[To Mr. Harvey.] Pulverbach; 14 August 1838.
My dear Friend,
It grieves me to hear you are so unwell. I have many times in my sicknesses been ready to give up all my worldly concerns, and think myself past all service to anybody. I know that the enemy would have it so, if possible, to make me a reproach to the cause of God. It is surprising when I have obtained the Lord's presence, and have got under the light of his countenance, how ready I have felt to be active, and to do anything the Lord is pleased to set me to do. If I determine to do nothing because I cannot do what I formerly did, I lose the presence of God, and a withering takes place. I am often astonished how the enemy and our deceitful hearts combine to keep us by all means from the lively exercise of the gifts and mercies the Lord bestows upon us, and how soon we conclude what poor creatures we are, that can do nothing: and true; we can do nothing without HIM. Have you watched the state of your soul when you have concluded yourself perfectly unfit for employment? Do not you find that it is when barrenness comes on, and secret prayer becomes slack, and the spirits sink for want of a little wine of the kingdom? It is this that cheers me and fits me for all impossibilities, and carries me through all that is painful to the flesh. Had I not had some of this sweet refreshing from the presence of the Lord before I came here, I should have taken to my bed a sick man, and have given up all thoughts of doing anything; but I found I could do all things through Christ strengthening me, and bear evil report and good report, and labour with my hands to supply my need; and I perceive in this line of things spiritual life is maintained, and the purpose of God is unfolded.
It is said, in the song of Moses, that God separated the people, and fixed the bounds of that part which he called ms PORTION. You and I must be very particular to find this out - that we are God's portion; and to show it by keeping the separation clear that he has made, and by being found in the bounds which he has fixed; exercised in all the various things the Lord has appointed to each of us, and neither giving up nor taking on anything at our pleasure. We have to watch God's dismissal of us, and also every reviving help that he gives us to fulfil our day and generation, according to his appointment.
I have found your conversation profitable, and I know the Lord has often spoken upon your heart so be not disheartened at what is before you, but press hard after Christ, and you will want no good thing. Be of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world. We are hastening to the end, and had need be sober and watchful.
Your very sincere friend in the Lord, J. B.