[To a Lady.] Hertford, August 1842.
Your friend showed me that part of your letter which referred to the state of your mind. Although it was exceedingly mournful, yet the Lord speaks so much in the behalf of a broken heart that it ought to encourage us mournful ones to hope that he does not mean utterly to forsake us.
A broken heart is a rare thing, and may always be known by its mourning after the right object. David under it cried out, "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" This is our fear, lest it should indeed be FOR EVER. The broken heart, under such a painful feeling of the Lord's displeasure, cannot see an end of trouble, and therefore is ready to Mint, but it will not utterly give up the cry, although there is a fearful apprehension lest our dreadful enemy unbelief should gain the victory, and we sink in despair. Here the broken heart makes a desperate struggle, which manifests that it is the quickening Spirit of God with his two-edged sword that has pierced it; and the terrible sinking that it feels leads it to cry, "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death." Let me see that this is the way in which thou art pleased to save sinners; and though it be by terrible things in righteousness that thou answerest me, yet be thou still my Saviour, lest my enemy prevail against me. [Psalm xiii.]
How few there are to be found who are spiritually exercised as you are now; and how truly can I rejoice that you can mourn for the want of the communion and instruction of the people of God! This also is a true token that your heart is set upon the right object, and that Jesus Christ has given that wound which he will take care none shall heal but himself.
Your sister leaves Hertford tomorrow; I wish with all my heart she may feel as you do; then she will be very fearful of every step she takes, and every company she enters; and will enquire by diligent prayer, is the Lord there? The near approach of death, if sanctified to us, will sober us and make us see created things in their right colour. O eternity! How dreadful to look upon without hope! And although a sweet hope in the mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is very supporting and precious, still it brings and leaves an awe upon the spirit, so that much company is not congenial to a soul seeking to finish its course in peace. Both light professors, and such as have nothing but the spirit of the world, are very unsuitable to broken hearts, or to any who desire to have a clear work upon their souls. It is no small thing to give up all for Christ, and to count all things but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. O how precious has that testimony been to me this evening! My hearty desire is that you may win Christ, and be found in him, having neither spot nor wrinkle. My very heart believes that the Lord will thus appear for you, before he takes you home.
Yours &c. J. B.