[To his Daughter P.] Matlock, 9 July 1843.
My dear Child,
I was very glad to see your note, and must say I hope the Lord will instruct, so that the discoveries that are made of the evil of your nature may lead you in all humility to fear and tremble; for surely a vain and light religion only leads to death and destruction. Your letter conveys much instruction to yourself under your present fears. When they really work effectually, we are not able to understand that there can be any Advocate with the Father to favour or plead our cause, but greatly fear lest the trouble we find should prove nothing else but the sheer displeasure of God. It is this that drinks up the spirit and doubles our affliction. There are seasons now and then when the Lord sends a ray of light into the heart to show the poor soul that there is hope for such, but these are so transient as to leave us very quickly to fear they were not real. The whole of our profession should lead us not to despair, however waste and desolate we may feel. It will indeed be a wonderful mercy if you should escape that eternal death into which the world in general rush with such rash delight; and if it should please the Lord effectually to bring you out of all snares and vanities, and give you a good hope in the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, this will be a treasure above all earthly prosperity, or what the world calls doing well in life. None can do so well in life as those who, through the mercy of God, are enabled to make Christ Jesus their Counsellor and Friend; he alone sticketh closer than a brother, and can and will defend us in all our bitter trials; for surely there is no way to the kingdom but through the furnace of affliction, and we are sure to do well if the Son of man be with us there.
I hope the Lord will also direct your present affairs, and not suffer lightness to bring guilt upon your spirit, but that your trials may sober your mind. I do not look for an old warrior in one at eighteen years of age, but I would tell you what Solomon says "Childhood and youth are vanity;" and you had need to beware of this, because the snares of the devil are very subtle and beguiling.
Your affectionate father, J. B.