[To M. H.] Matlock, 25 June 1843.
My dear Friend,
I was very glad of your last letter and the manner in which you received mine, and I can truly sympathize with you under the power of strong temptations in thinking that others draw conclusions respecting your case very disheartening to you; but they are such as others dare not hold, at least I feel I dare do nothing that might touch or wound the fear of God in another. Nevertheless I would endeavour to show you the subtle power of the enemy, if possible, to bind down your spirit under such thoughts, and keep your heart and mind from seeking at the hand of God such evidences as accompany salvation. It will not be once or twice finding some comfort from the Lord that will help us in any fresh attacks of the enemy, but every trouble must have its outlet or issue in the blood of sprinkling. This is the exercise of spiritual life manifested, and it will have such a sweet effect upon our spirits, that we shall understand that divine charity thinks no evil, bears all provocations, and does not judge rashly, but in a spirit of meekness, in honour preferring others. It is astonishing how little and low in our own estimation the true grace of God makes us to feel ourselves. When the centurion said, "I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only," then the Saviour is said to have marvelled, and to have declared he had not found such faith, no, not in Israel. O this low place! I have been long inured to it, and must acknowledge I have found it very precious; for here the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit grow, and their savour flows out to the comfort and refreshment of the afflicted people of God. His teaching sobers the mind, and brings us out from the fashion and spirit of the world, having a tendency to make a clean separation from it, as the Saviour says - "I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you;" and you must always remember that you, his servant, are not greater than your Lord, of whom it is written, "They hated me without a cause." [John xv. 18-25.]
My desire is that you may come to a clear understanding of the mysterious work of salvation upon your own heart; this will reconcile all difficulties, and make every crook straight, and you will know what it is to walk with God in peace. In the world you will and must have unceasing tribulations, but you must have your mind drawn out to Jesus Christ, who bids you be of good cheer in the midst of all your troubles, because he has overcome the world, and will sooner or later assure your heart that you too shall overcome through him. This is all my expectation in my trials, and if the Lord should stand my friend to the end, of which at times I have a lively hope, then I can well ascribe all the glory to Father, Son, and Spirit; and I am sure my sincere desire is that you may find the same.
Yours &c. J. B.