[To M. O.] Bushey, 15 September 1835.
You are now brought to such a condition as to make full proof of the power and efficacy of God's grace. What would you do now if forsaken of him? Instead of which, you often find "Love is strong as death;" and it is no small comfort to consider that (let your case be what it may) the Lord Jesus Christ endured more for you, and has in all sad places been before you; so that he is perfectly acquainted with all your fears, pities all your dismay and trembling, and knows how to succour in the time of extremity.
I have often wondered at one thing, that is, no matter how ill, or how near the borders of eternity a man may be, there is nothing in these alarming circumstances to create spiritual life; but the soul in such a case feels spiritual death, and a backsliding heart. How this convinces me of my base original, and of my utter inability to mend it, and that nothing but the eternal Spirit can quicken or revive our drooping spirits, or bring us out of this languishing and dronish state. A sick bed, long continued, is often attended with this, and we have need of perpetual prayer to the Lord to revive his work upon our hearts. Hence we often find rebukes, temptations, desertion, and darkness, that we may be taught our dependence on him; and we no sooner feel our hopeless condition, than the Lord puts underneath his everlasting arms. "The poor heareth not rebuke" [Prov. xiii. 8]. I am sure you know the truth of all this, and I believe you will find in this your weak condition, that the power of God will be so manifest as to enable you to say in his strength, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord."
My prayer has been many times, and I trust will still be, that this may be your happy lot.
Yours in the Lord, J. B.