Fittleworth, 8 August 1840.
Dear W. B.
I must write to inform you that I feel the importance of a true work of grace upon the heart to be such, that it becomes us all to be faithful to the uttermost, that there may be no mistake at last. I have been, and still am, so interested on your behalf, that l would gladly have you comforted and instructed in such things as accompany salvation. I believe those secret cogitations and fears which you find, lead you to cast a wistful eye to the Lord, with some such words as these, O that I knew where I might find him! How shall I stand death and judgment without him? These are the trembling thoughts I had when I first began to think about religion; they were amongst the first breathings of the Spirit that led me to cry mightily to Jesus Christ. I had no rest in secret; but I knew of none like me, nor ever heard of any who had been like me. My secret sins lay so heavily upon me, that I thought none who were taught of God were such sinners as I. But now I find that none else but those to whom God discovers these evils, know anything aright.
It is under this dreadful discovery we are made to fear and tremble; and then comes in the Word of God, which is "like apples of gold in pictures of silver" - "To this man will I look" (and to none else), "even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" [Isaiah lxvi. 2]. This is a look of mercy and salvation; and in this sweet revelation of hope, you will find many things to soften your fears and raise your drooping spirits. For the Lord always gives his people something they like better than the things he takes away. He never takes away their natural life, till he shows them their spiritual and eternal life, the sight of which overtops all created things and makes them finally glad of the exchange. I often say it, and I desire you exceedingly to exercise your mind in this one thing, and beg of the Lord to help you, - "Look not at the things which are seen" (for their sight works despair), "but at the things which are not seen" (that is, not seen with the natural eye). For those eternal things are discovered to be all beauty to the spiritual understanding, and will be suitable to your condition, be it what it may. [2 Cor. iv. 18.] It will be seen, in your thus looking, that the Lord makes crooked places straight, and rough places smooth, and reconciles everything in the Spirit which is irreconcilable to the flesh; and patience at length will have her perfect work.
May the Lord comfort you abundantly in your present affliction, and cause you to be much in earnest to have a clear interest in Christ, for this will be profitable for this life as well as for eternal life. So prays continually
Your affectionate friend, J. B.