[To Mrs. Grimes.] London, 19 February 1844.
Dear Friend on the confines of eternity,
How sweet is the firm belief of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God under our various difficulties; and never more so, perhaps, than in the valley of the shadow of death. How it humbles the soul to be enabled to cast our fears upon the Lord, and to acknowledge the infinite justice of God in the sentence of death under which we lie. Only stoop at his feet, crave his mercy, fall under every charge, and then comes the sweet deliverance we have in Christ Jesus. No sooner did the prodigal say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son," than we hear no rebuke, no heavy charges of old sins, but "Bring forth the BEST ROBE and put it on him." This is what you are now enjoying, and though subject to clouds, yet never so dark that you totally lose sight of the Father's eternal love to you in Christ Jesus; and every return comes with double sweetness, conveys fresh courage, and shows that our dreadful weakness shall be no hindrance to his unspeakable love, while he thus manifests his power in the midst of all things that seem to the outward observation to be utterly contrary.
Who in the world can understand that the soul shall overflow with peace and joy in the midst of pain and sickness, and in the face of dissolution? yet I have often witnessed that "love is strong as death," and overcomes all difficulties whatsoever. It is the Spirit of adoption alone that can enable a soul to cast its care on the Lord, which is only done under the sweet persuasion that he careth for us. Archbishop Leighton says, "A weak believer and a strong Saviour will be too hard for all that shall rise up against them." The Lord often suffers us to fall into long and lingering afflictions, and so sanctifies them that the sin of our nature is crippled, a fainting faith strengthened, a languishing love quickened, and strong corruptions wounded. In this way the Lord teaches us to be sober and watchful, and we, building ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying iii the Holy Ghost, are kept in the love of God, "looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
Yours &c. J. B.