[To M. M. A. G.] Leominster, 18 July 1841.
My dear Friend,
I was very glad to receive your letter; and though the time of my being here ends on Thursday, according to my first engagement, yet I am requested to stay another week; so that, if it please God to prosper my way, I hope to be at home the last day of this month, on my way to my family in Surrey.
So that when the enemy raises surmises that there is no help for us in God, we must dispute this point sword in hand, for we shall most assuredly say with David, "Thou, Lord, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head." The Psalmist adds, what I am sure both you and W. will find a truth; therefore venture unceasingly to try it - "I cried unto the Lord in my distress, and he heard me out of his holy hill;" and in so doing, he declares "The Lord sustained me;" that is, I did not get all I wanted and longed for at once, but I was propped up and encouraged to press on. If you ask, To what am I to press on? Still to cry, "Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God;" for "salvation belongeth unto the Lord," and he has it to bestow upon just such miserable wretches as we are. [Psalm iii.]
Do, my dear W., lay this to heart; the storm has begun, and you have need of a shelter. Think not that none of the Bible saints were in so bad a case as you; both they and all of us are at times obliged to cry, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord." Let this be your errand day and night to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalmist mournfully says, "In death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who can give thee thanks?" I would, by the help of God, lead your mind to the issue of all this sorrow. "The Lord hath heard my supplication," my pitiful sighs and hopeless groaning; "the Lord will receive my prayer." Therefore let that shameful enemy unbelief be put to shame, and let the Lord be magnified. [Psalm vi.]
Where is my friend J.? Where does he hide himself? I hope he is not an insensible looker-on at the visitations of God in your house and family, but that while he stands in awe at the terrible things which the Lord is doing amongst you, he may with holy reverence bow and stoop in spirit under the mighty hand of God, and acknowledge his infinite wisdom in all his dispensations. As I said before, the storm is begun; O may he seek, like the dove, to rest only on the ark! This alone will save him. The fiery trial will overtake him also; for though it may not come in exactly the same shape, yet God has told us all that we shall certainly pass through the fire and the water; and it will be our mercy to believe the report, and be unceasingly seeking the Lord Jesus Christ to stand at our right hand, to defend us, and carry us safely through. So shall we prove the truth of his word - "My strength is made perfect in weakness."
May the Lord be with you all. Your affectionate friend, J. B.