[To Mr. Nunn.] Ockley, Surrey, 15 August 1841.
My dear Friend,
We were very glad to hear from you. I full well know there is something, which varies a little in us all, lying (as you say) like a cankerworm at the root of all earthly happiness; and it is our mercy that so it is. "MUCH TRIBULATION" are not words without meaning; but I am sure the Lord means to make all great men very little, whom he intends to save. Little children have small ideas, and can accomplish very little; and the Lord designs we shall be as such. His kingdom is to be made up of such. You say truly, There is no keeping the affections on things above, but by denying self in all directions; this is no small denial, for our fleshly spirits account our pride, consequence, natural authority, and self-will, to be absolutely necessary to keep good order; but Psalm xviii. describes another way. In this I am often brought to secret terror. God discovers the cheat and deceit of the heart, and shows me that nothing but self is set up there, and his honour is disregarded. The flesh cries out, Carry your head very high; but the spirit says, Put your mouth in the dust. If you will be safe, be very little in your own estimation, fear everything, tremble at God's word, and be deeply sensible of your own weakness; and let such say, "I am strong," not in themselves, but in that communication of God's grace which he so freely bestows on the weak, the feeble, and the poor. This sort of exercise always brings about much contrition and self-abasement; it makes me willing to take the lowest place, and let the Lord make use of me as he pleases; "Not my will, but thine be done." This also makes the poor and afflicted people of God very profitable company. I am not anxious to tell them all I pass through, but rather to hear of God's dealings with them, and I find this confirms my tokens, and my heart unites most sweetly with the work described, and we become one in Christ. I know not a sweeter token.
Remember me most kindly to our minister; I feel much the loss of the word, but the Lord is merciful and does not utterly for-sake us in our little assemblies here. Remember me also to Mrs. N., and tell her what the Lord said to his disciples in the garden, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation;" for it is much easier to enter, than to endure and come out. That the Lord may be with you both is the sincere wish of all our party here, who join in kind regards.
Yours &c. J. B.