[To the Rev. B. G.] London, 10 November 1842.
My dear Friend, I assure you that I am daily and increasingly exercised as the time approaches that is named for my going into Shropshire. I have had some very sweet encouragements, and some very terrible damping fears, arising from various quarters. I have known what trouble means since I saw you, but the Lord is with me, and I sometimes venture to hope that by it. I shall be taught some useful lessons for the afflicted people of God in the way of counsel and encouragement. I am made to put my head very low. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God." I am sure it is but very few that know much of this sweet grace of humility: the oftener I find the least taste of it, the more I feel how scanty a portion I possess; and with great shame I see and acknowledge the necessity of a daily cross. I only begin to feel what a vile sinner I am, and the small discovery almost makes me despair, yet pray and cry I do, and must; and here, sooner or later, the compassion of the Lord is moved, and hope springs up. "Though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men." My sins are the cause of my afflictions. I ardently desire to take up my cross, and in patience to possess my soul; and am often, by the mercy of God, enabled to do so. His word is very sweet, and his smiles, when I have them, very precious, and my fears and troubles then very small. At other times I mourn and cry, "How long, Lord? Wilt thou be angry for ever?" My eyes and my heart are continually watching, and I sorely fear to grieve the Spirit of God. Oh! how often do I beg the Lord to forgive my blunders of all sorts, to lay no sin to my charge, but give me a right honest heart to confess and forsake it, and obtain the promised mercy.
Tell all my friends that their profession will be tried to the uttermost, and that there can be no salvation but through the fiery furnace. The Refiner who sits over it is a tender, careful, and powerful Friend, and will take care that he loses nothing worth preserving; but his eyes being "as a flame of fire," he discovers many a "refuge of lies," which at the beginning of our profession was not duly considered nor feared. This "terrible thing" [Ex. xxxiv. 10], which God does with his people, is the only safe way to the heavenly kingdom.
Yours &c. J. B.