London, 17 April 1842.
Dear Mrs. Tims,
I felt my charge at Hertford beyond my power of expression, and the danger of many that appeared resting short of Christ's atoning blood. If this be continued in, it will appear, when the errors of the day become still more rampant than at present, that the seed of the word has not taken effectual root, and they will fall into the snares laid for their feet. Hazael said, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this?" Nevertheless, when the opportunity is given, there is often a discovery of evil we never dreamt of, and from which we can never be preserved, except in Christ Jesus. I am sure it is most needful that we make clear work; for the threatened fire will try every man's work, of what sort it is [1 Cor. iii. 11-13]. Wood, hay, stubble, denote the light profession of the day that rests short of Christ's testimony, and is satisfied with a false report, which allows them to mingle with carnal friends and erroneous teachers, and finds no fault with vain professors. Such think they can touch pitch without being defiled, and cannot receive the word of God which bids us not to say a confederacy to every one, but to sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be our fear and our dread. This will lead us safely, if duly attended to. But I see such half-professors and quarter-professors amongst you, as make me tremble. Their language is dark; their walk more dark; and their best evidences show that they prevail not with God in prayer: and this is tenfold more grievous, because of the growing errors of the Papacy and of the Puseyites. They all offer a religion that can be performed by manual exercise, without the spirit of these awful things being searched into. This is "will-worship," which puffs up the fleshly mind, but gives no relief to a broken heart [Col. ii. 18-23].
Some amongst you truly comforted me with the zeal and love they expressed in describing the work of God upon the heart, and the manner in which the Spirit helped their infirmities in prayer. These greatly encouraged me; and the spirit of liberty I found in speaking led me to believe they were a people that had their spiritual ears open to receive the word with an appetite. I was truly glad you should be one of them. It strengthened my hands; for as we are now finishing our days, it is our mercy to know that there is nothing between the Lord and us to make a throne of grace inaccessible.
This morning's reading was, "Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" [Gen. xxxii. 26]. I could not help pointing out the many trifles by which we let the Lord go; holding the world and many vanities, but not retaining Him. I considered that the break of day signified those reviving hopes with which the Lord visits us, and which were intended not to rest in, but to add energy to our prayers for that clear and spiritual liberty which is to be found in Christ Jesus, and nowhere else. But we foolishly often rest in the day-break, and do not wait for the Sun of Righteousness arising in the heart, which would bring such a sweet healing power as to satisfy us entirely of the eternal love of the Father, Son, and Spirit. This brings us clean out of the spirit of the world, and gives us an abundant entrance into his heavenly kingdom. This stands the test of errors, persecution, and love and endearing ties of relations, and far surpasses the power of the enemy in all directions, and makes us fruitful and profitable in the church of God, which is the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Yours &c. J. B.