[To a friend.] Pulverbach, 23 January 1843.
My dear Friend,
I think the people increase every time. My subject yesterday was Luke ix. 23, "He said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." I chose the well known hymn, "Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched;" but as I was about to begin, my eye caught the first line of another hymn on the same page, and I read it to myself - "Keep Christ in view." The words so sweetly entered my heart, that they were as ointment poured forth, and a sweet preparation for prayer and the beginning of my discourse. I endeavoured by the help of God, first, to show that all his disciples must carry this cross; next, that it is not all trouble and sorrow, though the cross is necessary for the death of that domineering principle called the old man. Though the Lord called Peter and others to forsake their nets and all things, yet soon he took them up to the mount and gave them such a glimpse of the glory of heaven, and such a glorious sight of the eternal Son of God, that they presently said, "It is good for us to be here." The daily cross is lost and forgotten while under the savour of these sweet visits, and we then rejoice in our portion. It is true there is and must he a daily putting off the old man with all his longings and desires; and sometimes it is no small conflict, and we scarcely know which way it will turn; but our mournful sighs and cries move the compassion of the Saviour, and he comes in the very time of need to save the sinking soul. Just after the Saviour called his disciples to leave all and bear their daily cross, it is said he "opened his mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." So that I found abundant room to recommend the cross as the only way to all the blessedness set forth in the word of God. And though a part of the cross is to be hated of all men, yet he that endures makes it manifest that the Lord is his strength, and will be his salvation. The Lord's care of his people under the cross is very manifest; for he condescends (as if it were to meet our wretched infidelity) to tell us that not a hair of our head shalt perish. While I write this I feel my heart greatly moved believing that this truth will be verified in me, the chief of sinners; and this encourages me to write as I do to you.
Yours &c. J. B.