[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.
I have often observed, when any temptation has got fast hold upon us, it has been first trifled with, ,just as the fish plays with the bait, not suspecting the hidden hook until it be well fastened; and then, to our sorrow, we are not so easily disentangled as we expected. Besides this, I have generally found one entangling snare leads to many other difficulties, quite unforeseen, and very curiously hidden from us by the craft of the devil. But the Spirit of God, enlightening and making tender the conscience, gives a discovery of the danger, accompanied with power unceasingly to cry; and the issue in such a case is sure. "For thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. By thee I have run through a troop, and by my God have I leaped over a wall." Thus we escape out of a troop of obstinate, rebellious, and self-willed entangling snares, and prove that no hindrance, however high and impenetrable, is insurmountable. This is to the glory of God's rich grace, showing that nothing is too hard for him and the sweet humbling effect of this grace bestowed, makes us declare that his way, though so mysterious and humbling, is perfect; and though he try us to the uttermost, yet will we trust in him; for "Who is God save the Lord?" and who can deliver after the same manner? A firm Rock, on which we may safely build, with the sure prospect of standing every storm. This will make our feet like hinds' feet, and as the hymn says, "In swift obedience move;" and will teach us not to trifle with temptation, but show us how our hands are to handle the word of life, and that we must be fighting soldiers in this warfare; so that a "bow of steel," a mighty strong temptation, terrible in its power, will be broken, if brought to him who is the Shield of our salvation, who will guard us and guide us so that no evil shall finally befal us. In so walking, our feet will not slip, nor will our steps be straitened; but the necks of these enemies shall be broken. It is God that avengeth us of our grand adversary, and lifts us up above all those things and persons that would stop our course; and therefore we must, and most readily do, "give thanks unto thee, O Lord, and sing praises unto thy Name," for the great deliverance thou art continually working for us. [Psalm xviii. 28 - 50.]

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.

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