[To M. and J. G.] London, 4 February 1840.
My dear Friends,
"If ye faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." The Lord has called you to the battle, and has in many ways told you that it is not yours, but his. While you have a breath to draw, spend it in prayer and confession to him. "A righteous man falling down before the wicked, is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring." It is said of one of old, "His heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz . . . and say unto him, Take heed, AND BE QUIET; fear not, neither be fainthearted" [Isa. vii. 2-7]. Let not your carnal fears nor any human threats drive you from an earnest and continual cry to the Lord. I have often in the course of my life been driven into such desperate places that I must either cry to the Lord or sink, and have always found the Lord to answer me in the extremity; and the greater the impossibility, the clearer has been the relief. If taught of the Spirit, you will find enough of your misery and sin to lay before the Lord; and you cannot abase yourselves too low. He will exalt such as abase themselves. It has pleased God to put you into the hot furnace, and he will sit as a refiner, and see that no pure metal shall be lost.
True religion consists of JUDGMENT and MERCY. "Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it," (and that for the wisest purposes)? [Amos iii. 6.] O what a mercy it will be for you both, if you turn out apt scholars under this severe teaching! "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it." Let your secret moments be much spent in confession, and you will then find that "like as a father pitieth his children," so, even so, will the Lord pity you. Do not look at your mountains of difficulty; that would make them the more impassable: but look to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has tenderly invited you to cast your burden upon him; especially if you are "weary and heavy laden." If once you can believe he has a kind intention towards you, you will then feel a greater readiness to make use of him, and not be so frightened at the threats of your enemies. The Lord is stronger than all that oppose. Read Isaiah vii. 1-9, and you will then see who has the ordering of all things, in heaven above and on earth beneath; and I am sure they that touch Jerusalem will find it a "burdensome stone" [Zech. xii. 3].
With many prayers and hearty good wishes, I commit you both into the hands of the Lord. You know he can do you no wrong, and this trial will work for good. I doubt not (nor will you in the end think it a strange thing) but God has something peculiar to do in it, which as yet cannot be fathomed. Patiently wait therefore, and quietly hope for his salvation; and remember they that wait for him never can nor shall be disappointed, world without end.
Yours affectionately, J. B.