[To Mrs. Oakley.] Pulverbach, August 1838.
My dear Friend,
When I saw you on your sick bed, I was pleased to hear you say that your affliction had driven you to Christ for salvation. When I saw you after you were in a measure recovered, your language was changed. I think you said something of this sort, that your minister had been with you, and you believed he was a good man, but that he did not think all the work of religion upon the heart was of the Spirit, but that man must do a part. How can a good man be so totally divested of the first rudiments of the doctrines and oracles of God? The Lord tells us, "when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into ALL truth" [John xvi. 13]; but your minister thinks a part of this heavenly work is to be done by us. Indeed matters must be at a low ebb if we have not a clearer knowledge of the truth of this. Surely if spiritual energy had been felt it would have produced a brighter evidence. I perceive exceeding great darkness in many hereabouts, and I fear the cause is their believing and hearing every one that cries, Lo here! Salvation is a rare thing; a profession is a common thing; and some are easily persuaded that the strait and narrow way is bigotry.
You and I are not far from the end of our race. It is an awful thing to be brought to the bar of God in our dying moments, where no lies nor errors will stand, nor our saying we are good, or this or that man is good; but we must have the true, vital, regenerating power of God's grace upon our consciences, so that we may be at a point, and more than sure, that the Lord Jesus Christ has a favour towards us. May the Lord cause you to give him no rest until this takes place; then I am sure the light which this will bring along with it will show you the way you ought to take. The fear of man is often a great snare, and keeps us from boldly showing our colours, in consequence of which we spend our days in confusion of mind, and seldom have any of the sweet supporting presence of the Lord; but the Bible teaches us that the fear of Man, as well as every other yoke, shall be destroyed because of the anointing of the Holy Ghost. [Isaiah x. 24-27.]
Yours &c. J. B.