[To Mrs. T.] Hertford, 11 September 1843.
My dear Cousin,
It is a terrible thing for us to be under the searching of God, who has said, "ALL THE CHURCHES SHALL KNOW that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts " [Rev. ii. 23]. When this is going on, all my comeliness turns into corruption and many things that appeared genuine before, are found, under this secret searching, to be no better than sounding brass. I have had many sweet tokens here of the Lord's great mercy and favour, yet I am continually disputed out of all these, and am ashamed to find so great a readiness to give credit to the dreadful charges of the enemy, instead of keeping my eye steadily upon the Lord Jesus Christ and his wonderful intercession in the behalf of his afflicted people; this is where I fall. I feel perfect safety in the Lord, and am satisfied with his power and willingness to accomplish that which he has so often and so powerfully promised upon my heart, yet there is a continual trembling at his judgments past, present, and to come; and though these do not threaten my final safety, yet they are to me an unfathomable deep that makes me with great fear to stoop very low. It is enough for me, as his child, to be in the dark. I am and have been taught that it is not without a cause the Lord has done all that he has done; therefore I am made in secret silence to justify him with a trembling heart. These my fears may cast many down, but somehow I seem so near and dear to the Lord who afflicts me that I am often made to tremble and rejoice. I am sure by this teaching I am made to die to the world, and to all hopes of mercy but in the sovereign display of it through Jesus Christ. I am sure he does not give me up with all my fears, but looks upon me often as if moved with compassion and touched with the feelings of all my infirmities; and on this account though I walk thorough the valley of humiliation I have no ground to fear, "for thou art with me." May you find in all your difficulties the same relief, for I know it is a VERY PRESENT HELP, and will not fail us in any of our extremities.
Yours &c. J. B.