poor creature like myself be profitable to one who is on the borders of eternity (as he appears to be), and has nothing uppermost but how to finish his course with joy? His trial is great, his darkness sometimes very distressing; but "the Lord knoweth them that are his," and will not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able to bear. If I might be allowed, with much humility and tenderness, to say it, I think I have seen for some time where the Lord does gently contend, and in much compassion says, "Come now, and let us reason together." Why so careful about many things? I have laid you by for purposes best known to myself; I have taken you from the busy scenes of this life, for what cause you shall know hereafter. "In your patience possess ye your souls." "I am thy salvation." Cannot you call to mind that almost every relapse, for more than a year, has been in consequence of over exertion in something of this life? Your limited view puts a necessity where there is none, and an importance upon straws when compared with communion with me, which you know is a heaven upon earth; so that when you are entertained with it, you acknowledge that all besides is vanity.
Our friend's journey down here was attended with great fatigue; he has had a sad night. In the course of the evening his wife left him with me for half an hour, and I thought during that time he was breathing his last. He took my hand and peacefully told me he thought he was going, but found no fear, hope was abounding; and in a little time he revived and breathed more freely; but I was sent for at half-past three in the morning, and found him very ill in body, and that he had been much exercised in soul. He broke out in many words, declaring the goodness of God to him and his family for many years, and that that goodness was greatly manifest in bringing him under a faithful ministry. He said the Lord had often told him that the reproofs he had often received from his pastor should never be a grief of heart to him in his dying hour, and so he now found it. Oh (he said), how sweet is the favour of God in Christ Jesus! It is too much for a poor wretched sottish sinner, thus overpowered with his favours. How great is his goodness, how inexpressibly sweet! He seemed overcome by the softness and brokenness of spirit which he now felt, and continued, Oh, what a heavenly thing! How sweet it is to my soul - "Ye are dead, and your life is HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD; when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory!" O my soul, Crown him Lord of all, for he only is worthy! "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint."
Many more such things he said, to the comfort of my soul; especially desiring to be affectionately remembered to his pastor, and all that love and fear God.
Yours &c. J. B.