[To M. C. B.] London, November 1843.
My dear Friend,
I scarcely know how to write to you, I find so many fears and difficulties in the way. I am made very anxious to look for such clear and bright evidences as shall comfort my heart in a dying hour. My sin has spoiled every resting place in this world; and I desire to "bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him." When that daily cross which the Lord speaks of lies heavy and sharp upon the shoulders, it is apt to drink up the spirits; but if it be sanctified, the soul borne down by it will cry; and so I find it. This is one of God's mercies bestowed upon me; and no later than yesterday I went sorely burdened to chapel, and there told the Lord my troubles and poured out my heart before him, and though I felt no hope, and was far enough from expectation of help, the Lord broke in upon my spirit and comforted me with many sweet assurances of his favour; and a part of one of Hart's hymns confirmed it:-
"Those feeble desires, those wishes so weak,
My heart was drawn out to the Lord Jesus Christ, and I found a full confidence in his almighty power; the sweetness in my heart satisfied me that he had manifested that power, assuring me of my eternal salvation in him. This mighty encouragement enabled me to spread all my family afflictions before him, and I was greatly relieved in committing my cares and fears to him as a most kind and faithful Friend.
I shall never be able to tell how my profession is tried; I am sure if it were not of God I must have sunk into despair long since. What awe this brings upon my mind, and how cautious it makes me in the family, when no eye is upon me but the Lord's! How I fear the entanglements of this life in all directions, even in my own house! All improper movements here are apt to eat up our spiritual increase, and to damp our secret approaches to the Lord; and then our emptiness brings us to the place where Adam was when God found him hidden and naked, and sets us sewing a foolish fig-leaf righteousness either in empty words, or pious looks, or feigned humility, all which are an abomination to the Lord; and we are sent empty away, with hearts full of rebellion because nobody will receive our religion. All this is gained, together with mighty confusion and guilt, by departing from the simplicity of the truth. O may the Lord deliver us from these dreadful places, and cause us never to rest until we find such visits from him as are mentioned in this letter.
Yours &c. J. B.