Hertford, 12 August 1842.
Dear Mr. Burrell,
I am anxious to send you a few lines, and the more so from hearing what your conversation turned upon at Mrs. L.'s party, namely, Real recent communion with the Lord, not merely head-knowledge. It struck me that in this lies the distinction between the true church of God, and the professing church, and I was led to some meditation how it was with me, and by what means this life had been communicated and kept up. I found a suit-able key to unfold my thoughts in 2 Cor. iv., where the Apostle shows us that he was troubled on every side, but his troubles were so sanctified by the sweet presence and help of God that they did not bring forth despair; "for which cause (he says) we faint not, but though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day." I, too, have found, and still find, that this daily precious renewal reconciles the cross and makes it easy; for the Lord's sweet presence conveys such light into the soul that we see and feel that our affliction "is but for a moment," yet "worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" and we are enabled to draw our minds from created objects, and fix them upon that which is spiritual and eternal.
When I left town I thought I had heard you for the last time. I was reduced to a very low condition, but it has pleased God wonderfully to restore me, and with temporal health he has added many tokens and views of his tender regard. I cannot help thinking that he has made my affliction profitable to many here who attend my family worship. I am surprised at the simplicity I find in the accounts which some of them give of the daily corning and going of the Lord.
I have had some earnest and pressing invitations from our friends in Shropshire. The poor people seem very ardently to desire my company amongst them once more. I have many fears, and tremble at the important task; yet I am not without some hope, from what has already taken place there through the weakest of all instruments. My prayer is, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." The fear of refusing to give my labour where the Lord calls for it, and the fear of going without the approbation of the Lord, bear very heavy upon me at times; and I am sure I have need of your prayers and the prayers of the rest of the friends that I may never be like the disobedient prophet, but may walk very tenderly before the Lord.
May it please God to bless you in your labours, and to grant that the blessing of eternal life may effectually reach dear Mrs. Burrell's heart, so as to cast out all her fears.
Yours &c. J. B.